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Prayer Beads Provide Hope, Comfort in Times of Need|
STEPHENVILLE, Texas — It's a simple loop of beads with a cross, but at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, they are a symbol of care and giving.
“They are a tangible reminder of prayer and God’s presence,” said Mike Hannah, director of Pastoral Care at Texas Health Stephenville. “Sometimes words just aren’t enough.”
Hannah recalled sitting with a mother and daughter all night. He gave the daughter his beads and the next morning, he looked in to check on them. The daughter simply held up her beads as a sign that her mother was going to be fine.
The prayer beads are carried on staff members' name badges. When given to a patient or family member in need, the staff member says, “These were a gift to me and now I give them to you as a reminder of God’s love.”
Hannah said nurses and patients were helped emotionally and spiritually by the beads.
The program came to the hospital about a year ago from a former nurse. She was sick with cancer at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, when a staff member gave the prayer beads to her. She was so touched by the idea that she started making and sharing them.
Prayer beads were brought to Texas Health Fort Worth by Chaplain Jim Tenery from a hospital where he worked. He said they began as gifts to parents who lost their babies, but the idea quickly spread to all patients and families.
The program is voluntary, and Hannah emphasized that they don’t want to force the beads onto people. They’re just a simple response to what someone might need.
“As a hospital being a care-giver, I think it helps boost the idea of caring,” said Hannah.
Hannah added that nurses come to him and share their stories of giving their beads away and needing more. The response they have received has been positive.
The beads are small enough to slip perfectly over a finger, with the cross resting in the palm of a hand. They are patterned after the Anglican prayer beads, created by an Anglican priest the mid-1980s. Two volunteers at the hospital make the prayer beads.
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