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."

Posted by Jacob

Today, May 12, we celebrate the feast day and martyrdom of Saint Flavia Domatilla (1st century).  This brave woman was martyred by Emperor Domitian during the beginnings of Christian persecution and execution throughout the Roman empire.  Her bravery in proclaiming the Gospel reminds us today, centuries later, of the importance of living the Word courageously and publicly.

Flavia Domatilla was a Roman noble lay woman, related to some of the most powerful families and rulers in the empire.  She was the grand-daughter of Emperor Vespasian and the niece of Emperors Titus and Domitian, the latter of whom was in power during her lifetime.  Flavia further was married to Titus Flavius Clemens, a Roman consul, and nephew of Vespasian.

Flavia was the leader of her household. She and her husband converted to Christianity, as did the members of her household.  Given his station and role, it was not long before her husband was discovered, and publicly executed.  Upon the martyrdom of her holy husband, Flavia was banished to the island of Pandataria in the Tyrrhenian Sea.  It is reported, although records are unreliable, that she returned from her exile, proclaiming the faith, and was burnt to death for refusing to sacrifice to the pagan gods along with two foster sisters who had remained behind.  It is more likely, however, that she lived a brief life in exile, mourning her husband, and dying from exposure to the elements.  Hers is considered a slow martyrdom for the faith.

Roman literature recounts Saint Domitilla’s fate, as Dio reports:

Domitian slew, along with many others, Flavius Clemens the consul, although he was a cousin and married to Flavia Domitilla, who was also a relative of the emperor's. The charge brought against them both was that of atheism (αθεοτση), a charge on which many others who drifted into Jewish ways were condemned. Some of these were put to death, and the rest were at least deprived of their property. Domitilla was merely banished to Pandateria (Ventotene).

It should be noted that in this case, “atheism” implies Christianity.

Flavia’s niece, also called Domitilla, was also exiled to the island of Terracina, with the members of her household, Saints Nereus andAchilleus who had previously served Emperor Trajan. They, too, were martyred for their faith.

The facts of Saint Flavia’s life are unclear, although what remains central is the role of her faith in her eventual demise, and that of her husband and family.  We pray today for all those who continue to suffer for the faith, experience persecution, and die for their beliefs.  May their courage be inspiration to each of us.

Prayer for Fortitude 

Dear Jesus, lay your Wounded Hand upon my weary head,
And teach me to have courage in the paths that I must tread.
Bless me, and bless those whom I love, and give us grace to see
These crosses bravely borne by us will keep us close to thee.
And if at times a shadow falls in unexpected ways,
Put your gentle hand in mine and guide me through the days.
So bless my people, one and all, with Thy protecting grace,
And impart to them Thy wisdom ere they meet Thee face to face. Amen.


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