mad in pursuit notebook


St. Thérèse "Sacrifice" Beads


My first effort to make a string of "prayer" beads:

This design was created by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, aka Little Flower. The idea is that you can use the beads as counters, such that when you move them, they stay in place.

They are used to count the acts of love or sacrifices a person makes in a day for God. The string of beads helps a person to grow in virtue by challenging them to be faithful in making acts of love each day. Sacrifice Beads also have a fixed Our Father bead on the end of them and can double up as a rosary. [The Little Ways]

It's been a long, long time since I thought of my day in terms of "sacrifices"... but acts of kindness and the challenges of self-discipline never go out of style. Also it would be interesting to use such a device for counting breaths in mindfulness practice.

Anyway, the instructions for the bead-stringing can be found at The Little Ways. I decided to test out the bracelet version, using my homeliest of African trade beads and the only appropriate cord I had, which was unfortunately white (good for virtue, bad for wearing). My Bits & Pieces box is not bursting with crosses and religious medals, so I used a tiny key... a good strong symbol in any event.

The closure detail on the instructions is kind of ambiguous and ugly, so I tried my own, without much better success. In fact, the whole thing turned out to be a little too long and ungainly for a bracelet. The movement of the beads is really cool however, so I'll try it again with an improved design.

Along the way, I learned to tie the Corded Rosary Knot and, when I was pondering the fraying ends, the Common Whipping Knot. It's like being a Girl Scout Camp of one.

(Thanks to my sister Ellen for pointing me toward this design.)

Jul 31, 2012