The story of the Irish Rosary is one of the very reasons that I started graceandmimi.com. When I first heard Father Jim Halleron share this story, I couldn’t help but wonder how many other stories like this exist. News channels and social media cover the latest tragedy or political drama, but they tend to skip over the good news; especially that which evidences God at work. I wanted to do my small part to change this by creating Grace & Mimi, a place for sharing true testimonies from everyday life. I hope Father Jim’s story of the Irish Rosary inspires you to share the good news, too.
The Irish Rosary
When Father Jim Halleron graduated from Seminary, he desperately wanted an Irish Rosary. Despite his meager earnings, Father Jim “splurged” and purchased a rather expensive Irish Rosary. Not long after, he received a call from the St. Joe’s parish office where he was serving. He was called to local hospital where one of his parishioners, a middle-aged man, lay in the ICU. His heart was failing. Father Jim anointed the man and consoled his grieving wife. While he was sitting next to the wife and her failing husband Father Jim felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit. He felt the Spirit calling him to give her his Irish Rosary.
Father Jim said at that time, he internally argued incessantly with the Lord. He didn’t want to give up this prized possession, but again and again he felt his heavenly Father calling him to give the woman the Irish Rosary.
At last, Father gave in and pulled the Irish Rosary from his pocket, offering the Rosary to the woman. She politely declined the Rosary saying that she didn’t often say the Rosary, and she couldn’t accept such a gift.
Internally, Father said to the Lord, “See! She doesn’t even want it! I shouldn’t give it to her!” But the Holy Spirit kept pushing Father Jim to give her the Irish Rosary. Of course, the Holy Spirit won, and Father Jim insisted the wife keep the Rosary, even if it was to just have something to hold onto while she sat at her husband’s bedside.
Four or five days after this event, Father Jim received a box with a note from St. Pete’s Parish in Mansfield. Inside the box was the exact same Irish Rosary. The note from his old friends at St. Pete’s let him know that they were thinking of him, and they wanted him to have this Irish Rosary.
After that, Father Jim said that he felt an even more powerful connection to the Irish Rosary. He cherished the Rosary, keeping it in his pocket as he moved on to new assignments and new parishes, until several years later when he would once again be called to the bedside of a heart attack patient. Father Jim once again was called to the hospital to anoint a parishioner, and to comfort a grieving wife.
Just as before, Father Jim found himself arguing with the Holy Spirit about the Irish Rosary, and just as before, he heeded God’s command. He removed the Rosary from his pocket and offered up his precious Irish Rosary. This time though, he had a feeling the Rosary would come back to him, and he was right.
Around this time, a parishioner of St. Patrick’s happened to be looking for a gift for Father Jim. As she looked, she kept coming back to an Irish Rosary that she had found. She kept looking for alternate gifts because she felt the Irish Rosary was a bit too expensive, but no matter what she looked at, she kept coming back to the Irish Rosary.
When Father Jim opened her gift just a few short weeks later, he smiled from ear to ear, as he shared with her the story of his Irish Rosary.
As a side note: One of my favorite things about the Irish Rosary story isn’t even about the story itself, but what Father Jim said to me about the story. When I asked him for permission to share it, he said, “Of course! It’s not my story anyway, it’s God’s!”