Pictured are three side rosaries that belonged to Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph from the Mount’s collection. Left to right: Sr. Angela Marie Krampe I, OSU (7/25/1899-2/15/1930); Sr. Mary Uriel Logsdon, OSU (8/18/1872-9/30/1966); and Sr. Mary Lucy Mattingly, OSU (8/20/1908-5/25/2003). COURTESY OF MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH ARCHIVES
Most precious mementos: Mount Saint Joseph’s rosary collection of sisters who have passed
BY EDWARD WILSON, ARCHIVES
October is a month full of joyous celebration for Catholics. It is brimming with the feast days of several beloved saints such as St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Faustina, St. Teresa of Ávila, St. John of the Cross and St. John Paul II. What makes October even more joyous is that it is devoted, in its entirety, to the Holy Rosary.
Few things are as closely associated with religious sisters and nuns as their rosaries. Nearly any person explaining the attire of a stereotypical religious will include the rosary hanging from their cincture (the belt worn by religious.) Elizabeth Kuhns, author of “The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns,” highlights the rosary as one of the primary features of their garb. Over the years, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph have retained quite a few rosaries from sisters who have gone on to meet God in eternal glory. It is not necessarily a tradition of the Ursulines to preserve the rosaries of sisters who have passed; some of them are simply moved to do so.
One of the first experiences I had with this was about a year and a half ago. I was approached by one of the sisters. She told me that she had been put in charge of sorting out a deceased sister’s things and had a deposit for the archives. What she handed me was the sister’s old side rosary. That was it. It was a beautiful statement. After of lifetime of work for the Lord, the sister’s body was put to rest and so too was her rosary.
This collection of rosaries is like a silent church. The memories of countless prayers rest heavy upon them and an undeniable sacredness looms in their presence. The names attached to the rosaries give an identity to the hands that once gripped them in prayer. Let us join together with the saints this month and unite our prayers of the rosary with theirs until we meet to recite it together in the presence of God forever and ever.
Edward Wilson is the director of the Diocese of Owensboro’s Archives and the Archives of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. Comments and questions may be sent to [email protected].
Originally printed in the October 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.