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."

April 14: Saint Lydwine of Scheidam

Posted by Jacob

Today, April 14, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Lydwine of Scheidam (1380-1433), virgin of the Church, and voluntary sufferer for the sins of mankind. Throughout her life, Saint Lydwine demonstrated patient suffering without complaint of a host of bodily illnesses, all of which she offered to the Lord—joined with His sufferings—to relieve the sins and suffering of others. As her biographer wrote:

“The first sentiment that arises, as one reads the unvarnished and detailed account given by the ancient chroniclers of the appalling sufferings which afflicted Lydwine, may be one of very natural repulsion. But a more attentive consideration of the pathetic figure, lying motionless there in the darkened hovel, enduring the most atrocious pains, with never a murmur of complaint, never a thought of self, embalms the soul with the sweet fragrance of Christian virtue, such a fragrance as refreshed the senses of those who penetrated into her miserable cabin. The thought of the active works of charity, which this victim of expiation initiated and carried out to relieve miseries far less intense than her own, fills the mind with admiration and amazement. And a further contemplation of the marvelous, mystic delights, with which her soul was almost habitually inundated, gives rise to a sense of mingled awe and envy.”

Saint Lydwine was born in present day Scheidam, Holland, near Rotterdam, in 1380. The only daughter of nine children born into a poor working family, little is known about the childhood of Lydwine, with the exception that she took a private vow of virginity at age 15. One year later, when Lydwine was 16, she was ice skating with a group of friends, when she suffered a fall and collision, such that one of her ribs was broken. From that moment on, Lydwine lived in constant pain, such that no position of her body (sitting, standing, reclining) could relieve her suffering.

She became bedridden following her accident, and a host of bodily ailments followed. These sufferings included headaches, vomiting, fever, thirst, bedsores, toothaches, spasms of the muscles, blindness, neuritis, pieces of her body falling off, coughing up blood, and many others. She is believed to be the first recorded patient suffering with Multiple Sclerosis.

Through the counsel of her parish priest, Saint Lydwine came to realize that there was no earthly reason for her suffering, and that it must be a gift from the Lord. She eagerly consecrated herself to enduring the pain and suffering for the good of others, in atonement for their sins. Lydwine fasted in earnest, receiving only the Holy Eucharist as sustenance in the last 19 years of her life. Lydwine further gave away all her possessions to the poor, sleeping on a mound of hay.

Saint Lydwine became known as a holy woman, a healer of the sick who visited her, and a mystic. Her body, despite being covered by awful sores, emitted the sweet perfume of heaven. Her touch was known to heal those whom doctors had given up on. She was visited frequently with visions and ecstasies of Jesus, and herself exhibited the Stigmata on many occasions. In one such vision, she was greeted by the presence of Jesus, and saw a rosebush which was not in bloom. Above the bush, an inscription read, "When this shall be in bloom, your suffering will be at an end."

Lydwine suffered for thirty-eight years, after which time she was greeted with another vision in which Jesus, Himself, administered her the Last Rites. She stated, “I see the rosebush in bloom,” and died later that evening, alone, as she preferred.

Multiple miracles and mystic gifts have been attributed to Lydwine, including bilocation. As Huysmans wrote in 1923, “She was given to be in two places at once, when Jesus asked her to be with him at Golgotha. In answer to His request, Lydwine replied: ‘O Savior, I am ready to accompany you to that mountain and to suffer and die there with you!’ He took her with Him, and when she returned to her bed, which corporeally she had never left, they saw ulcers on her lips, wounds on her arms, the marks of thorns on her forehead and splinters on her limbs, which exhaled a very pronounced perfume of spices."

The life of Saint Lydwine reminds us that all pain, all suffering, all adversity is survivable, and even holy when consecrated to the Lord. We are reminded to join our suffering with that of He who suffered for all of us—to look to Jesus and His holy mother as models of joy in suffering. We are called to selflessness and overwhelming love for those around us. By turning away from our inward focus on our own troubles, and looking outward to those suffering around us, our burdens become lighter, lifted through the love and grace of the Lord, and become agents of holiness and good in the struggling world.

Day 104 of 365
Prayer Intentions: For the sick; For those who are suffering; For selflessness and joy in our suffering.
Requested Intentions: Health and recovery of Cardinal Sean Brady (R); Healing from a chronic illness (J); Deepening of faith and true conversion for a family (J); Successful employment (H); Restoration of a marriage (J); For a friend’s daughter, seeking medical treatment for a blood disorder (D); For the grace and conversion of a loved one (Z); For a beloved son’s return to the faith (A); For the improved health and recovery of a mother (G); For health, blessings, and protection (K); For an improvement in a difficult employment situation (T); For a family member’s recovery from surgery (D); For the victims of an automobile accident (D); For peace of mind and health (J); For the love of a romantic partner (S).


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