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 | By Joey Reistroffer

Rosary in the Up-Country Draws Huge Crowds

When God wants something done, he gets right to the point.

And he had a mission for Troy and Kathleen Billings — bring his Upstate flock together to pray the rosary as a community outside the church walls.

That was no small mission, especially because Troy and Kathleen were living in the suburbs of Chicago at the time.

“God was calling us to move to the area,” Kathleen said.

So, they packed up their lives and headed south in August of 2020, finally settling on a five-acre spread in Simpsonville.

She said she noticed that a lot of other people were moving to the area too, and she did not want them to feel unwelcome.

“We invited a handful of people over to pray,” Kathleen said, and their first informal rosary was held in September 2020.

That handful of people enjoying each other’s company in prayer soon expanded to 200 and sometimes 250 souls.

“It just kept growing,” Kathleen said. “We’ve had 300 on some occasions. We draw from all the Upstate parishes.”

It’s important to Troy and Kathleen that people unite to contemplate the life of Jesus and the Holy Family in the rosary.

“This was needed,” Kathleen said as she sees more people moving to the area. “It’s an opportunity for Catholics from all the parishes to come together in fellowship.”

It also is a form of evangelization.

“When people see the faith alive outside the Mass and outside the church, that invigorates them,” she said. “They come, and [say], ‘Whoa, I had no idea’.”

Kathleen said one guest had not prayed the rosary in 20 years, and “now he’s a regular.”

Troy added that all are welcome, and Kathleen agrees. She uses social networking to organize these prayerful events.

“A personal invitation goes a long way,” she said. “When we meet new families, we try to have them over to get to know them.”

Sometimes, however, the logistics can be overwhelming and seeds of doubt creep in, but the couple said they plow through the hardships because, “Our Lady wants us to keep doing this.”

So, they do: one Saturday every month, Upstate parishioners can count on the Billings to open their home so the community can pray and reflect on the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries. Troy said their home is the perfect venue.

“We live out in the country … and we have a big field” he said, noting that their property is open and can accommodate 55-70 cars.

They also have a large outbuilding that can seat 100 people.

“It’s kind of like a family gathering,” Kathleen added. “Everybody brings a dish to share. There is always plenty of food, plenty left over.”

Like every fun family gathering, they have theme nights, sometimes featuring feast days like Our Lady of Guadalupe or St. Joseph. Kathleen said they have a barn with chickens, which is perfect for a Nativity play. They have also organized a New Year’s Eve dance and prayed the rosary with intentions for a better New Year. 

The main dish, however, is always the rosary.

“We want to use our home for God’s glory,” Kathleen said. “It’s amazing how it all has come together.”

When God, or Our Lady, want something done, we get right to it.