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Lakota Rosary

Lakota Rosary by Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS

Artwork Narrative:

Many people associate the rosary with private devotion, but in the Lakota way it is a communal prayer. Families such as Servant of God Nicholas Black Elk’s pray it together daily and with the community in church. A beautiful snapshot is from Decoration Day, when people visit the dead by adorning their graves and leaving offerings of food. On the way to the cemetery, they pray the rosary. This is a fitting example, walking as a community to honor the ancestors as you walk through the life of Christ with the eyes of Mary.

The rosary also had an important healing role. Black Elk was one of many who shifted from traditional healer to catechist. Instead of visiting the sick to sing healing songs, he prayed the rosary with the family.

McGrath collection: