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The link below will take you to the Apostolic Letter by Pope Francis where he announces 2021 the year of Saint Joseph in celebration of the 150 years that Saint Joseph has been declared the patron of the church.
It was only in the year 1214 that the Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by St. Dominic, who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners. How he received it is found in the very well-known book De Dignitate Psalterii, by Blessed Alan de la Roche.
Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people’s sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse where he prayed continuously for three days and three nights. During this time, he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances to appease the anger of God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma. At this point our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” “Oh, my Lady,” answered Saint Dominic, “you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.” Then our Lady replied, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.” So, he arose, and comforted and burning with zeal for the conversion of the people in that district, he made straight for the cathedral. At once unseen angels rang the bells to gather the people together, and Saint Dominic began to preach. At the very beginning of his sermon, an appalling storm broke out, the earth shook, the sun was darkened, and there was so much thunder and lightning that all were very much afraid. Even greater was their fear when, looking at a picture of our Lady exposed in a prominent place, they saw her raise her arms to heaven three times to call down God’s vengeance upon them if they failed to be converted, to amend their lives, and seek the protection of the holy Mother of God. God wished, by means of these supernatural phenomena, to spread the new devotion of the holy Rosary and to make it more widely known. At last, at the prayer of Saint Dominic, the storm came to an end, and he went on preaching. So fervently and compellingly did he explain the importance and value of the Rosary that almost all the people of Toulouse embraced it and renounced their false beliefs. In a very short time, a great improvement was seen in the town; people began leading Christian lives and gave up their former bad habits.
All things, even the holiest, are subject to change, especially when they are dependent on man’s free will. It is hardly to be wondered at, then, that the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary only retained its first fervor for a century after it was instituted by Saint Dominic. After this it was like a thing buried and forgotten. Doubtless, too, the wicked scheming and jealousy of the devil were largely responsible for getting people to neglect the Rosary, and thus block the flow of God’s grace which it had drawn upon the world. Thus, in 1349 God punished the whole of Europe with the most terrible plague that had ever been known. Starting in the east, it spread throughout Italy, Germany, France, Poland, and Hungary, bringing desolation wherever it went, for out of a hundred men hardly one lived to tell the tale. Big cities, towns, villages, and monasteries were almost completely deserted during the three years that the epidemic lasted. This scourge of God was quickly followed by two others, the heresy of the Flagellants and a tragic schism in 1376.
Later, when these trials were over, thanks to the mercy of God, Our Lady told Blessed Alan to revive the former Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Blessed Alan was one of the Dominican Fathers at the monastery at Dinan, in Brittany. He was an eminent theologian and a famous preacher. Our Lady chose him because, since the Confraternity had originally been started in that province, it was fitting that a Dominican from the same province should have the honor of re-establishing it. Blessed Alan began this great work in 1460, after a special warning from our Lord. This is how he received that urgent message, as he himself tells it: One day when he was offering Mass, our Lord, who wished to spur him on to preach the holy Rosary, spoke to him in the Sacred Host. “How can you crucify me again so soon?” Jesus said. “What did you say, Lord?” asked Blessed Alan, horrified. “You crucified me once before by your sins,” answered Jesus, “and I would willingly be crucified again rather than have my Father offended by the sins you used to commit. You are crucifying me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach my Mother’s Rosary, and you are not doing it. If you only did that, you could teach many souls the right path and lead them away from sin. But you are not doing it, and so you yourself are guilty of the sins that they commit.” This terrible reproach made Blessed Alan solemnly resolve to preach the Rosary unceasingly.
The Secret of the Holy Rosary
St. Louis de Montfort
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