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."

April 22: Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu, Model of Christian Unity

Posted by Jacob

In simplicity of heart I gladly offer everything, O Lord.
The Lord put me on this path, he will remember to sustain me in battle.
To His mercy I entrust my frailty.
I saw in front of me a big cross..., I thought that my sacrifice was nothing in comparison to His.
I offered myself entirely and I do not withdraw the given word.
God's will whatever it may be, this is my joy, my happiness, my peace.
I will never be able to thank enough.
I cannot say but these words:" My God, your Glory."

(Blessed Maria Gabriella )

Today we celebrate the feast day of Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu (1914-1939), a Trappestine nun who gave her life in service of Christian unity.  From the Trappist webiste:But who is Blessed Maria Gabriella? She is a young girl from Sardinia, in Italy, who died in 1939 at the Trappist monastery of Grottaferrata on the outskirts of Rome, at the age of 25. Like many another young man or woman she had accepted the gentle but compelling call of God to give her youth and life to Him. She entered a poor and hidden monastery and after three and a half years of prayer and penance died of the tuberculosis which had sapped her strong constitution. The only thing she had at her command was her life and this she offered as a holocaust to heal divisions and make all Christians visibly "one" in Christ. Her brief but total gift of herself was lived without any self-pity or regret. Outwardly, her life was insignificant, but through a series of events hard to explain in human terms, God used her to make known the beginning of the ecumenical movement in Italy and then, in the late 30's, the universal call to Christian Unity. In his encyclical "Ut unum sint" John Paul II pointed to her as an outstanding example of spiritual ecumenism.”

Blessed Maria was born in Sardinia, to a family of shepherds.  She was an obstinate and critical child, finding fault in most everything, and protesting and rebelling against her parents.  With their gentle persuasion, she grew into a loyal and obedient young woman, and at the age of 18 became involved in the local Catholic youth movement, “Azione Cattolic.”    She later reported this involvement to lead to a personal encounter with the Lord, but refused to speak more specifically about the event.  Rather, she dedicated herself to Him, wishing a life of deep prayer and charity, and entering the Trappestine monastery at Grottaferrata (near Rome).  There her life appears to have been dominated by three elements: gratitude, desire to respond to the grace of her calling with strength, and Christian Unity—to which she dedicated her life.  Upon acceptance into the order, she gave herself over completely to the Lord, saying, “Now do what You will.”

The overwhelming devotion to Christian unity espoused by Blessed Maria appears to have stemmed from the encouragement of the leader of her religious community, Father Paul Couturier.  He encouraged the community to pray for ecumenical unity during the Prayer for Unity Octave, and from that moment, she demonstrated a single-mindedness in offering both her prayers and her life to this cause.  Maria sought to reduce the separation and disagreement between Christian branches, uniting them in service to Christ.
At age 23, following her offering of her life to the Lord for this cause, Maria was struck ill with tuberculosis.  Until that day, she had enjoyed perfect health.  For 15 months, Maria spent her days in agony, offering her suffering and life for unity.  On April 23rd. 1939, her long agony ended in total abandonment to the will of God.  Her body, found intact on the occasion of the recognition in 1957, now rests in a chapel adjoining the monastery of Vitorchiano, where her community of Grottaferrata transferred.

Pope John Paul II proclaimed:

Praying for unity is not a matter reserved only to those who actually experience the lack of unity among Christians. In the deep personal dialogue which each of us must carry on with the Lord in prayer, concern for unity cannot be absent. Only in this way, in fact, will that concern fully become part of the reality of our life and of commitments we have taken on in the Church. It was in order to reaffirm this duty that I set before the faithful of the Catholic Church a model which I consider exemplary, the model of a Trappestine Sister, Blessed Maria Gabriella of Unity, whom I beatified on 25 January 1983. Sister Maria Gabriella, called by her vocation to be apart from the world, devoted her life to meditation and prayer centered on Chapter 17 of Saint John's Gospel and offered her life for Christian Unity. This is truly the cornerstone of all prayer: the total and unconditional offering of one’s life to the Father; through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. The example of Sister Mara Gabriella is instructive; it helps us to understand that there are no special times, situations, or places of prayer for unity. Christ's prayer to the Father is offered as a model for everyone, always and everywhere."

Today, we join the prayers of Blessed Maria Gabriella, in praying for Christian unity both within our congregations and between the braches of the Churches of Christ.

0 God, eternal Shepherd, who inspired Blessed
Maria Gabriella, virgin, to offer her life for the
unity of all Christians, grant that through her
intercession, the day may be hastened in which
all believers in Christ, gathered around the table
of your Word and of your Bread, may praise you
with one heart and one voice. Through Christ
our Lord.

Prayer for Christian Unity
Lord God, eternal Shepherd, You inspired the blessed virgin, Maria Gabriella, generously to offer up her life for the sake of Christian unity. At her intercession, hasten, we pray, the coming of the day when, gathered around the table of Your word and of Your Bread from heaven, all who believe in Christ may sing Your praises with a single heart, a single voice.


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