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The BIGGEST Rosary in the World!


When visiting a new place -- if we have the time after ticking off all the "big" and "important" "must-see" tourist sites -- I do a quick Google search of "weird things to do near [city where we unhitched our trailer]."


Entries from websites like Atlas Obscura will often pop in a Google search, as will some of the larger travel pages that allow for crowd-sourcing of information. Hidden gems are everywhere!


I always take advantage of the time we have in a new place to explore the more off-beat sites -- the stranger, the better -- and bonus points if things lead us in a more macabre direction.


Unexpected historic sites?

Little known cultural locations?

Roadside attractions that leave you scratching your head?

And really, any old, decrepit place with even the slightest hint of haunting stories, extraterrestrial visitations, or nefarious business dealings of decades past....


We are so there!

For sure, add it all to our usual to-do list featuring accessible playgrounds, random street festivals, local history museums, and brew pubs with all the good veggie burgers.


 

This week, we set our feet down in the most Catholic of places.... or, at least, the most Catholic place that has felt my personal presence in a good long time --


As an aside, I do not speak much about religion on this page... or really, ever -- mostly, that is, because our family is not traditionally religious.


If pressed, my husband is likely to describe himself as christian (small-c) or (big-C) Catholic, though like many of our generation either raised in, or having later come to accept, the bend in the Roman Catholic Church grounded in social justice teachings or a world perspective in line with the Catholic Worker Movement, our relationship with the wider church can be a bit... complicated.


Regardless, it is not my role to dive into an explanation of my husband's connection to the Church or traditional teachings, though in most every aspect we sit in agreement.


As for me: I have always felt troubled in any attempt to fit my identity and belief system into a Catholic-stamped box -- especially so as I moved beyond the more progressive and works-oriented, Catholic community of my childhood. I was raised in the Church and brought up attending parochial schools, an educational background to which I owe a great deal.


And yet... I would describe myself today as a deeply spiritual but non-Religious person, and a non-practicing, cultural Catholic, holding steadfast to the belief that there are any untold number of ways to reach enlightenment or divinity or the "god" factor -- however one chooses to define such things -- and to understand more deeply the purpose of this (possibly?) singular human life we hold and what it means to exist as a sentient being in this world.

 

My family is currently trailer-camping in Eastern Massachusetts through the month of June. We are using our time well -- exploring, adventuring, seeing all the things.... Cruising around as tourists.


When I learned that the largest Catholic rosary in the world was located in a town basically next door, I immediately added it to our sightseeing list.



(I should point out, too, that this rosary is arguably the largest in the world....


Trusty Google informs me that a place in the Philippines may also claim the title, though by foot-length, I would question the validity of the assertion. I am, however, certainly no largest-rosary-in-the-world-expert, so that is a question for the good people at Guinness World Records to sort.)



THIS largest rosary is tucked away on a property managed by the Xaverian Missionaries at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Holliston, Massachusetts.



Originally built in the early 1950s, the 950-foot-long rosary links large granite boulders, representing each bead of a standard Catholic rosary, along an accessible walking path. The quiet, contemplative grounds of the Shrine are rich in Catholic iconography, offering various places to stop or kneel in prayer or light a candle for the departed. (Read more here.)



Our early morning visit on a weekday granted us the space to wander freely and explore the cultural site without disturbing those of practiced Faith, who certainly visit this obviously well-used site for reasons different than our own.


Despite our status as non-practicing, cultural Catholics, we enjoyed our morning stroll and the chance to ponder what is, or might be, the largest rosary in the world.



1 Comment


Great post! I was raised Catholic and definitely jive with how you describe that.

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