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 9: Saint Kieran of Conmacnoise, Apostle of Ireland

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 9, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Kieran of Conmacnoise (also known as Saint Ciaran, or Saint Kieran the Younger, 512-546), founder of the monastery at Conmacnoise, and one of the “twelve apostles of Ireland.” Saint Kieran became one of the first twelve Bishops of Ireland consecrated by St. Patrick, and is honored as the first Irish born saint.

Kieran was born in Connacht, Ireland, the son of a carpenter and chariot-builder He demonstrated a great aptitude for scholastics from an early age, a gift he is said to have inherited from his mother’s side of the family as his maternal grandfather had been a bard, poet, and historian. Kieran was mentored and tutored by the deacon Justus, who later baptized him. He was taught by the righteous deacon while tending cattle in the fields, and later continued his education at Saint Finnian’s monastery school at Clonard.

Kieran quickly gained the reputation of being the most learned monk at Clonard, and was asked to serve as tutor to the daughter of the King of Cuala, even as he continued his own studies. He was held in high esteem by his instructors and peers, one of which said of Kieran: “He was a lamp, blazing with the light of wisdom.” Apart from his studies, Kieran also had a great capacity for friendship with other leaders of the early Irish church. He would later mentor, befriend, and tutor many of the founders of the great Catholic Church in Ireland. Kieran’s years of residence at Clonard were marked by many miracles, which benefited not only the monastery itself, but those who studied within its walls, and the entire community.

Following the completion of his studies, the monk Kieran left Clonard and settled at the monastery of Inishmore, under the direction of Saint Enda. While at Inishmore, Kieran experienced a vision of a great tree, which he interpreted to mean that he was called to found a great monastery. He traveled throughout Ireland, stopping at various monasteries, but began to find that the other monks he encountered were somewhat envious and resentful of his reputation and excessive charity to those in need. During his journey, he was led by a stag to Inis Aingin (Hare Island), where he lived for three years. During his hermitude, brothers and monks arrived from all over Ireland to become his disciples, each attesting to his holiness and miracle working.

After three years and three months, Kieran departed Hare Island, and along with eight brothers, settled on the east bank of the Shannon River in central Ireland. Here, he founded the great monastery of Conmacnoise, which attracted thousands of students from all over Europe. The monastery became Ireland’s center of education, art, and literature. Sadly, Saint Kieran died not long after founding the monastery, a likely victim of the plague that swept through the region.

Ruins of Conmacnoise Monastery
Today, the ruins of Conmacnoise, which fell into disrepair after many centuries of use, are among the most well preserved ruins from that time period. The site attracts visitors and pilgrims who marvel at the finest collection of high crosses left in Ireland.

Over the years, as with many of the Celtic saints, many great stories and legends have arisen of the miracles wrought by their hands. Below, a collection of stories and legends of Saint Kieran. (Source: http://www.stkieranchurch.org/Biography_of_St_Kieran.html)

Kieran & A Fortunate Fox
One day as Kieran was watching the cattle some distance from the home of deacon Justus, Kieran realized he was able to hear his tutor’s instruction as closely as if he were in Justus’ house. On another occasion, while Kieran was out in the cattle pasture, a fox emerged from the forest and approached him. He treated the animal gently, so that it returned quite often. Kieran asked the fox to do him the favor of carrying his text of the Psalms back and forth between him and Justus. One day, however, the fox was overcome by hunger, and began to eat the leather straps that covered the book. While the fox was eating, a hunting party with a pack of hounds attacked him. The dogs were relentless in their pursuit, and the fox could not find shelter in any place except the cowl of Kieran’s robe. God was thus glorified twice – by the book being saved from the fox, and by the fox being saved from the hounds.

The Dun-Cow of Kieran
When it was time for Kieran to leave home for the monastery of Clonard, he asked his parents for a cow to take with him as a contribution to the community. His mother refused this request, so Kieran blessed a cow of the herd, and the cow followed him to Clonard, accompanied by her calf. Not wishing to take both the cow and the calf, Kieran used his staff to draw a line on the ground between the animals. After that, neither the cow nor the calf would cross this line, and the calf returned home. The milk provided by Kieran’s cow was reputed to amply supply all in the monastery, as well as their guests.

Kieran Helps in a Time of Famine
During a time of famine, when it was Kieran’s turn to carry a sack of oats to the mill in order to provide a little food for the monks, he prayed that the oats would become fine wheat. While Kieran was singing the Psalms with pure heart and mind, the single sack of oats was miraculously transformed into four sacks of the best wheat. Kieran returned home and baked bread with this wheat, which the older monks said was the best they had ever tasted. These loaves not only satisfied their hunger, they were said to heal every sick person in the monastery who ate them.
The Vision of the Great Tree
While in the Aran Islands with St. Enda, both monks saw the same vision of a great and fruitful tree growing on the banks of a stream in central Ireland. This tree sheltered the entire island, its fruit crossed the sea surrounding Ireland, and birds came to carry off some of that fruit to the rest of the world. Enda interpreted this vision for his friend by saying, “The great tree is you, Kieran, for you are great in the eyes of God and all people. All of Ireland will be sheltered by the grace in you, and many will be nourished by your fasting and prayers. Go to the center of Ireland, and found your church on the banks of a stream.
A Cow Comes to Kieran’s Aid
A careless monk dropped Kieran’s text of the Gospels into the lake surrounding Hare Island, where it remained underwater for a long time. On a summer day when the cattle went into the lake, the strap of Kieran’s book stuck to the foot of one of the cows. When the book was retrieved, it was dry, with not a letter blurred or a page destroyed.

Year 2: Day 251 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Diligence and hard work in the vineyard of the Lord
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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