Personal Days: Wall Rosaries

When it comes to Christian aesthetics my tastes tend toward the Catholic. Perhaps because I went to a Catholic school from 6th grade through High School. Something of the Catholic aesthetic might have rubbed off on me during those years.

By contrast, the aesthetic of your average Christian bookstore, Mardel or Lifeway, leaves me cold.

But when I walk into a Catholic store, the spiritual resonances within me start to hum.

Jana and I love antique stores that tend toward the thrift and junk shop end of the spectrum. We like old and vintage stuff at a good price. When we visit my hometown in PA during vacations we love exploring these stores.

My hometown is heavily Catholic. So these shops fill up with vintage Catholic articles. The estate sales from these old Catholic families are just full of vintage rosaries, medals and crucifixes. You can't find this stuff down south. Too many Protestants. So the shops back home are a gold mine for someone who, like me, loves a Catholic aesthetic.

Two years ago in one of our favorite shops I found this massive wooden Rosary. It was huge. I asked what it was.

"It's a wall Rosary," said the owner. "You hang it on your wall. That one is from Italy."

Thank goodness you hang it on a wall, I thought. I couldn't imagine anyone carrying it around in their pocket.

I'd been collecting vintage rosaries and had never seen a rosary like that in any of the shops. You can by new wall rosaries online, but I'd never come across a vintage one in a shop. It was so unique I bought it and displayed it on my office wall.

This last Christmas I found another one. Looking through a large collection of old rosaries I found a huge one made of class and medal. I stretched it out, feeling the weight of it in my hands. Another wall rosary. Again, I'd never seen anything like it.

So if you ever visit my office you'll find two of my very favorite things. My two wall rosaries framing a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe (a Christmas present from Jana). All pictured above, the wooden rosary on the right and the glass one on the left.

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