Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Spokane’s Poor Clares monastery publishes collection of rosary stories

Story and photo by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the April 10, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Sister Patricia Proctor of the Poor Clares in Spokane has created a new book, 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary. (IR photo)

Franciscan Sister Patricia Proctor’s name may be on the front of a brand new book called 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary, but it’s very much a book “by the people for the people,” she said.

It’s also a book by the Blessed Mother, according to Sister Patricia.

The idea came to her last November about two weeks after Pope John Paul declared a Year of the Rosary. “It was really the Blessed Mother’s idea,” she said. “I was just her patsy.”

Sister Patricia is a cloistered Poor Clare nun in Spokane. Even though she sees relatively few people in the course of her day, she has a circle of friends around the globe. Her monastery has a web site of its own, and she sends out a Daily Peace Card, an e-mail message, to about 12,000 subscribers.

When the book idea began taking shape, the call went out through the Peace Card for inspirational stories connected to the rosary.

The e-mails weren’t long in coming. Once the stories started arriving, the book’s progress was set in motion. Sister Patricia checked with some major publishers of Catholic books, only to be told the soonest they could get it out would be 2004. So the Sisters formed their own publishing company, Franciscan Monastery Publishing, which enabled the book’s much earlier release.

An all-volunteer crew helped Sister Patricia put the book together: Sister Marcia Kaye at the monastery; Anne Marie Lillis of Ohio; illustrator Nick Elfrink of Missouri (six of the stories are illustrated); and Cathy Felty in California.

Felty “was the main editor,” Sister Patricia said, “to make sure the stories were consistent.”

Everything went back and forth by e-mail.

Sister Patricia confessed to be being “bowled over” by the stories. Each one was a blessing.”

As the book continued to progress, Sister Patricia learned that “the more I let go, the more the Spirit worked through everyone. The book almost went by itself.” Going “by itself” was not always a blessing; Sister Patricia said once in a while she felt “the book was getting away from me.”

A rosary brigade was at work during the days of the book’s compilation. The brigade, a group of people praying the rosary, was organized through the Daily Peace Card. “A huge number (of rosaries) were prayed,” she said. “The official count was 19,600 rosaries but I know it was way more than that. They really made it a prayer book.”

Sister Patricia used the Internet to find the company which created the book’s cover. “I used one of the search engines and typed in ‘book covers,’” she said. The firm she chose, Alpha Company, “had a web site and had done Christian book covers, but no Catholic ones.”

Sister Patricia had some suggestions for the cover and thought it might be “uplifting and inspiring” if it was “like blue sky or something.” However, she said she left it in the hands of designer Mike Cox, and was delighted with the results. The cover depicts a “beautiful sunrise, with the rosary like Resurrection,” Sister Patricia said. “He was very creative.”

The book went to Park Press in Minneapolis March 14 and printed copies arrived at the monastery in Spokane April 2.

The book contains not 101 but 124 true stories, but each of the stories has one thing in common: they are all connected with the rosary. Every emotion is expressed in the stories, from outright belly-laughing humor to poignancy and even sadness. Some stories are long and some are short. The stories came from 32 states and eight foreign countries. Ten of the stories are associated with soldiers.

The book is more than just people’s stories. It tells how to pray the rosary and describes the mysteries. The book includes a history of the rosary, written by Holy Cross Father Richard Gribble, as well as instructions for making a rosary. The book also includes an index.

The book is “under the patronage” of Our Lady of Fatima, whose messages encouraged praying the rosary, and of the late Father Patrick Peyton, who was known as the Rosary Priest. His organization sent Sister Patricia 1,000 rosaries. The book includes a coupon that can be sent in by anyone who wants a rosary.

The first printing of the book is 5,000 copies. Sister Patricia sees the book’s compilation and printing as just the “tip of the iceberg. Now we’ve got to get it out there.”

Getting it “out there” has already started. The Sisters’ new publishing company is a member of the Catholic Book Publishers Association and the rosary book is listed in their latest catalog. Letters about the book were sent to Catholic book sellers across the country. Signed copies were available for purchase at the Poor Clares’ annual tea April 6. Sister Patricia will also give a presentation at Kaufer’s, 907 W. Boone in Spokane, on Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m.

In compiling the book, she hopes to spread devotion to the rosary. “It’s a book for all ages that builds up our faith,” she said. She also sees the book as a tool for conversion. “Each story has Mary’s touch, and the essence is, help is there when it’s called for.”

101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary is published by Franciscan Monastery Publishing; cost is $12.95. It is available at Kaufer’s, and can be ordered from the web site.

The web site includes links to enable readers to correspond with some the authors of the books’ various stories. At press time six authors were listed.

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