Saint Margaret of Cortona (1247-1297), a model of Christian redemption and conversion. Saint Margaret is sometimes referred to as the Second Mary Magdalene, recognized for her turn from sin to exemplary holiness. For more on the life and sainthood of Saint Margaret of Cortona, visit my previous post here.
Pope John Paul II prayed to Saint Margaret, while on pilgrimage, in 1999. The text of his prayer follows:
O Saint Margaret of Cortona, I too come today as a pilgrim and I pause to pray with you at the feet of the image of Christ Crucified and Risen, whom, as a penitent, you contemplated at length. Lord Jesus, crucified for us, in offering yourself on Calvary for all humanity, you have revealed to us the wellsprings of everlasting life. May the mystery of your Passion enlighten our life making us ready to follow you on the way of holiness and love. Rekindle our faith; teach us to recognize and welcome in our everyday life the plans of your mysterious Providence. Give us the courage to confess our sins and open our hearts to sorrow, in order to receive the gift of your mercy. Empower us to forgive our brethren following the example of your love that knows no bounds. Help us to be humbly disposed to repair the harm we have done by actively and generously serving the poor, the sick, and all who are marginalized and without hope. Give everyone the joy of persevering faithfully, in full harmony with the Church, along the way of the particular calling. Above all others, show the young the splendid plan of love that you intend to bring about for them and with them at the threshold of the new millennium. Enable us to be peacemakers, tenacious weavers of daily relationships of fraternal solidarity, artisans of reconciliation, witnesses and apostles of the civilization of love. O glorious Saint Margaret of Cortona, present this request to your Crucified Lord and ours. Guide us with the strength of your example, support us with your constant protection, be our companion we beg you, till we reach our Father's house. Amen.
O holy Margaret of Cortona, I am here before this image of Jesus crucified which has spoken to you so many times. Obtain for me, too, the grace of hearing His voice: Through His Word, Through prayer, And the events of life.
O Jesus Crucified, increase my faith and grant me, as you granted to holy Margaret, the grace of a sincere repentance from my sins;
make me at one with the most needy
and accompany me, I ask you, to the Father's house. Amen
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."