Saint Etheldreda (also known as Saint Audrey, 636-379), ascetic, queen, and foundress of the “double monastery” at Ely. Against earthly pressures, and through divine intervention, Saint Etheldreda maintained her personal consecration to the Lord, remaining a virgin and engaging in ascetic pursuits despite her noble station. Her perseverance in faith and commitment to a life of prayer and service is remarkable still today.
St. Cuthbert, the young Prior of Lindisfarne, upon whose monastery she bestowed many gifts from her own private property. Over time, Etheldreda became friends with Saint Wilfrid, her confessor, who on her behalf, encouraged the king to allow her to retire for some years to the Convent at Coldingham Abbey. There, she lived as a sister, having received the veil from Saint Wilfrid himself. Her husband, the king, shortly after consenting to her departure from the royal court, changed his mind and pursued her. When Saint Wilfrid pleaded on her behalf, the king made his intentions known: he would find Etheldreda and bring her back to the court by force, where he would consummate his marital privileges.
who bestowed such grace upon your servant Etheldreda
that she gave herself wholly to the life of prayer
and to the service of your true religion:
grant that we, like her,
may so live our lives on earth seeking your kingdom
that by your guiding
we may be joined to the glorious fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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."