In hard times, she turns to Mary

By | May 23, 2012

She said she would pray for the recipient while making the rosary. “I wanted to really honor the Blessed Mother. … I wanted to keep them unique for each person.”


Monica Sumnicht (Dick Meyer | For The Compass)

She then found that she couldn’t make financial donations to charities the way she had in the past “so I offered them rosaries.” They went to gift shops and for fund-raisers. “As long as the costs even out, I’m happy,” she said.

Sumnicht is able to recoup her costs and keep her business running. “You get reimbursed in ways you don’t expect,” she said.

People often donate beads and other materials she needs to make her rosaries, which are priced at between $17 and $50.

The unique rosaries are made from different stones, such as mother-of-pearl, opal quartz, golden brownstone, jade and more. They come in different sizes and shapes. Some have beads with roses engraved on them. Some are square, some oval, some round.

The rosary beads are separated by tiny plastic beads and strung together with a strong string. Some of the crucifixes are hand-made.

Some of the rosaries are quite colorful; others are muted in browns, black, greens or earth tones. All are keepsakes.

Your Catholic Neighbor

Name: Monica Sumnicht

Parish: St. Mary, Menasha

Age: 53

Favorite saint: Blessed Mother, St. Joseph

Words to live by: “All things work to the good for those who love God.” — Romans 8:28

“I try to get a little something for everyone,” Sumnicht said. “I want to ignite that fire in people to get them interested in their faith.”

Sumnicht, a native of Milwaukee, has a faith that runs deep and she credits the Blessed Virgin with keeping her life on track.

She returned to nursing school at Marquette University as a single mother of two. She met her husband Eric, also a nurse, and they moved to the Fox Valley. She has four children, ages 15 to 33, and five grandchildren, ages 7 months to 11 years.

“There’s no way I could manage all this. I let the Blessed Mother be in charge of my house,” she said, explaining that this keeps some of the secular culture at bay and keeps the faith alive in her home. The family often prays the rosary — or at least a decade or two — together.

“When I returned to nursing school to become an RN, I was a single mom. It took me five and one-half years to get through the program. I would take my kids with me to lectures and they would sit with their coloring books. We did our homework together. It helped them appreciate their education,” she said.

At this point, she started praying the rosary. “I can’t explain it. When you are praying the rosary and meditating on the Gospel, it leads you to knowing the sacraments and wanting them.”

When they first moved to the Fox Valley, “one of my jobs was caring for a little girl in Winneconne. While driving, I listened to EWTN and Mother Angelica on the radio and heard about ‘The Blue Army.’

“Even before that at Marquette, I had a theology teacher who was a Jewish woman. She had such a love for her heritage, it was contagious.” And, Sumnicht’s father was a deacon in his parish.

“I found the Blue Army at one of the Menasha churches. That solidified my faith. It made me more hungry for my faith,” she said.

To support her parish, Sumnicht has her rosaries available at both the church and the parish school. All proceeds go to the parish. For more information, contact her at [email protected]

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