We all know family life can be difficult, and it often seems like the more children you have, the more stressful it is. As a mother of seven, I realize that no matter how much I desire peace in my family, something is always bound to ruin the moment, be it a  spill, spat, squabble or simply the fact that nine people live under one roof!

So what is the solution to finding peace in life and growing in our faith as a family and in our extended family? Is there a practical and doable solution that can bridge generations, personalities and even lifestyles? We need a method that not only generates new and lasting graces and helps the family function harmoniously but that is also easy enough to follow through with daily. Wouldn’t it be great to find a way to generate graces like an espresso machine? In goes the coffee beans, out comes hot coffee. That’s what every family needs to grow in grace – a simple, doable solution. I’ve found this simple solution to be investing in a Living Rosary.

I believe the answer to many of our issues can be found in a little story I came across about St. Pope John Paul II that touched my heart and inspired me and my family to begin to seek out new graces especially in the new year. It’s called a “Living Rosary”.  The idea is that each person would pray one decade of a mystery of the Rosary each day for the group. That way all the Mysteries of the Rosary have been meditated on for the family or participants in the Living Rosary. 

When the future pope, John Paul II was a youth, there was a time when the clergy was being persecuted and unable to minister to others like they desired for fear of dying a martyr’s death by the hands of the Nazis. Actually, a third of the priests in Krakow died at the hands of the Nazis, leaving parishes with mostly elderly priests.

One humble soul directly impacted this situation, a local tailor, Jan Leopold Tyranowski. This shy man was asked to help the youth keep the faith. It would turn out that Jan was a quiet, humble, man who would serve as a powerful spiritual mentor to the future Holy Father as a youth and inspire him to grow in holiness. Jan simply encouraged the boys to pray the rosary and help spread the true faith despite the influences by the Nazis. The boys formed “cells” where 15 of them would commit to praying one decade of the Rosary so that all the mysteries were prayed daily for the boys in their group through Our Lady’s protection and each leader would report back to Jan. These groups would also gather at the church for prayer when they could. As these groups began to grow and other groups of 15 would form to build more Rosary chains.  

What a simple but wonderful solution for us to consider building these Rosary chains and asking friends and family members to join in. As you know, we are in a great spiritual battle and our enemies are often not foreign invaders but instead the vices that we allow to creep into our homes. It’s easy to lose patience in dealing with family members and allow our selfishness to cause us to resent the very people God has placed in our lives for us to serve. This powerful practice can be used in many forms and no matter what, we can all say one decade of the Rosary for others who are are depending on us. This is a living prayer!

I’m thankful for this holy lay person from Poland who served as a powerful spiritual mentor to our former Holy Father and showed him the impact that laity can have on the clergy and the whole Church. If we are willing to grow in our faith and seek out new graces for our family and those around us, we can be transformed by God’s mercy. These cells of Living Rosaries are a great way to teach others to pray and to grow in our own faith and to not be afraid.  God can use difficult moments in history, like the persecution of the Church during WWII, to foster and strengthen faith.   

“God works through his enemies, using them unwittingly to do his will. By depriving the St. Stanislaus Kostka parish of most of its priests, the Nazis gave it Jan Tyranowski, who discovered that he had a talent for nurturing souls. His apostolate numbered a few hundred at most, and had Karol Wojtyla not been among its members, no one outside Krakow would ever have heard of Tyranowski or his work. Yet his influence was profound. From among the members of his Living Rosary group came 11 vocations, including a future pope.”-www.faith.org.uk

Consider having family members, prayer group or Bible Study members or even friends sign up for one decade to begin a Living Rosary chain in your life. You could even print out the mysteries below and have people sign up for their decade. 

The Joyful Mysteries:

  • The Annunciation of the Lord to Mary
  • The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
  • The Nativity of our Lord
  • The Presentation of our Lord
  • Finding Jesus in the Temple at the age of 12


Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary:

  • The Agony of Jesus in the Garden
  • The Scourging at the Pillar
  • Jesus is Crowned with Thorns
  • Jesus Carries the Cross
  • The Crucifixion of Our Lord


Glorious Mystery of the Rosary:

  • The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven
  • The Descent of the Holy Ghost
  • The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
  • Mary is Crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth


The Luminous Mystery:

  • The Baptism in the Jordan
  • The Wedding Feast at Cana
  • The Proclamation of the Kingdom
  • The Transfiguration
  • The Institution of the Eucharist