The inspirational story of Mother Teresa and the multi-coloured rosary she gave to Jim Castle has given many people faith in the power of the rosary, and prayer.
Unfortunately, the tale of Mother Teresa and her multi-coloured rosary is really just a hoax, or at best – creative writing with false attribution to elicit false belief.
The Multi-Coloured Rosary Of Mother Teresa Hoax
First, let’s start with the story of Mother Teresa and her multi-coloured rosary that people have been sharing over the years.
The Multi-Coloured Rosary Of Mother Teresa Hoax Debunked!
Now, you may be wondering – how do you know it’s not true? Were you on the same plane with Jim Castle and Mother Teresa? Do you even know Jim Castle?
Here are the reasons why the story is really just a piece of creative writing, designed to evoke a false belief in the rosary and prayer.
Fact #1 : Mother Teresa Did Not Have A Multi-Coloured Rosary
Surprisingly, many “fans” of Mother Teresa did not seem to realise that she did not own a multi-coloured rosary.
In photos of Mother Teresa with a rosary – they do not appear to be multi-coloured.
This picture of her rosary was taken by Vincenzo Pinto of AFP on 1 September 2016. As you can see, the beads are not coloured, and appear to be made of wood.
Could Mother Teresa have “upgraded” to a new rosary with wood beads, after passing her plastic rosary to Jim Castle?
Now, the Good Shepherd Parish in Shawnee, Kansas, claimed that the Jim Castle donated the rosary he received from Mother Teresa to them sometime in 2005.
“He asked that it be shared with hurting or sick parishioners,” explained pastor Father Francis Hund.
Unfortunately, the only photo we could find was this greyscale photo from the 27 March 2009 issue of The Leaven :
Ironically, even though The Leaven was printed in colour, they somehow chose to post a grayscale photo of the multi-coloured rosary of Mother Teresa.
You would have expected The Leaven to publish the photo of such an important relic in colour… but even in grayscale, we can see that the beads are all of the same colour.
Assuming that a businessman called Jim Castle did indeed encounter Mother Teresa on a flight to Kansas City in 1981, and he received that plastic rosary from her, it does not appear to be multi-coloured.
Fact #2 : Rosary Decades Do NOT Represent Areas / Continents
Genuine Catholics should know that the rosary decades – sets of ten beads – are meant to help them count the number of prayers.
Each decade of ten Hail Marys is preceded by a Lord’s Prayer and a Glory Be. Five decades are recited for every rosary.
It would not be likely for Mother Teresa to forget the “purpose” of the decade, and to claim that each decade was praying for a different region or continent.
Fact #3 : It Was Written By Barbara Bartocci
The story was published as “A Gift from the Woman in White” in Catholic Digest in March 1991, and then credited to Barbara Bartocci in Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul (US | UK | AU) in 2003.
Barbara Bartocci, incidentally, has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and used to write for Hallmark Cards…
As one reader, Robert Zeh, pointed out :
Fact #4 : The Rosary Was Not Considered In Her Canonisation
For Mother Teresa to be canonised, she must be responsible for at least TWO miracles AFTER her death. That means relics or items she touched or owned must be able to produce miracles.
This would certainly include her purported rosary, which has been used by the Good Shepherd Parish since 2005.
Yet, it does not appear to have been mentioned in any of the many cases of reported miracles that were submitted to the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
In fact, it appears as if the Good Shepherd considers it to be a religious placebo of sorts, rather than a genuine relic :
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