It’s her ministry

Holme Circle’s Kathy Per­petua vis­ited Naz­areth Academy and taught the stu­dents how to make ros­ar­ies.

Holme Circle res­id­ent Kathy Per­petua (right) uses a candle to break apart a piece of thread while show­ing Dev­in Barn­aby, 17 (cen­ter), and Mary Ann Thack­rah, 17 (left) how to make ros­ar­ies at Naz­areth Academy High School. They will use the ros­ar­ies to pray at abor­tion clin­ics. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Holme Circle’s Kathy Per­petua will give hand­made ros­ar­ies to any­one she thinks could really use them.

A few years ago, she and her help­ers made enough for every po­lice of­ficer and fire­fight­er in Phil­adelphia. She’s made cam­ou­flage ros­ar­ies for mem­bers of the mil­it­ary. She also gives them to the eld­erly, han­di­capped and oth­ers.

Per­petua also sells the ros­ar­ies at area craft shows. Pro­ceeds go to the In­ter­na­tion­al As­so­ci­ation of Fire Fight­ers Loc­al 22 wid­ows’ fund. Her hus­band Tony is a re­tired fire­man.

At a re­cent craft show at Naz­areth Academy High School, she met Sis­ter Mary An­thony, a theo­logy teach­er, mod­er­at­or of the school’s com­munity ser­vice corps and co-mod­er­at­or of the life club.

The nun in­vited Per­petua to vis­it the school to teach the stu­dents how to make ros­ar­ies, and she quickly ac­cep­ted.

“It’s my min­istry,” Per­petua said.

Per­petua has worked with mem­bers of the ros­ary and life clubs twice and plans an­oth­er vis­it this week.

On her most re­cent vis­it to the Tor­res­dale school, she gave ros­ar­ies to three cafet­er­ia work­ers and a dozen sol­diers who were there for a mil­it­ary club event.

There’s an art to mak­ing the ros­ar­ies, which are made from sturdy, rather ex­pens­ive deep-sea fish­ing twine.

Per­petua has been do­ing it for 20 years, and told the girls that they shouldn’t be­come frus­trated if they use too much twine and have a jumbo-sized ros­ary on their first try.

“I could have jumped rope with my first ros­ary,” she joked.

Per­petua gave a hands-on demon­stra­tion of how to make ros­ar­ies. She also dis­trib­uted a double-sided page of prin­ted in­struc­tions and how-to pic­tures.

The stu­dents were joined by Helen Kennedy, a theo­logy teach­er and co-mod­er­at­or of the life club, and Cathy Arm­strong, a guid­ance de­part­ment sec­ret­ary and ros­ary club mod­er­at­or.

The girls made the ros­ary knots by wrap­ping the twine around their fin­gers, be­gin­ning un­der the cuticle, with Per­petua telling them to not wrap it too tightly and to use prop­er spa­cing. She also showed them how to make a cru­ci­fix and used a candle to singe the ends to keep them from fray­ing.

Mak­ing the ros­ar­ies is all about re­pe­ti­tion, she told the teen­agers.

Ju­ni­or Sara Aykit, of Holmes­burg, was per­haps the quick­est learner.

“I’m go­ing to make them for fam­ily and friends,” she said.

Sara en­joys the hands-on pro­cess and the fact that ros­ar­ies are tan­gible. She said in­di­vidu­als hold­ing the ros­ar­ies can see their pray­ers as they’re be­ing said. She’s happy to be join­ing Per­petua in dis­trib­ut­ing the ros­ar­ies far and wide.

“A lot of people have for­got­ten about ros­ar­ies and pray­er,” she said.

Per­petua brought twine that was dyed pink and blue, rep­res­ent­ing baby girls and boys.

Naz­areth’s life club watches videos, in­vites speak­ers to meet­ings, at­tends the an­nu­al March for Life in Wash­ing­ton, prays out­side an abor­tion clin­ic and col­lects money in gi­ant baby bottles for a crisis preg­nancy cen­ter in Bris­tol that provides free ul­tra­sounds and baby for­mula.

Both school clubs use ros­ar­ies for pray­er.

“The ros­ary club uses them to pray to­geth­er, and the life club prays for life is­sues,” said Sis­ter Mary An­thony.

“We be­lieve pray­er is a weapon we can use,” said Kennedy, the life club co-mod­er­at­or.

Per­petua left the ex­tra twine with the school. She will be­gin work­ing with Naz­areth’s mil­it­ary club, and stu­dents will make ros­ar­ies to be sold at the school’s craft show in the fall. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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