What kind of rosary is this?

A few years ago, while getting into my car at the Angeltown Mall, I saw something embedded in the snow bank. Our  parking lots get legendary snowbanks in this part of the country (the one near the grocery store was 40 feet high this February; they were using construction equipment to drive up the mini mountain to dump more snow.)

When I looked closer, I saw beads on a string, and I pulled it out of the snow to find a broken rosary. Made of wooden beads on a black string, it was mostly intact except that the loop was unjoined and the crucifix was gone. The Our Father beads had religious pictures on them (the Infant Jesus of Prague, the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart, etc.)  Overall, it was rather pretty and remarkably undamaged. I brought it home, sealed it in a plastic bag, and made a mental note to fix it someday.

I can fix rosaries made with wire links, courtesy of the cheapie beading tools I picked up at AC Moore, and necessary because they seem to fall apart about once a week here. But string I wasn’t sure how to work with, so it wasn’t until a month or two ago that I realized a friend visiting my house made knotted rosaries, and she’d know what to do.

I showed it to her, and after she left, I made an unskilled attempt at rejoining the loop. It’s not going to hold you up if you fall over the side of a bridge, but it’s together. And this weekend, I bought a black crucifix and attached it to the bottom.

We’re good to go, right? I figured I’d mention the intention of whoever lost this rosary the first time I used it.

About halfway through the first decade, I got that distinct “something is wrong” sensation.

Each decade is supposed to have ten; this one has thirteen.

Since then, I’ve hunted online and been stumped: what is this? I’ve found chaplets with thirteen beads; I’ve found lists of every known chaplet. I’ve found “witch beads” which are used in wicca, have thirteen beads (total) and are generally made with crystal and strung on wire.  I’ve looked at Orthodox prayer beads. I haven’t found anything to do with Santeria, but maybe…?
I’m not sure what to do with this chaplet. For it to be useful as a rosary, I’d have to remove three beads per decade, and since they’re knotted, that would require breaking them.

I know the rosary has Mysteries, but the first mystery shouldn’t be what it is.

Any idea what? Any idea who might know?


  1. Wyldkat

    I may be going waaay out on a limb here, but have you check Buddist? I don’t know anything about them, but I have seen something that looks like prayer beads.

  2. blueraindrop

    does it seem like the person knew what they were doing otherwise?

    craft fairs sometimes have a tendency to have items that can be not quite right but close.. it might be entirely possible someone who makes pretty necklaces with twine or hemp decided to branch out and aim at the religious, picked up a bag with the other beads and crucifix at a craft store, and then just eyed it and made it even on the numbers clueless that there was a significance they were totally missing.

  3. christopher

    There are SO many different chaplets out there that have some and gone through the years, it could be a “Crown of Saint Philomena chaplet” or it might be a “Ranger Rosary” (a pace counter). But a lot of people who say the rosary routinely add their own pious prayers to the rosary. I know I do. Even the “Jesus Prayer” said by many (most?) people after the “Glory Be” isn’t within the traditional formula of the rosary but an add-on at the request of Our Lady of Fatima. This could have been someone’s own formula.

  4. christopher

    Yoops, didn’t mean “Jesus Prayer” – meant the Fatima prayer (O My Jesus)…

  5. blueraindrop

    as a note… if you want to reduce to 10 without cutting the cord.. break the extra beads off. a wooden bead should split in at least one place pretty easily when squeezed with plyers or vice grips without much chance of breaking the cord as well.

    1. Carole P.

      I believe the Eastern Orthodox, which at one time was joined with the Roman Catholic Church uses this type of knotted roasary. You can probably find a picture by searching through Googlle. If not, just write to EWTN and I know they will provide an answer for you.

      With Peace & All Good,
      Carole P.

  6. rosary_doctor

    There are three possible saints: Rita of Casia, Francis Jerome, C. or Luke, The Evangelist as these have 74 beads Aves & Paters