Religious Symbols: Side Rosary

A Handmaid HPB Vocations, News, Vocation Snippet

Many religious, male and female, wear a side Rosary with their habit. Some can be rather large, others small. While Handmaids have had some minor variations in the wear of our side Rosary, we have always had them as a necessary part of the habit, not just as an accessory but as an essential to our spiritual life.

Our Founder gave us not just the formal motto of Pro Christo In Sacerdote Suo (For Christ In His Priest) but also the extra admonition Semper Per Mariam (Always Through Mary). The Marian dimension of our life is simply non-negotiable. It’s more than reciting the Rosary together or wearing it. It’s having Mary as our Mother.  

In the pioneering days of our founding, the sisters wore a simple belt. Rosaries were attached or carried. Some nuns, like Mother Bernadette, have little evidence in existence that the Rosary was ever out of her hands. It was a lifeline to the Blessed Mother for priests in need. When the belt was replaced with a monastic cincture, the Rosary was worn on the opposite side of the knot, as it is today on the left side.