April 11, 2018 at 4:10 p.m.
Well practiced in her craft, Mrs. Krosky can make 20 to 25 rosaries in a single week. She distributes them to local hospitals, to men and women serving in the military and to “anybody else that wants them,” she says.
“When they call you the ‘rosary lady,’ you can’t complain,” Mrs. Krosky told The Evangelist. “I’m making rosaries all the time” — while sitting at home watching television or waiting for an appointment with her chiropractor, for instance.
Now in her 80s, Mrs. Krosky grew up in Johnstown. She worked in the payroll department at General Electric in Schenectady, where she met her husband, Bill, a part-time accordion player. The couple married, moved to Colonie and raised five children.
Around 15 years ago, Mrs. Krosky and her husband began spending their winters in Florida, staying at Paradise Point RV park in Naples. She was introduced to cord rosary-making by a friend, Joan Murphy, during a crafting session offered by the RV park. Ms. Murphy makes cord rosaries for her parish in Michigan, which sends them on to military personnel.
Since their meeting, the two women have spent their winter months creating rosaries for Ms. Murphy’s parish. This winter, Mrs. Krosky said she made 130 to 140 rosaries. The troops appreciate the cord rosaries because of their muted colors and durability; some call them “combat rosaries.”
One soldier serving overseas, Mrs. Krosky recalled, wrote to the Michigan parish that he accepted a rosary even though he wasn’t Catholic. He said he takes it with him on missions and that it has brought him back to God.
“If [the Rosary] makes you think of God and it makes you feel good, then I don’t care” if a recipient isn’t Catholic, Mrs. Krosky said.
In 2008, Mrs. Krosky was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She began chemotherapy at Community Care Physicians in Schenectady. She was making a rosary during one of her treatments when a nurse approached her to ask for one for a patient to use during x-rays and CT scans, since the cord rosaries contain no metal or glass that would disrupt the equipment.
“When I gave it to her, she was so excited,” Mrs. Krosky said about the fellow patient. Since then, “whenever I go for my checkups, I have a bunch of rosaries” to drop off.
Mrs. Krosky makes rosaries for patients at Community Care Physicians, for residents at local nursing homes and for parishioners at St. Clare’s. Right now, she is working on white rosaries for St. Clare’s First Communion class and gold ones for the confirmation class.
“It doesn’t feel like a job or something I have to do; it’s something I want to do,” she said.
Four years ago, Mrs. Krosky’s husband passed away unexpectedly. She received a sympathy card from a friend who told her that, even though her husband was gone, she would still go on to do great things.
“I think it must be the rosaries,” the widow reflected.
While waiting at her chiropractor’s office, Mrs. Krosky said a woman approached her to inquire about her craft. Another patient overheard and reached over to touch her hands as she was making the rosary. Mrs. Krosky realized the man was blind and he wanted to understand how the rosary was made.
Before the mother of a family friend passed away, Mrs. Krosky gave her a cord rosary. After the woman’s passing, her son left Mrs. Krosky a note saying that they buried his mother holding the rosary.
He said that, when his mother had first seen the rosary, it was one of the last times she smiled.
“I cried when I read that note,” said Mrs. Krosky.
Mrs. Krosky enjoys golfing, softball, water aerobics and knitting, but she’s dedicated to rosary-making.
“So many people have told me this matters to them. I want to do this,” she said.
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