DE PERE — Bethany Baudhuin grew up in the Catholic education system, beginning at St. Bernard’s School in Green Bay, graduating to Notre Dame Academy and finishing at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn. She remembers learning about Christ’s love and Mary’s example, but she never expected to one day have a mother-in-law who would turn those classroom lessons into an “up-close-and-personal reality.”
Bethany’s mother-in-law, Lisa Baudhuin, made rosaries out of dried rose petals, a family craft that dated back at least three generations, she says. Over the years, Lisa made thousands of rosaries from the roses of loved ones’ weddings and funerals for individuals across northeastern Wisconsin and the United States.
Unlike the Hollywood portrayals of mother-in-law to daughter-in-law relationships, Bethany and her mother-in-law had a special bond. Teaching Bethany how to continue the family’s rosary-making legacy was something she and Lisa had “talked about doing together for years.” Unfortunately, they never got the chance, as Lisa passed away from a form of cancer on the morning of Bethany’s wedding to Lisa’s son, Nick.
It was a devastating loss for the family, but Bethany said Lisa left behind the greatest gift: an unwavering example of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Her rosary craft was not just her hobby; it was Lisa’s constant prayer.
“Lisa had such a special connection to God,” she said. “(Even when she was sick), she would pray for the individuals who would be receiving the rosaries. And with everything she went through, she never lost that faith. In fact, her faith was her anchor, along with her family.”
Bethany said the summer after Lisa passed away, her husband, Marty, received a call for an order. That order, along with several others, was left undone. But Lisa had yet another gift to give Bethany and the family.
“Marty and I got to work together (along with Lisa’s sister and daughter) to get those rosaries finished,” she said. “It’s been a really great way for me to stay connected to her, but it was also a really special way for Marty and I to spend some time together remembering her.”
Bethany said this craft has been her opportunity to grow in faith because of Lisa setting the precedent with prayer.
“When I do it, it becomes that little reminder in the back of my head to pray,” she said. “She was so strong in her faith. Making each bead, for me, it’s a special way to channel her faithfulness and be more aware of taking time out of my day to pray.”
Bethany, her husband, Nick, and their 7-month-old son reside in De Pere. She works as a medical technologist.