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Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, an assistant professor of religion at Kalamazoo College and editor of the journal Material Religion, received the Marian Library Visiting Scholar Fellowship for the project “Reinventing the Rosary: Innovation and Catholic Prayer.”

The rosary has been a fixture of Catholic prayer life for centuries, Maldonado-Estrada says. Its most familiar form — a string of grouped beads with a separate strand ending in a crucifix, is familiar to the point of being iconic. But according to Maldonado-Estrada, the design of the rosary isn’t locked in. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the rosary has undergone marked transformations that appeal to modern needs, interests and lifestyles using new technology, materials, media and trends.

“My project will tell the story of the many inventors, devotees and marketers who remade the rosary as both a novelty and coveted consumer object — one that was technologically and spiritually advanced to fit into the lives of modern consumers.”


Catholic Studies | Religion