The Rosary is much more than an antiquated prayer recited by grandmotherly women in the pew next to you. A new line of modern rosaries brings a fresh approach to this timeless practice.
Meet Mari Wagner, who, alongside her husband, Trey, is the cofounder of West Coast Catholic. Their Instagram account and website are beautiful places to find not only intentionally handcrafted rosaries but also resources for prayer and evangelization. Newlyweds and FOCUS missionaries, Mari and Trey use their ministries to inspire young Catholics to be in the world but not of it.
Radiant had the opportunity to speak with Mari about how West Coast Catholic came about,and how she has learned to accept change amid the transitioning seasons of her life.
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Radiant: How did you and Trey meet?
Mari: Trey and I met in college at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. When we met, we were both really passionate about sharing faith with others and using our gifts and talents to bring glory to God. A lot of what we did the last couple years of college was leading Bible studies and creating a more vibrant Catholic community on campus. Now we [have] both graduated but are serving as second year FOCUS missionaries at the University of Lincoln — Nebraska.
Radiant: What brought about the founding of West Coast Catholic?
Mari: The business started in 2019 after Trey gifted me a rosary that he handmade himself. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been surrounded by beautiful natural scenes like the mountains, lakes and woods, and Trey really incorporated those natural elements into my rosary, using leather, gemstone beads and wood. I wasn’t an avid prayer of the Rosary before that, but after receiving it, I was so drawn to its beauty and constantly wanted to hold it. The more I held it, the more I desired to pray with it, and before long what I used to just see my grandma doing became a natural habit of mine. The more I prayed the Rosary, the more I fell in love with Mary, who has played such a huge role in my life.
I had recently started an Instagram account to be a young adult Catholic voice for those finding it hard to find a strong Catholic community, and we decided to use this platform to launch more rosaries. We didn’t think it would last for more than a couple months, but the rate of growth was just unimaginable to us. Our business has expanded to so much more than just rosaries, with a real mission to inspire young people to live an authentically Catholic life through our intentionally designed faith-filled products.
Radiant: Where do you find inspiration for each of your products, specifically the name and meaning behind each rosary?
Mari: All of our rosaries have been prayed with before the design was created and are designed very intentionally. Many of our rosaries are based on Scripture. The whole idea of our products, especially rosaries, is that we don’t just stop at praying the Rosary. We want to draw people deeper into a relationship with God.
Above all, most of the inspiration comes from our holy hours. As FOCUS missionaries, we pray a holy hour every day, and we use that time to pray about the business and where God wants to lead it. Sometimes we also create rosaries based on the liturgical season like Advent or Easter. Our hope is that others would not just encounter whatever the theme is of the rosary but also the Scripture behind it or the tool given to help them dive deeper into the liturgical season.
Radiant: One of my favorite West Coast Catholic rosaries is The Promise Rosary. With it, you include a prayer to the Holy Spirit encouraging people to actually lay hands on others as they are praying. What made you want to include this prayer with the rosary?
Mari: That rosary came out on Pentecost. Praying out loud with others can feel pretty intimidating sometimes, so we wanted to provide a card to give people a tool to equip them to pray with people and to call upon the Holy Spirit with more confidence. We see in the Bible that Jesus’ disciples laid hands upon others and were given the authority of the Holy Spirit to heal and to use their gifts to bring glory to God, and we wanted to highlight this.
Radiant: You talk about tithing on your website. It takes a lot of courage to commit to tithing 10% of your income! Why did you decide to include this on your site?
Mari: I think tithing is too often overlooked and forgotten about. We wanted to be transparent about our decision to tithe with the hopes of encouraging others to do the same. We also tithe by supporting other FOCUS missionaries because we know how hard their work is and that what they are doing is transforming the lives of college students and bringing them to Christ.
Radiant: What is the Change + Transition guide that you have on your website, and who is it meant for?
Mari: The last two years of my life have included transition after transition. I know that this is a common phase of life for other women as well, so I wanted to create a resource for women going through the same things to let them know that they are not alone in it. The Change + Transition guide shares personal stories of women who have just graduated college, just gotten a new job, or gotten engaged, married or became a mom. This free guide has practical tips for how to deal with transition and to bring peace in the midst of it.
Radiant: What is your favorite thing about what you do?
Mari: I am very passionate about evangelizing through everyday things, so while the main product that we have in our shop is rosaries, we also just came out with T-shirts, bracelets, stickers and prints. I love being able to bring bits of our Catholic faith into the everyday. We don’t have to draw people to God only through Catholic prayers like the Rosary; it can also be done in more subtle ways. Just hearing people’s testimonies of how our products have helped strengthen their faith is the biggest gift that I could ever ask for. If I only just got one message like that, it would have all been enough.
If you are looking for ways to deepen your devotion to the Rosary, check out West Coast Catholic’s step by step guide on How to pray the Rosary!