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."

Blessed Antonia Mesina, Patron Saint of Rape Victims

Posted by Jacob

Today, May 17, we celebrate the feast of Blessed Antonia Mesina (1919-1935), a model of virtue, martyr of purity, and patron saint of rape victims.  Despite being only sixteen years old when she died, Antonia’s faith and conviction continue to inspire us today.  She was ever faithful to the Lord, and her virtue continues to infuse strength and grace into the Church, and each one of us, today.

Antonia Mesina was born on the island of Sardinia, of the west coast of Italy.  She was born the second-born of ten children born to an extremely poor family during the years between the first and second world wars.  Times were difficult, but she was offered an opportunity for education, which was eagerly accepted.  After only four years of elementary school, however, Antonia was forced to leave, remaining home and taking care of the household duties and her siblings following her mother becoming bedridden. 

Antonia’s mother, Grazia, had developed a painful heart condition, and despite Antonia’s wishes to remain in school and enjoy the fun of childhood, her mother reported that Antonia "never once went against me.” She was given the household duties, which she accepted both humbly and joyfully.  Obedient and hard working, Antonia willingly and diligently performed her duties and took on responsibilities as if she were already an adult.  She took care of the households cooking, cleaning, laundering of clothes, caring for her siblings, gathering wood, carrying water—all without complaint.  Antonia’s mother, Grazia, referred to her daughter as "the flower of my life."

At the age of 10, Antonia joined a local youth group called “Catholic Action,” Italy’s national apostolic movement for lay people.  Even as a child, she was a model member, reporting that the experience was “beautiful” for her, and that it “helps one to be good.”  Antonia energetically fulfilled her commitments, recruiting other young people to join the group… even on the day of her death.  Honoring Christ, and walking in friendship with Him, became her first priority.

On the day of her martyrdom, at age 16, Antonia was in the forest gathering wood with a friend.  She was attacked by a teenage boy, who pushed her to the ground in attempts to rape her.  While her friend ran for help, Antonia valiantly struggled to maintain her purity, which she had pledged to Christ.  She managed to escape twice, but was caught and beaten repeatedly on the head with a rock.  Despite her mortal wounds, she continued to fight her attacker until help arrived.  Sadly, it was too late to save her mortal body, but autopsy confirmed that Antonia’s efforts had maintained her purity.

Pope John Paul II beatified Antonia Mesina on Sunday, October 4, 1987, proclaiming her a martyr of virtue and purity.   Today we pray for all those who have been victims of violence or crime, that we may be renewed by the Lord, through the gracious intercession of Our Blessed Mother, Mary.

Look down on us, O Mary!
We are united before you in prayer, as you wished us to be:
daughters of Charity, the queen of virtues.
Look down on us with the benevolence of a mother.
We ask your help and protection, peace and pardon,
apostolic zeal and fidelity to the Church,
for ourselves and all who work in society
with an upright heart and good will.

Many are the afflictions of the world,
the miseries of the poor,
the violence performed by those who do not know how to love,
and are carried away by brutal passions.
And we do not know how to see the warnings from heaven
in the calamities that are increasing
and the sacrifice of defenseless and innocent victims.
But you, Mary, are the Mother of Mercy and Forgiveness.
Ask grace for us! Ask God for us and for all,
an increase of faith, the comfort of Christian hope
and the communion of evangelical charity.

May the Father grant the Church unity and testimony of life;
to society, a fraternal spirit,
understanding of every need, sorrow and aspiration;
to Religious families newness of life in your light, O Mary,
in the Spirit of the love of your Son Jesus, our Savior.


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