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 8: Saint Julie Billiart

Posted by Jacob

Today, April 8, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Julie Billiart (1751-1816) , visionary and virgin of the Church. Born to wealthy farmers in Cuvilly, France, Julie displayed an aptitude and interest in religion from an early age. By age seven, she had reportedly memorized the Catechism, and her local priest allowed her to make her First Eucharist and Confirmation at age nine, well before the expected age of thirteen. At that time, her love for the Lord compelled her to a make a vow of chastity, pledging to remain a virgin in service to God. She became known as the “Saint of Cuvilly” by those who encountered her, due to her virtue and grace.

At approximately age 16, Julie’s family suffered a financial crisis, and Julie left school—which she enjoyed deeply—to work in the fields for her parents. During breaks, Julie could often be found sitting in the hay mounds, reciting Scriptures for the other laborers, telling parables, or instructing from the Catechism.

Julie and her family lived in dangerous times, and when she was approximately 30 (as the French Revolution approached), Julie witnessed an attempt on her father’s life. He violent event left her so shaken that she gradually became paralyzed and bed-ridden, a state she would remain in for nearly 21 years. During that time, Julie continued to teach to those who visited her bedside. She spent hours each day in prayer and contemplation, and became known for her spiritual direction and advice. Despite her condition, Julie remained peaceful, known for her gentle smile and kind eyes. Her favorite expression, even in her suffering, came to be “How good is the good God.”

Julie’s devotion to Catholicism, and her willingness to harbor local and visiting priests attracted the attention of French authorities who prohibited such behaviors. Subsequently, Julie was forced to leave her home (smuggled out by friends covered by hay in a hay cart), and spent the next several years being moved from place to place to avoid detection and arrest. It was during this time of great fear that Julie received a vision from the Lord. In her vision, she witnessed herself and a group of women dressed in religious habit—a habit she had never seen before—standing beside the crucified Christ on Calvary. A voice proclaimed, "Behold these spiritual daughters whom I give you in an Institute marked by the cross."

With the assistance of a wealthy young woman who had harbored her during her avoidance of the French authorities, Julie founded the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur—an order devoted to religious instruction of the poor, and the training of Catechists. One year later, Julie was miraculously cured of her paralysis. Elected Mother General of the order, under her guidance the Sisters of Notre Dame grew, spreading their charism throughout France and Europe. Over 15 convents were established, with Mother Julie traveling on foot to each of them (over 120 journeys), despite her again failing health. When the Napoleonic Wars put the convents in the path of advancing armies, Mother Julie became ill with anxiety, praying with zeal, and the convents were spared. She and her order nursed the wounded following the battle of Waterloo, a physical and emotional task from which Julie never recovered. Three months later, following constant suffering without complaint, Saint Julie Billiart died peacefully while reciting the Magnificat.

Saint Julie Billiart is remembered for her great love of the Lord, and her overwhelming charity to those around her. She instructed the poor, laborers, young women—those who frequently were overlooked by the educational institutions of the time—and demonstrated great love and faith. Saint Julie embraced her suffering, uniting her physical and emotional pains with the crucified Christ, and experiencing a bodily recovery through her faith and confidence in the Resurrection. Her simple recognition of the Lord’s goodness guided her every action, leading her to a life of holiness and service.

The life of Saint Julie Billiart reminds us that the love of the Lord enables us to overcome all obstacles. Despite loss, hardship, and paralysis, Julie never lost hope and confidence in the goodness of the Lord. How frequently do we lose site of the love and care of our living God?

Prayer to St. Julie Billiart

Saint Julie, through your great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, you were miraculously cured and favored by many graces. By your powerful intercession, obtain for us above all, great trust in God in all the difficulties of life, the strength to accomplish in all things the adorable will of God, and the special grace we now ardently ask of you. Amen.

Year 2: Day 98 of 365

Prayer Intentions: Devotion and Confidence
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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