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Rosary garden a path for prayer

Boy Scout completes project for Eagle rank
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The idea came to him during a youth retreat.

Boy Scout Kevin Carlson would construct a stepping stone path outside a church as a quiet, contemplative place where visitors can pause for prayer or reflection.

The attendees of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Roseville know the place as the “rosary garden,” and Kevin, 13, intended that as its primary purpose. There are 77 stones — 53 in the shape of circles, 13 squares and one hexagon. Seven of the square stones form a cross.

“They pray the rosary and as they do it, they’re in the nice (outdoor) environment at the same time,” Kevin said.

A visitor begins at the cross and says the Apostles’ Creed. The stones represent the beads. Circle stones are the small beads for the Hail Mary and the squares represent the larger beads where Our Father is prayed.

Glory Be is prayed after each decade — a “decade” represents an event in Jesus’s life — while standing in between the last circle and the square stone beginning the next decade. The rosary ends with the Hail Holy Queen on the hexagon stone.

Non-Catholics can consider the stones a “meditation path.” What was once a patch of lawn in front of the church’s convent is now a beautification element for the neighborhood.

Kevin, of Boy Scout Troop 828, started planning the project in June. He raised $1,200 through a car wash and donations for the materials. Kevin attended St. Rose School and is now in eighth grade at Buljan Middle School.

He spent 53 hours placing the stones, planting bushes and installing a bench with the help of other scouts, who all together contributed 278 hours.

“It went a lot smoother than even I expected,” said his mom, Darlene Carlson. “It was a total learning experience.”

He had to sketch out the design, conduct measurements and stay under budget. Carlson said her son undertook the project to earn his Eagle Scout award, which is the highest rank in scouting. In 2010, the average age of boys earning the Eagle Scout rank was 17 years of age, according to a factsheet from the Boy Scouts of America.

“He’s one of those kids you can’t deter him,” Carlson said. “He had his mind set.”

Several church groups have already used the rosary path, said Trevor Ball, who works for St. Rose.

“Our children’s rosary meets once a week and has gone over there to enjoy it,” Ball said. “We’ve had families go out there, too. It’s a wonderful space. It’s nice to pray in the church and in the outdoors in God’s creation, as well.”

Kevin completed the project Nov. 22, and dedicated the rosary garden to the church during a ceremony Dec. 17.

“I’m really happy with it," Kevin said. “It worked out that it came together early and it turned out nicely.”

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.