Children's Rosary founder Blythe Kaufman shares the story of her devotion to praying the Rosary.
It is hard to pinpoint my first exposure to the Rosary. I remember getting a very beautiful rosary from my mother when I was very young. It was an aurora borealis rosary that sparkled as you held it. There was a hard case it was kept in to keep it safe. I admired it and knew it was precious and given with love by my mother. It seemed so beautiful and delicate that it was tucked safe and sound in my bedroom drawer.
Yet this rosary is not the rosary I use today. Instead, I use a wooden rosary I purchased on a religious pilgrimage when I was in eighth grade. This rosary has become one of my most precious possessions. For some periods of my life it got less use. Through college I remember praying the Rosary to help me fall asleep. Through most of my twenties, I drifted away from the Rosary and became what some might call a lukewarm Catholic. I went to Sunday Mass but my prayer had mostly dried up. Yet there was a deep faith but it had been covered over by concerns for many worldly things such as completing dental school training, getting into an endodontic residency, getting married, and then buying a home. I had become distracted by achieving “success.”
But Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother had not forgotten me even though I had stopped seeking to spend time in prayer with Them. They had some plans, it seems, that I had no idea about. To get my attention something drastic was needed as I was fully immersed in my busy life. At age 30 I was married, an associate in a successful endodontic practice in Connecticut, we had purchased our first house, and we were expecting our first child. What more could we want?
Suddenly this idyllic picture would be turned upside down. During that year my joints became worse, specifically in my hands. I began to suffer dislocations and had problems even opening doors. A geneticist made a diagnosis while I was pregnant that I had an inherited genetic condition affecting my collagen. Due to a defect in the collagen, he explained I should expect even more joint instability after the baby was born. What he described came to pass and my joints problems became so severe that I had problems walking and could not continue practicing dentistry.
More and more injuries occurred that resulted in further decline which left me unable to drive or even open a refrigerator. Yet in my stubbornness I continued to seek medical answers thinking a simple medication could solve everything. There came a breaking point where I turned to prayer and my despair began to immediately disappear. My body slowly started to stabilize but not bringing me back to normal. I would remain disabled, requiring help with almost everything involved with daily life: help squeezing toothpaste on my brush, help tying my shoes, help making meals. The list was long. Shortly after our son was born, seeing how poor my health was we looked in a new direction to grow our family through adoption. We adopted two older children who were biological siblings from an orphanage in Kazakhstan. Alina was 8 and her brother was 4. We were now a family of five!
The prayer that had helped to bring hope back to my heart grew. I very much wanted to go to daily Mass but with the joint instability in my feet I had a problem walking to Mass. Since I could no longer drive, this would be the only way since my husband who is a physician leaves early for work. After praying a novena for the intention to be able to walk to Mass, I found very soon that I could do this. One day after Mass I stayed to pray the Rosary with some women who prayed after Mass. This became my new routine: daily Mass and the Rosary. My long walks to and from Mass also became times of prayer. It was in the beginning of 2011 when I began to also pray the Rosary in the evening with my children.
Around the same time a call for help came from our pastor of our parish. He feared for the financial future of our parish as collections had declined. He asked for the parishioners to increase donations for fear the parish might merge with another parish or close. After a few months our pastor returned to say not much had changed. In prayer, an idea came. Maybe we should bring our children together to pray for our parish, as the prayers of children are so powerful. I wrote to our pastor to seek permission. This was granted, and on April 10, 2011, a small group of children gathered in our lower chapel to pray the Rosary for our parish. Surprisingly, the weekend of the first Children’s Rosary had a record collection surpassed only by Easter and Christmas for the remainder of the year. It seemed a signal grace of the power of the prayers of children.
After some discussion amongst the parents, we decided to not have this meeting be purely a one-time event. Instead we decided to continue to meet monthly as prayer group for the children. This was named: Children’s Rosary. We continued to meet monthly in the Church. On October 7, 2012, another Children’s Rosary group formed on the other side of the United States. More and more groups would form in a grassroots way throughout the world. The goal of the prayer groups was to support the prayer lives of the children. The model was kept very simple. First each group was Consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the initial meeting. In this way, the groups were under the protection and guidance of Christ and His mother. Second, the children would meet in parishes to lead the Rosary as a prayer group with the permission of their respective pastors. Later we would see new groups also form in orphanages and schools. Through prayer we were led by Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother.
In the summer of 2019, our family of five traveled to East Africa to visit Children's Rosary prayer groups and help to start new ones. This trip in the planning phase seemed almost impossible given my health, but through the Rosary my trust had been strengthened and I was no longer afraid to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit that seemed too difficult for me. I knew if Our Lord was asking, then He would provide the grace to achieve such things.
It is with great joy that I share the most recent gift from Our Lord. Through the grace of God, I humbly share a new book. The book is entitled: Child Consecration: To Jesus through Mary — Following in the Spirit of St. Thérèse, the Little Flower. The book seeks to unpack the St. Louis de Montfort Consecration outlined in the classic text, True Devotion to Mary, in a way children can understand. It is my hope and prayer that many children will be spared the toil of taking a very roundabout way to finding out how great Our Blessed Mother’s assistance can be in reaching her Son Jesus. When one is young, time seems to be our friend but how happy one will be in the sunset of life to have been guided from one’s tenderest years through entrustment to Jesus through Mary.
May we not fear exposing our children at the earliest of ages to the Rosary, Our Lady and also Consecration to Jesus through Mary.
Copyright 2020 Blythe Kaufman
About the Author: Blythe Kaufman is the founder of the international prayer group movement: Children's Rosary. She is also the author of the books Children’s Rosary: A Prayer Group Movement for Children and Child Consecration: To Jesus through Mary—Following in the Spirit of St. Thérèse, the Little Flower.
About the Author
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