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."

July 31: Saint Helen of Skövde

Posted by Jacob

Today, July 31, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Helen of Skövde (also known as Saint Helena, or Saint Elin av Skövde, 1101-1160), widow, pilgrim, and martyr of the Church. Helen is the patron saint of Skövde, Sweden, and her image decorates the coat of arms for the town. Her Acts were recorded by the Bishop of Skara, Brynolf Algotsson, on hundred years after her death.

Born into nobility, Helen lived a quiet and entitled upbringing. Married as a young woman, she married and bore several children, but was sadly widowed a very young age. Following the death of her husband, Helen devoted herself to caring for her family and maintaining the family farm. Diligent and hard-working, the family thrived. However, she soon began to feel called to help those who were less well-of, and gradually began distributing her wealth and possessions to the poor.

Dedicated to the Lord, she financed the construction of the church in Skövde, and subsequently departed Sweden for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, she grew closer to God, and returned to Skövde to her farm where she dwelt in charitable acts, quiet contemplation, and prayer.

Prior to her departure on pilgrimage, Helen’s now-adult daughter married an unkind and abusive man, who frequently beat her and was mercilessly unkind. While Helen was away, visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the servants of the household conspired to murder the abusive man. Upon her return, her daughter’s in-laws blamed her, and hoping to avenge the death of their son, killed Helen on the way to church at Götene.

Church of Saint Helen
Saint Helen was buried in the Skövde church she helped finance, and a spring with reported miraculous healing properties sprang forth at the site. Following her death, the miracles began. The most profound miracle resulted when a blind man found the severed finger of Saint Helen (wearing a ring she had returned from the Holy Land with), and was instantly restored to sight. Other strange curiosities include the stone on which her body was washed that was said to have split in two as her blood ran over it. Pregnant women traditionally walked around the stones to ensure a hassle-free delivery.

Over time, Saint Helen’s grave became a pilgrimage site. Traditionally, pilgrims would take home small bags of dirt from St. Helen’s grave (they wore the bags around their necks) for their healing properties.

Saint Helen demonstrated, throughout her life, and openness to the call of the Lord. Not content to relax in her nobility and privilege, she distributed all she had to those in need, espousing the charitable acts of Jesus. Drawn to the Holy Land, she opened herself to the call of God, leading her deeper into the sacred relationship with the Divine. We pray today for the same courage to open ourselves to the call of the Lord, certain in the wonders and gifts that await us.

Year 2: Day 212 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Charity and love; the courage to follow our hearts toward the Lord.
Requested Intentions: For a family’s intentions (T); Successful examination results (B); Healing of a friend with cancer, for all those who help others (B); Healing and love (L); Grace and healing (V); Healing of a heart, consecration of a marriage (M); Health of a family, intentions of apostolate (H); For repentance (J); For a family in trouble (R); Healing, successful relationships for son, financial success (J); Success of a company (L); For a religious society (J); Healing of a husband, strength as a faithful caregiver (D); Healing of a son (T); Financial security, Healing and guidance (M); Healing of a heart and relationship (V); Employment for daughter (J); For a marriage that glorifies the Lord (K); Resolution of family situation, parents’ health (A); Positive results (C); For a son’s employment, faith, and relationships (S); Restored family relationships (A); Healthy conception and delivery of children (J); For a girlfriend’s recovery from a debilitating mental illness (J); For a daughter’s successful examination results (A); Occupational success, health and safety of family (S).


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