October 7, 2021


Part I: The Lady of the Holy Rosary
(Part I of Biblico-Historical Reflection)

By: The Rev. Victoria Esguerra
Retired Priest, Diocese of Greater Manila Area

Today, October 7th, the Marian followers celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary with the Holy Eucharist and the recitation of the Rosary in their parish churches or in the privacy of their homes.   The tradition of the veneration of the Blessed Mother of God, Mary, and the Rosary recitation has been handed down to us through our Catholic faith, without fully understanding the historical and/or theological background behind this. I, for one, prayed the Rosary when I was young and was part of the Diaconesa, a religious group of young girls and women (attired in white with blue sash-belt like Our Lady of Lourdes) of the IFI Paco Parish. 

We actively participated in the whole month-long celebration of the “Flores de Mayo” consisting of the daily evening recitation of the Rosary and the offering of flowers, climaxed at month-end by the Holy Mass and the procession of the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary around the community; including the “sagalas” of young girls/ladies dressed in appropriate role attires for the “Santacruzan.” (This was a procession commemorating the historical search of the Holy Grail by Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine.)  At other times during the year, we Marian devotees had our veneration done during Wednesday evenings with the Rosary novenas. 

Sadly, as the years passed, my Rosary devotion without proper grounding was lost; due perhaps to many factors, among them, the loss of inspiration brought about by the dissolution of the Diaconesa group and the busy college lifestyle, and perhaps compounded by the lack of interest on the part of the priest/s (pastor/s) to carry on the Wednesday Rosary novenas.  Nothing could be used as excuses to justify this abandonment of the Rosary; the faults were mine alone.  Until such time, many years later, when I was deeply in life’s chaos did I realize I needed the Blessed Mother to rescue me, when she appeared in my earlier previous five consecutive dreams – Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Carmel (or Lady of the Pillar?), and finally Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.  The advice of a Roman Catholic friend proved fruitful, i.e., to recite the Prayer of the Miraculous Medal and wear the medal – which both came in her postal mail the same morning I was consulting her!  I found the elusive job I had been searching for and got out of the financial rut I was buried in!  Since then, I got back to my Rosary devotion! 


In the Gospel according to Luke (1:26-28/NRSV), the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to Galilee (Nazareth) to a virgin named Mary, engaged to Joseph, and said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you” …. “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God.”  The angel told her that she would conceive, would bear a Son, and would call Him Jesus, the Son of the Most High, Lord God. Despite perplexed, she said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her…. Later Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth (soon to become the mother of John the Baptist), and the latter delighted with the Holy Spirit said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” 

According to Catholic tradition, the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Dominic while he was praying and fasting for three days in a forest in Toulouse, France, in 1214.  Mary appeared with three angels and gave him the Holy Rosary; and informed him that the Blessed Trinity wanted to reform the world with the principal weapon of the Angelic Psalter, the “Hail Mary.”  He was told to win over souls to God with the Psalter.  She explained that every Psalter recited gave her a rose, and a complete Rosary a crown of roses; hence, “Rosarium” (Latin for Rosary).  St. Dominic promoted the devotion of the Rosary to the Blessed Mother during his lifetime; many graces were received and conversions were made.

At the time of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), greatest theologian of the Church, the “Hail Mary” consisted only of the following: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”  Eventually, during his time, the Holy Name of Jesus was added. Later in the 16th century, the following was also added: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” It was recorded that St. Thomas preached for 40 days just on the Holy Rosary in Rome, Italy.


St. Pius V established this feast in 1571 to commemorate the victory at the naval battle of Lepanto when the Christian fleet defeated the Turks.  The battle was won due to the intercession of the Blessed Mother invoked in the praying of the Rosary.  

The Blessed Virgin Mary conveyed the message of praying the Rosary in her four apparitions as follows: Our Lady of Holy Rosary (Toulouse, France/1214); Our Lady of Lourdes (Lourdes, France/ February 11, 1858); Our Lady of Fatima (Fatima, Portugal/ May 13, 1917); and Our Lady of Lipa/Our Lady of Grace (Lipa, Batangas/September 15, 1948).  [See the information on Mary’s Apparitions in Part II of this reflection next week.]


The Blessed Mother gave to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan the 15 Promises of Benefits for the Christians reciting the Rosary (summarized here): (1) Signal graces; (2) Special protection; (3) Powerful armor against hell:  destroys vices, decreases sins, defeats heresies;  (4) Virtues to flourish; mercy from God; (5) Soul will not perish; (6) No misfortune; worthy of eternal life; (7) Death with Church sacraments; (8) At moment of death – with merits of saints; (9) Delivered from purgatory; (10) Recipient of glory in heaven; (11) Petitions obtained; (12) Necessities aided; (13) Celestial intercessors during lifetime and at death; (14) Become sons [daughters] and 

brothers [sisters] of Jesus Christ; and (15) Rosary devotion – great sign of predestination. (Source: Pieta Prayer Booklet by Pope Leo X, 5th Council of Lateran, 1513)


Praying the Rosary does not only invoke the Mary Psalter and the intercession of the Blessed Mother, it also includes the meditations on the holy mysteries which are the life stories of Mary and Jesus.  The four mysteries include the following: (1) Joyful Mysteries (Monday and Saturday) – The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Birth of Jesus, The Presentation of the Child Jesus at the Temple, and the Finding of the Child Jesus at the Temple; (2) Luminous Mysteries (Thursday) – The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, Jesus Gives His Sign in Cana, Jesus Proclaims the Coming of the Kingdom of God, The Transfiguration of Jesus, and Jesus Institutes the Eucharist; (3) Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday and Friday) – The Agony of Jesus in the Garden, The Scourging of Jesus in Pilate’s Court, Jesus is Crowned with a Woven Crown of Thorns, Jesus Carries His Cross Towards Calvary, and Jesus Crucified and Dies on the Cross; and (4) Glorious Mysteries (Wednesday and Sunday) – The Resurrection of Jesus, The Ascension of Jesus to Heaven, Pentecost, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven. The Luminous Mysteries were added by Pope John Paul II on October 16, 2002, on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of his papalship, when he issued the Encyclical, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” with the new set of instructions to include these new Luminous Mysteries. 

Our Lady of Fatima asked the three children – Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta – to pray the rosary daily and to add the following Fatima Prayer after each mystery: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell.  And bring all souls into heaven, especially those who need more your divine mercy.  Amen.” 

Jesus in True Life in God message (TLIG, August 8, 1993) added the following prayer after the Fatima Prayer: “Jesus, my only love, I pray for those whom You love, but know not how to love You, may they be purified and healed so that they too may be exempt from evil. Amen.”


The Church says that the Blessed Virgin Mary has 117 titles, but she prefers this title said at Fatima, “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”  

Many saints expressed the power of the devotion to the Rosary:  St. Thomas Aquinas preached for 40 days on the “Hail Mary.”  St. Francis de Sales – “greatest method of praying is the Rosary”; St. John Vianney (Patron of Priests) – always carried a Rosary in his hand; Pope Adrian – “The rosary is the scourge of the devil.” Pope Paul V – “The rosary is the treasure of grace.”  Padre Pio (stigmatic priest) – “The Rosary is the WEAPON.”  Pope Leo XIII wrote 9 encyclicals on the Rosary.  Pope John XXIII spoke 38 times about Our Lady and the Rosary; prayed 15 decades of the Rosary daily.  St. Louis Marie Grignion of Montfort: “The rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the heart of Jesus, our Redeemer, who so loves His Mother.” (Source: Pieta Prayer Booklet) 

Jesus told Vassula (Greek woman who received His TLIG messages/ June 2, 1988) to learn to pray the Rosary (also for the Orthodox and Protestants and those who do not know it) … “Satan is doubling his efforts to snare the Holy Mother” (TLIG, March 23, 1988) …. “The Rosary enchained around the world will snare Satan.


If you wish to obtain a favor or favors, channel your petitions through the 54-day Rosary Novena: (a) Pray three 9-day rosary novenas – 3 x 9 = 27 days of petitions; and (b) Pray three 9-day rosary novenas = 27 days of thanksgiving (Pieta Prayer Booklet). Don’t skip a day; otherwise, you’ll start all over. I have used this formula in my Rosary petitions and it has worked for me. Why not try it?  Jesus admonishes us to pray the Rosary and to teach it to others, and this is most important to do as we are close to the end-times (TLIG Messages).



Pin It