In conjunction with Shirley Klinghoffer: CRT Revisited, an exhibition inspired by hospital forms used to support women’s bodies during radiation therapy, artist Shirley Klinghoffer has invited others who have gone through cancer treatment to share their stories about the “healing objects” that accompanied them on their journey. Klinghoffer, who is a breast cancer survivor, shared her story, and now another survivor, Mary Ann Wasil, has shared her own.
Describe your healing object?
My healing object is a tiny pink hand-knotted Rosary.
Why is it important to you?
My son Eddy made it for me when he was in high school; he is now 21 years old.
Do you have any other stories which you would like to share?
During my eleven-year dance with breast cancer I have always taken great comfort in prayer, especially the Rosary. I am Roman Catholic and have always felt a deep connection with Mary, the mother of Jesus. This brave young woman was chosen by God to give birth to our Savior. Whoa. Not for the faint of heart.
(It should be noted that when I was a child I actually used to thank God that I was NOT Mary, grateful to Him for choosing her and not me, because I knew I would not have been up to such a daunting task.)
The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. You pray the Hail Mary a total of 53 times (along with a handful of Our Fathers, a Glory Be or two – or six, and a Hail Holy Queen for good measure) while reflecting upon the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. Traditionally, specific Mysteries are prayed on specific days of the week during specific times of the Liturgical Calendar.
Frankly, I find it far too confusing – and, well, um, specific.
I love to pray. I “specifically” love to pray the “Hail Mary.” (That’s me being witty…please forgive me.)
I don’t count sheep, I say the Rosary. I often drive in silence, and say the Rosary. I incorporate the Rosary into my meditation practice. When I was training for the NYC Marathon several years ago, yep, you guessed it, my running partners were a fairly even mix of The Beatles and the Rosary.
It’s my default, my “go-to”…it’s my place of peace, it’s, well, it’s just mine. I love it.
All three of my children know how much the Rosary means to me, so when my son made this delicate little Rosary with his own two hands, he knew how much I would cherish it. I am never without it.
I carry it in my purse or my pocket, even in my hand during my routine MRIs and scans while being treated for stage four metastatic breast cancer these last four years.
I don’t need the Rosary to pray the Rosary. But having the Rosary my son made with me at all times, well, it is, indeed, my most beloved healing object.
Do you have a story to share? Download the submission form and instructions here.