Courtney Vallejo reviews a journal for ages 12 and up that underscores the beauty and treasures of the Rosary.
Growing up in a secular home, religion was scarcely talked about except maybe around Christmas and Easter. I converted to Catholicism in 2002, during my senior year in college. I had actually attended a Catholic high school, so the faith was familiar, studying religion was familiar, even going to Mass was familiar, but the Rosary however was not. It was a prayer that I knew was important, but often left me dreading the length of time it took to complete. During my mid- to late-20s, I was working as a school teacher and my early morning commute coincided with the Catholic radio station’s airing of the Rosary. It made it easy to follow along and motivated me to pray the Rosary. Unfortunately, once I stopped working at that particular job, my recitation ended without having the accompanying morning radio station to pray with.
As I began having my own children, I knew I wanted to pass on the Rosary as a traditional Catholic prayer, but having little relationship with the prayer myself, I found that I had to start small with its inclusion. I began by saying the family Rosary on car trips. My side of the family lived at least 5 hours away at the time, so there were plenty of opportunities for family car trips.
Admittedly, it wasn’t until more recently that I began to really understand the fruits of the Rosary. My sister-in-law was getting married, and my husband was a groomsman. The groomsmen were asked to join in a 54-day novena of Rosaries. Not wanting to let down the bride and groom, my husband and I began praying our daily Rosary. My love and desire for this prayer grew quickly, thanks be to God.
When I saw the title Blessed Mother Mary, the Rosary and You; A Guided Journal, I had to get a copy of this book. I assumed it would show the prayers and maybe have some areas for reflection, I did not at all expect the great lengths to which Rosanne Pallini-Verlezza, the author/illustrator, would go to, to share the beauty and treasures of the Rosary.
Beginning with the mysteries and prayers, the book is infused with facts about the Rosary. Throughout the book, the pages encourage the reader to color, decorate, and write in the pages to further our connection to the Rosary. The mysteries are depicted both in text and hand-drawn images. The images are simple enough for a child to use as coloring pages but adult enough to spur meditation. Each mystery has its own section which includes ideas for entering into prayer and questions to further our contemplation of the prayers. Each mystery also includes a section on the fruit of the mystery, to which we can further ponder. Drawing, writing, and coloring are encouraged throughout the pages.
Not only are the mysteries taught, but there are also sections on the history of the Rosary. Also included are apparitions of The Blessed Mother and discussions of Marian celebrations like feast days. The author even included a section on the Miraculous Medal.
Included as well are a variety of saint quotes about the Rosary and more journaling areas to contemplate their thoughts on the Rosary.
The book concludes with an area of challenges for the reader. Areas where we can make pledges and come up with concrete ways to instill this Rosary into our lives and the lives of others. Finally, we are offered a variety of activities to bring the Rosary to life through various activities.
I only wished that this book had been an available resource earlier in my spiritual journey. The amount of education on and about the prayer as well as area for reflection is unlike any book I’ve previously encountered. It’s as if the author took three to four different books on the Rosary and combined them into a small, easy-to-use compilation. I recommend the book for ages 12 and up, in terms of being able to read and understand/engage, but all ages can enjoy the pictures and images that are hand-drawn throughout the book.
Copyright 2020 Courtney Vallejo
About the Author
Courtney Vallejo is a convert to the Catholic faith, who lives in California. She and her husband homeschool their three adopted children. She is the cofounder of AMomRevolution.com, whose mission is to inspire, encourage, and reclaim joy in motherhood. She also writes for her own blog, CourtneyVallejo.com. Courtney holds a Master's degree in Film Production and a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Follow her Gluten Free/Dairy Free adventures on Instagram: @aglutenfreerevolution.