Special Articles

The Rosary Lady

Hope Donation Center

As sidewalk counselors outside the Hagerstown Abortion Center, imagine our surprise when a sign appeared on the window of the office next door which read, “Hope Donation Center.” We entered the office and found Tina arranging baby clothes on a table. We asked a dozen questions and heard the following story.

Tina Malone and her husband Ray are sponsoring the center, hoping to give a helping hand to women who make the right choice. The center is non-profit and operates entirely on faith and donations. It is open during the hours we do sidewalk counseling. Although some of our prayer warriors come from her church, they didn’t know about the Hope Donation Center. Tina had not yet given made an announcement to her church.

Tina is an attractive young mother of two attractive young daughters, Abby, four, and Ashley, eleven. She and Ray have been attending Gateway Ministries for about three years. She told us she was pro-choice until three years ago when she volunteered to take part in a drama at her church about abortion. She began doing research on abortion and realized how terrible it is. She discovered babies could actually feel pain at eight weeks. This fact is left out in most presentations on abortion. Women are told the life inside them is nothing more than a “blob of tissue.”

After her research, one of her pastors asked for help in praying for women going into the abortion center. At that time she and her husband were active in another ministry for children called “Kingdom Kids” and felt reluctant to join the pastor. God spoke to her, saying, “Your ministry is children, these children could have jumped and praised with you. Now they can’t.” Her heart broke for the unborn children, and she began to see how wonderful it would be if someone would open a place next to an abortion center where women could find help to give life to their babies – where they could find hope.

For the next week, she would wake every morning about 5:00 a.m., pray and go back to sleep. Finally, on the last day of the week she asked God, “Why am I waking every morning? I am listening, Lord. He said, “I want you to open that place.” She and her husband drove past the abortion center and saw a “For Rent “sign in the window of the office beside the abortion center. They talked to her pastor and the owner of the building. God opened the door, and they signed the lease. The landlord even waived the security deposit. As Tina says, “God is amazing and He deserves all of the glory for this.”

If anyone would like to make a donation they can send it to: Gateway Ministries. Be sure to write “Hope” in the memo field. Send it to Hope Donation Center, 162 W. Washington St., Hagerstown MD 21740. Tina and Ray are taking on a significant responsibility as the rent alone is $400 a month. Gateway Ministries is used as a conduit for accounting and tax purposes. Be generous!

Jim Fritz

The Rosary Lady

I met Dick Retta through my friend, Jim Fritz. Jim came to visit me in the summer of 2005 after I had suffered a nervous breakdown and was in healing. It was so nice to see him because he always has a soothing presence. Jim showed me his rosary; blue with white Our Father beads. I looked at it, and as soon as it was in my hands I wanted one like it. Jim said his friend, Dick, had made it for him and he was about to give it to me, but I said no. He asked if I would like to have him ask Dick to make one for me, and I said yes. Dick made a white one with purple Our Father/Glory Be beads for me. The cross and center were plastic. When I saw it, immediately, I wanted to learn to make these rosaries and asked Jim about it. He arranged for me to meet Dick at the Shrine cafeteria, and I brought my two daughters along. They enjoyed a good lunch while Dick taught me to make the memory rosary.

My first memory rosary took about two hours to make -- I was very slow because my motor skills were still recovering. From there Dick set me up to purchase beads from his supplier. I also met with Karen, the head rosary maker at my church, St. Mary's of Piscataway's. She showed me the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Sacred Heart of Mary center metal. She taught me how to place the center metal and let me know where she ordered the supplies. Dick gave me a rosary tool which is actually an umbrella spoke, but Karen gave me a thinner and said it was probably easier to use for making the knots, and it was. From there I made a little bag kit to carry with me wherever I go. I ordered the supplies and make the memory rosary whenever I have time to sit, the bus commute or a long vacation trip, even an hour's ride when I don't have to drive and in doctors' offices, after church, in the school library waiting for my girls and just sitting around Friday nights.

Wherever I am, usually on the metro bus, I give out a rosary to the person beside me. I make them for Jim to put in his church, a batch of pink and blue ones with Our Father heart beads to go to the abortion mill for any girl who will accept one. When I worked on them in the school library, other ladies wanted to learn: Iliana, Vivian, LeAnn and Teresa, the second grade Holy Communion teacher, have all joined the call to make memory rosaries. I'm happy to teach anyone. My sisters and their daughters have learned, too. Iliana is my left-hand teacher, and her husband makes the umbrella spoke tools. Now, it takes me 15 minutes to make one, and LeAnn is just as fast. We make it a prayer as we make it. We kiss each cross when we finish. Sometimes I offer one bead as a Hail Mary to whoever receives it. We make them freely and give them freely.

Jim gave me a little rosary prayer on how to say the rosary, and my sister gave me a little prayer of the Holy Wounds rosary. We pass those out when we give the rosaries. Sometimes the priest at our church needs a bundle to send overseas, so we prepare as many as we can. Usually, besides giving them out freely along our day's path, we receive a request for a bundle which we make, as when a woman needed to send a batch overseas to the troops.

The rosary is made up of beads called "pony" beads, and we have found different Our Father beads so you can feel the larger bead which makes it easier to pray if you're in the dark. In addition to the rosary being Mary's best teaching tool of Christ's life, what we most enjoy about making them is that we can make them just about any color.

For the troops, we sent them a tan/brown or jade green and also used LeAnn's idea of red, white and blue. For priests and brothers, we usually use blacks and browns.

We have two rosary racks at our church; one in the little church and one in the school. Weekly, we try to replenish the racks with more. For the children, we make all sorts of colorful ones.

Teresa has a special calling for choosing kids' colors. She makes them without any consistency, and they always look beautiful. Each person makes beautiful rosaries, and the variety is endless, using all the colors. The supplies are not very costly, so I tell each person where they can purchase everything so they can set up their own account. As to where this will lead me, I figure one day I'll be traveling to churches to teach someone there, and for that someone to open the doors in their parish to the memory rosary. Or they can always come to Accokeek where I am and learn from me. How someone decides to fund it is up to them; for example, they could have a church bake sale or they could take a donation for each. As for us right now, God funds it so we keep at it. Kathy and her friends make and give away an average of 1,000 memory rosaries a month.

Kathy Tesi

Return to Top

Close this window to return to current Commentary page