It is extraordinary to see what a difference a simple card can make and how much hope it can bring to those in dark places. For ‘Crown of Thorns’, a charity working to give hope through the simplicity of the understanding of the faith, cards are at the very centre of the work.
The promotion of the Holy Rosary has been the main principle of the charity and the rosary cards produced have travelled far and wide, supporting the work of priests, chaplains and religious in dioceses across many countries and situations.
The effect of these cards has been remarkable. A prison chaplain recently wrote “If you walked around the prison you would find many cells on every landing with your leaflets on the wall…it really and truly changes the atmosphere of the whole place in a very, very powerful way. I can’t describe the difference it makes!”
With the similarity between the work of prison chaplains and those working with seafarers, again our cards travel out to support souls in need. By working together, the cards reach those who will benefit most, gently supporting and comforting these seafarers during long months at sea.
As a private devotion, the rosary can be used with as many, or as few decades as is useful. It is a flexible and welcoming medium through which the life of Christ and his message to us can be explored. The rosary opens the heart and quietens the soul. On discovering the mysteries, we become aware that the Holy Family knew great hardship along with family joys. They become truly ‘human’ to us in their sufferings, approachable and close. It is so often in making this connection with the earthly life of Christ that he and his mother become truly accessible.
Many of these rosary cards have found their way into Maximum Security and Death Row units in places where prisons lack even basic humanitarian dignity and justice. The response of prisoners is humbling;
“God in the heavens must have heard my distressed prayer. A prayer that has turned to tears of joy! Truly, I need to say things that lie buried deep down in my heart, in order to show the true appreciation of what you have done for me.”
“Upon receiving the parcel my heart was filled with an overwhelming joy and I went on my knees thanking God for answering my prayers. I count this as the most abundant and wonderful blessed opportunity I have ever had.”
“Your spiritual support has rekindled my life making me forget about the mistakes I made in my life and rejoicing over the support you have rendered to me.”
A beautiful item will be rejoiced over, a gift shows love. A card lets the world know that someone cares.
It seems many years ago now that a small parcel arrived with our post. It enclosed a woven stole bearing a simple message that touched us deeply. It simply read ‘Crown of Thorns – Mission of Hope’.
(This short article also appeared in the Pastoral Review in autumn 2019)