“The rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort.”
-Pope John Paul II
The Rosary is a prayer for finding peace and comfort in times of sadness or distress, however, it is also a continuous source of strength and healing in our routine, daily lives. Throughout my life, I have always remembered having a rosary nearby. Usually, resting on my nightstand or tucked away in a beautiful, zippered pouch inside my purse or drawer. I may not have always prayed the rosary each day, but I remember the peace and comfort of seeing it and holding it in my hands as a child. I received a rosary as a gift on my First Holy Communion and another when I received the sacrament of Confirmation. Throughout my childhood, I was blessed to be taught the praying of the rosary, mainly by my mother and grandmothers. I knew the men in my family to pray it as well. In fact, my father carried his rosary in a tattered black zippered pouch in his pocket every day. Throughout my childhood, I may not have always understood the many reasons that we pray the rosary, but I knew the intense peace I felt as I prayed in unison with fellow church members, students or family. I felt the natural calming effect that the repetition of Hail Marys had on my mind. I could almost feel the Holy Spirit allowing God’s mercy and grace to flow within me.
As I grew older and was blessed to be a member of the Notre Dame community in high school, I found that the rosary was a way to “pray to Jesus through Mary”. While praying and thinking about each of the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries, we journey closer to God spiritually. While praying the rosary, I felt the protection of Jesus, watching over me and guiding me throughout the difficulties of young adulthood. Later in life, as a mother of my own children, I related to this concept because Mary, the mother of Jesus, who held Him as a baby, loved and nurtured Him throughout His childhood, supported Him in His ministry, and ultimately, endured the pain as a witness to His death on the Cross, helped us to see His life from the close perspective that motherhood provides. She suffered through His difficult moments of strife, as any mother suffers when her child hurts. Like any mother, she also rejoiced in His successes. In His Resurrection, she witnessed firsthand, His triumph over sin and death and His gift of redemption.
One of the greatest joys in my earlier career in education has been teaching the praying of The Most Holy Rosary to young children. I witnessed firsthand, the calming effect that the prayers brought to even the most energetic child. Traditionally, we recited the rosary together in church before or after mass, or during specific times of difficulties, such as on 9/11 or if a loved one was sick or had passed. The recitation of the Rosary has a calming and soothing effect on all of us, whether young or old. At times of loss, we especially feel the strength given to mourners when friends and family recite the Rosary together during the Order of Christian Funerals or before the funeral liturgy at the wake. It is through Mary and the Most Holy Rosary that we journey together, recalling the events of Christ’s life and allowing our hearts and our minds to be drawn closer to Him, comforted and protected by His love.
Join us in prayer, this month of The Most Holy Rosary, and beyond, as we welcome the Legion of Mary on our CCAirwaves podcast. Remember the month of October is also Respect Life Month. I invite you to listen in to our Rosary Podcast and join in prayer for the intention that all life will remain sacred, in all aspects, from conception to natural death.
Kathleen G. McKiernan
Marketing and Communications Manager