The Family That Makes Rosaries Together
The Doucette children enjoy helping with the rosary construction for DesignMyRosary.com orders.
When Matt and Elizabeth Doucette were students at Franciscan University of Steubenville and first dating, she wanted to get him a rosary for a Christmas gift. Shopping for one, she couldn’t locate “the” rosary she wanted, so she ended up gathering beads for a rosary and other parts, including the crucifix and medal, and making the special rosary she really had in mind but couldn’t find.
“That was the little seed all the way back,” Matt said, because at that time neither realized that six years after they would marry in 2006, they would launch Design My Rosary (DesignMyRosary.com), their family business run from home. Elizabeth already had experience making rosaries with her mother for the Fathers of Mercy in Kentucky. “My mom was making rosaries for them. That’s how I learned,” she said. Then Matt presented the inspiration to start Design My Rosary. With his experience, Matt designed their website and worked with his wife to make rosaries.
The family is always happy to hear the stories behind the unique rosary creations. As Matt shared, “We find we often make them for children being baptized.” The Doucettes share this family tradition, he said: “We make a rosary for each of the children and have it blessed at their baptism.”
“And lots of people tell us about one for a convert entering the Church,” he added. The Doucettes feel honored and privileged “to be included in those stories and those moments. We feel we’re part of it when they ask us to make that rosary.”
There are the sad stories, too, whether for funerals or the loss of a child. These stories stick out for Elizabeth. “As a mother we’ve done several memorial rosaries for infants that have passed away. I’ve always been touched by that. We had a close friend who we did that for as well.”
Many happy occasions include making rosaries for weddings. Often people buy rosaries to go in the bride’s bouquet. “One of the most fun things is when we have made rosaries for the entire wedding party,” Elizabeth said.
In fact, it might be said the Rosary led to the Doucettes’ marriage. The time-honored devotion brought Matt and Elizabeth together in 2002, when they were students at Franciscan University. “We met because of the Rosary,” Matt explained. “We happened to be in a similar random collection of students that began praying the Rosary at the grotto,” Elizabeth added, referring to a popular devotional site on campus.
“Over time we’d hang around talking, then developed a friendship and started dating.”
Naturally, the Rosary has always continued to be a big part of their lives, including as Matt transitioned to working full time with Elizabeth.
“One of the first things I did when I left teaching and Elizabeth was making the rosaries was to produce a Rosary DVD,” he said. “Our children inspired us to create ‘Pray the Rosary,’ a DVD that has helped us as a family pray the Rosary together, which can be a challenge with children.”
An animated Rosary is seen below each decade, each illustrated with beautiful artwork through all four mysteries, helping even the youngest pray-ers to keep their place.
The Rosary anchors their family life with eight children — Maximilian, 14; Isabella Clare, 12; Olivia Irene, 10; Benjamin Joseph, 8; Dominic, 7; Samuel, 5; Gabriel, 3; and Violet, who is going on 2 months — amid home schooling. As Elizabeth explained, “We’ve had times where we’ve really struggled to sit together and pray the Rosary as a family. We make a recommitment to pray it each day. I feel like the grace that comes from God and knowing I’m helping my children develop this prayer life and carry it into adulthood is wonderful. We struggle like any family. The baby will throw things across the room, and that gets giggles. That’s all part of the beauty of it.”
As she also shared, “I enjoy how as the kids have gotten older they can help lead each one of the decades, and it feels more like praying it as a family.”
In terms of the family business, the children assist with packing the rosaries into the gift boxes in which they’re shipped, labeling packages and mailing them. The two older girls learned how to make rosaries from their mother. Of the scores of different beads, Bella said, “There’s Cats Eye I really like working with.” Another favorite is a Christmas-themed one “that’s really pretty.” Livy has her favorites, too. “My favorite kind of bead is called tree agate.”
They may make rosaries as a family, but praying the Rosary is the most important legacy. As Elizabeth said, “We make a recommitment to pray it each day.”