“You will be granted all you ask of me by recitation of the rosary.”
Our Lady’s Action in History and Today
Since the time of Saint Dominic, the Most Holy Rosary has been the weapon by which Our Lady has brought about the greatest victories for the Church. On many occasions when all seemed lost humanly speaking, this act of trust in Our Lady has transformed what appears to be certain failure into glorious triumph. The heroic conviction displayed by Catholics of generations past and present shows Our Lady’s power and certain intercession in overcoming the greatest obstacles.
Will Our Lady grant a victory to Catholics in the twenty-first century as she has in the past? As Catholics of previous generations have testified, trusting in the certain victory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary through the rosary can defeat the forces of evil and change the course of history.
The Rosary and Saint Dominic Defeat Heresy
The rosary—as a spiritual weapon against evil—has a very long and precious history.
In twelfth and thirteenth century France, a group of heretics known as the Albigensians was destroying the minds of the Catholic laity with its erroneous ideas. The Albigensians’ teachings encouraged suicide, many times by self-induced starvation, because they believed that the body was an intrinsic evil and that the soul must be liberated from matter at all costs. However, as history often shows, Providence raises up great saints in times of dire crises. This time it was no different. Saint Dominic, born of noble lineage, received the Most Holy Rosary from the hands of Our Lady. She gave Saint Dominic the rosary as a weapon to combat the awful Albigensian heresy.
Pope Innocent III proclaimed a crusade to rid France of the horrible influence of the Albigensian heretics. In September of 1213, Raymond of Toulouse was joined by Pedro II of Aragon to do battle against the crusading force which was vastly outnumbered. The two sides were camped outside of the garrison of Muret in the south of France. The crusaders, a mere 800 men led by Simon de Montfort, spent the night praying the rosary for victory under the direction of Saint Dominic, and in the morning all went to confession and Holy Communion. The opposing armies, numbering over 20,000, indulged in a night of drunkenness and debauchery. The next morning, Simon de Montfort divided his cavalry into three and rushed on the disorganized bands of heretics. The rout was completed in less than twenty minutes, and thousands of the heretical sympathizers met their end on the battlefield. The Battle of Muret marked a decisive victory and ended the territorial expansion of Albigensianism. With the preaching of the rosary, this dangerous scourge on the Church was soon wiped out.
English Dominican Nicholas Trivet later wrote, “St. Dominic warred by prayer, De Montfort by arms. Simon de Montfort built the first chapel dedicated to the Rosary as an act of thanksgiving for the victory at Muret.”
The Battle of Lepanto—the Rosary Saves Christendom
The Battle of Lepanto in 1571 was a crucial conflict between the defending Christians and the invading Ottoman Turks, one of the greatest naval battles of all time.
The Christian lands around Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean were constantly getting sacked by Muslim pirates, and Ottoman warships were capturing Christian ships and enslaving vast numbers of sailors. Pope Saint Pius V called on the Catholic powers of Europe to unite in a crusade against the enemy threatening Christendom. After raising a crusade, he asked every non-combatant across the whole Christian world to pray the rosary.
Even after this call to arms, the Christian fleet at Lepanto was greatly outnumbered by the Ottoman Turks. As the battle ensued, the Muslims were yelling, screaming, and banging anything that would make noise.
In contrast, the Christians kept an ominous silence, weapons in one hand, and rosaries in the other. Soon after, the Christians and the Muslims were immersed in a bloody battle. Don Juan of Austria valiantly led the Christians from the bridge of his flagship. The Muslims took aim at the large crucifix on the main deck of his vessel, but as the cannonball approached, the body of Our Lord miraculously turned to avoid the collision.
Muslim chroniclers of the battle also reported seeing in the sky a lady dressed in armor holding a child, and with a terrible gaze.
Terrified at the sight, the Turks began to lose control of the fleet, and the Christians pressed the attack. Thus it was that on October 7, 1571, the Christian fleet was blessed with a miraculous victory.
Pope Pius V was blessed with a vision of the victory at Lepanto, and ordered public processions in thanksgiving. When messengers arrived in Rome a week later to report the victory of the Christian fleet, they were quite surprised to find everyone already knew the outcome, the Holy Pontiff ordering all the bells in the city rung to announce the news. He immediately credited the victory to Our Lady, establishing October 7th as the feast of the Most Holy Rosary.
The Siege of La Rochelle—the Rosary Saves France from a Protestant Rebellion
In the seventeenth century, France was torn apart by a series of religious wars between ruling Catholics and Protestant Huguenots attempting to seize power.
The Huguenots entered into formal rebellion in the western city of La Rochelle against the rule of the Catholic King Louis XIII in the year 1628. The Protestants made an alliance with England. King Louis, unwilling to see his kingdom torn apart, made putting down this uprising his first priority.
Public rosaries and processions were held nightly in Catholic churches all over France during the eight-month duration of the siege. Dominican friars accompanied the king to the battlefield and preached to the armies of the French the necessity of praying the rosary daily for victory. The priests distributed more than 15,000 rosaries among the troops, with the soldiers praying together at set times during the day.
On October 28, 1628, the Huguenots unconditionally surrendered to the armies of King Louis XIII when the English were unable to come to their aid. The victorious French entered the city on November 1st, feast of All Saints, led by the Dominicans chanting the Litany of Loreto and carrying a large banner emblazoned with the image of Our Lady of the Rosary. The friars remained for three weeks and distributed more than 1,500 rosaries to those in La Rochelle who were reconciled to the Church.
King Louis XIII returned to Paris and financed construction of the shrine of Notre Dame des Victoires (Our Lady of Victories) in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s intercession for the victory at La Rochelle.
La Naval de Manila—Our Lady Saves the Philippines from a Dutch Invasion
The war between the Spanish and the Dutch in Europe during the sixteenth century soon found its way to the other side of the globe. Through piracy and brute force, the Protestant Dutch had captured all Portuguese possessions in Southeast Asia by the year 1600. Their next objective was conquering the Philippines, the most distant outpost of the Spanish Empire.
The situation in the Philippines at the time was grim—volcanic eruptions in the 1630s led to food shortages which crippled Manila, an earthquake struck the city in 1645 which destroyed 150 structures, and numerous wrecks had diminished the naval strength of the islands.
The Spanish-Filipino fleet was left with only two aging vessels facing an armada of eighteen Dutch warships.
In 1646, Governor Fajardo in Manila ordered the two vessels deployed to confront the Dutch ships. Four Dominican priests were assigned as chaplains of the two ships, and all aboard went to confession and Holy Communion before departing.
The soldiers made a vow to Our Lady of the Rosary to make a pilgrimage to her shrine in Manila should she grant them victory. Over the next six months, the men on both vessels recited the rosary daily on their knees, begging the Queen of Heaven for aid against overwhelming odds.
Through a series of five battles over a period of six months, the Spanish-Filipino fleet was able to put the Dutch to flight on each occasion. In their second encounter, the Protestant Dutch had the flagship of the Spanish surrounded.
However, the Catholic soldiers remained undaunted, and later reported their cannons and muskets firing with smooth and uncanny accuracy. One cannoneer attested that he fired nineteen cannon shots in succession without fail, rosary in one hand and torch in the other, while proclaiming loudly, “Viva La Virgen!”
Toward the end of the year, the retreating Dutch had suffered the loss of two vessels with three others severely damaged, and an estimated 500 soldiers killed during the engagements. The invaders withdrew to their base in Indonesia, never to threaten the Philippines again. The victorious Spanish and Filipinos returned to Manila with only fifteen casualties. The soldiers fulfilled their vows and made a pilgrimage barefooted to the shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Manila as a solemn act of thanksgiving.
Every year for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, a procession is held in thanksgiving for the miraculous victory given through the rosary by Our Lady of La Naval.
The Battle of Peterwardein—Putting an End to the Muslim Menace
After the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the Turks continued to provoke Europe.
Prince Eugene of Savoy was given the mission of putting an end to the Muslim threat and restoring Hungarian lands occupied by the Turks for more than a century. Recalling the successes of his predecessors, Pope Clement XI renewed the call for all Catholics to pray the rosary for a decisive victory over the Turks.
The year 1716 marked a new Islamic offensive into the hinterlands of the Holy Roman Empire. The fortress of Peterwardein was in danger of falling to the hands of the enemy. Prince Eugene descended on the city with a force of 60,000, only to find an opposing army more than twice that size led by the Turkish Grand Vizier. Prince Eugene, using quick thinking and sound strategy, was able to rout the invading armies, putting them to flight.
The decisive victory resulted in a loss of 3,000 Christian troops, while the Muslims lost several times that number, including the Grand Vizier who was their commander. This battle marked a turning point, and put an end to the attempted large-scale Islamic invasions of continental Europe.
Pope Clement sent Prince Eugene a ceremonial sword encrusted with gems in thanksgiving for his bold defense of Christendom.
In thanksgiving for this victory granted by Our Lady, the Holy Father ordered the Feast of the Holy Rosary, until then only celebrated in certain countries, to be added to the Church’s universal calendar, so Catholics everywhere could pay honor to the Queen of Heaven for her many victories granted through the rosary.
Communists Expelled by the Rosary
After World War II, Austria was divided between four countries: America, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia, which was still communist. The section of Austria controlled by the communists was the richest, and included the city of Vienna. The Viennese were subject to all the atrocities and tyrannies of communism.
With all of his country’s problems weighing heavily on his heart, Capuchin Fr. Petrus Pavlicek made a pilgrimage to Mariazell, the principle Marian shrine in Austria. While deep in prayer before the miraculous image of Our Lady above the shrine’s high altar, he was told by an interior voice:
“Do as I say and there will be peace.”To obey this inspiration of Our Lady, Fr. Pavlicek founded the Holy Rosary Crusade of Reparation in 1947. This crusade consisted of the Viennese faithful coming out of their homes in order to participate in a public rosary procession in the streets of the city.
The intentions of the rosary were for the end of communism in their country and in the world. Father travelled throughout Austria with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima promoting the Rosary Crusade. At first, the processions were miniscule, but in time they grew to staggering proportions.
The Prime Minister and other members of the Austrian government soon joined the ranks, along with all of the nation’s bishops.
In 1955, after eight years spreading the word about the Crusade throughout Austria, the Rosary processions would reach sizes of half a million people, about one-tenth of the Austrian population.
Finally, through the help of Our Lady, the Soviet forces pulled out of Austria in October of 1955, leaving the country for good.
Each year on September 12th, the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, thousands gather in Vienna to thank the Mother of God for her intercession in freeing their country from communist domination.
Rosary Saves Man’s Life on September 11, 2001
A man from New York who had fallen away from the Catholic Church and not gone to confession in years was met at a TFP Fatima presentation given by America Needs Fatima custodian Mr. Jose Ferraz.
After the visit, the New Yorker took home a rosary and rosary guide and started praying it and going to the sacraments again. Months later, on September 11, 2001, he was in the World Trade Center at the very moment when the terrorist attack took place.
Seeing the fireball and smoke from the crash, the man fled his office and tried running down the stairs to safety. However, he met a big obstacle. The fire doors had locked and he was trapped in the stairwell, listening to the screams of burning people who were still inside the building, unable to escape death. It was awful—horrific. Any attempt to pry open the fire doors with bare hands would be futile.
With Our Lady’s help, instead of panicking, he felt calm. He grabbed his rosary and started praying to the Blessed Mother for help. And within minutes, firemen reached his floor, broke down the fire doors and set him free. He ran downstairs to safety, his prayers answered thanks to the power of the Most Holy Rosary.
Public Square Rosary Rallies—Bringing About Our Lady’s Victory Today
In 2007 America Needs Fatima launched the Public Rosary Rallies Campaign. That year, there were 2,107 rallies nationwide. Since then, Catholics from all parts of the United States have been gathering in public places to pray the Rosary for the urgent conversion of America.
Again, from humble beginnings, Our Lady has granted the grace of impressive growth to this movement. In 2014 there were 12, 629 Rosary Rallies in all 50 states!
This year, 2015, on October 10th, we are shooting for 14,000 Rallies. And in 2016, the 10th anniversary of ANF Public Square Rosary Rallies, we hope for 15,000!
What will be the outcome of this effort? Can Catholics in America today be certain Our Lady will hear their supplications? Will she send the graces needed to lead this growing army to victory?
Trusting in the Blessed Mother’s promises throughout history to those who are faithful to the rosary, the conversion of America so urgently needed is guaranteed by the graces Our Lady will most certainly send.
The more desperate the situation becomes, the more pronounced the moral crisis, the more hopeless the circumstances, the greater confidence Catholics can have that the glorious Queen of the Most Holy Rosary will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
This path to the conversion of our nation will not be easy, and Catholics today will need to fight for Our Lady even more valiantly than our forebears in ages past. But as the Blessed Mother has shown time and time again, this most powerful weapon she gave to Saint Dominic will save her children in every generation, and if we are faithful and persevere with these heavenly arms, the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is inevitable.
With the Catholics of ages past, let us not be afraid to publicly beseech the holy Mother of God for heavenly solutions to our nation’s problems, both spiritual and temporal, through fervent recitation of the Holy Rosary.