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Catholic Dictionary




Small pellets or bits of wood, stone, or glass arranged on a chain, wire, or string according to a kind, order, or number of prayers in certain forms of devotion. They are in common use among Catholics as a simple way to ensure accuracy in the count of prayers said in frequent repetition. The rosary, sometimes referred to as a "pair of beads," consists of five units of ten beads each and is in common use. The device of using beads for counting prayers is very ancient and is a common practice among Hindus, Buddhists, and Moslems.