How does one live the rosary? There are the beautiful yet obvious answers of praying it daily and leading a prayerful life, but St. Mary’s Dominican High School showed me a different way to live the rosary.
I began participating in the Living Rosary the fall of my eighth grade year. However, the event first began in 1997. Dominican Sister Patricia Harvat, vice president of Dominican Catholic Identity, and Rosalie Abadie, Drama Club moderator and Fine Arts teacher, now bring the rosary alive.
I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into when I signed up; I simply thought I was participating in a Drama Club event. Little did I know, it would evolve into much more.
The Rosary assembly is a massive group effort and includes Christian Leadership Council members, Drama Club and the Foreign Language Department. Atmosphere is set in a dimly lit gym by a reverent congregation. Students line up on the upper half of a running track, each holding a large paper circle to represent a bead of the rosary. Below, the human decades of speakers, singers, mimes and dancers form the cast of the Living Rosary. The speakers lead the prayers of the rosary in different languages: English, Spanish, French and Latin.
The singers, mimes and dancers act out the mysteries of the rosary. Mimes interpret the script that Mrs. Abadie updates annually, and singers sing songs that narrate the life of Jesus.
As a dancer, I’ve had the opportunity of dancing to include “Wade in the Water,” “Hail Holy Queen” and some Eastern-themed songs. The diversity of our students, teachers, language and music combine to produce an outstanding product.
Complete and perfect execution of the mysteries of the rosary is imperative to the reverence and beauty of our Rosary assembly. Rehearsals usually begin about three weeks prior to the assembly. This year, they were fast-paced. A few days before the performance, Mrs. Abadie gathered me and two other juniors to perform the Annunciation in dance. She cast us in a scene where the Virgin Mary and her friend are walking together. Mary’s friend departs and the angel Gabriel visits Mary.
I was to portray Mary. My goodness, I thought. How in the world was I supposed to capture Mary’s shock, fear, concern, and most importantly, her brave consent with almost no time to practice at all? Mrs. Abadie reminded me of how young and naïve Mary was, only 15 years old, perhaps even younger. I know I certainly would not have the mental or spiritual capacity to be the Mother of God. So I dug a little deeper and reminded myself: there are greater challenges. Mrs. Abadie did not ask me to be the actual mother of God, right?
Performing as Mary for my school was amazing; it was an incredible honor. I had the privilege of tasting the slightest bit of Mary’s “yes.” I thank Mrs. Abadie for giving me the opportunity, and I thank Dominican for allowing her and the students to present the Living Rosary year after year. The Living Rosary lives on to be my favorite way to live the rosary.