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 6: Saint Crescentia Hoess

Posted by Jacob

April 6 marks the feast day of Saint Crescentia Hoess (1682-1744), a woman of deep piety and humility, who despite persecution at the hands of her Franciscan sisters, remained cheerful and warm.

Born in a small town near Augsburg, Bavaria, Crescentia survived a poor childhood with grace and joy. Her father, a weaver, had little money to support the family, and yet Crescentia was renowned in the area for her cheerful disposition, and her willingness to give the little she had to those who needed it more. She spent her days at the local church praying, and received her first Holy Eucharist at the unusually young age of seven due to her knowledge of the catechism and her demonstrated love for the Lord. Residents of the town, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, referred to her as “the little angel.” At this time, around age seven, while praying in the chapel of the Franciscan convent, she heard a voice which said, “this shall be your dwelling place.”

When Crescentia reached 18, she professed her desire to join the Third Order of Saint Francis, which her father approved of. He approached the convent, but her admission was refused as she didn’t have a sufficient dowry to accompany her. Crescentia bore this rejection with grace and humility, as she bore all other difficulties. It wasn’t until the Protestant mayor of the town, who shared the same affection for Crescentia as all the town’s residents, intervened that she was accepted into the Order.

However, life was not easy for Crescentia once she took the veil. Rather, her sisters, under the direction of the Superior, treated her poorly, referring to her as “beggar,” and expecting her to perform the most menial tasks. She was not provided with her own cell, forced to beg her sisters to sleep in a corner each night. All of these things, as prior to her monastic life, she suffered with piety and grace—so much so, that her sisters would accuse her of hypocrisy. But Crescentia’s faith would not be dampened, nor would her sprits. She performed the menial tasks given to her better than anyone else could have, praying constantly while she did, and thanking the Lord for the opportunity. Following reception of the Holy Eucharist, she began experiencing visions of the Lord, which at first concerned her, and later brought her comfort.

After some years, a new Superior was appointed to direct the convent, and with her, change came upon the place. The new Superior recognized the piety and obedience of Sister Crescentia, and through her leadership, so did the community. She was appointed Mistress of Novices, and then years later, Superior of the convent. Both positions she reluctantly accepted with humility and grace. Under her direction, the rules were strictly enforced, but with compassion and joy. Warmth and humor guided her daily interactions with her sisters.

Word of Crescentia’s piety and grace spread, as did her humility. Local nobles, heads of state, and learned scholars consulted with Crescentia for spiritual direction. She became known for practical solutions to problems and a common-sense approach. Her advice to her visitors always stressed the need for prayer but also encouraged the petitioner to do everything possible to resolve the issue.

Crescentia and her community demonstrated great kindness to the poor and those in need. She welcomed all as brothers and sisters of Christ, and treated them with respect, dignity, and charity. To her sisters she recommended observing silence, recollection, and spiritual reading, especially the Gospels. The teacher of their religious life had to be Jesus on the Cross.

In her years as superior of the community, the convent underwent a renewal. No one with a heart for the Lord was turned away, regardless of the size of their dowry. Crescentia justified her selectivity regarding vocations saying, "God wants the convent rich in virtue, not in temporal goods.” She emphasized to her sisters unlimited trust in divine providence, readiness in the acts of the common life, love of silence, devotion to Jesus crucified, and devotion to the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother.

As she aged, Crescentia was beset with many physical ailments, which she endured with patient and joyful suffering. Eventually, her hands and feet became so crippled, she was unable to straighten her body and was confined to her bed, in the fetal position. Like Saint Francis, she cried out to the Lord, grateful for the gift of her limbs so that she might suffer. She died at peace on Easter Sunday, surrounded by her sisters.

Saint Crescentia had many reasons and opportunities to turn from the Lord, based upon the way others treated her. And yet, throughout her trials, humiliation, and suffering, her faith in God only deepened and grew. It was this faith that led her to transform her community, re-centering her sisters in the love of Christ, and the acceptance of all. She taught her charges, and in doing so teaches us, to never criticize others unkindly. Moreover, through her life, she reminds us that God is pleased by our gracious suffering, enduring all with patience and hope.

Prayer of Love to God (written by Saint Crescentia Hoess)

Grant, O God, that love and suffering may grow hand in hand in me, so that I may love you more and more with the cheerful disposition which is the fruit of love. O Lord, only grant me love for you, and I shall be rich enough. I desire only that you leave me to my nothingness and that you alone, if I may say so, be all in all and loved and honored by everybody. I wish to take pleasure in nothing but only in you and your love.

Year 2: Day 96 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Acceptance and love for all; Patient suffering.
Requested Intentions:  Healing of a daughter with congenital heart disease (F); Healing and an end to suffering (J); For the children (M); For a son fighting a rare immune system disease (R); Freedom from imprisonment (J); Employment and end to depression (H); Successful employment (A); Health for a soon to be delivered baby (T); Financial security (L); Healing of tooth pain (A); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Purification of the souls in Purgatory (A); Guidance in studies (J); Healing and security for a displaced family (C); Healing of high blood pressure; Recovery of brother following surgery (A); For a sister in trouble, that she may make better decisions in the light of Christ (M); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Attainment of funds for surgery (J); Freedom from financial difficulties (E);  For employment and college acceptance (E); Recovery and healing of a friend (C); For successful outcome to surgery (C); Healing for brother (M); Successful employment (C);  For the victims of the Japanese tsunami/earthquake (J); Healing (E); For a son struggling with depression (B); Successful conception (M); Freedom from social anxiety; confidence in the Lord (J); Improved success in employment and studies (D); Freedom from illness (T); For a wife’s employment (E); Healing of a husband’s knee (M); Freedom from sickness (R); Healing (C); Restoration of marriage (F); Freedom from medical difficulties, employment, successful relationship (D); Healing of a father following stroke (S).


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