This week’s Shopping with Blessed Zelie features a Catholic business run by two sisters who create beautiful rosaries and devotional items. The time they spend together doing this is very precious: one of the sisters is very ill.
1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Aleesa and my sister’s name is Courtney. We are only 13 months apart and have been very close our entire lives… we were baptized together, confirmed together, and have been a spiritual pillar for one another.
Even though now we have much less entwined lives, I am married with children and she is single and patiently offering up her suffering for God’s will, we still are close and one of our favorite things to do together is to make rosaries. We just loved to be creative growing up and as our faith grew we grew into making devotional things.
It wasn’t until a couple years ago that we set up an Etsy shop to sell them… before that we just always gave them away which is what we love to do and still do a lot of… but beads cost money and Courtney is very sick. If you were to take a glance you wouldn’t think there is anything the matter with this stunning woman who has fervor and faith like a saint!
She has stage 4 endometriosis that wreaked havoc on her abdominal cavity and has had to have many surgeries and as a result also removed her gall bladder, appendix, and has caused digestive issues to the point where she cannot eat much. And more recently she has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease which is the cause many of her unknown ailments that have been afflicting her over the last 12 years.
But she is still a shining light for Jesus, if you didn’t read this story just being with her, you would never even know only this little tip of the ice burg I have shared that her suffering is and she offers it up to our sweet and loving Jesus, for His will to be done. She is an artist as well a graphic designer and created our logo the two hearts.
We picked the name Saongjai for our shop because we grew up in Thailand and in Thai “Saong” means two and “jai” means heart so this little endeavor set out by us is dedicated to the two hearts of Jesus and Mary. The red heart in the Logo is for Jesus and the Blue heart for Mary…His pain and suffering is the sword that pierced her loving mother’s heart and that is what the logo is all about.
2. What do you make?
We make rosaries in a bit of an unconventional way, not with wire but with very sturdy string and beads lots of tiny seed beads and other pretty beads. Courtney has a vibrant and colorful style and well I tend to gravitate to the earth tones and more natural combinations. You can find a beading tutorial at my blog and it shows pictured steps on how to string a beaded rosary.
We also make holy water bottles, Catholic jewelry, Crucifixes & Rosary Hangers, first communion items, occasionally procure vintage devotional items, Kids Rosaries, Jewelry, and coloring pages.
3. Do you do anything else?
Something else we are up to is fundraising for various things throughout the year with sales from our shop. Recently we put on a Homeschool Catholic Family Camp and have decided to help with the cost of putting it all on that sales from the shop will be dedicated to that endeavor for now.
We also will do special fundraisers where we designate a unique coupon code that offers $1 off but is a way we can track sales with that code and then offer 30% of those sales for the specific fundraiser!
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