Friday, February 19, 2010

Good Deed Beads

Last year Madeline received a string of good deed beads from our church during the first Sunday in Lent. The good deed beads were essentially a one decade rosary that had a fixed Our Father bead and moveable Hail Mary beads. On the end with the fixed Our Father bead is a crucifix and the other end has a miraculous medal. These good deed beads, or sacrifice beads, can be used by the child to keep track of his or her good deeds throughout the day. All you do is pull down a Hail Mary bead for each good deed and the bead stays in place. Madeline loved keeping track of her good deeds last Lent. (Actually, she kept track of them well into the Summer.)

I liked the good deed beads for another reason, they're perfect for introducing a young child to the rosary a decade at a time. I like that the beads stay in place when you pull them. That makes it easy for a small child to keep track of how many prayers he/she has said.

Ellie developed a habit of grabbing Madeline's good deed beads a few months back and praying Hail Marys. It wasn't long before she was asking for a set of her own. After examining the beads that Madeline had, I figured out how to make them. They're really very simple to make and the kids love them.

I'm making good deed beads with my kindergarten CCD class this Sunday, so I decided to make an example for the class and snap some pictures to offer a tutorial here:

You'll need 11 pony beads, twine or crochet yarn (I used 100% nylon crochet yarn that looks like a silky twine), scissors, a crucifix and a miraculous medal (your local Catholic gift shop will likely have these). I also use a candle to heat seal the ends of the twine. Doing this step is optional, but it keeps the ends of the string from unraveling (provided the twine is not 100% cotton, only synthetic fibers will melt).

Your first step is to cut a length of twine that is about 18-24 inches long. (I like to make sure I have enough twine to work with when making knots.) Then, thread the miraculous medal onto the twine and knot it into the center. Once you make the knot, thread the twine through the pony bead. One side of the twine goes through each end of the bead. Then you pull the twine so that the bead is up against the knot. Repeat this step for the next nine beads.

Once the first ten beads are all threaded on the twine, then you make two knots (one on top of the other) about an inch down the twine from the last bead. (This is so the child can pull the beads for good deeds.)

Next you thread the Our Father bead onto the twine. (Make sure the bead rests firmly against the knot.) Both ends of the twine go in at the same time.

Then you thread the crucifix on the same way.

To finish it off, you make two knots between the Our Father bead and the crucifix.

Once you finish with the knots, you trim off the edges. This is where you may want to run the ends of the twine over a flame to seal the ends. Be careful not to get too close to the flame or you'll singe the twine and possibly yourself.

If you're doing Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure with your child this Lent, these beads would be perfect for the rosary portion of the Lenten Adventure since it covers a decade of the sorrowful mysteries at a time.


  1. What a great idea and what a talented lady you are. These rosaries remind me of the 'Penal Rosaries'. They are one decade rosaries which were used in Ireland during Penal times when Catholic were not allowed to practise their religion. A single decade rosary was easier to conceal than the usual five decade one. I guess it would even be possible to use them in your pocket or up your sleeve. A very interesting post, thank you.

  2. Great Post! I would really like to make some of these with my daughter. I'll definitely be running sacrifice beads sometime during lent- they're a classic ;-)

    Hope you come link this at the Lent Linky party I'm hosting on Friday! I think people will love it!

  3. Sacrifice beads are officially on my "to-do" list- I got some beads at the Dollar Tree this week! :-)

  4. hi there...I've got a tutorial to make special good deed bead bracelets at Equipping Catholic Families(2011)...they are a little more difficult to make, but even adults may like to wear them because they look really cool. A good conversation piece and a handy way to keep track of prayers and sacrifices. /Monica


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