Fari U Rusariu


My older sister lives in Italy. We call her every few days just to catch up. Most of the time she is home alone, getting ready to make dinner, procrastinating ironing or working on some handicraft. Once a month she is not available, she takes time out to go a friend’s house “a fari u Rusariu.”

“Fari u Rusariu,” in our Sicilian dialect, is reciting the Rosary. She and her friends and neighbors and an extended group of friends and neighbors gather to pray the Rosary together.

Praying aloud for me is mostly a solitary activity. I pray aloud in my car, on my way to and from work. My younger sister always used to pray in her car during her commute to her college classes. Now, my mother and my younger sister and I always pray together in the car when we take a little road trip on the freeway. We switch off the music and say five Our Fathers, five Hail Marys and five Glory Be’s. It is satisfying and a comfort to us, but we don’t have an extended group with which to share.

I can imagine my sister and her friends (all the varied female voices) reciting the prayers in unison. I am looking forward to joining them next time I visit.

The Rusariu group is diverse, mostly older women, some much older. They, of course, recite the prayers in Italian. The older members know some of the prayers in the Sicilian dialect. The group recently decided that they needed to document and preserve these prayers and began to write them down. I was fascinated and begged my sister to share with me.

I received my copy of one of the final prayers a couple of weeks ago and I am, in turn, sharing here for those who have an interest…

L’Urtimu Misteru
L’urtimu misteru ca e di tutti
L’Armuzzi Santi su misi a la porta
O bona genti, prigamuci tutti
Prigamu pi li vivi e pi li morti.
Chistu e viaggiu ca ama fari tutti,
Li misiri cumpurtati
Damuci refrigeriu a l’Armi Santi.
Armi Santi, Armi Biati
O Priatoriu vantri stati
Prigati a Diu prigati pi li me necessitati
Ca vantri siti assa e siti assuntati.
Prigamu u Signuri tutti,
Requiem etrnu facemu a tutti.
Signuri duna Eternu Riposu, Armuzzi Santi di u Prigatoriu

So here is my life lesson. When I got my copy, of course, I began to read it to my mother and my sister here in the U.S. Once again, my mother surprised me. She recited along. She knew the prayer in Sicilian. She had no idea we were trying to document a prayer that she routinely recites in her own prayer life. I have a source of knowledge right here with me. I just need to ask her.

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