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 16: Saint Marguerite d’Youville

Posted by Jacob

“In all these sufferings Marguerite grew in her belief of God's presence in her life and of His tender love for every human person. She, in turn, wanted to make known His compassionate love to all. She undertook many charitable works with complete trust in God, who she loved as a Father.” (Vatican biography of Saint Marguerite d’Youville)

Today, October 16, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Marguerite d’Youville (1701-1771), the foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal (known as the “Grey Nuns”). A widow and mother of two young sons, Marguerite looked beyond her family, generously extending her charity to the world’s wounded people in her midst. In the broken hearts, spirits and bodies of the destitute she saw Jesus Christ. At her beatification Pope John XXIII called her “Mother of Universal Charity.”

Born Marie-Marguerite Dufrost de Lajemmerais in Varennes, Quebec, Marguerite was the eldest of six children. When her father died (when she was seven years old), the family was left to struggle for survival in great poverty. Given sponsorship by her great grandfather, Marguerite was able to leave home for two years at the age of 11, and study with the Ursuline nuns in Quebec. Ag 13, she returned home, assuming the responsibility of educating her younger siblings, and helping support the family.

Marguerite married at age 21, a young many named Francois d’Youville. Together, they had six children, although four died in infancy. Francois was not an ideal husband, but Marguerite was committed to him, and loved him wholeheartedly. His indifference to her and their children, illegal liquor trading with the Native Indians, and excessive gambling caused her great suffering. Despite this suffering, she faithfully cared for him when he became ill, nursing him until his death in 1730. At 29, Marguerite found herself widowed, mother of two young sons, and in significant debt.

Determined to survive, Marguerite placed her trust in the Lord—a lesson taught by the Ursuline sisters early on—and despite the difficulty for women to be entrepreneurs at the time, opened a small store. Through her enterprise, she was able to provide for both her sons’ educations, instructing them in the ways of the faith, and seeing them both ordained as priests. Throughout this time, despite her poverty, Marguerite shared all that she had with those in greater need.

Marguerite’s personal experience with poverty and struggle deepened her already significant compassion for the poor and those in need. With her children grown and out of the home, she and three companions who desired to care for the most down-trodden and forgotten of society, decided to dedicate their lives to the Lord through service to His people. Under Marguerite’s leadership, they opened a small home to welcome those in need, by giving them a clean place to stay and hearty meals. Eventually, this group of women became the Sisters of Charity of Montreal. Known as the “Grey Nuns” due to the color of their habits, these tireless women were mocked and derided by society, as service to the poor was not looked upon with favor in that time. (Humorously, the word “grey” in translation can also mean “tipsy” or “drunken,” which the sisters were occasionally called in reference to Marguerite’s late husband’s bootlegging career. In humility, Marguerite chose grey as the color of the order’s habits, to remind her sisters of their humble beginnings.)

In 1747, Marguerite was asked by the local government to oversee the administration of the General Hospital in Montreal. She and her companions worked without ceasing to restore the Hospital, eliminate its debt, and provide care to all-- especially those marginalized by society. She opened the hospital to disabled soldiers, the aged of either sex, the insane, the incurable, foundlings, and orphans. With her sisters, she scoured the city, seeking out those no other institution would serve, including the contagious, epileptics, and lepers. Marguerite moved into the hospital, where she lived the remainder of her life, serving as Director. The hospital was nearly closed several times due to financial problems and the armed conflict between the English and French for the region. Despite the war, Marguerite ministered to anyone in need, including the English—at one point, so many English soldiers were being treated in the General Hospital, one of the wings was unofficially renamed “Ward of the English.” Her care for the soldiers, however, caused them to avoid damaging the building during the conquest of Montreal.

Always industrious, Mother Marguerite and her sisters made clothes which were sold to traders in order to raise money. Despite inheriting incredible debt, the hospital was soon profitable, but was destroyed by fire in 1766. Heartbroken, but accepting of God’s will, Marguerite knelt in its ashes, prayed the Te Deum, offered praise to God and immediately began the rebuilding process.

Saint Marguerite died in 1771, after a lifetime of devotion to Jesus Christ through service to her fellow man. A profound example of compassionate love, she is the first native Canadian elevated to sainthood. Her Sisters of Charity continue their work today, throughout Canada, the United States, Africa, and South America. They are especially recognized for their work among the Eskimos.

From her official biography on the Vatican website:

“Pope John XXIII beatified Marguerite on May 3, 1959 and called her "Mother of Universal Charity" - a well-merited title for one who continues to this day to reach out to all with love and compassion. Marguerite d'Youville can sympathize with the unfortunate and painful situation of so many orphans, with adolescents worried about the future, with disillusioned girls who live without hope, with married woman suffering from unrequited love and with single parents. But most especially, Marguerite is a kindred spirit with all who have given their lives to helping others.”

St. Marguerite d'Youville,
During your lifetime,
you opened your heart and home
to every type of human misery.

Listen now to my prayer of petition.
I count on you to plead with the God of Love
to grant the favor I seek with confidence and trust.

Gift us as you were gifted;
with ever deepening faith,
with firm hope and trust.
Let my life be for all a service of love.

Mother of Universal Charity,
your love for the poor
made the impossible possible.
Please make haste to help me.

Year 2: Day 289 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Compassionate Love for all; Service to Others.
Requested Intentions: Successful work placement, continued health (A); Grace and healing for a family (P); Healing of a father (M); Academic success for son, employment for husband and brother (B); Freedom from anxiety and panic attacks (R); Health and healing in preparation for surgery (C); Healing of a chronic illness (P); Safety of a family during storms (A); Successful home ownership (P); Healing of a marriage (M); Employment for a husband, blessings for a marriage (E); Successful examinations for a daughter, healing of a relationships (V); Blessing for a family (V); Healing of baby girl M and all children suffering (M); Special intentions (R); Business success, peace, health (E); Conversion and deliverance of those who suffer, increase in vocations (M); Financial security and safe housing (M); For a daughter (K); Conversion of a family, deliverance of the souls in Purgatory (S); Successful marriage (A); Health, safety, grace, success of a building project (A); Successful treatment and recovery from cancer (D); 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).


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