Friday, May 14, 2010

Good deed beads

I recently read a little about St Therese. And while I am not a member of the Catholic church, I do believe there are plenty of true Christ followers to be found there.

Therese practiced piety from a young age. And one of the ways she cultivated it in her own heart was by stringing a few beads on a piece of cord, and counting up the little acts of love she demonstrated for her Saviour. She called them sacrifice beads.

Even within the Catholic church today, this is a rather obscure practice. But it reminded me so much of Amy Carmichael, and her longing to always see in every small act a chance to die to herself, and live to Christ, that I thought it a very useful and appropriate reminder to always be thinking about what we can offer up to God.

I made some for myself. And then my husband wanted one. And so did my children. So I made some for all of us.

I made sure to explain to my children that this was not about boasting, bragging, feeling smug and self righteous about all the good things we had done. We certainly don't want to breed little Pharisees.

But it is a beautiful way to be reminded that every thing we do would be to please Him.

Here's how they work.

Traditionally a miraculous medal is used, but I bought little rings with words on them like faith, joy, honesty, etc. Following the medal (ring) there are ten beads. They are strung in such a way that when it is all done, they slide up and down on the chain. At the end there is traditionally a crucifix, but again, I substituted a small cross.

Throughout the day, when you do something for the Lord, you move one bead forward, toward the cross. This could be a simple as getting out of bed when you feel exhausted, smiling at a child when you are grouchy, using kind words when you feel irritated. For a child, this could be something like doing your chores without being reminded, receiving instruction graciously when you'd rather argue, responding in kindness when someone is ugly to you, etc.

Some choose to move one bead back for the times they do something wrong, unkind or ugly.

This is a very effective way to be constantly in self examination.

This may not be good for everyone, but it helps me. I guess I sometimes appreciate a tangible reminder.

At the end of the day, you reset the beads, pray and go to sleep. You start over in the morning. And His mercies are always new.

For a tutorial in how to make your own, click here.


  1. While to some the initial look at this small item might remind them of a rosary or prayer beads, but it is much more than that. I was hesitant at first but as I looked to see the beauty in it and the focus being on an external walk with the Lord and not a mental ascent into saint hood the only thing I could do was want one. Our hearts often desire the good and righteous things but our flesh is often times to weak to act on the desires of our heart. I believe the idea behind this can help keep a focus on God and help to bring the desires of the heart out in the flesh. Thank you Amy for your research and time spent in making this. I love you

  2. Realy cool,thanks for sharing.

  3. I love this idea - thank you so much for posting.

    Though we are Catholic, we've never made these beads.

    We do have a "Jesus Stocking" hanging by our fireplace year-round, into which we write on small paper crosses our "good deeds" which we give as gifts to Him, as well as writing those things which we are thankful for.

    I like the idea of having a string of beads with one at all times, to remind us of our purpose - and the "moving back" of beads can be, I think, a very effective way to keep on track.

    Thanks again!

  4. These are wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I had seen something similar before, and the idea has been sitting in the back of my mind for quite some time. I may have to get busy and make some for my husband and myself!

  5. I like this a lot. Beautiful and poetic. Thank you for sharing. :)


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