Much like last year, and every year since the dawn of time, the neighborhood ladies are making their rounds with the Virgin of Guadalupe and 46 day's worth of daily rosaries. Like last year, I signed up our home for a rosary, but for two reasons I haven't been able to attend any of the previous rosaries.
1) Mario has been working fairly late and I don't want to go with Clara when it's teetering on bedtime.
2) I had been under the impression that they'd be at 7pm every night, just as they were last year. I was about to go on Friday, as I knew it would be at the house of my friend, Rosy, and I know where she lives (unlike last year, I have not received a schedule, so I have no idea where they'll be praying any day except for the 6th of November when they were scheduled at my house). So I was all planning on going on Friday to Rosy's house, when I got a phone call at about 11am. This was my friend, Panchita, who coordinates the rosary tour every year, calling to confirm that we'd host the following day, as they had just finished praying at Rosy's house. What?!? Yes, this year they're praying almost daily at 10am--NOT 7pm. Did they tell anybody else about this change? No idea. So we'll see if I get to another one. We managed to schedule last night's at 6pm, as I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of doing it at 10am.
So last night they did come to our house. At first I saw it as a chore, an obligation that I had signed myself up for as an attempt to integrate myself in this community. Dutifully, I made tea and cookies to serve the ladies, arranged the furniture so there would be enough seats for whoever might show up, and we waited.
Punctually, they came, and my mood lifted. They arrived singing, and once they deposited Guadalupe in her place, they asked if we had any special requests or thanks to give before they started in on the rosary. I had forgotten that this was part of the procedure, and as Mario didn't pipe up, I stammered out thanks to God for these lovely ladies, Mario's job, and our health. After a few unison prayers, Panchita motioned that it was my duty, as the lady of the house, to begin the rosary.
Dear heavens! It had been about a year since I've prayed that! While I sometimes think I can spit it out in my sleep, that was not the case. After tripping over the Lord's Prayer, I then drew a blank "Holy Mary, full of grace . . . " WHAT ON EARTH COMES NEXT?!?
Thankfully, Panchita is my friend, saw my distress and guided me along the rest of it until I became confident. After every mystery, someone else takes the lead on reciting the rosary, and after the third, Mario stood up to lead it. Now, last year I don't remember any man praying with us, let alone leading one. But that's my man!
In the end, I really did appreciate the church ladies coming to pray with us. The fact that we hosted it on a weekend, meant that Mario was able and happy to join us (as he said he'd do tonight when the ladies come to move Guadalupe to Panchita's house). Plus it was nice that it was early enough that Clara was there to wander around as well. While she clearly didn't know what was going on and, let's be honest, I don't quite understand the whys and wherefores about praying the rosary, I loved that all three of us were there together. In some small, odd way, I felt that we were taking a step to be even more connected as a family.
In general, that's how I feel about the rosary. In small, odd ways I feel that I've gleaned some insight, some inspiration after I've prayed it. While at the beginning it may feel like a chore, and a chore that doesn't really seem to have a purpose, in the end I'm always glad I did it.
So thanks, church ladies! I look forward to joining you again this afternoon.
Last year I did try to explain exactly why I join the neighbors in this tradition, for those non-Catholic friends and family who may be thoroughly confused about why I even let them in my home.