This post is for francesdaughter who posted many pictures of a large habit rosary obtained by her daugher. Post dated Feb 10, 2010:
What you have is a habit rosary of a nun. If the nun was a Carmelite, there will be six decades (unable to distinguish from your photo). If not a Carmelite nun, the rosary is most likely in the Dominican 5-decade form (the one we are all used to).
Clips (also used were rings) are placed at various places in the decade circle arranged so that the rosary can be worn around the cord belt of the nun’s habit at her waist, and hang freely without becoming twisted during normal movement of the body.
The crucifix on the rosary is a Profession Crucifix. The heart and crown of thorns placard on the back of the cross would be worn over the heart (under her habit). However, in this case the crucifix is part of her habit rosary. The starburst on the front side is where the head of the crucifix corpus should be…your rosary is missing the corpus (body of Christ). The skull and crossbones would be located under the feet of the corpus, signifying Christ’s defeat of death.
It is a large rosary, becuase, as a habit rosary, this was worn dangling from the belt cord of the habit and was blessed for the nun’s first clothing in the process of her first profession.
You will probably also find that the clips separate the decade part of the rosary into sections…this was done so that it could be worn more conveniently as a part of the habit–as opposed to a rosary used for individual prayer (smaller and all in one piece). Because of these clips, the rosary would naturally “fall” correctly on the nun’s skirt and could be devotionally used whenever her hands reached down to finger the beads (see above).
Hope this helps.