Prayer beads, found in many different religions, have been a symbol of hope and a tool of aid for helping individuals embark on spiritual journeys for years.
A group of parishioners from Church of the Ascension has been making and donating rosaries for years.
Marie Juetten, a former parishioner and leader of said rosary-making ministry, passed away in May. Her husband, 95-year-old Fountain Hills resident Dick Juetten, honors her legacy and memory by continuing her rosary mission.
“My wife learned how to make rosaries from my mother,” Juetten said. “Marie took over rosary making at the Church of Ascension about 10 or 12 years ago. I began helping my wife with the process. I usually bought parts, did book work or shipped the mailing boxes; whatever she wanted me to do.”
The team of about 14 rosary makers has distributed more than 9 million rosaries to countries all over the world. The team makes kits that include about 65 inches of string and the beads needed to assemble the rosary. The kits are kept at the church where members of the rosary-making team can pick them up whenever it is convenient for them. There are no deadlines or minimum amount to making the rosaries.
After the members make the rosaries, they are ready to be shipped. Originally, Dick and Marie sent them out to the international countries themselves. They sent packages to Africa, India, South America, the Caribbean Islands and other countries. After costs ended up surpassing a feasible amount for the couple, they began to partner with a flight attendant in Florida.
The team sends the woman a large shipping box containing about 420 rosaries at a time. She then sends them a letter back after distributing the rosaries, including where they have been sent and other information. Last year, the team from Church of Ascension was able to distribute more than 13,000 rosaries.
The mission continues as Dick and his daughter still make the rosaries to honor his wife’s mission.