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Meet the 15-year-old who’s selling rosaries around the world

Editor’s note: This report was originally published Sept. 6, 2023. We’re republishing it during the week of Christmas, 2023, for your reading enjoyment!

William Henry is 15 years old. He lives in the mountains of western North Carolina and attends a Christian classical online school.

When he’s not playing golf or hanging out with his three younger siblings, Henry often spends his free time on his rosary business, Rings of the Lord, which he created two-and-a-half years ago.  



“My mission is to spread the power of the rosary and our faith to the world through my business,” Henry told The Pillar.

Growing up in Florida, Henry said his family was close to a local priest, who helped him develop a serious interest in his Catholic faith.

After moving to North Carolina, where he lives now, he began altar serving and became a master of ceremonies, an experience that he also credits with strengthening his faith.

Henry prays the rosary, but says he didn’t always have much of a devotion to it. But a few years ago, a friend of his started making rosaries, and gave Henry an Irish penal rosary – a type of one-decade rosary used when Catholicism was illegal in Ireland.

“He showed it to me and my family, and I thought it was awesome,” Henry said. “The day after I got it, I think I carried it around all day, just praying the rosary every now and then. I really gravitated toward it.”

He was so enthralled with the rosary that his friend jokingly suggested starting a business.

Within a few hours, Henry, who was about 13, had designed a test website. After brainstorming ideas, the pair decided on a name for the new business: Rings of the Lord.

Henry said that what struck him about that first Irish penal rosary from his friend was that it was beautiful without being fragile.

“You could tell there was a lot of care put into it just by holding it. The beads are brass, so it felt really nice just to hold it in your hands. It looked pretty at the same time. You didn't think it was going to break on you, and you wouldn't have to order four rosaries a year. I think that's what really stuck out to me, that you could have one rosary that's both durable and beautiful at the same time.”

This combination of beauty and durability became the central concept behind Henry’s business.

Henry said he’s seen many rosaries that are beautiful but delicate. He wanted to create a rosary that could handle years of wear-and-tear, but without sacrificing beauty.

“We use amazing materials like bronze and brass and sterling silver. Our rosaries are all very, very durable. So once you buy a rosary, you're probably not going to need a new one for a very long time.”

Rings of the Lord sells both classic rosaries and Irish penal rosaries.

Irish penal rosary. Credit:

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At first glance, an Irish penal rosary looks like a typical one-decade rosary. But it is actually created with several significant alterations, Henry explained. The rosaries were designed to avoid detection during the Irish penal period (1695-1829), when the practice of Catholicism was outlawed.

The arms of the crucifix are shorter than those of a typical crucifix, in order to fit more comfortably into a closed palm.

In addition, the ring on the end of the rosary looks like a typical ring that one might wear as a piece of jewelry. The ring can be moved from one finger to the next, helping the wearer track the decades of the rosary as he or she prays them.

While Henry is not Irish, he said he was immediately captivated by the history of the Irish penal rosary.

“I also think a big part of it was [that] the crucifix on the rosary has all these amazing symbols and stuff, kind of going over the Passion and everything,” he said, noting the images along the crucifix marking out a ladder, spear, hammer, crown of thorns, chalice, and the wounds of Christ.


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“That really drew me to it, and I thought it was really cool. Again, the history just I find very fascinating.”

The business is still getting off the ground. Right now, Henry sells a couple of rosaries per month, through both his website and his Etsy page, he told The Pillar.

“It’s not a big operation,” he acknowledged. “I'm still trying to figure out how this advertising thing works.”

But the business has gotten some reach – he has sent rosaries to Germany and Canada, among other places. And Henry said he’s advertising on Google Ads and Etsy, hoping to expand his reach.

As he experiments with advertising, Henry is also entrepreneurial enough to contact Catholic media about his project -- he wrote to The Pillar just last week, in fact.

Henry designed almost the entirety of the current website himself, experimenting and watching online videos to learn as he went.

“I probably watched 20 or 30 of those videos, I would guess.”

Henry’s parents are helping him learn the administrative side of the business, like bookkeeping and taxes. The goal, he says, is for him to be able to operate it himself.

William Henry. Courtesy photo.


Henry hasn’t given much thought to how he will spend money he earns from Rings of the Lord. At this point, he said, he’s mainly excited to get the experience of starting a business.

“I want to spread the rosary as much as possible,” he said. “But I also think that starting a business at this age is just going to be helpful later in life.”

“I might have a little bit more of an idea of how Google Ads works and how Etsy works…how the taxes work, how the bookkeeping works.”

In addition to the rosary sales, Henry has also begun creating a rosary map tracking rosary miracles and saints with a particular connection to the rosary.

He said the map, which is still in its early stages, was inspired by the Eucharistic miracle map maintained by Blessed Carlo Acutis.

Henry said his mom came up with the idea of the map, but he latched onto it, thinking it would be “awesome” to document different rosary-related miracles, such as the Battle of Lepanto.

“I hope to share the power of the rosary,” he said. 

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