When Patty Ford returned to the Church in 2018, one of the first things she did was turn to the Rosary.
Ford, who attends St. Anne Church in French Village, saw a blurb about the Shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary in her parish bulletin and made her first visit on Good Friday in 2019.
“When I came back, I knew exactly where I needed to go, and it was praying the Rosary,” she said. “I’ve been praying the Rosary daily since about that time. I can come over here and pray — there’s so much peace. It’s been quite the blessing.”
Mary and Rich Broome of the St. Louis Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima were behind the creation of the shrine, to increase devotion to the Rosary. The shrine is temporarily located in a converted mobile home on their property in nearby Bonne Terre in St. Francois County. It is open daily for quiet reflection and prayer.
Eight years ago, the Broomes and others organized a Rosary Festival on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Oct. 7. The daylong festival this year was held at St. Anne in French Village and included Rosary, Mass with Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert J. Hermann and fellowship afterward.
Mary Broome cited a recent opinion piece in The Atlantic, in which the author said the “Rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or ‘rad trad’) Catholics,” who “have taken up a spiritual notion that the Rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.”
Broome described the article as “biased,” noting the true meaning behind the Rosary. She cited St. Padre Pio, who described the Rosary as a “weapon” — not in the sense of a physical crusade, but in a spiritual war against demonic forces.
She encouraged praying the Rosary, in which God hears our prayers through the intercession of the Blessed Mother.The Scripture-based prayer includes a repetition that is meant to lead a person into restful and contemplative prayer related to each mystery.
Each mystery also sheds light on the mystery of man, Bishop Hermann said in his homily at the Oct. 7 Mass. In praying the Rosary, we offer our burdens to the mystical heart of Christ and His mother. “The faithful receive abundant grace through the Rosary,” he said. “Our spirits are assaulted by the things of the world. The Rosary lifts us out of our broken humanity to experience Jesus, Mary and the saints.”
Mary Reed of Immaculate Conception Parish in Park Hills attended her first Rosary Festival. Her parish hosted a reproduced image of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, which is on display at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary. The reproduction is one of three in the world, with the original painting at the Pontifical Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii in Italy.
The Rosary, she said, is “your intercessory prayer, and answers all. When you’ve finished that last prayer, it’s like you’ve been embraced by Mary. You know your prayer requests are going to be considered. It brings such peace, and nourishes our spirits and refreshes us. All of that is a gift from God.”
Frank Schneider of St. Peter Parish in St. Charles has been coming to the Rosary Festival since its beginning and is involved with the St. Louis Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima, which promotes the messages of Our Lady of Fatima and devotion to the Rosary. The Blessed Mother is with us when we pray the Rosary, he said. “All of those graces are channelled through her from our Lord. If you need help, just ask the Blessed Mother.”
>> Shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary
Since the Year of the Rosary in 2003, there has been a movement to establish a Shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
The shrine project was initiated by Mary and Rich Broome with the St. Louis Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima. Located near Bonne Terre 65 miles south of St. Louis in St. Francois County, the shrine offers space for quiet reflection and praying the Rosary.
After considering numerous sites, the Shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary was inaugurated on Oct. 13, 2014, by Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert J. Hermann. It is housed in a temporary structure until a permanent chapel can be built.
The shrine includes a chapel for prayer, a reading library and a reproduction of a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, one of only three reproductions in the world. The painting is available for parish viewings. The shrine also has first-class reclics of St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena and the True Cross.
Hours are daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For directions or more information, visit www.shrinetoourladyoftherosary.com.
>> History of the Rosary
Legend has it that the Rosary as a form of prayer was given to St. Dominic in the 13th century by the Blessed Mother, who entrusted it to him as an aid in the conflict with the Albigensians. The Dominican pope, St. Pius V, did much to further the spread of the Rosary, and it thereafter became a popular devotion. As pope, St. Pius V officially established the devotion to the Rosary in 1569, via the papal bull, “Consueverunt Romani Pontifices.”
In 1571, St. Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory at the Battle of Lepanto. The Christian victory at Lepanto was at first celebrated as the feast of “Our Lady of Victory” on Oct. 7 and was later renamed the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Pope Benedict XVI described the image of Our Lady of the Rosary during an audience at the Angelus in 2007:
“The traditional image of Our Lady of the Rosary portrays Mary who with one arm supports the Child Jesus and with the other is offering the rosary beads to St. Dominic. This important iconography shows that the Rosary is a means given by the Virgin to contemplate Jesus and, in meditating on His life, to love Him and follow Him ever more faithfully. It is this message that Our Lady has also bequeathed to us in her various apparitions.”
>> Pray the Rosary with seminarians
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary began a four-part Rosary video series in October. Each video will feature seminary president-rector Father Paul Hoesing and seminarians praying the Rosary in the Chapel of St. Joseph. A new video will be posted each week and will include one of the four Mysteries of the Rosary: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous. To view the series, visit kenrick.edu/rosary.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also has an online resource for praying the Rosary. See bit.ly/1hNNOc4.