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."

January 17, 2013: Our Lady of Pontmain, Mother of Hope

Posted by Jacob

Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the appearance of Our Blessed Mother to four children in Pontmain, France. Mary, Our Mother of Hope, delivered a message of prayer and hope, saying:

“But pray, my children. God will answer you very soon. My Son lets His Heart by touched.”

During the apparitions at Pontmain, the faithful sang the Inviolata, a hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary composed in the 11th century:

INVIOLATA, integra, et casta es Maria,

quae es effecta fulgida caeli porta.

INVIOLATE, spotless and pure art thou,
O Mary Who wast made the radiant gate of the King.

O Mater alma Christi carissima,
suscipe pia laudum praeconia.

Holy mother of Christ most dear,
receive our devout hymn and praise.

Te nunc flagitant devota corda et ora,
nostra ut pura pectora sint et corpora.

Our hearts and tongues now ask of thee
that our souls and bodies may be pure.

Tu per precata dulcisona,
nobis concedas veniam per saecula.

By thy sweet sounding prayers
obtain for us forgiveness forever.

O benigna! O Regina! O Maria,
quae sola inviolata permansisti.

O gracious queen, O Mary,
who alone among women art inviolate.

The Story of Our Lady of Pontmain, Mother of Hope

In 1871, France was at war with German, and not faring well. Paris was besieged, and most French villages, Pontmain among them, were starving. It was winter, many of the village men had been called to fight, and a typhoid epidemic had spread throughout the town. There was little hope left in the villagers’ hearts, and despair had overrun the small town of approximately 500.

It was at this time, when things were bleakest and most hopeless that Our Blessed Mother appeared to four school children: Eugene and Joseph Barbedette (12 and 10, respectively), Jeanne-Marie Lebossé (age 9) and Françoise Richer (age 11).

On the evening of January 17, Eugene and Joseph were working with their father in the family’s barn. Eugene went outside momentarily “to see what the weather was like” and was the first to see The Beautiful Lady. Joseph, a typical younger brother, followed Eugene, and exclaimed moments after Eugene first spotted the apparition, “Oh, The Beautiful Lady!” Mary was described as dressed in a blue robe with golden stars covering it.

Eugene’s father could not see The Beautiful Lady his sons were talking about—Rather, he saw bright twinkling stars in the sky. He pulled them inside to finish their chores and the three returned home for dinner. Following discussion at the dinner table, the children returned outside where Our Blessed Mother still appeared. The children’s mother traveled to the local convent, informing the Sisters. They, with some children, traveled to the family’s home. It was then that Jeanne-Marie and Françoise saw the apparition, describing Mary in an identical fashion as the boys had. “She has a blue dress with golden stars, gold-ribboned slippers, a golden crown widening towards the top with a red band around it, and a black veil.” Another child named Eugene Friteau (age 6), also reported seing Mary, as did a neighbor’s infant, Augustine (age 2), who reached out with towards the Apparition and showed signs of joy.

During what is described as Phase 1, the local Priest and Sisters immediately arranged a prayer service, during which the remaining four of the five phases of apparition occurred.

During Phase 2, as a crowd gathered and began praying, a blue oval with four unlit candles appeared surrounding the Blessed Virgin. A small red cross appeared over her heart. Mary, however, as described by the children, appeared sad. As the prayers of the crowd that was gathering increased in strength, the vision slowly expanded in size, with dazzling stars appearing. A banner unfurled between the edges of the oval, with the following words appearing one by one:

“But pray, my children. God will answer you very soon. My Son lets His Heart by touched.”

During the second phase, a man in the crowd announced that the German troops were advancing toward the village, leading to further prayer and hymns. The Blessed Mother, during Phase 3 raised her hands toward the sky, fingers gently keeping time to the hymns being sung. She appeared to speak, but was not heard. Her face, which had smiled during the communication of her message, again appeared sad.

During Phase 4 of the apparition a red cross appeared in Mary’s hands, bearing the words “Jesus Christ” written in white and a figure of Christ in red. A star moved in the sky, lighting each of the four candles, and then resting above the Blessed Virgin’s head. She sadly tilted the cross toward the children.

In Phase 5, the red cross disappeared, and in it’s place, two white crossed appeared on each of Our Holy Mother’s shoulders. A white veil at her feet slowly rose, shrouding her from view, until only her golden grown remained. And then, that too, disappeared. The vision had lasted all evening, with the townsfolk praying in the cold until nine o’clock in the morning. At that, all went home, their minds clear and at peace.

The German troops, mere kilometers from the town ceased their forward motion that evening at around 5:30, about the time when the Apparition first appeared above Pontmain. The General leading the troops is reported to have said the following morning: "We cannot go farther. Yonder, in the direction of Brittany, there is an invisible 'Madonna’ barring the way." The armistice ending the war was signed only days later.

Today, Pontmain remains a holy pilgrimage site, receiving thousands of visitors each year. The barn and town chapel have been preserved, and a basilica built for Our Lady of Hope.

The following prayer might be said today, an invocation to Our Lady of Hope:

O Lady of Mental Peace, Mother of Tranquility and Mother of Hope, look upon me in this time of my weakness and unrest. Teach my searching heart to know that God’s Love for me is unchanging and unchangeable; and, that true human love can only begin and grow by touching His Love. Let your gentle peace which this world cannot give be always with me. And, help me to bring this same Peace into the lives of others. Our Lady of Mental Peace, Pray for us. Amen.


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