Upon St. Pope Pius V’s urging he, along with thousands of Catholics, prayed for victory over the Turks which came at the great naval battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. This led to the establishment of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Some say Catholics have been praying their rosaries, or some form thereof, since the time of the Desert Fathers in the 3RD and 4TH centuries. All petitioning for a myriad of things through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

For protection Catholic soldiers in WWI wore wrist chaplets (single decade Rosaries) and Honduran gang members wear Rosaries around their necks. The Jesuits of Hiroshima attribute surviving the nuclear bomb, detonated less than a mile from them, to their daily recitation of the Rosary.  Lucia dos Santos, the seer at Fatima, said that Our Lady told her that God had made the power of the Rosary so great that there was nothing, no matter how impossible, that could not be obtained through the praying of the Rosary.

It is important to remember though that the Rosary, while decidedly Marian, begins and ends with Jesus Christ crucified. The first prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, and even the last prayer of the rosary, the Salve Regina, point to Jesus.  Mary’s mission was always to point to Jesus. “Do whatever he says,” she directs at the wedding feast of Cana.  

The Rosary is so much more than a series of repetitive Hail Mary’s resulting in prayers answered and indulgences granted. Rather it is also a very Ignatian-like series of meditations on the joyful, sorrowful, glorious and luminous events in the life of our Lord which allow us time to enter into the scene and draw close to Jesus our Savior.

—Marty Massiello, a hospital administrator, and Jeff Weyant, an artist and designer, work in Palm Springs CA. They are
members of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church and active at Verbum Dei, the Cristo Rey high school in Los Angeles CA.