Mary & Friends is an idea that started in 2006. I was asked to run a small rosary club at our Catholic School. Relying on my love of the rosary, I agreed. When nearly 60 children showed up, I felt inspired and… terrified. With beads scattered all over the room and children ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, I wondered how I could teach them anything, let alone make rosaries!

Like most Catholics, I grew up knowing about the Rosary but it wasn’t until later in my life that I fully understood this powerful prayer. I remember watching my grandmother and my parents pray the Rosary. I still have my father’s black, beaded, handmade rosary. My dad, Deacon Frank Kokoczka, was devoted to Mary. I have prayed the Rosary with my daughters and the children in my classes. In my father’s memory, I decided to create an easy way to teach this beautiful prayer to children.

Before my teaching career, I worked closely with Jan Z. Olsen at Handwriting Without Tears. After she retired, knowing she could draw, I asked her to help with illustrations. Together, we figured out how to make the rosary easy for children to understand. We have a Mary & The Rosary booklet for each grade, and rosary kits too.

There is more! Jan and I kept working and together we created more things to help young Catholics grow in their faith. The A-Z Saints make it easy and fun to teach children about these holy men and women. And now we have My Catholic LETTERS for Pre-K, My Catholic Words for Kindergarten, and My Catholic Sentences for first grade!

We have used our years of experience with Catholic education, our work as occupational therapists, our love for children, our passion for handwriting, and our faiths to create these materials. It is our hope that you will share them with your children and that they will foster love, peace and joy.