Contact: Marion Mulhall, Worldpriest
, 212-231-8265, [email protected]
NEW YORK, June 19, 2014 /Christian Newswire
/ -- In most countries across the world, rosary beads are easily available, and sometimes they are in super surplus. But here is a very interesting story of how one woman, Bronislava Klimavishute, stuck in a hope-less situation, along with many others, made a rosary available so that it could be used by those around her.
Magadan is the city in Far East Siberia, built by Stalin to be the administrative center of his slave labor system in Far Eastern Siberia. The city was a major transit camp for prisoners who were sent to the Soviet gulags, where hundreds of thousands of prisoners, classified as 'enemies of the state' were holed up, before being sent to other camps across Russia.
It is in this very transit camp, where we learn of Klimavishute's story. She was a camp survivor originally from Lithuania. And during her imprisonment Klimavishute would roll small pieces of the rationed Russian bread with ash taken from the poorly-heated stove in her barracks and fashion some small rosary beads which she would then sow together with thread from her mattress to create a rosary which would be used to catechize, evangelize and comfort other prisoners who had lost faith and hope.
Reflecting upon the origins of these rosary beads, brings the gospel truth alive, "Man does not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4). We can also reflect on how this rosary is made out of bread, and Jesus proclaims that He is the bread of life (John 6:35).
Currently this particular set of rosary beads, along with several other unique relics, such as, articles from the camps, numbers which the prisoners wore and barb wire from the fences of the camp are displayed in the Martyrs Chapel, which is part of the parish of the Nativity of Jesus. The walls of the Martyrs Chapel is adorned with small crosses, which have been placed in remembrance of the many thousands who died there. Along with such relics is the beautiful icon of Our Lady of Magadan, which recalls the suffering and martyrdom of the communist repression.
In the icon Mary holds her Son in her arms just indeed as she now holds in her heart the Church, both holy and broken. just as the body of Christ was broken by cruel crucifixion and so too the Church, his mystical body has been broken and is being broken by the sins of her members. The icon was written by Fr. William McNichols, a US-based iconographer. It was commissioned to honour the martyrs and holy ones (Catholic and Orthodox), who died in the gulags all over Russia, especially for those bishops and priests who gave up their lives rather than submit to Atheism. In the late 1990's. the original Icon was given to Bishop Rostoslav, the orthodox Bishop of Magadan, as a sign of prayer and unity by Magadan's small Catholic Community. The Parish of the Nativity of Jesus still serves former prisoners, and economically challenged families.
And it is in union with Our Lady of Magadan as well as all the martyrs of Magadan and Russia that at midnight GMT on Friday 27th June 2014, the Parish of the Nativity of Jesus, will begin the 5th Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests, followed by the 85 Shrines dedicated to Lady in the 46 countries across the world.
Pray the Rosary, unite with your Country and help encircle the world in prayer.
Benwen Lopez [email protected]
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