BT asks: “Have you heard of blessing beads? A lady wants to pray over a sick teen in hospital…but she did not say rosary….so since no one in our Catholic circles has heard of such we are assuming something new age? I searched online but couldn’t find any info.”
Blessing beads appear to have a variety of meanings and uses which is why I would insist that this woman be specific about how she wants to pray over this teen.
Several people claim to have come up with the idea of the blessing bead. One of them is MacKenzie Williams of Atlanta who created them to be a “sercy”, which is an old southern term referring to an unexpected little gift. She designed her first strand of beads in 2012 and gave it to a friend as a sercy. They quickly caught on and she is now in business selling the creations which are made entirely by hand and given as gifts for the home. Each strand is about 30 inches long and features large beads joined together by either a cross, a heart, or a feather.
Another outfit sells blessing beads made in the form of a bracelet – known as a “Blessing Bracelet” – that comes with a tag encouraging people to acknowledge one blessing for each pearl on the bracelet.
However, other promoters of blessing beads are not so innocuous. For example, this New Age healer who operates a “Blessing Chair” designed to help people “step into our Divinity”, also sells blessing beads. Her version of the beads are meant to be worn for both their beauty and for “their powerful combinations of energy that make you FEEL a certain way when you look at them, touch them and use them in your meditation.”
Another promoter who describes herself as writing on themes that “evoke the sacred feminine and female sexuality” refers to them as her “secret island find” and believes they are “protective and magical.”
Her beads are made from a particular type of seed that resembles a tear drop. “They are mother nature’s perfect bead they already come with a hole and when you tap them against your teeth they feel like porcelain. This is my spin on it. I have been attaching some of my designs I had cast in bronze, they are of female archetypes. The yoga community here in Jamaica will see the Buddha and I notice Trinidadians here will say they see Mother Lakshmi.”
As you can see from these few examples, blessing beads come from a variety of sources, some Christian, and some not. They could be nothing more than a harmless decoration but, as BT reports, they may be used in conjunction with prayer which is why Christians should be certain of their origin before using.