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."

November 25: Saint Catherine Labouré

Posted by Jacob

Today, November 25, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Catherine Laboure (1806-1876), member of the Daughters of Charity, striker of the Miraculous Medal, and visionary. Saint Catherine lived her life simply, in service to those who lived with, never revealing until late in life that she was the recipient of heavenly visions and missions from Our Blessed Mother. Saint Catherine’s faith and humility led to the universal devotion to the Miraculous Medal, and continues to inspire us today.

Zoé Labouré was born in Fain-les Moutiers, a small village of France. The daughter of a wealthy and pious farmer, Zoé was raised devoutly in the faith. Her father, who had at one time in his life desired to become a priest, married a devout woman— Zoé’s mother—who raised her daughter strong in the faith during her early life. However, Zoé lost her mother when she was just nine years old. Her father, unable to support his eleven children (Zoé was the ninth), was forced to send his daughter and her younger sister to live with an aunt. For two years, Zoé abandoned her education, and lived with her devout aunt, until she was recalled to take charge of her father’s household upon the departure of her elder siblings.

Zoé’s older sister had entered the convent of the Daughters of Charity, the community of Saint Vincent de Paul. Zoé yearned to follow her, but had never selected a community to enter. From a young age, she had made a vow of virginity, and desired nothing more than to imitate Our Blessed Mother, whom she had devoted herself to upon the death of her mother. Ardent longing to see the Blessed Virgin filled her, and prayed simply for the grace of that meeting. When her work and household duties allowed her, she spent all her free time in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin in a nearby village.

Still torn and undecided regarding which religious community to enter the novitiate in, Zoé had a dream one night in which she saw a venerable priest in a dream, saying Mass in her little village church. In her dream, the priest—who she later learned to be Saint Vincent de Paul-- turned to her and gestured for her to come to speak with him. However, she retreated, and he said to her: “Now you flee me, but later you will be happy to come to me; God has plans for you.” Eventually, Zoé saw a picture of Saint Vincent, and realized the dream was calling her to enter the Daughters of Charity. When her younger sister was old enough to take over the household duties, she received permission from her father, and entered the novitiate at the Daughters of Charity convent, as her sister had done, taking the name Catherine. As a postulant, Catherine assisted in the translation of Saint Vincent de Paul’s relics to a church in Paris.

As a member of the religious community, Saint Catherine was graced by the Lord with frequent visions of Christ. She frequently saw Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, oftentimes appointed as Christ the King. Soon thereafter, in July of 1830 when Catherine was just 24 years old, Our Blessed Mother appeared to her as she had always wished. For the next 46 years, Saint Catherine would be blessed to commune with the Blessed Virgin, receiving messages and the mission of the Miraculous Medal. The Feast of the Miraculous Medal occurs on November 27—in just two days—and I will write more about this devotion then.

The medal, which Our Blessed Mother instructed to be struck, was the first task given to Catherine. She obeyed without hesitation, and with the assistance of her confessor. On one side it has the image of Our Lady, and the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” On the other are the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Our Lady told Catherine that wearers of the medal would receive great graces, it has become known as the Miraculous Medal, and its wearing and devotion has spread worldwide.

Saint Catherine, at the request of Mary, prayed incessantly for peace for 46 years. She also took a vow of silence, sharing only the instructions of the Blessed Mother with her confessor. He at first did not believe her, and she spent her days suffering that she could not complete her tasks. Eventually, her confessor (and then the bishop of Paris) were convinced, the medals struck, and miracles began occurring through their power. However, no one else was told who the recipient of the visions was. Even the Mother Superior at Saint Catherine’s convent did not know that the miraculous visions were occurring within her own convent walls.

Saint Catherine’s days were spent in prayer, contemplation, and devotion to Our Blessed Mother through prayer of the Rosary. As no one knew of her special relationship with Mary, she received no special treatment. Catherine worked obediently in the most menial kitchen and farming jobs, and cared for the elderly at a hospice near the convent. She further wrote about her visions of Our Blessed Mother, in one entry saying:

"Oh, how beautiful it will be to hear it said: Mary is Queen of the universe. That will be a time of peace, joy and happiness which will be long... She will be borne like a banner and will make a tour of the world.” The Virgin foretold that this time would come only after “the entire world will be in sadness... Afterwards, peace.”

Catherine suffered much during this time, and eventually died at the age of 70. Many miracles have been reported at her tomb. When her body was exhumed over fifty years later, in 1933, it was found completely fresh and supple, her blue eyes bright and clear. Saint Catherine’s incorrupt body is now encased in glass beneath the side altar at 140 Rue du Bac, Paris, beneath one of the spots where our Lady appeared to her.

Prayer of Saint Catherine Labouré

Whenever I go to the chapel,
I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to him
"Lord, I am here.
Tell me what you would have me do."
If he gives me some task,
I am content and I thank him.
If he gives me nothing,
I still thank him
since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that.
And then, I tell God
everything that is in my heart.
I tell him about my pains and my joys,
and then I listen.
If you listen, God will also speak to you,
for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen.
God always speaks to you
when you approach him plainly and simply.

Year 2: Day 328 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Faith. Humility. The grace of Our Blessed Mother.
Requested Intentions: Blessings on overseas employment (M); Healing of mother (L); Successful employment for husband (G); Successful employment, personal fulfillment (C); Health and recovery of ill sister (A);  Resolution of legal issues; Grace and protection (E); Successful and meaningful employment (S); Restoration of a marriage (A); Peace and tolerance in a family, support for those with Parkinson’s Disease (M); For the restoration of a daughter’s marriage, end to debt (S); Employment and continued strength (K); Successful examinations for a son (J); Employment and blessings of a child (S); Employment and financial security (F); 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).


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