Rosary lady helps children make Rosaries Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
alice buechner rosary
Alice Buechner helps Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Monona fourth grader Fiona Conner make a Rosary. Buechner has taught more than 12,000 students how to make a Rosary in the past 25 years. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- One Rosary, prayed once, contains 53 Hail Marys. More than 12,000 Rosaries, prayed once, contain more than a half million Hail Marys.

If the more than 12,000 students who made these Rosaries over the past 25 years have prayed the Rosary more than once, or even every day, we’re talking Hail Marys in the millions.

Most of these Hail Marys have been prayed thanks to Alice Buechner.

Buechner is a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison and part-time secretary at Cathedral Parish in Madison.

Making Rosaries

In 1988, she and other women started a Rosary-making group at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish.

Over the next couple years, as more people began to enlist the group’s help to teach them to make Rosaries, Buechner wanted to help students grow closer to the Blessed Mother through the Rosary.

She made a simple kit of the appropriate materials and in her free time taught one of the grade levels at Our Lady Queen of Peace School how to make a Rosary.

Soon, more grade levels were added to her schedule, as well as more schools, starting with Blessed Sacrament School in Madison. A parishioner there asked Buechner for one of the kits and Buechner offered to teach the students herself.

Starting her 25th year teaching kids how to make Rosaries, Buechner travels to about 30 schools in May -- the month of Mary -- and October -- the month of the Rosary, teaching about 500 students per year.

After having taught all the grade levels, Buechner prefers the fourth grade, the grade she solely teaches now.

“The fourth grade is just the most wonderful grade,” said Buechner, and added modestly, “They sit there and look at me as if I know what I’m talking about and they’re actually getting it and that is such a high – when the kids really learn to like the Rosary.”

Visiting the classroom

For the 20th year, Buechner recently visited the fourth grade class at Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) School in Monona to teach them how to make and pray the Rosary.

Two Rosary-making friends -- Mary Jo Wettstein from Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish and Judy Schmudlach from IHM Parish -- came to assist her with the students in Ms. Morgan Hearn’s class.

After helping the students with introductory prayer beads, she left them on their own, with assistance if needed, to finish the decades.

“Ten blue, two spacers, one white, two spacers, 10 blue, two spacers, one white, two spacers, 10 blue . . .” became the bead pattern the students needed to know to make their Rosaries.

Along with their Rosaries, the students got to take home a prayer card about Mary, a guide on how to pray the Rosary, and a Miraculous Medal, blessed by Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison.

After the Rosaries were completed, Buechner told the students more about the Rosary, including a way to pray it while visualizing being with Jesus and Mary while some of the Mysteries of the Rosary were taking place.

She asked to the students to imagine themselves at the Nativity of Jesus, and with gentle illustrative language created the image of holding the Baby Jesus thinking, “This is the most awesome thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I could just stay here forever.”

She finished by showing the students different types of Rosaries -- some with one decade, some made from rose pedals, and even a picture of one made from bowling balls near Princeton.

“It doesn’t matter what your Rosary is made out of, it matters that you pray it,” Buechner told the students.

An enjoyable experience

There are many things Buechner enjoys about teaching more students how to make Rosaries every year.

“[I enjoy] meeting the teachers and they’re actually the heroes because they have these kids every day and they just let me come in and give a class,” she said. “[Also] interacting with the children and the teachers let me come in and play with the kids for an hour -- it’s great.”

She also loves hearing when the students, excited about the Rosary, get their parents to pray it with them.

“What I like is when they say ‘wow, this is so cool!’ or they say ‘this is easy,’” said Buechner.