Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

Since the beginning of the Dominican Order, Dominicans have had a strong devotion to Our Lady and her Holy Rosary.  Tradition speaks of Our Lady giving the Rosary to St. Dominic as a way to convert sinners. To this day, Dominicans wear a Rosary at their hip, where a knight’s sword would typically be placed. In this way, the Rosary is a Dominican’s spiritual weapon.

In the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Turks were a serious threat to the Christian West and were on the verge of sweeping across Europe. Pope St. Pius V (a Dominican, and, sidenote, started the practice of the popes wearing white instead of cardinal red) called the faithful to pray the Rosary and ask for deliverence from the advancing Muslim forces. On October 7, 1571, the Christian fleet of ships engaged the much larger fleet of Turkish vessels off the coast of Lepanto near Greece. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Turkish fleet was heavily defeated. During his work in the papal palace that day, Pope St. Pius V had a vision of the victory; since it was attributed to the Rosary, he declared October 7, the feast of Our Lady of Victory, which was later renamed to the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Today, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Angelus address, encourages the Christian faithful to rediscover the Rosary, a powerful and Christocentric prayer, during the coming Year of Faith:

“With the Rosary, we allow ourselves to be guided by Mary, model of faith, in meditating on the mysteries of Christ, and day after day we are helped to assimilate the Gospel, so that it shapes all our lives. Therefore, in the wake of my predecessors, especially the Blessed John Paul II, who ten years ago gave us the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I invite you to pray the Rosary personally, in the family and in the community, learning at the school of Mary, which leads us to Christ, the living centre of our faith.”

If you want to know more about the Rosary, including how to pray the Rosary, check out the Rosary Center. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!

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