Our Lady of the Rosary

Friends in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The origin of this feast goes back to 1571, when Europe was in great danger. The Muslim empire of the Turks, had captured many people, and made them slaves, and now their army was on the move again, preparing to attack Europe. These Islamic armies had already captured the island of Cyprus and smashed the religious paintings and churches there. Now, they were loading hundreds of ships with guns and canon, to begin the assault on Italy, and then the rest of Europe. The Pope had tried to warn of this danger, but people had not listened.
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Still, one brave man flew into action. His name was Don Juan. Don Juan convinced people to get boats together to defend their countries.[i] Yet this Catholic army was very small and gave little hope of victory. Nevertheless, the Holy Father called people everywhere to pray – and to pray especially, the Rosary. ‘We will call on Mary, he said. And she will save us. The Holy Father blessed the little Catholic fleet as it set off for battle against overwhelming odds; he gave each man a rosary.
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On Oct 7th as the battle drew near, the Pope spent the entire night in prayer. Priests offered Mass on each Catholic ship; all the men went to confession and received Holy Communion. For 3 hours, 65,000 sailors recited the Rosary. Then they arranged the formation of boats, into the shape of a cross. Don Juan flew a flag on his ship; a blue flag, for Mary, with a picture of Jesus on it. He went to each man with a crucifix, and said: ‘Give your life for Christ.’ Then he hung the crucifix on the front of the ship.
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At 2 o’clock in the morning they saw the massive, Turkish fleet coming. But then, an amazing thing happened: the wind, which had been against them, suddenly shifted. Now it was with them, helping them. Also, many oarsmen in the Turkish ships who were slaves – they stopped rowing. The battle raged. Don Juan’s ship gained speed, and rammed into the flagship of the Turkish commander. Sailors ran onto the ship and battled with swords and arrows for 2 hours.
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Now during this time, the Pope had been praying; abruptly, the Holy Father rose to his feat, and walked to the window; looking into the blue sky he said: we must thank God. For we have won a great victory in this hour. Truly, at that very hour, the green Moslem flag of Allah was pulled down, and the flag of Jesus Christ was raised up. The Turks had lost, and Europe was safe. The Holy Father wept for joy, and in cities all over Europe, church bells rang in thankfulness. In gratitude to our Lady, this would become a permanent Feast: The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
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Mary wants to give us victories in our life, not in the battles at sea, but in the storms of life. Let us then pray the Rosary daily, for our needs, and especially for Holy Mother church in these days.

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[i] He also got the Knights of Malta to help him.

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