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."


Our Lady of Ransom

Posted by Jacob

This weekend, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Ransom, also known as Our Lady of Mercy (September 24). This feast is linked to a devotion spread by the Order of Mercedarians, in which we recognize Our Blessed Mother as ransom for captives. Like her Blessed Son, Jesus, through the grace and intercession of Mary, we are ransomed from sin, and freed to live in the gracious light of Christ.


The history of devotion to Mary, Our Lady of Ransom, begins with Saint Peter Nolasco. Born in Languedoc in 1189, Saint Peter entered religious life at 25, and devoted himself to acts of charity. Given the historical backdrop at the time, when many Christian soldiers and faithful had been captured by the Moors and were being held in prison, Saint Peter began establishing an Order that would focus on the ransom and redemption of captives—what would become the Mercedarian Order

On August 1, 1218, Our Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Peter, to his confessor, Saint Raymund of Pennafort, and to the king, and through these three servants of God gave weight and approval to the Order that Saint Peter had conceived, establishing a work of the most perfect charity, the redemption of captives.

Our Blessed Mother first appeared to Saint Peter, declaring that she desired the establishment of a religious order bearing the name “Her Mercy.” As instructed by the Blessed Virgin, the order would deliver captives, and if needed, offer themselves in their place. Both Saint Raymund of Pennafort and the king of Aragon, James I, had similar visions, establishing Saint Peter Nolasco as the founder of this order.

According to the Constitutions, Mercedarians were 'to visit and to free Christians who are in captivity and in power of the Saracens or of other enemies of our Law… By this work of mercy… all the brothers of this Order, as sons of true obedience, must always be gladly disposed to give up their lives, if it is necessary, as Jesus Christ gave up His for us.' This is known as the Fourth Vow of the Order, in addition to poverty, chastity and obedience of the Augustinian Rule.

Established in Spain, and approved by Pope Gregory IX under the name “Our Lady of Mercy for the Ransom of Captives” (the Mercedarians), the Order spread rapidly due to the watchful grace of Our Blessed Mother. Its growth was increased as the charity and piety of its members was observed; they very often followed Her directive to give themselves up to voluntary slavery when necessary, to aid the good work. Famous among those willing to give themselves up for their captives was Saint Raymond Nonnatus.

The development of the order was immediate and widespread throughout France, England, Germany, Portugal, and Spain. As the Moors were driven back, new convents of Mercy were established at Montpellier, Perpignan, Toulouse, and Vich. Columbus brought some members of the Order of Mercy with him to America, and they founded houses in Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Ecuador, and took an active part in the conversion of the Indians. Toward the end of the 18th century, the Mercedarians erected houses for the training of missionaries, and in the beginning of the 19th century they undertook elementary teaching in their convents. The mother-house is in Rome, Italy.

It is credibly estimated that the Order ransomed 490,736 slaves between the years 1218 and 1632. An even greater achievement was the conversion of thousands in captivity, and steeling them against the sufferings of a cruel martyrdom for the faith. Protestant historian, Bonet-Maury, records that no expedition sent into the Barbary States by the powers of Europe or America equaled "the moral effect produced by the ministry of consolation, peace and abnegation, going even to the sacrifice of liberty and life, which was exercised by the humble sons of Saints John of Martha, Peter Nolasco, and Vincent de Paul."

Today, we are called to continue the good work of the Mercedarians, as requested by Our Blessed Mother. We are confronted with the captivity of sin every day—in our own lives, as well as those we come into contact with. Through the spread of our faith, our personal prayers and penances, we ask Our Blessed Mother—Our Lady of Ransom—to ease the sufferings of others, breathing the lightness of freedom into their lives, and casting off the shackles of sin!

God, who through the most glorious Mother of thy Son didst vouchsafe to increase thy Church with a new offspring for the redemption of thy Christian people: grant, we beseech thee, that like as we on this day do honor her for the work of her institution, so by her merits and intercession, we may be delivered from all our iniquities and the bondage of the devil. We ask this, as we ask all things, through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.



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