Charles Jacobs watches students graduate with rosary in hand
By Frances Maddalozzo
Special to The B.C. Catholic
As May ends, the month of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, I want to remind readers of The B.C. Catholic about a friend of mine, Charles Jacobs, now 92, referred to by The B.C. Catholic over the last decade as the "Rosary Man."
In the past 10 years or so Jacobs has donated about 10,000 rosaries to Catholic high school graduates all over our diocese. Many thousands of people have seen him attending graduations with his daughter Carrie, who is blind, as he humbly watches the graduates each receive a rosary.
He donates these rosaries in the hopes that all Catholic students will leave with a diploma in one hand and a rosary in the other.
When I attended St. Thomas Aquinas with my sister I was asked to help assist Jacobs to teach his daughter Carrie catechism. Little did we know that they would be lifelong friends and that their witness to us over the years would be so profound.
We not only began enjoying teaching his daughter more about the faith, but began helping Jacobs with his errands on Saturday mornings.
Often he would excitedly share tidbits with us. He told us when he found the perfect St. Patrick rosary to give to St. Pat's students, and he told us about the letter he received from a Little Flower Academy student that personally thanked him for his rosary.
Jacobs lived a simple life, and wasn't frivolous with his money. He would usually ask us to drive him around to different stores to get the best deal on toilet paper, batteries and Kleenex and stock up for the month. I still remember him giving an angel pin to a cashier who he thought deserved to be recognized because of an extra cheerful attitude.
I went to visit Jacobs at Lions Gate Hospital's Evergreen House on Palm Sunday as he is now bed-ridden. He was in tears when he saw me. His speech was slurred and difficult to understand.
It reminded me of Blessed John Paul II in his address to the youth at World Youth Day in Toronto, when his speech was unclear but the message was still understood.
I asked him if he wanted to pray a decade of the rosary with me, and I prayed with him, trying desperately not to cry, I remained strong, as I watched him mumble the Hail Mary he loves so well.
I encourage all alumni from St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas More, St. Pat's, Little Flower Academy, Vancouver College, Archbishop Carney, Holy Cross, St. John Brebeuf, Notre Dame, Corpus Christi College and Trinity Western University, and some North Vancouver elementary schools to send Jacobs spiritual bouquets and notes of encouragement.