Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?

Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."

As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

March 3: Saint Katherine Drexel

Posted by Jacob

Wednesday, March 3 is the feast day of Saint Katherine Drexel (1858-1955), a modern-day American saint. Saint Katherine was moved to extend services being offered by the Church to those who society ignored, specifically African Americans and Native Americans. At a time in history when this was both controversial and dangerous, “Mother Katherine” stood up for the rights of the downtrodden and forgotten. She brought the love and charity of the Lord to those in abject need, and in the process, changed the way that many looked at the mission of the American church.

Born in Philadelphia in 1858, Katherine’s mother died just weeks after her birth. She and her sister were subsequently raised by an aunt and uncle until her father remarried in 1860 and brought the girls back home. Together with a new sister, the three were raised in a warm family, full of faith and God’s love. Rather well-off, Katherine’s father instructed his girls at home, with the aid of tutors. He taught that any wealth had was meant to be shared with those who had not. Katherine felt a strong pull toward the faith life, and began teaching Sunday school during her high school years. It was immediately apparent that she had a special gift from the Lord.

When her stepmother became ill, Katherine nursed her through three years of suffering, which she later wrote reminded her of the suffering of Christ. During this experience, she became more and more certain of her call to religious vocation, and spoke of this desire often with her spiritual director. He advised her to continue praying to the Lord, and to wait for an answer.

Katherine’s father died unexpectedly in 1885, and she and her sisters found themselves having inherited his fortune. As Katherine became more involved in her church, she was invited to accompany a mission trip throughout the Northwest territories, visiting the Native American Indian reservations and peoples living there. Katherine was moved by their plight and poverty, and along with her sisters, flew to the Vatican for a personal audience with the pope. Pope Leo XIII received the sisters, and when Katherine begged for a missionary priest to be sent to the American Indian peoples, he responded kindly, “Why not, my child, yourself become a missionary?”

Katherine had received her call from God, although not in the form she had expected. Previously, she had envisioned a quiet, contemplative life in a cloister. What the pope was suggesting was something altogether different. She again spoke with her spiritual director who encouraged her in the direction of the papal advice. After prayer and contemplation, she accepted the challenge.

Katherine took her veil as the first Sister of the Blessed Sacrament on February 12, 1891. With the money she had inherited, following her father’s early advice, Katherine began building schools on Native American Indian reservations. She extended food, clothing, and financial assistance to the struggling people, and more than that, she extended her love and respect, finding the dignity in each person she worked with. Not content to limit her efforts, Katherine extended her mission to the poor of the American cities, namely African American communities. There she built churches, schools, and eventually boarding schools for African American youth. By 1942 Katherine had established a system of African American Catholic schools in 13 states, 40 mission centers, 23 rural schools, 50 American Indian missions.

Katherine’s community grew, with boarding schools, churches, and missions spreading throughout the country. She founded a school to increase the training of teachers for children in Louisiana, what came to be known within a few years as Xavier University, the nation’s first university for African American students. Katherine continued leading her sisters in aggressive missionary work until she suffered a heart attack at age 77. After her heart attack, she continued her life cloistered, as she had at one planned, praying and meditating, and directing the work of her community. She lived approximately 20 more years, the last of her sisters to go home to their Maker.

Two miraculous cures of deafness have been attributed to Saint Katherine’s intercession. On October 1, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized her, officially recognizing her sainthood. Her shrine was declared an American National Shrine in 2000. The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament continue their work today in education, charity, and service.

Saint Katherine Drexel lived a life of bravery and courage, forged by the fire of the Lord in her heart. She stood resolute in face of threats, criticism, and public opinion, serving the Lord tirelessly in her efforts to serve others. How often do we let our own fears, the judgments of others, or obstacles in our path turn us from what the Lord would have us do? What can we learn from Saint Katherine Drexel about confidence in the Lord, love and acceptance of all, and service to those in need? Her life is a tribute to the Lord, and her words a call to service of His people:

“If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open wide our hearts. It is Joy which invites us. Press forward and fear nothing.”

Day 62 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Confidence in the Lord; Removal of fear; Hearts of Service!
Requested Intentions: That those who wish it be blessed with children (S); Safety of travelers (J); Improved family relationship with the Lord, using gifts for His glory (L); For the orphans of Saint Francis Xavier in India (Fr. B); For the health of a family member with Rett’s Disorder (C); For the restoration of hearing (L); For a restorative, faith-deepening Lent for all those who are struggling (L).
Special Intentions (Day 21 of 45-day Novena to Our Blessed Lady of Lourdes): The intentions of all those who read this blog, whether submitted or retained in the quiet of their hearts; Penance, Penance, Penance for sinners; For all those who are suffering.


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