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."

October 25: Saint Antônio de Sant’Anna Galvão

Posted by Jacob

Today, October 25, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Antônio de Sant’Anna Galvão (1739-1822), Brazil’s first saint, Franciscan friar, founder of the order of Our Lady of the Conception of Divine Providence, and miracle worker. Many miracles and gifts of divine origin are attributed to Frei Galvao, among them bilocation, telepathy, premonition and levitation. He is widely known in Brazil for the aptly named “Friar Galvao Pills:” tiny papers with a prayer that can be swallowed. Nuns in the Monastery of the Light make thousands of these prayer aids and distribute them to the faithful for free. Many believe they have healing powers, and numerous miracles have been reported following their use.

Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvao was born in 1739 in Sao Paolo to a deeply religious family. His father had immigrated from Portugal and married his mother, who was of Brazilian descent. The family was socially well-respected, wealthy, and influential. Along with his ten siblings, Antonio enjoyed the privileges of growing up rich and well taken care of.

At age thirteen, Antonio’s father sent him to study under the Jesuits, hoping to aid his cultural and educational formation. Antonio developed quickly in his Christian faith, and upon returning home, declared his intent to become a Jesuit. His father, however, citing the recent persecution of the Jesuits, persuaded his son to join the Franciscan convent at Taubaté, not far from Guaratinguetá. At age 21, Antonio entered the novitiate, giving up his political influence and wealth, and committing himself to a life of service to the Lord. He immediately distinguished himself as both pious and virtuous, and at the age of 22, made his solemn vows. The next year, due to his education and virtue, he was ordained and assigned to Sao Paulo.

In Sao Paulo, Antonio served and studied, working as preacher, confessor and porter. He further consecrated himself to Our Blessed Mother, becoming, in his own words, her “eternal slave and son.” He consecrated himself fully to Mary, Mother of God, signing a letter of consecration in his own blood in 1766. Within a few years he was appointed confessor to the Recollects of Saint Teresa, a group of nuns in that city. As confessor, he met Sister Helena Maria of the Holy Spirit, a sister of great faith and devotion, who recounted to him her visions of Jesus. Together, they founded a new community of sisters under the patronage of Our Lady of the Conception of Divine Providence. Sister Helena Maria’s premature death the next year left Father Antônio responsible for the new congregation, especially for building a convent and church adequate for their growing numbers. He cared for the community with humility and prudence, serving not only the sisters, but all members of the city who flocked to his confessional.

Under his leadership, the community flourished, with a new church and convent becoming required due to the spread of vocations. The buildings, referred to as the Monastery of Light, was declared a "Cultural Heritage site" by UNESCO. Saint Antonio wrote a constitution for the order, which proved to be an excellent guide to inner life and religious discipline. Many times, it was requested that he leave the city to be assigned somewhere else, but the bishop, the citizens of Sao Paulo, and even the city itself seemed to prevent his departure. A letter from the Senator of the city expressed the wish of the people: "This man is so necessary to the Sisters of Light, is precious to all of this City and Towns of the Province of São Paulo, is a man and religiously wise counsel, all flock to ask him, a man of peace and charity."

Frei Galvão traveled constantly throughout the region, preaching and serving the people. he always traveled on foot, not accepting the common practice of being borne by slaves. He walked as much as 60 kilometers a day, reaching gowns and immediately praying, preaching, and hearing the confessions of those who awaited him. Countless miracles were attributed to him, and he was frequently sought for healing in times when there were no resources and medical science available. On one such occasion, inspired by God, Saint Antonio wrote upon a piece of paper a Latin phrase from the Office of Our Lady, which said: "In Thy conception, Thou wast immaculate: the Mother of God, pray for us." He rolled the paper into pill form and gave it to a young man who was dying from renal failure. Immediately the pain ceased and he was cured. By the same method, a woman in labor was cured of her complications. Saint Antonio thereafter taught the sisters of his order to create this miraculous “pills.” Cures on record from his intercessions include curing of breast cancer, infertility, kidney problems, and childbirth complications.

In 1811, at the request of the bishop of Sao Paulo, Frei Galvão founded the Collection of Santa Clara in Sorocaba, Brazil, where he remained for 11 months overseeing the new community. After his death, additional monasteries were founded by the members of his orders. Saint Antonio died in 1822, and at the request of the people of Sao Paulo and the Sisters of his order, was buried before the high altar of the church of the Monastery of Light, which he had built. His tomb remains a place of pilgrimage today.

Sister Celia Cadorin, who spearheaded the cause for his canonization, defined the gentle friar as possessing “the tenderness of God." She said: "He was a priest, a Friar of delicacy, gentleness, and kindness, especially to the poor. He was the brother of prayer. He had a heart of compassion for the sick and all sinners, and conveyed a great peace at all times."

By all accounts, Saint Antônio de Sant’Anna Galvão was 'quite normal' with the exception of his miracles. He lived a life of Franciscan simplicity, extending the testimony of Christ to everyone. He lived a life of holiness in the day-to-day as a man of prayer, preacher, confessor, a missionary popular, and also mason porter of the Franciscan convent in downtown Sao Paulo. As porter, he was cheerful and friendly and welcomed everyone.

During the beatification homily, Pope John Paul II quoted from the Second Letter to Timothy (4:17), "The Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the word fully," and then said that Antônio "fulfilled his religious consecration by dedicating himself with love and devotion to the afflicted, the suffering and the slaves of his era in Brazil." The pope continued, "His authentically Franciscan faith, evangelically lived and apostolically spent in serving his neighbor, will be an encouragement to imitate this ‘man of peace and charity.’"

Day 298 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Simple lives of faith, witnessed by all.
Requested Intentions: Successful immigration and employment (S); Conversion of an unloving daughter (M); Recovery of husband, health of mother, economic freedom (R); Freedom from depression, restoration of family relationships (N); Restoration of a relationship (J); Healing of friends from cancer (J); Complete healing of a friend with pancreatic cancer (J); Recognition of God’s Will; Obedience in vocation (J); Successful employment (M&I); For a son who struggles (S); Conversion (P); For family, peace, and social justice (J); Son’s employment (K); Discernment of the Lord’s will (A); Mother’s full recovery from a stroke (K); Employment (P); For family’s prosperity and employment (M); For a husband’s addiction (F); Health in a relationship, literary representation (D); For a mother struggling with cancer (P); Employment and financial assistance (L); End to work troubles, return to health (R); For a husband’s recovery from alcoholism (M); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).


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