From Embarrassment to Empowerment
October 6, 2022
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October 6, 2022

Women in the pews Pt 1: Meet Ana Jagdeo

Meet Ana Jagdeo…

Each week we will tell you a story of an unknown woman sitting in the pews of your church that will absolutely delight you.

It was dubbed the Day of Prayer and Ana, a woman who attended my church, invited me to her home to break bread at 6 p.m. Ana, a self-proclaimed horrible cook, certainly lived up to her reputation for it was undoubtedly the worst tasting corn soup I ever had. But the queer and bad-tasting soup (which we assured her was delicious) was the catalyst for the most fascinating friendship ever.

Ana is often called the rosary lady at church, because she is well known for the amazing and beautiful rosaries that she makes and traverses the country displaying them at craft markets.

I asked Ana how she began making these extraordinary rosaries. She said, “That is the best part of my story.” She gave a girlish giggle and continued, “In 1996, I had gotten a 20-decade rosary from Sr Radha, but my younger son took it. I wanted another one so badly, but I could not get one anywhere. I went searching everywhere and eventually, someone guided me to the Dominican bookshop.”

The woman at the counter told her that they had the ‘Thank you Rosary’ and that it was 20 decades, so she bought it.

In 2014, Ana’s mother passed away. This left her in deep and almost inconsolable grief, but she continued her search for this specific 20-decade rosary and one day while on retreat she cried out to God and said, “Lord, why would you place something in my heart that I cannot find! I have searched everywhere.”

She said that she had even searched online and could not find that specific rosary anywhere. “…and then a voice that I want to believe was Jesus said, ‘Why don’t you make it yourself?’ I jump! I say, ‘Well, I don’t know how” and then the voice said, ‘I will show you.’” And that was the genesis of Ana the Rosary Maker.

“I went to Diego Martin one day and found a bead shop and the woman directed me to buy the beads and parts of the rosary”, and that’s how Ana Jagdeo made her first rosary.

Soon afterward, she took the rosary to church and another parishioner was so blown away by its beauty that she asked Ana to make one for her. Soon the word spread throughout the parish and many parishioners were requesting rosaries. But she soon found that the beads she had originally were too rough and she went in search of new beads.

One day her younger son, who is very artistic, came home and said, “Mom, I will show you how to make better rosaries.” So, she went to Featherstone and bought some beautiful crystal beads, which led to her making even more beautiful rosaries.

In 2015, the Holy Faith Sisters were planning their inaugural grand Marketspace event in celebration of their foundress Margaret Aylward. One day Sr Theresa Vialva CHF invited her to join her at their Marketspace event and so now, she moved from being a woman who was grieving for her mother by making rosaries, to someone who was making rosaries to sell at a grand market.

At the event she displayed all her beautiful rosaries. She particularly remembers a woman came up to her and said, “I have always wanted a wall rosary! I need to have this!”

The woman said, “this is my grocery money, but I prefer to have this wall rosary”. That day she was overwhelmed with the numerous orders for wall rosaries.

She was also invited to the Market at Santa Rosa parish on Saturday mornings, then to St Joseph RC’s market and the next thing she knew, she was doing markets all over the country with people from various walks of life coming to discuss and admire the various rosaries.

If you want to contact Ana, you can find her at the Holy Faith Convent Craft Market on October 15, 2022. Tell her the Catholic News women’s blog brought you to her! Stay tuned next week for another part of Ana’s story.