October 08, 2021 3 min read

Shortly after the tragedy of 9/11, I accidentally came across a photo of steel beams in the shape of the Cross emerging from the rubble of the Twin Towers.

I immediately felt a deep emotion, to the point that I saved it on my notebook desktop.

It remained there for years; from time to time I would open it to look at it and let the flow of my thoughts run free.

Towards the end of 2010, looking at this photo as usual, without any warning, a Rosary appeared in my mind ending with that very Cross.

In that moment, intuitions began to come to me, one after the other. I thought that the Rosary was composed of 50 Hail Marys and that this number coincided exactly with the number of American States. By putting the initials of each state on each of the Hail Mary beads, the Rosary would encompass the entire nation.
As I delved deeper into the matter, I read that back in 1847 Pope Pius IX had proclaimed Mary Immaculate Patroness of the United States of America; I understood then that the Immaculate Conception was the image to be placed on each bead of the Hail Mary, while the Miraculous Medal was to be placed between the decades. In this way, Mary embraced all of America!

It was absolutely clear, then, what to insert in the three missing beads between the Cross and the Centerpiece: the initials of the United States of America: USA -- the synthesis of the entire Rosary.

There was still a detail to be defined, namely what the central part, the heart of the Rosary, should be inspired by.

I thought that this detail should contain what I felt, the profound reason why I wanted to make this Rosary: a message of Love, of Mercy, of consolation, of the victory of Light over darkness, of hatred over violence.

I wanted to celebrate the triumph of life over death; Jesus was life and hope in that place of death and pain.

Looking among the ruins of the towers I saw the representation of a sepulcher and I imagined the scene of the Resurrection: from that sepulcher Jesus came out, victorious over death.

The 9/11 Rosary was born.

In a short time I held the first sample in my hands! I decided that its color should recall the rust and iron of the ruins of the Twin Towers, a beautiful choice for its depth of meaning.

For me, expressing the Faith through Rosaries is a life mission; selling them, however, is also the livelihood for my family and for the people who work with me.

My concern, therefore, was not to offend those who had suffered and lost loved ones in that tragedy; my intention was to provide them with an instrument of comfort and help.

I discussed this with my two spiritual fathers, deciding that without their approval this much desired Rosary would remain only a wish.

They told me to make it happen, without delay.

What happened next confirmed to me that it was right to create it: I met so many people who suffered in that tragedy and who lost their loved ones, I listened to so many stories of people involved in that pain.

I even met the person who found the Cross from which the inspiration for this Rosary was born. I also met many first responders and a person who has become part of the family for me; his name is Placido David Perez, also a first responder.

We have been writing to each other for 10 years now and our love for each other, and for each of our families, has grown exceedingly over these years.

Thanks to Placido I have been able to understand how great that pain was; for this I thank God for having known him and for his friendship.

In the thirty-three years since the beginning of our work, we have created many special Rosaries, but the 9/11 Rosary is and will always remain the most important one.

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Alessandro Ghirelli

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