Rosary Beads



Rosary Beads


Beads—religious aspects— —Catholic Church
Catholic Church—prayers and devotions
Hispanic American Catholics
Hispanic American men


Before getting into the significance of Rosary beads, it is crucial to acknowledge the rich Latino history that has grown all over the world and has made great impacts in New Britain, Connecticut. Latino culture has been blended into the United States due to “Puerto Rican migration – away from huge metropolises and towards the small and medium-sized cities of many states.”

Historian Ruth Glasser has pointed out that “some of the largest and fastest growing communities were in New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Connecticut,” hence the growing population in New Britain. The reason behind the immigration into the United States can be noted because of the infamous American Dream but also “they came to the state and took the jobs that no one else wanted – the lowest paid and least skilled jobs on farms and factories.” There is no doubt that Latinos from various countries have intertwined their culture within their own communities. For example, due to the creation of the History Harvest that Professor Leah Glaser’s History 405/505 class participated in, it allowed students to learn about the Latino culture in New Britain. Roaming down the streets of New Britain are similar to the images that come from Llana Barber’s book, Latino City, when Barber mentions how “the sounds of merengue, bachata, and reggaetón, along with hip-hop, float out open window in warm weather [… furthermore] stores [are] featuring stylish but inexpensive clothing, barbershops with Dominican or Puerto Rican flags in their windows, and countless businesses of all kinds with Borinquen or Quisqueya in their names." Consequently this seemed to be true as the baked goods were from Borinquen Bakery in downtown New Britain.

The most iconic type of item that someone could have brought to the History Harvest would be Rosary beads. Rosary beads signifies a strong affliction with the Catholic Church along with the pure worship to God. The man that brought the Rosary beads was Larry Alicea and he mentioned in his interview that “he has been Catholic for many years” […] and it has been in his family for decades and he keeps it in his car for safety.” Rosary beads “are also called prayer beads, in which prayers are recited and counted on a string of beads or a knotted chord.” It is quite important to many Latino priests to keep the faith alive, “priests in touch with local changes in population learned Spanish and warned the church hierarchy that without Spanish-language Masses, adequate facilities, and greater participation in worship, Puerto Ricans might abandon the faith.” In New Britain there seems to be a church in almost any direction that you go, and the amount of people that come out of the church prove that religion is still rooted in Puerto Ricas. Many rosary beads evolve from Catholic Churches such as St. Mary’s in New Britain where Larry attained the beads. Such faith is dedication to the Church itself and to oneself by keeping hope despites the obstacles that come in the way of life.

Struggles can be seen in New Britain as well as other neighboring communities as Ruth Glasser provides in her novel that “Aqui Mi Quedo which means “I’m here to stay,” […] describes a group of citizens struggling against tremendous odds to build communities in our state.”  With any community trying to establish their own sense of identity with surrounding neighbors that are not familiar with their culture, it is difficult because people can stereotype others before learning about said culture. The Rosary beads that Larry Alicea brought in represent him as a human and the Latino culture in New Britain and the rest of the world.

Citations for Supplementary Sources and Context: 

Alicea, Larry. Interview with Paul Zapatka. Larry, 18: Rosary Beads.

Barber, Llana. Latino City: Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945-2000. The University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

Glasser, Ruth. Aqui Mi Quedo: Puerto Ricans in Connecticut: Los Puertorriquenos en Connecticut. Connecticut Humanities Council, 1997.

Entry Author: Olivia Soaft




Personal Collection of Larry Alicea


Larry Alicea


Accession Date: April 29, 2018


Larry Alicea


Copyright to this resource is held by Larry Alicea and is provided here by CCSU for educational purposes only.


History Harvest 2018 Interview #11.


.JPG Image File




Physical Object


History Harvest 2018 Object #18.


New Britain, CT; Connecticut; United States; April 29, 2018; 2010s; 21st century.



Unknown, “Rosary Beads,” Latino History Harvest, accessed April 20, 2024,

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