YORK (SNR) – The “St. Joseph Rosary Makers” of the Altar Society at St. Joseph Parish in York have been making mission rosaries since 1988 when Father John Kelly suggested the project.
Five women volunteered to travel to Wahoo to learn how to make the rosaries. They were trained by Mrs. Richard Zimola of Wahoo. The first order for supplies ordered enough material for 50 rosaries, and the members intended to reorder more “if the people are interested,” the first order form recorded.
From 1988 to 1998, the members made more than 10,000 rosaries. They were distributed in the local area to parochial schools, convents, prison ministries and nursing homes. Many more were sent throughout the United States and around the world, to Peru, the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela, India, Japan, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chili, Tanzania, Poland, and Russia. Rosary-making workshops were held with more members, including exchange students being trained.
Over the years, the number of members participating in the Rosary Group have fluctuated. They are currently led by Marietta Medinger and the group still includes Charlene Boyle, one of the first members, as well as Jane Blair and John Quinlan. They have made around 5,000 rosaries per year. In 2017 they made more than 10,000 rosaries, which were sent to missionaries around the world.
Medinger, who started making rosaries in 2006, calculated that in the last 12 years she has made more than 40,000 rosaries, including 4,440 in 2018. She stated she can make one rosary in four minutes.
Medinger is stepping away as the coordinator of the group. She is however, willing to train those who want to make rosaries.
The thank-you notes from missionary groups who have received these rosaries reported “many will grow in faith and come to know Our Lord and His Blessed Mother because of the St. Joseph Rosary makers.” Others report “People are now using them, praying to God through Mary for peace in the counties and the world” of “spreading the message of Fatima” and reminding all people that the rosary is the best weapon against the evils of the world today.