Midwest Catholic Family Conference

I"m fresh off the Midwest Catholic Family Conference, sponsored by the Diocese of Wichita. What an amazing and grace-filled event! And I'm not talking from a sales perspective. On the drive back to Aurora, Colorado we were discussing how edifying it was to have met so many good and holy people. Each of us have attended Catholic conferences before. In, the past the kids had both attended Mountain Madness, a middle school Catholic conference in Denver. As high schoolers, Steubenville of the Rockies is their favorite, by far. However, attending as a family, even as vendors, brought a whole different element through a shared experience. We discuss the faith frequently at home but this was such a different and edifying moment for us that we spent a good part of our 7 hour drive home talking about various aspects of the conference. Our only regret was that my husband/their dad wasn't there to experience it with us. He was home with our pack of beagles. Next year, though, we're getting a dog sitter and he's going to be there! Now, to put a bug in Archbishop Aquila's ear to establish something similar in Denver. Now more than ever we need to emphasize, encourage, and support Catholic family life. Our childen need it and our society needs it.

Ave Cor Mariae,



Scrub-a-dub-dub or How to Clean Your Rosary

This morning I was speaking with a woman who has asked me to design a 1st Communion rosary for her granddaughter. A separate question she had for me was with regards to advice on how to clean a rosary where the centerpiece and crucifix were black with tarnish. The rosary she described is kept on the hands of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Typically if you're using a rosary regularly tarnish will be minimal but in the case of how this rosary is being displayed it's understandable that it has tarnished so badly. So here is my guide for cleaning a silver or silverplated rosary. 


1. To start, you want to purchase a good silver cleaning product. I highly recommend Wright's Silver Cream. It's a grayish paste that comes with a large sponge. It can be found in King Sooper's (a Colorado-based grocery store) and likely any large supermarket. It's typically found in the aisle with the kitchen and oven cleaning products.

2. Stay away from products that market themselves as simple as dipping your silver in a fluid and tarnish goes away. For rosary centerpieces and crucifixes they don't do a very good job of removing tarnish. More importantly, the chemical can be damaging to your rosary beads should you get some of it on the bead. Stick with silver cleaning products that have a cream or paste consistency.

3. I use Q-tips to clean the silver components because it's difficult to get into the detailed engravings of these pieces. Keep in mind it's going to take a bit of elbow grease to get the tarnish off. On a single centerpiece, I can easily use 10 Q-tips to get the tarnish off. If it's pretty tarnished it can take some time to clean it up! See pictures below of a centerpiece that was really tough to clean.

4. Once you've got your piece shined up nicely, rinse it off in warm water. You can use soapy water if necessary and that shouldn't harm your beads. Dry it off with a soft cloth or towel and you're good to go!

5. If your pins are tarnished, have a bronze appearance, or are rusted it's likely time to have it repinned. Cleaning a pin, the piece that goes through the bead, is very difficult and could lead to damaging your beads. So find someone to repin your rosary if the pins are in really poor condition.

If you have any questions about cleaning your rosary please feel free to ask me at stellamarisrosary@gmail.com. 


Buying Vintage Rosaries: Crucifix or Fidget Spinner?

When I started Stella Maris I didn't anticipate expanding my focus beyond making and fixing rosaries. Actually, going back further when our dog Halas would make an afternoon snack of my rosaries, leaving me only the crucifix, centerpiece, and a few scant beads, I never imagined learning to repair them and starting a business. But that's another story for another day. However, it only took a day in Paso Robles, CA with my eldest daughter, Nicole, who took me through so many thrift and antique stores in the area to realize my love for vintage Catholic sacramentals.  While she searched for the weirdest, funkiest clothes for her vintage shop (and trust me, there are some weird pieces out there!), there I was drawn to these beautiful sacramentals, often hanging between cheap plastic 1980's era necklaces. That began my love of vintage Catholic rosaries, medals, and even framed images. I will say that I passed on the black velvet painting of the Good Shepherd but I have found so many pieces of beautiful Catholic art in second-hand stores along with rosaries that, though worn from use (ah, the communion of saints!) can often time be cleaned and repaired. 

Which leads me to why I decided to blog about my vintage shopping experience. I'm hoping to learn more about the rosaries of old which I'll share here. I'll post pictures of some of the more unique centerpieces and crucifixes. The one I found today makes me wonder if its designer had ADHD. My son, who has ADHD, and is in constant need of having to fidget with something would find this appealing. The style is not one that I would normally be drawn to buy. The woman who sold it to me shared how she found it in an antique shop in Barcelona. Though I hesitated initially because I found it to be a bit gaudy there was something that drew me to it. I hope you'll enjoy the distinctiveness of it as I did. I've been searching out in the ether to see if I could find another one like this and perhaps learn more about it but no luck. Let me know if you are familiar with this style of crucifix. 

Ave Cor Maria,


Barcelona Rosary.jpg