Dominican Saints 101: Our Lady of the Rosary

October 7, 2012

Our Lady of the Rosary (feast day – Oct. 7) dates back to 1571 when Pope St. Pius V (a Dominican Pope) instituted the feast, under the title of “Our Lady of Victory,” in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s answer to the prayers of all the Christian nations who had been praying the Rosary so that the Christian forces would be victorious over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571.  In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title to the “Feast of the Holy Rosary,” by which it is now known. Aside from the connection with the Dominican Pope who instituted the feast and the more commonly known tradition that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave St. Dominic the Rosary as a means to convert heretics, the Dominican celebration of the feast has some beautiful characteristics. The hymns for the Divine Office run through each of the mysteries of the Rosary, and the antiphons throughout the day commemorate the events of the Blessed Mother written in the Gospels.  The feast, which used to fall on the first Sunday of October (Rosary Sunday) also was accompanied by a blessing of roses:

God, you are the creator and upholder of the human race, the author of grace and the generous giver of eternal salvation, with your holy blessing bless these roses which we beg you to bless, and which we offer this day in thanksgiving to you and in devotion and veneration towards the ever blessed virgin Mary of the rosary.  By the power of the holy cross pour out a heavenly + blessing on these roses, which have given to man to enjoy their pleasing fragrance and to alleviate sickness.  By the sign of the holy + cross let them be endowed with such blessing that the sick to whom they are brought, or who bring them to their homes, may be healed of their infirmities.  May the devils depart, may they flee panic-stricken with their followers from these dwellings, nor may they any more dare to trouble those who serve you. Through Christ our Lord.

All in all, and as seen in the blessing of roses, this feast was instituted and was celebrated throughout the ages in honor of Our Lady’s protection over the Church both from heresy within and from the attacks from without.  May we too turn to Mary in these days of attacks on the Church and her teachings, and may we entrust ourselves to the Blessed Virgin’s intercession. O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation. Grant, we beseech Thee, that while meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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