Pope Saint Pius V (1504-1572), confessor, reformer, and “Pope of the Holy Rosary.” Throughout his life and papacy, Pope Pius V worked to reform and solidify Catholic unity, securing the traditional Latin Rite of Mass, establishing seminaries, and publishing works to be used in churches throughout the world. Along with this, Pope Pius V lived the simple life of a Dominican, refusing the riches and luxuries thrust upon him, and instead ministering to the poor and needy. Through his deep devotion and prayers to Our Blessed Mother, the Battle of Lepanto was decisively won for Christendom.
Born Michael Ghislieri to a poor, but noble family in Bosco, Italy, the future pope was raised with an excellent education in piety and holiness. As a child he tended the family’s sheep in the fields, but entered the Dominican Order at age fourteen, where he excelled at his studies. Recognized as a gifted scholar and observed to have a deep relationship with the Lord, Michael was appointed a lecturer in philosophy and theology at Pavia, and very early became involved in the reform movement in the Church.
Saint Charles Borromeo, who was the driving force in the election of Michael as the new pope, for he recognized that a remarkable leader would be needed if the decrees of the council were to bear fruit.
Our Lady of the Rosary. Before the victorious fleet returned to Rome, the pope had had knowledge of the victory through a miraculous vision of Mary. He proclaimed a period of thanksgiving and placed the invocation "Mary, Help of Christians" in the Litany of Loreto, establishing the feast in commemoration of the victory.
The Roman Pontiffs, and the other Holy Fathers, our predecessors, when they were pressed in upon by temporal or spiritual wars, or troubled by other trials, in order that they might more easily escape from these, and having achieved tranquility, might quietly and fervently be free to devote themselves to God, were wont to implore the divine assistance, through supplications or Litanies to call forth the support of the saints, and with David to lift up their eyes unto the Mountains, trusting with firm hope that thence would they receive aid.
1. Prompted by their example, and, as is piously believed, by the Holy Ghost, the inspired Blessed founder of the Order of Friars Preachers, (whose institutes and rule we ourselves expressly professed when we were in minor orders), in circumstances similar to those in which we now find ourselves, when parts of France and of Italy were unhappily troubled by the heresy of the Albegenses, which blinded so many of the worldly that they were raging most savagely against the priests of the Lord and the clergy, raised his eyes up unto heaven, unto that mountain of the Glorious Virgin Mary, loving Mother of God. For she by her seed has crushed the head of the twisted serpent, and has alone destroyed all heresies, and by the blessed fruit of her womb has saved a world condemned by the fall of our first parent. From her, without human hand, was that stone cut, which, struck by wood, poured forth the abundantly flowing waters of graces. And so Dominic looked to that simple way of praying and beseeching God, accessible to all and wholly pious, which is called the Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which the same most Blessed Virgin is venerated by the angelic greeting repeated one hundred and fifty times, that is, according to the number of the Davidic Psalter, and by the Lord's Prayer with each decade. Interposed with these prayers are certain meditations showing forth the entire life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, thus completing the method of prayer devised by the by the Fathers of the Holy Roman Church. This same method St. Dominic propagated, and it was, spread by the Friars of Blessed Dominic, namely, of the aforementioned Order, and accepted by not a few of the people. Christ's faithful, inflamed by these prayers, began immediately to be changed into new men. The darkness of heresy began to be dispelled, and the light of the Catholic Faith to be revealed. Sodalities for this form of prayer began to be instituted in many places by the Friars of the same Order, legitimately deputed to this work by their Superiors, and confreres began to be enrolled together.
2. Following the example of our predecessors, seeing that the Church militant, which God has placed in our hands, in these our times is tossed this way and that by so many heresies, and is grievously troubled and afflicted by so many wars, and by the deprave morals of men, we also raise our eyes, weeping but full of hope, unto that same mountain, whence every aid comes forth, and we encourage and admonish each member of Christ's faithful to do likewise in the Lord.
Pope Pius V died in 1572, at the age of sixty-eight, still tirelessly serving the Church. His relics were placed in the Basilica of Mary Major, as a tribute to his eternal devotion to the Blessed Virgin, where they are venerated today.
You chose Saint Pius V as pope of Your Church
to protect the faith and give You more fitting worship.
By his prayers,
help us to celebrate Your holy mysteries
with a living faith and an effective love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 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."