Full size rosary handmade with 53 fresh roses

About Fresh Rosary

The first fresh rosary I made was for my brother Marty’s funeral in 1997. A Naval Reserve Officer, he’d been in Texas, participating in his annual “active duty tour,” when doctors discovered a glut of cancer in his liver. He was 40 years old.

Opting for treatment near home, we boarded a Medevac flight, when Marty became too fragile to continue to our state of Washington. So closest kin booked travel, while some said prayers from afar, and we gathered around his hospital bed to say goodbye. He passed away in the ICU at Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield, California, just nine days after diagnosis.

We are a Catholic family, and Marty held a true devotion to the Rosary, which he prayed daily. After he received his final sacraments, we wanted to honor him with one last, heartfelt recitation of the Rosary, and just before the final Amen, we witnessed heaven come to earth and retrieve his soul. We were sweating, and weeping, and with seven of us in his small ICU room, we were warm. Maybe someday I’ll find better words, but Marty’s face lit up like a child seeing Christmas for the first time, and I’m certain I saw his soul leave his body – it was like he was wriggling up and out of a turtleneck with his arms at his sides. Right then, a cool breeze circled the ceiling, although the nurse said there was no air conditioning in the room.

At the funeral, among other flower arrangements in red, white and blue, I displayed a Rosary of fresh roses for my brother. The Navy paid respects with flag ceremony, presentation of arms, and a bugler to play Taps. It’s now 20 years since Marty’s passing, and I will always remember his holy death, and his most fitting celebration of life.

Since then I’ve made too many fresh rosaries to count, but each one is meaningful, because it honors a soul beloved by God, and it connects surviving loved ones to a beautiful and ancient practice of prayer.

My hope is that the heart of every person who encounters a Fresh Rosary will pause a moment to consider Heaven, and God’s great love for each soul, that he should send his son, Jesus, a carpenter born of a humble and faithful woman, to build us a bridge to heaven for the desire to lead us there.