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."

September 11: Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre

Posted by Jacob

"If we have to suffer martyrdom it would be a great grace given to us by God; it's something to be desired, not feared." (Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, in a letter from China to his uncle)

Today, September 11, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840), Vincentian priest, missionary, and first saint of China. Canonized in 1996 by Pope John Paul II, the holy pontiff reminded the congregation that many more Chinese would be raised to the altars in the future, based upon the holy work performed by missionaries and martyrs like Saint Jean-Gabriel.

Jean-Gabriel Perboyre was born in southern France at Le Puech, near Mongesty. The eldest of eight children born to pious farmers, Jean-Gabriel’s parents raised he and his siblings in the ways of the faith. From his earliest years he was noticed for his piety. Through the example of his parents, five of the eight Perboyre children entered the religious life: three sons became Vincentian priests, and two daughters became Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.

Jean-Gabriel his younger brother, Louis, were educated by their uncle, a Vincentian priest in the Congregation of the Mission. While in school, Jean made the decision to enter the priesthood, heeding the call of the Lord. Obediently, he asked for his parents’ permission, which they gave without hesitation, and at the age of 16, he entered the Vincentian community. As a young student in the minor seminary, he was loved and venerated by all his fellow disciples, who called him the Little Jesus. One of the novices who later was confided to his care, said: “For many years I had desired to meet a Saint, and when I saw Monsieur Perboyre, it seemed to me God had answered my wish. Several times I said, ‘You will see that Monsieur Perboyre will be canonized.’”

Jean-Gabriel professed his vows at 18, and traveled to Paris to study theology. Assigned to the Congregation’s boarding school in Montdidier, Jean-Gabriel was charged with the care and instruction of the students there. At 24, he was ordained a priest, and subsequently was appointed professor (and later Superior) at the seminary of Saint Flour. His two maxims were: “One does good for souls only by prayer. In all that you do, work only to please God, otherwise you would waste your time and effort.”

Following his ordination, Jean-Gabriel wished for nothing more than to serve the Lord. He stayed in constant contact with his younger brother, Louis, who had declared his intention to travel to China on mission. Louis did as he said, but sadly died en route to China. Jean-Gabriel immediately requested to replace his brother on the mission trip, and was granted permission. He wrote to his uncle:

“I’ve great news for you. God has just granted me a very precious favor which I certainly don't deserve. When he was pleased to give me a vocation to the priesthood the main reason which made me answer his call was the hope of being able to preach to pagans the good news of salvation. Since then I've never really lost sight of this target, and above all the idea of the Chinese mission always made my heart beat faster.”

At the age of 33, Jean-Gabriel left for China—a trip which would take well over a year, during which time he was frequently ill but managed to study and learn basic Chinese. He arrived a Ho-non Province in 1836. In one early letter written to his community in Paris he described himself as a curious sight: “my head shaved, a long pig-tail, stammering my new languages, eating with chopsticks.”

Jean-Gabriel immediately began preaching the Christian faith in the language of the people, to great success. Devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, Jean-Gabriel spent entire hours in adoration. “I am never happier,” he said, “than when I have offered the Holy Sacrifice.”

For the next several years, Jean-Gabriel traveled throughout the region, offering missions to the locals. It was not before long that he attracted the attention of the government, and was imprisoned for preaching Christianity and “deceiving and seducing the people.” He was imprisoned, and after some time, began being tortured. He was beaten, hung by his thumbs, made to kneel on iron chains and pieces of broken crockery, and flogged mercilessly with bamboo rods. It is reported that he was tortured so severely that his flesh hung in strips from his body, much like that of Christ.

During his torture, he was encouraged to renounce his faith, but resisted with courage, withstanding the most horrific pain. Those in attendance could hardly conceal their astonishment and could scarcely hold back their tears. “Trample on your God, and I will free you!” the local government official demanded.

“Oh!” the holy martyr replied, “how could I so insult my Savior?” And seizing a crucifix, he pressed it to his lips.

A Chinese convert, who had become ordained, snuck into the prison in disguise, and brought Jean-Gabriel food and encouragement, and heard his confession. Following a criminal trial, Jean-Gabriel was found guilty of entering the country illegally and preaching Christianity, and was sentenced to death. He was strung up on a cross-shaped gibbet, and then slowly strangled.

The first saint martyred in China, his relics were later translated back to France, and now rest in Vincentian Motherhouse in Paris.

Prayer of Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre to Jesus

O my Divine Savior,
Transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body
May serve only to glorify You.

Above all,
Transform my soul and all its powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
Of Jesus.

I pray You
To destroy in me
All that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
But in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say,
With St. Paul,
"I live - now not I -
But Christ lives in me".

Canonization Homily of Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, delivered by Pope John Paul II

Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, priest of the Congregation of the Mission, he wanted to follow Christ evangelizing the poor, the example of St. Vincent de 'Paoli. After exercising the ministry of the clergy as a trainer in France, went to China. Here earnestly bore witness of Christ's love for the Chinese people. "I do not know what awaits me in the journey that lies ahead of me, without a doubt the cross, which is the daily bread of the missionary. What we can hope for better, going to preach a crucified God?" (Letter No. 70), wrote at the gateway to China. Along the streets where he had been sent found the Cross of Christ. Daily through imitation of his Lord, with humility and gentleness, fully identified with him. By following step by step in his Passion, caught forever in his glory. "One thing is needful: Jesus Christ," he liked to say. His martyrdom is the culmination of his commitment to following Christ, the missionary. After being tortured and condemned, reproducing the Passion of Jesus with remarkable similarity, as he came to death, even death on a cross. Jean-Gabriel had one passion: Christ and the proclamation of his Gospel. That's loyalty to this passion that he has been equated with the lowly and the condemned, and that the Church can now solemnly proclaim his glory in the choir of the saints in heaven.

Year 2: Day 252 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Full focus on Christ in our daily lives
Requested Intentions: Clear speech for a child (C); Conversion of a family (A); Successful employment (S); For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C).


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