A devotion to the recitation of the Holy Rosary has been, at times a lifeline for me. As I sat by the bed of a dying loved one when the time for words had passed, at times of rejoicing and happiness, in times of need, on many occasions of prayer when words do not come easily,and as a daily devotion it is difficult to imagine a day without, at some point, praying the rosary.
The Dominican Sisters in Fatima devote their whole lives to praying the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament each hour of the day and night sending an unbroken prayer to the feet of Our Blessed Lady in accordance with the message of our Lady of Fatima.
There follows some reflections of the rosary by some of the sisters in this enclosed Order.
Please share your own reflections with us.
From the Sisters…Rosary Memories
“Memories are important in shaping our identity, putting flesh and blood onto our ideas, and enabling us to re-live and re-interpret pivotal moments of our life.”
Letter on the Rosary.
The Family Rosary accompanied the rhythm of life, from the cradle to the grave, of the people of God in our native parish of Davidstown (of Bethlehem, I like to add!).
My earliest memories, as the youngest girl in a family of seven, are of falling asleep to the murmuring sound of the Rosary being prayed downstairs, a heavenly lullaby of angelic salutations. Then the time came when I was old enough to join the family on their knees, to finger the beads, and learn the mysteries, and take my turn in “giving out” a decade.
At school and in the parish church, the Rosary was prayed by the happy band of pupils, with “trimmings” according to the need of the moment. When a death occurred, we paused on our way home to visit the wake, and share in the Rosary being recited at the departed one’s bedside, and again at the vigil in the mortuary when the coffin was transferred to the church. How wonderful the prayer repeated unceasingly, the last murmured by St. Bernadette, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Sr. Mary Diane of the Sacred Heart (Ireland)
In the little town where I was born in Sicily, there is a very ancient church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. My grandfather was a member of the Confraternity of the Rosary (and of the Perpetual Rosary Association). I distinctly remember him praying the Rosary in the evening with the family. My mother, whose name was Rosaria, followed his example of great love and devotion to Our Lady and Her Rosary. She taught me to pray the Rosary from my infancy and used to ask me to accompany her in her Hour of Guard.
“…the Rosary …is something we can touch, hold, and even grasp at difficult moments of our life; it is like grasping the hand of Mary herself.”
Divine Providence guided me to the Dominican Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary in Fatima … Thank you, Lord for calling me to a life of praise and adoration with the Rosary and through the Rosary.
Sr. Maria of the Eucharist (Sicily)
Recalling my own Rosary journey, I can say that the Rosary has always been part of my life. I owe this to many, but in particular to my grandmother. I watched her pray her Rosary so many times and saw something beautiful there though my young mind did not know it’s name. Then there were the wonderful Sisters at school. Last, but not least a priest who gave our school Retreat.
“Hold on to your Beads,” was Father’s cry. He showed us the love of Our Lady for us. He insisted: in all dangers, fear and temptation call on Mary through her Rosary and all will be well. I never forgot this priest. Finally, as we lived so near the Dominican Priory one could not help being drawn to the Fatima devotions every Saturday night. The Rosary and the Fatima hymns filled the street, the hearts and the homes of the people. I treasure those memories and all those who helped make the Rosary known and loved.
The Rosary can never be kept enclosed within you; it is the link that unites humanity to God through Mary; it is biblical and theological. Saints and sinners have prayed it down the centuries.
The Rosary, this sublime gift from heaven, is for all stages of life. The sick room and death bed of my Sisters have been moments of great awareness for me of this gift as we prayed the Rosary. The echoes of the Aves, pray for us now and at the hour of our death, leave one, despite the tears, full of an unknown joy. Indeed, through our daily Rosary Mary is indeed Our Sweetness and Our Hope. We continue to be linked to the Queen of the Rosary forever!
Sr. Angela Marie of the Rosary (Ireland)
My reflections on the Master’s letter brought great joy to me and to my community.
Calling each one to take their Rosary in hand and go forward in renewed hope – to Pray the Rosary, Preach the Rosary, Live the Rosary, which is all contained in the Gospel message. My personal memories of the Rosary begin with the image of our family gathered daily to recite the Rosary, which left me with a great love and devotion for the prayer of the Rosary. Then, traditionally, in our Parish church there was Sunday evening Rosary and Benediction which was so based on the love of God for each one of us. What better way to learn to love God than with Mary through her Rosary.
When I was considering my vocation, it was the charism of the Rosary that drew me to our Monastery. What struck me as a young Sister in my first days in the monastery was the love and devotion of our older Sisters for the Rosary – these are great memories to treasure.
Sr. Mary Michael of the Blessed Sacrament (Northern Ireland)
My memories and love for the Rosary began when I was a very young child, while reciting it every evening with my family. We each had the privilege of saying a decade and this helped give us an understanding of the mysteries. It probably was also a means of fostering religious vocations in my family as my older brother became a priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and later on I entered the Dominicans.
Sr. Mary Bernadette of Lourdes (Ireland)
The greatest influence was the “blue” Rosary booklet which was a gift of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society for the mite box collections. Under the tuition of my Aunt, who assisted at daily Mass, I learned to develop a deep devotion to Our Lady’s Rosary. Soon after, I was introduced by my Parish priest to the story of Fatima.
Sr. M. Immaculate Heart (Ireland)
The Rosary was present from my earliest years…I learned how to pray the Rosary from my good mother by seeing her pray alone, or with others in church and with our family. Every night we gathered for the family Rosary and after prayers we would line up to receive our little treats from our dear father. I cannot recall a time when he failed in this. As a teenager I joined the Legion of Mary. The Rosary was a source of inspiration, guidance and strength in the difficult decision I made to enter religious life. (Truly the Holy Rosary is like Mama Mary’s “spiritual garden” where the seeds of vocations are sown, nurtured and grown.)
These memories make me think of how Our Blessed Mother brings us to the knowledge and love of God, our Abba Father. It is a glimpse of His infinite kindness and generosity towards all of us His dearest children, of the unfailing gifts of His Holy Spirit especially in times of trials and sorrows and what tender love He has for each one of us in JESUS!
Sr. Marie Jacinta Therese of the Lamb of God (Philippines)
At 4am each day the prayer call for the Muslims was heard in our neighborhood. At that hour we also gathered around our faithful and brave mother. Sleepy and reluctant, we responded to the Aves lead by her. We had no rosaries, statue or picture of Mary. We kept this secret meeting with Mary as my father left for work at his bakery at 3:30am to be back at 7am or sometimes we kept this rendezvous with “Blessed Mother” (as my mother called Her) in the evenings.
Our mother was permitted to practice her Catholic Faith and to educate us in Catholic schools but our dear father wanted us to practice Buddhism.
Educated in Catholic schools we learnt our Faith but we saw the practice of this Faith in my mother’s trust in “Blessed Mother” for all her needs, trials and tribulations.
By continuing these meetings with Blessed Mother and Her rosary She has led me to where I am now as a Dominican Nun of the Perpetual Rosary.
Sr. Maria Francisco of the Blessed Sacrament (Sri Lanka)
One of the means that knit our family together was praying the Angelus and the Rosary everyday in the evening.
One of the most memorable incidents I recall was when I was seven years old. It was the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady and it was midday when I was on my way to school where I met an accident. I was rushed to the hospital. I was unaware of what had happened but when I opened my eyes I saw the priest together with the attendants and my family. They were all smiling at me and the priest took my hand and handed me a Rosary. He whispered: “Be close to Our Lady and She will take care of you.” From then on the Rosary became my constant companion in life. It was my great love of the Rosary that drew me to the love of the Eucharist.
Sr. Grace Marie of the Holy Trinity (Philippines)
My earliest memory of the Rosary occurred when I was five or six years old. It was Christmas. The gift which I received that year was a most beautiful lavender colored Rosary. I was filled with inexpressible joy and gratitude. To this day the memory of that gift of the Rosary remains so clear.
The family Rosary was part of our life. It was my grandmother who began this practice as a result of hearing the Rosary for Peace broadcast on the radio each evening by a devoted Fatima priest, Msgr. Cirrincione. We could never count the blessings received and the abundance of love and mercy that God poured out upon our large family through the prayer of the Holy Rosary. One of those blessings is the grace of my Dominican Rosary vocation.
Sr. Maria Lúcia of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary (USA)
With hearts filled with gratitude we thank our Blessed Mother for the many gifts that the world, the Order and we have received through the powerful prayer of the Rosary. Pray the Rosary – and peace is sure to come as Our Lady promised here in Fatima!
“Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers…”
In a letter to her sister Céline, St. Therese once wrote: “…Jesus has so incomprehensible a love for us that He wills that we have a share with Him in the salvation of souls. He wills to do nothing without us. The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of a poor little soul to save other souls redeemed like it at the price of all His Blood. …These are the words of Jesus: ‘Lift your eyes and see.’ See how in my heaven there are empty places; it is up to you to fill them, you are My Moses praying on the mountain, ask Me for workers and I shall send them, I await only a prayer, a sigh from your heart!”
At this time when the whole Church is praying for Vocations to the priesthood and religious life we ask all of our friends to pray fervently – especially the Rosary – because indeed “the harvest is rich but the labourers are few”(Lk 10:2; Mt 9:37).
For young women, who may feel called to our Dominican contemplative way of life, we invite you to write to Mother Prioress for further information about our international, English speaking Community here in Fatima.
“I am the Way, the Truth and
the Life…Come follow Me”,
says the Lord.