Special Issue - Prayer

Devotion to rosary connects generations

by Marc and Julie Anderson

LEAVENWORTH — For most people, ordinary housework can seem to be just that — both ordinary and work. But that doesn’t seem to be the case for Kathy Jaster, a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Leavenworth.

Jaster uses housework as an opportunity to grow in her relationship with Christ.  For example, while doing the laundry, she often reflects on Mary and how she would have washed what few clothes the Holy Family had.

While washing dishes, she ponders how the Blessed Mother would have prepared meals and washed dishes for St. Joseph and Jesus.

All day long, Jaster said she finds moments in which to meditate on the mysteries of God. It’s a practice she has developed throughout her 70 years of life, one that seems to have started early on with her grandmother.

As a cradle Catholic, Jaster said she’d often go to her grandmother with a concern or problem. Her grandmother’s solution for almost every problem was the same — prayer.

“She always had a rosary in her pocket,” said Jaster. “Nowadays, I wake up praying the rosary.”

Jaster’s grandmother died when Jaster was in the seventh grade, but there’s no doubt in her mind that her grandmother’s example was a powerful witness. She remembers praying the rosary at least once or twice each day in the years since then.

Perhaps that’s why she took up rosary- making in high school. More than 50 years later, she continues to repair and make rosaries for family, friends, parishioners and anyone else in need. Also, through groups like Our Lady’s Rosary Makers, she makes rosaries for the missions, many of which have been distributed in communist countries.

In fact, some of her rosaries have been given to a priest in Alaska, who, in turn, gets them into the former Soviet Union. It’s not always been easy, though. Jaster said that same priest had to sew the rosaries into his coat lining to smuggle them into the country.

As she makes or repairs rosaries, she prays for those who brought the rosaries to her or for those who will receive them.

“I connect with Mary,” she said.

If she knows recipients’ specific needs, she prays for them. Sometimes, God has placed needs on her heart through Mary. She calls it “a contemplative connection” of sorts.

And her contemplative connection seems to have reached into all areas of her life.

As an oblate of St. Benedict, she keeps the Rule of St. Benedict as it applies to her married state. The motto of St. Benedict was, “Ora et labora.” Translated, it means simply “pray and work.”

And every day, Jaster said she finds ample opportunities to do both.


About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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