Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary AND the 444th Anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto

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Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was St. Dominic who began encouraging people to say the Holy Rosary around the year 1190. St. Dominic was saddened by the people who were spreading a terrible heresy called Albigensianism. He begged the Blessed Virgin for help and she told him to preach devotion to the Holy Rosary.

Today is also the 444th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto…a very interesting story. In the 16th century, Pope Pius V was having trouble with the Ottoman Turks who were a danger to Christianity. After many months of disagreements and arguments, he united Spain, Venice, and the States of the Church in a naval expedition to fight the Turks.

The two navies met in the Gulf of Lepanto in Greece on October 7, 1571. On that same day, the Rosary Confraternity of Rome was meeting at the Dominican headquarters there. The group recited the Rosary for the special intention of the Christians at battle. The Christians defeated the Turks in a tremendous victory and believed it was the intercessory power of the Blessed Virgin that won the victory.lepanto

Here’s a portion of a great poem, by Chesterton:

But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces – four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not ‘Kismet’; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey in the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth.”
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still – hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

You can read the whole poem here.

Pope Pius V dedicated the day as one of thanksgiving to Our Lady of Victory. Pope Gregory XIII later changed the name to the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The story of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary focuses on the intercessory power of Mary. It shows that when we are in danger, or in pain, or discouraged, or for any reason, we can go to Mary. Mary will pray to her Son for anyone who calls on her.

Mary encouraged praying the Rosary in her apparitions. At Lourdes when she appeared to Saint Bernadette, Mary had a Rosary. As Bernadette prayed the rosary, Mary joined in on the ‘Glory Be’ prayers. At Fatima, Mary encouraged Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco to pray the Rosary for peace. Mary taught them that the Rosary obtains graces and saves sinners from hell.

The Rosary is an excellent prayer because as we are reciting the Our Father(s), Hail Mary(s) and Glory Be(s), we meditate on the mysteries in the lives of Jesus and Mary. In this way, we grow closer to Jesus and his Blessed Mother. No wonder our Lady is so pleased when we pray the Rosary!

Today at our younger kids’ school we will have our first Penance and Pasta night of the year. It’s a great opportunity for the families to come together to receive the sacrament of Penance and share a pasta dinner together. For dessert we are making our new traditional ‘cupcake rosary’!

cupcake rosary

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