A craft of prayer: Bettendorf students make rosaries before school

Anne Marie Amacher
From left, Rachel Morlock and Ben Burman give handmade rosaries to Beth Rogers at Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

BETTENDORF — It’s not the easiest thing to do — making knots — but fourth-grader Ben Burman gives it his all when he makes rosaries before school at Lourdes Catholic. “It’s fun and it’s hard. It takes a lot of perseverance,” he said.

Since last October, students have had the opportunity to meet on Wednesday and Friday mornings to make nylon cord rosaries. Lisa Ewing, a volunteer at Lourdes, started the project after she learned how to make the rosaries on a Salesian retreat. She buys the cord and the crucifixes from Our Lady Rosary Makers in Louisville.

Originally, the students made the rosaries for classmates and families at the school. Since the start of 2020, they have been making rosaries for Share Truck1, a ministry for families who have lost a child during pregnancy or infancy. The ministry is the brainchild of Lourdes cafeteria worker Beth Rogers, and her husband, Jason, who lost their daughter Angelica at 18 weeks in utero.


Jason’s employer at the time did wraps on trucks for different causes. After the loss of their daughter, he requested an infant loss wrap. The company granted that request. Although that brought awareness and helped the couple heal, Beth and Jason wanted to do more. Together they founded Share Truck1, a nonprofit website for those dealing with a loss during pregnancy infancy. “We knew there were others hurting,” Beth said.

Jason and Beth’s mission for Share Truck1 is simple and pure. They want to offer love, support and advocate for all parents who have lost a child.

One essential ministry of Share Truck1 is making personalized memory boxes for families. These may include an angel gown, a necklace or butterfly item and the rosary. “We are so blessed to have Lisa and the students making rosaries for the memory packs.” Beth said.

“This has been an awesome journey,” she said. Although her husband now drives for a different company, he continues to carry a banner inside the cab with him. That has the names of those pregnancy or infant losses submitted by grieving families.

The students who make the rosaries at Lourdes are predominantly third- and fourth-graders. They recite the Hail Mary before dismissal. “First you make an x, wrap the cord around your finger three times, pull the loop through (from the x), get the spacing right and pull tight,” said third-grader Millie Guy.

Classmate Rachel Morlok said she figured she didn’t have anything to do before school, so why not give rosary making a try? “I like doing it. We all like doing it.”

Savanah Moore, a third-grader, learned from Ewing, her aunt, how to make the rosaries first. “We taught the others,” Savanah said. She enjoys making the rosaries because they can help others.

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