Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Praying the Rosary with the Littles - Part I

Do you ever feel like you need a little inspiration/conviction (read: kick in the pants) when it comes to praying with your littles? I know I do. Though it is beautiful and rewarding it also requires a LOT of dedication/patience. I recently came across these beautiful quotes and thought I'd share them with you.

"Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God." Catechism of the Catholic Church #2226

"By reason of their dignity and mission, Christian parents have the specific responsibility of educating their children in prayer, introducing them to gradual discovery of the mystery of God and to personal dialogue with Him: 'It is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by grace and the office of the sacrament of Matrimony, that from the earliest years children should be taught, according to the faith received in Baptism, to have a knowledge of God, to worship Him and to love their religion.'" Familiaris Consortio

"The concrete example and living witness of parents is fundamental and irreplaceable in educating their children to pray. Only by praying together with their children can a father and mother - exercising their royal priesthood - penetrate the innermost depths of their children's hearts and leave an impression that the future events in their lives will not be able to efface. Let us again listen to the appeal made by Paul VI to parents: 'Mothers, do you teach your children the Christian prayers? Do you encourage them when they are sick to think of Christ suffering, to invoke the aid of the Blessed Virgin and the saints? Do you say the family rosary together? And you, fathers, do you pray with your children, with the whole domestic community, at least sometimes? Your example of honesty in thought and action, joined to some common prayer, is a lesson for life, an act of worship of singular value. In this way you bring peace to your homes. Pax huic Domui. Remember, it is thus that you build up the church.'" Familiaris Consortio #60

Wow! Inspiring! Convicting! From the "earliest years"? Really? What an awesome responsibility!

I don't know about your house but at our house it has been a challenge to get our children to sit still long enough to pray a rosary decade of the rosary as a family. Our two "older" children (3 y.o. and 2 y.o.) actually enjoy praying (especially when our prayers are sung or a candle is lit). They pray very nicely before meals and at bed time (and our 9 mo. old will even join in by folding her little hands. Precious.)  but for some reason the 5 minutes it takes to pray a decade is WAY too much to ask of them. Now I know that some of you may think I'm overly ambitious to expect my two energetic boys to sit still long enough to pray one hail Mary let alone TEN! I was almost beginning to think the same thing when I came across this remarkable idea through a friends' post on face book.

A mother writes about using "counters" rather than rosary beads so that the littles have something to "do" with their hands but don't lose their place. (I know! Novel indeed!). Even better, the "counters" she uses are little roses! The idea is that as the littles pray they are arranging a bouquet of roses for their heavenly Queen!

This idea appeals to me on so many different levels but especially because I remember that when I prayed the rosary with my family as a very small child I would ponder this thought...that each hail Mary was a gift, a rose for Our Lady.

This wise woman also uses individual prayer cards rather than books so that the littles can focus/meditate on the mystery being prayed rather than looking through the entire book during the first mystery and then becoming bored. Putting this into practice has been truly revolutionary for my littles.

Her ideas were too wonderful to keep to myself at the time (that was last Oct.) and I'd like to share them again with you today (lucky you!). Here is the link to her blog post where you can read about her ideas in detail as well as find links to her crochet rose pattern and printable prayer cards:

Pondered in my Heart - Cards and Counters


As soon as I'd finished reading this I sat down strait away and began making little roses for Our Lady (I did not make the crocheted roses from this post but sewed some from red and white fabric - see part II of this post for directions on how you too can make them!). These ideas have truly made the difference in our home and the littles are so excited to make bouquets of roses for Mama Mary.

Our Sacred Space and Fabric Flowers

NOTE: At this time we TRY to pray a decade each day and instead of having the boys sit still with their baskets on their laps or right in front of them on the floor, I have them take turns walking from their chairs all the way across the room to the basket which is stationed on our sacred space/table. This helps immensely in keeping them interested and occupied with the task of taking flowers to Our Lady and distracts them from wanting to get up and move around every other second.

I like to say "a decade a day keeps sin/vise at bay".

Pax huic Domui.

So were you inspired? How do you get your littles to participate during' family prayer time? What prayers do you pray with them during the day?/At night? I'm always seeking new inspiration, however simple.


  1. Very inspiring! Lots of great ideas. I am totally going to start doing this for Lent with my littles. Especially since I'll be home for a while :) I will however be doing the crocheted roses since I'm better at crocheteing than sewing. Thanks for the links so I could find the pattern.

  2. Cecily, Thank you! I'm excited for you to try this with your little ones. I know it has been so helpful for our crew. It took several tries but with patience and perseverance, rosary time has become such a beautiful time in our home. Blessings! And praying for that new little one on the way! b

  3. Great idea - I'm actually looking forward to *gasp* praying the rosary (and I'm passing the idea on to every Catechist I know!) Thank you!

  4. Ange,
    You are very welcome! And be my guest! I'm glad you like it.