Our Lady Of The Rosary
Year : 1571
In the year 1571 the Moslem Empire of Asia had reached a point of great power and military might. Spurred on by the desire of conquest, as well as by hatred of the Christian cross, the Moslem forces had attacked and overcome the outer bastions of the Christian world, and were now making threatening gestures at Italy and the Christian countries bordering the Western Mediterranean Sea. Information was at hand that a huge Moslem fleet stood poised and ready to attack.
Pope St. Pius V, recognizing the danger, organized a papal fleet and found a brave and brilliant commander, Don Juan of Austria, to take command. In the early days of October 1571, he sailed to meet the enemy and encountered then in the Bay of Lepanto. Although the Christian troops were outnumbered, skill in maneuvering, together with the bravery of the Christian troops, brought about a great victory and the Moslem fleet was all but destroyed.
Before and during the decisive battle, the Christian world lead by the Pope St. Pius V, invoked the Blessed Virgin in a special way for her assistance; and they were convinced that the victory at Lepanto was a result of Mary’s help. The Pope proclaimed a special feast in honor of Our Lady of Victory, to be celebrated on the first Sunday of October.
Two years later Pope Gregory XIII changed the name replacing it with the feast of The Holy Rosary – honoring the special devotion to which the victory at Lepanto was ascribed. The celebration of the feast is now observed on October 7, the date of the Battle of Lepanto. Out of this celebration arose the custom of dedicating the entire month of October to Mary and the Rosary, a custom highly sanctioned and approved by succeeding Pontiffs.
Pope Leo XIII, in modern times, added to the Litany of Loreto the following invocation: “Queen of the most holy rosary, pray for us”.
The weapons of war have changed drastically since the battle of Lepanto 400 years ago; but without doubt the spiritual weapon of the rosary remains as potent for winning the final victory; if only enough people will properly make use of it.
At Lourdes and at Fatima Mary appeared to the favored children holding in her hands, a rosary. She made it clear to them and through them to the world, that the frequent and devout recitation of the rosary was the means by which the world could be brought back to God and lasting peace could finally be achieved.