This chapter walks under the patronage of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. The feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (October 7th) has a connection with the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, a decisive victory over the combined fleet of the Ottoman Turks. 

History of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary honors our holy Mother and the power that comes from praying the rosary. Long venerated by generations of Catholics, praying to God through the Blessed Mother and the rosary is not only a beautiful way to pray, but history is filled with stories of miracles and grace that follow this devotion.

The feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary occurs on October 7, commemorating a major sea victory in the 16th century, the Battle of Lepanto–one of the most historically decisive examples of Marian intervention which helped save Western civilization from certain annihilation.

At that time, the Mediterranean Sea was a major hub of trade as well as the passageway from the Ottoman Empire and the east to Continental Europe. The Ottoman navy had besieged Cyprus early in 1571, and in October were met with the Holy League fleet, a coalition of European Catholic forces organized by Pope Pius V. Brought together to protect western Europe, free trade through the Mediterranean, and the Catholic Faith, the Holy League consisted of the Republic of Venice, the Spanish Empire, the Papal States, the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, the Duchy of Urbino, the Knights Hospitaller, and more.

These forces were going into battle against an Ottoman navy who had not lost a naval battle in a century. Pope Pius V asked that crew members pray the Rosary in preparation for the battle, and that Christians throughout Europe gather in their churches to pray the Rosary, invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary against the oncoming Turks.

By the end of the day, only one quarter of the Ottoman ships were left unscathed, and the victory at Lepanto has been called one of the most historically significant naval battles in history.

This devotion to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary continues both for individual Catholics and for major prayer campaigns in times of trouble. Pope Leo XIII wrote several encyclicals on this feast, saying, ““It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary.”

“This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven,” Pope Leo continued, “has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy … or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies.”

Novena Prayer To Our Lady of the Rosary

O Virgin Mary, grant that the recitation of thy Rosary may be for me each day, in the midst of my manifold duties, a bond of unity in my actions, a tribute of filial piety, a sweet refreshment, an encouragement to walk joyfully along the path of duty. Grant, above all, O Virgin Mary, that the study of thy fifteen mysteries may form in my soul, little by little, a luminous atmosphere, pure, strengthening, and fragrant, which may penetrate my understanding, my will, my heart, my memory, my imagination, my whole being. So shall I acquire the habit of praying while I work, without the aid of formal prayers, by interior acts of admiration and of supplication, or by aspirations of love. I ask this of thee, O Queen of the Holy Rosary, through Saint Dominic, thy son of predilection, the renowned preacher of thy mysteries, and the faithful imitator of thy virtues. Amen.

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Pilgrim’s Prayer of St. James, Patron of Pilgrim Travelers

St. James the Apostle is known as the patron of pilgrim travelers because, during medieval times, his sanctuary in Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain was one of the most traveled pilgrim routes in Christendom (known through the centuries as the Camino de Compostela). Whether on a journey to a distant shrine or to a local place of veneration and importance, it is good to pray with St. James for his protection during the journey and for our own conversion of heart before, during, and after the encounter. St. James was also one of the three disciples chosen by Christ to journey with him up Mount Tabor for the Transfiguration; with this in mind, we pray with St. James that we, too, might have a transformative experience on pilgrimage. This ancient prayer (origin unknown) comes at the end of pilgrim Masses said along the Camino de Santiago:

O God, who brought your servant Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans, protecting him in his wandering across the desert, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we walk in the love of your name to insert your destination here. Be for us our companion on the walk, Our guide at the crossroads, Our breath in our weariness, Our protection in danger, Our home (albergue) on the Camino, Our shade in the heat, Our light in the darkness, Our consolation in our discouragements, And our strength in our intentions. So that with your guidance we may arrive safe and sound at the end of the road and enriched with grace and virtue we return safely to our homes filled with joy. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. Apostle Santiago, pray for us. Santa Maria, pray for us.

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