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."

May 4, 2013: Our Lady of Laus

Posted by Jacob

In 1647, in Saint-Etienne, France—located at the foot of the Alps in the vale of Laus, a young peasant girl was born into poverty. Benoite Rencurel, a humble girl chosen as a visionary and pupil to Our Blessed Mother-- Our Lady of Laus-- grew up in a small town that was nestled in the green valleys of Dauphine. While the family was poor, they were rich in spirit, and Benoite’s mother taught her to pray the Rosary at a young age—an activity which she undertook faithfully every day. When Benoite was approximately seven years old, her father died, which forced Benoite to leave school and take two jobs shepherding the sheep of nearby farmers to help her mother pay the household bills. It was in the fields, with her sheep, that Benoite would meet the Mother of God and undertake her holy mission.
In May of 1664, when Benoite was seventeen, she was praying the Rosary in the fields when Saint Maurice appeared to her, in the guise of an old and venerable man. He directed her to move her flocks to another pasture, further up the mountain, toward the town of Laus, saying "Go to the valley above Saint-√Čtienne. That is where you will see the Mother of God." Benoite answered, "But Sir, She is in Heaven. How can I see Her there?" Saint Maurice assured her, "Yes, She is in Heaven, and on earth too when She wants." The following morning, Benoite hurried to the area he described, and upon reaching it, discovered a small grotto. There, she was graced by the appearance of a radiantly beautiful lady leading a child by the hand. Benoite, despite having been told by Saint Maurice that it was Our Blessed Mother, did not realize who she was. Instead, she was content-- overjoyed—to sit in her presence. By the reports of her family and neighbors, Benoite’s face changed overnight, overcome with serenity and grace, which she freely distributed to others with a cheerful humility and simplicity.

The Blessed Virgin continued to appear to Benoite for approximately 4 months without revealing her name or speaking. In her own time, when Benoite was ready for his mission, Our Holy Mother began to teach her, preparing her for her mission. She instructed Benoite on how to say the Litany of Loreto, encouraging her to teach it to her friends and recite it nightly in the town chapel. She also revealed to Benoite that she had been given a powerful gift by the Lord, that of exhortation—Benoite was given the charism of reading hearts. This gift, however, was accompanied by the heavy burden of correcting souls and disclosing the sad condition of souls to those who possessed them.

Now, word of the apparitions had begun to spread, and following the witness of Benoite’s employer who had converted after overhearing the conversation of the Blessed Virgin and Benoite, local church authorities intervened. They instructed Benoite—an unschooled, uncultured shepherdess—to inquire as to the identity of the beautiful lady. Benoite begrudgingly did as she was instructed, asking Mary at her next visit, "My good Lady, I and all the people in this place are hard put to know who You are. Might You not be the Mother of our good God? Please be so kind as to tell me, and we will build a chapel here to honor You." Our Blessed Mother replied with a gentle smile that there was no need to build anything on that site as she had chosen a more pleasant spot. Then she added, "I am Mary, the Mother of Jesus. You will not see me here any more, nor for some time." After a month’s time, during which Benoite fell ill due to her sorrow of separation from the Blessed Mother, she again was graced with an appearance. Mary, Mother of God, informed her: "From now on, you will see Me only in the chapel that is in Laus," and she showed her the path that went up and over the hill toward Laus-- a small village that Benoite had heard about but never visited.

In the village of Laus, a small chapel—little more than a hut with a straw roof—had been built by the farmers, for those occasions in which they couldn’t make the journey to church. It was in this tiny chapel—a new stable of Bethlehem—that Benoite found the Blessed Virgin, surrounded by a most intoxicating and beautiful heavenly scent. The Blessed Mother instructed Benoite, “Soon nothing will be lacking here-----neither vestments nor altar linens nor candles. I want a large church built on this spot, along with a building for a few resident priests. The church will be built in honor of my dear Son and Myself. Here many sinners will be converted. I will appear to you often here."

But Benoite was troubled. She had already been questioned by church authorities, who did not believe her account of the visions, and despite her limited education, knew that this request would not be met eagerly. "Build a church?" she exclaimed. "There's no money for that here!"

"Do not worry,” Mary gently answered. “When the time comes to build, you will find all you need, and it will not be long. The pennies of the poor will provide for everything. Nothing will be lacking." And so it was to be. During the long winter of 1664, Benoite made the four kilometer trek to the little chapel, wrapped in little more than a wool shawl. During this time, Our Blessed Mother encouraged her to give up her shepherding job to focus more fully on her mission. She also stated, consistent with all of Our Heavenly Mother’s appearances, “Pray continuously for sinners.”

In 1665, the Blessed Virgin told Benoite, “I asked My Son for Laus for the conversion of sinners, and He has granted it to Me." While church authorities allowed the celebration of Mass in the tiny chapel, they made no definitive pronouncement regarding the veracity of the apparitions.

Following a visit by the Vicar General, during which he threatened to close the chapel, and demanded a miracle, a local woman who had been crippled since birth was miraculously healed. Based upon this miracle, the Vicar General assigned permanent priests and authorized construction of the church, declaring, "There is something extraordinary occurring in that chapel. Yes, the hand of God is there!" Over the next four years, a large church was miraculously built, mostly by volunteers. All who worked on the building reported being surrounded by the ‘scent of heaven’—sometimes so powerful that it would spill from the building and envelop the surrounding countryside. It was the perfume of the holy. At that time, Benoite took the veil as a Dominican Tertiary, known thereafter as Sister Benoite.

As for the sweet perfume of heaven, Sister Benoite breathed in these fragrances from their source. The manuscripts of Laus report, "Every time the Blessed Virgin honored her with Her visit, people smelled a heavenly fragrance that pervaded the entire church. Sometimes the shepherd girl's clothing was deeply permeated with the heavenly scent for up to eight days; these supernatural fragrances were so sweet and delightful that they lifted up the soul and surpassed all other fragrances on earth." Whenever Benoite returned from being with her good Mother, her face would seem to be ablaze, like that of Moses coming down from Sinai; she would kneel, recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, and then for the rest of the day she would be unable to eat.

In 1665, the Blessed Virgin instructed Sister Benoite that those pilgrims traveling to the church in hopes of healing need only to apply some oil from the sanctuary lamp to their affected limbs and be cured. A great number of miraculous physical and mental cures were recorded, and continue to be today.

For fifty-four years, the Blessed Virgin continued to appear to Benoite in the church at Laus, at least once each month. For her part, Benoite continued to spend each day in prayer, suffering, and exhortation. She, according to the mission given to her by her Holy Mother, kept watch over the priests, encouraging them in their confessions, exhorting their sins when necessary, and praying for the conversion of sinners. Benoite stated that she could see the state of a person’s soul “all at once” like “looking in a mirror.” She would lead those not in a state of grace away from the alter rail at Holy Eucharist, gently encouraging their conversion and purification. All of this was done with profound humility, stating, "The Mother of God commands me to do it in such a mild manner that I don't believe She absolutely wants it. And when I fail, my good Mother corrects me without getting angry. So because of the shame I feel on admonishing others, I often wait for a second command, and then I obey."

Sister Benoite prayed before the Crucifix every day. Kneeling down, she would gaze at our Savior on His Cross, and her heart would melt with love and compassion at the thought of all He has done for the salvation of men. To reward her, she witnessed Him crucified, bleeding and in agony, with the wounds in His hands, feet and side, and red gashes from the scourging covering His Body. The Crucifix, itself, bled.

Overcome with sadness, Benoite exclaimed, "Oh, my Jesus, if You remain like this another instant, I will die!" The sight of His sufferings caused her such great distress that one day her Guardian Angel came to assure her, saying, "Do not be troubled, my Sister. Although our Divine Master has appeared to you in this condition, He is not suffering anything; it is solely to show you what He suffered out of love for the human race."

After that, Christ Himself spoke to Benoite, stating, "My daughter, I am showing Myself to you in this condition so that you may participate in the sorrows of My Passion." For fifteen years, every week, she experienced the pain and wounds of a mystical crucifixion after that moment until her ecstasies attracted so much attention she prayed they stop, saying, “"May my sufferings be even more cruel if such is God's good pleasure, but let them be less visible!" The Blessed Virgin appeared to her and said, "You will no longer have the Friday sufferings, but you will have many others."

Throughout her life, Benoite followed the instructions of the Blessed Virgin without exception. She was persecuted and criticized first by men, and later tormented by demons and the Devil. Throughout all, she clung to her Good Mother, stating, "I would rather die a thousand times forsaken by Mary, than forsake Her for a single moment!" Before her death, her guardian angel, who appeared throughout her life to pray with her and open the door to the church for her, stated, “The Laus devotion is the work of God which neither man nor the devil can destroy. It will continue until the end of the world, flourishing more and more and bearing great fruit everywhere."

Sister Benoite, having predicted the time of her death, passed away peacefully on December 28, 1718, dying in the odor of sanctity. She was declared Venerable in 1871 and beatified in 1984. During exhumation of her body, her skeleton was found to be miraculously preserved, and her habit like new. It is said that a workman inadvertently dropped a stone on her skeleton, which miraculously bled.

As with other moments in history when Our Blessed Mother has graced humanity with a message, she picked the most humble and lowly of servants to deliver that message and undertake her mission on earth. Through the guidance and tireless obedience of Sister Benoite, a grand basilica has been built in Laus, and countless sinners called to Christ. The Blessed Mother’s constant guidance and instruction of Benoite—the most uneducated of servants—reminds us that Mary is never far from us, praying for us and interceding for us. She encourages the Church in times of difficulty, and lights the way in times of darkness. She is our maternal caregiver throughout our lives. We are reminded that as a people we are never alone, guided by Our Heavenly Father, Our Blessed Mother, Our Savior, and the Holy Spirit.

The Blessed Mother again encourages us to hold to our faith, find joy in our suffering in this world (for our reward will be greater in the next), and to pray for sinners.

Queen of Laus, kind and loving Mother, hear our pious pleas. Your son always hears your prayers, and you always hear your children.

O pure Virgin, ceaselessly watch over our hearts from heaven. Let no dirt tarnish the heavenly whiteness.

Be our support in virtue, all-powerful Virgin, and guide our feeble steps. If we fall, Compassionate Mother, kindly embrace us in your arms.

Give us shelter under your wings when the storms burst with fury, spare us from cruel agony, and may the sinner repent with true remorse.

Leave us not at our last hour, but let us sleep in peace at your maternal breast. And once awakening, drawing back the veil, we will see you in the splendor of heaven.

Our Lady of Laus, Refuge of sinners, pray for us who have recourse to thee.



  1. Anonymous said...

    I enjoyed reading about Benoite Rencurel. To envision God as an infant, I can only imagine. To see God through the eyes of a mother, to hold God in your arms, to hear God speak as a child, to nurture God... to walk with Him while holding his hand. To carry Him when He is tired, to feed Him when He is hungry, to sit with God watching a sunset and watch God drift off to sleep. Only Mary has that depth of love as the Mother of God, to experience God through the eyes of His Mother is how I came to know Jesus first... before that, I really had no idea who Jesus was. I had a great devotion to Mary before, but since that time, she points to Her Son, she directs me and ALL my prayer to her Son, but then that is what Mary does. She continues to intercede on my behalf, but gently reminds me each time I forget, that she is Our Mother. Her gaze is constant, and she loves with a mothers love... why would anyone avoid such a pure and perfect love during this life? If you want to experience God in full, in the most complete way, include God's Mother in your life and in your prayers. Ask her to pray with you to the Good Lord, she is constantly with Him and He loves her so much.

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