Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé No.32: September 2019

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

No. 32: September 2019


Profession before Fr. Prior (August 14th)

Fioretti of St. Vincent Ferrer

Even though he preached for hours, St. Vincent never tired the faithful. He frequently put them at ease with anecdotes, little stories, comparisons to nature, and even jokes! “Squash,” he said, justifying this practice, “are delicate and delicious, but in order to prevent them from burning and sticking to the pot, it’s necessary, if you want to cook them well, to keep stirring them with a spoon!”


The unjust innkeeper

One day an innkeeper asked St. Vincent to preach on the obligation of paying debts, because several clients were behind in their bills. “Alright, I’ll explain how much those who retain the goods of others are guilty; but first, show me the wine you sell.” Once the innkeeper brought out a bottle, St. Vincent had him pour it into his scapular, which he held out in the form of a bowl. The water passed through, and the wine stayed in the scapular: a lot of water, and very little wine…!

“St. Vincent’s water”

A very loquacious woman, on bad terms with her irascible husband, asked St. Vincent for advice on how to “convert him.” “If you want to put an end to your quarrels, go to the porter of our convent and ask him to give you some water from the well in the middle of the cloister. When your husband comes home, put some of this water in your mouth right away, without swallowing, and you’ll see your husband become as gentle as a lamb.”

The woman did as she was told, and when her husband came home grumbling, she took a mouthful of the “miraculous” water. Her husband, seeing that his wife kept her peace without talking back, calmed down himself and thanked God for having changed her heart — and closed her mouth. The same scene repeated itself several times, always with the same happy success. At the end, the woman came to thank St. Vincent, who explained: “The real remedy was not the water from the well, but silence. In the future, keep silent, and you’ll live in peace.”

The hermit and the sack of gold

St. Vincent recounted the story of a saintly hermit who was walking to town one day when he came across a burse of gold coins. He fled immediately, crying out: “Death and tragedy!” A few onlookers asked what he saw, but his only answer was: “There, by the tree — flee while you can!” However, they didn’t take his advice, and taking the gold pieces, they went into town, got drunk and ended up killing each other in a violent dispute.

Community Chronicle

May 24th: Mr. Jean-Claude Marchon, benefactor of the community, passes away at the age of 91. Mr. Marchon gave up a comfortable apartment in Paris to come and spend his last years doing penance in our Friary. His good humor and edifying example will be sorely missed. (On the 29th: Solemn High Requiem Mass, and burial in the Friary’s cemetery.) R.I.P.


May 26th: Fr. Marie-Dominique is at the Loncheray with the youth group “Friends of the Sacred Heart,” to prepare for their summer camp.

June 2nd: “Solemn Communion” ceremony and public profession of Faith for 6 young ladies of the parish (4 from the school St. Rose of Lima).

The same day, Fathers Marie-Dominique and Hyacinthe-Marie are in Paris for the Third Order.

June 8th-10th: Fr. Marie-Laurent and Br. Michel-Marie represent the Friary at the annual Pentecost pilgrimage of the Combat for the Faith, at the Puy-en-Velay. After the pilgrimage, Bishop Zendejas pays a visit to the Friary on his way back to the U.S.

June 19th: Solemn High Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart celebrated by Fr. Angelico in celebration of the 10th anniversary of his ordination.

June 20th: Fr. Marie-Dominique is in Riddes, Switzerland, at Fr. Epiney’s parish for the 25th anniversary of the ordination of his vicar, Fr. Grenon. Fr. Epiney is a legendary figure in the Fight for Catholic Tradition; it was he who received Archbishop Lefebvre in his parish for the foundation of the seminary of Écône. He has stood firm in his fidelity to the combat of the Archbishop, even at the price of now being ostracized by the superiors of the Society of St. Pius X.

June 23rd: Corpus Christi procession with the presence of Bishop Faure, and presided by Fr. Dominique Rousseau, who recently joined the Combat for the Faith.

June 26th-28th: Exams for the seminarians and our clerical brothers.

July 1st-6th: Fathers Marie-Dominique, Hyacinthe-Marie, and Fr. Ballini preach a retreat at the Friary for 22 men.

July 3rd: Fathers Prior and Louis-Marie, accompanied by Br. Alain, are at the Villeneuve (priory of Fr. Pivert) for a formation session for the “Friends of the Sacred Heart.”


General Chapter of the Knights of Our Lady, held this year in the Friary’s library

July 12th-15th: The Knights of Our Lady hold their 26th annual General Chapter at the Friary. This year they celebrated the 30th anniversary of the restoration of their traditional observance.

July 14th: Fr. Prior and Br. Augustin-Marie are at Saumur for a doctrinal session for a group of tertiaries.

The second half of July: As every summer, several Fathers and Brothers are busy with camps: Fathers Angelico and Hyacinthe-Marie, with Br. Agostinho at the Lion-d’Angers for Our Lady of Fatima’s Youth Group (elementary boys and girls), and the “Valliant Souls” (adolescent girls); Fr. Terence (joined later by Fr. Angelico) and Brothers Alain and Augustin-Marie in Dordogne (near the famous sanctuary of Rocamadour), with the Cadets of the Sacred Heart. Despite the heat wave, the children all went home happy, and hopefully a few steps closer to God.

July 17th: Outing in Tours for the novitiate, with a guided visit by our Greek professor, Mr. Trouillet.

July 20th: The Friary hosts the marriage of a former student of Saint Thomas Aquinas Boys’ school; Fr. Louis-Marie has the honor of celebrating and receiving the vows.

July 22nd-27th: Fathers François-Marie, Marie-Laurent, and Fr. Picot preach a retreat at the Friary for 32 women.

July 23rd-27th: Fr. Prior is in Lourdes visiting Fr. de Mérode.

August 2nd: For our table reading, we read the Friary chronicles for July-August-September 1979, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of our definitive installation here at the Friary of La Haye-aux-Bonshommes. Fond memories for the most senior members of the community, and fascinating discoveries for the younger members (many of which were not even born at the time)!

August 4th-12th: Our annual retreat was preached this year by Fr. Morgan, who inspired us with the example of Bl. Dominic Barberi (1792-1849), the Italian Passionist priest who was responsible for a wide movement of conversion to the Catholic Church in England in the 19th century.

August 14th: Vigil of the Assumption: Solemn High Mass, during which our postulant Emmanuel receives the habit of lay brother, and a new name: Brother John. The ceremony also included the first profession of Brothers Pie-Marie and Marie-Thomas, who will now start their philosophy and theology classes with the other clerical brothers.


August 15th: Annual Assumption procession, with a large crowd of faithful from all parts of Western France: a big difference from the 6 faithful present for the first procession 40 years ago, when the Fathers just arrived!

August 22nd: Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and 25th anniversary of the perpetual vows of Brother Martin. This day is also the 25th anniversary of the profession of our very first tertiary: Sr. Catherine (Miss Ruth McQuillan, Scotland). Ad multos annos!

News from our worksites

Other than a few small maintenance projects and the preparation of a Calvary mount, we don’t have much to announce. Please pray that we may finally obtain the authorization for the construction of the new parish hall with cafeterias for our schools. The lack of space has reached a critical point.

Crisis in the Church

In 2017, The Conference of French Bishops published the latest statistics concerning the Church in France. Compared to the statistics from 1990 (let alone those from before Vat II!), they show clearly that the crisis in the Church is still raging.

1990 2015
Baptisms 472,130 262,314
Confirmations 91,281 43,627
Marriages 141,146 55,854
Priests 32,267 16,830*
Religious (female) 52,507 29,183
Religious (male) 10,652 5,490

*10 000 of which are over 65 years old…

What’s more, we have to ask ourselves what kind of formation does this “little rest” have? How many of these souls have actually kept the Catholic Faith?


Clama ne cesses! Cry out, never cease!

(arms of St Vincent Ferrer)

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A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions (continued): the Glorious Mysteries


The Resurrection by Fra Angelico

A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions (continued): the Glorious Mysteries

The Rosary is an admirable means of personal sanctification, but it is also a powerful weapon again the enemies of God and His Church.  From the defeat of the Cathars at the battle of Muret to the great victories (without a shot being fired!) against communism in Austria and Brazil in the 20th Century, and passing through the victories of Lepanto and Vienna against the Turks, and those against the Protestants in La Rochelle, the Most Holy Virgin has never abandoned Catholics when they have turned to her through her holy Rosary.  However, this ancient struggle between the “lineage of the serpent and the lineage of the woman” is renewed with each generation.

This struggle is perhaps nowhere more manifest at this time than in the past.  Although it is not the objective of the Confraternity to convey prayer intentions to the members, how can we keep quiet in the face of the drama that is now unfolding for our Catholic brothers being persecuted in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, as well as in China, Nigeria, India and elsewhere?  Through the Rosary, let us pray for the conversion of the Muslims, Jews, Protestants, communists, freemasons, and all those who are behind these persecutions.  Let us especially pray that the persecuted Catholics keep the faith and publicly profess it, even, if need be, at the price of their life.   We can hope that a host of these chosen souls have received the grace of martyrdom, are already in heaven tasting the delights of paradise, and that we whom they have left behind in this valley of tears, can join with them by meditating on the Glorious Mysteries, after having considered the Joyous and Sorrowful Mysteries.

(Remember: read one sentence before each “Hail Mary.”)


1.  Upon His death, Jesus’ soul descends into limbo to the joy of the just of the Old Testament.

2.  His lifeless body remains in the tomb, always united to the divinity, without the least corruption.

3.  On Easter morning, Jesus’ soul reunites with His body, never to be separated from it again.

4.  His body, brilliant with light, imprints a mysterious image on the holy shroud.

5.  At the same time, the earth is shaken and an angel rolls away the great stone that closed the tomb.

6.  Jesus leaves the tomb in all His glory and appears to the Roman soldiers, who are terrified.

7.  Jesus goes to visit the Blessed Virgin to announce His Resurrection to her.

8.  The Blessed Virgin is filled with joy, but is by no means surprised, nor troubled; she had been waiting for this moment since Good Friday.

9.  Jesus appears to St. Mary Magdalene and tells her, “do not touch me” to test her too sentimental love.

10.  Jesus appears several times to the Apostles and the disciples, but some are slow to believe.


1.  At Jesus’ resurrection, many of the dead leave their tombs and roam around the city of Jerusalem.

2.  During the forty days, they visit their families to proclaim to them that Jesus is the Messiah announced by the prophets.

3.  Jesus appears only to His Apostles and disciples.

4.  Jesus “opens the minds” of His Apostles so that, little by little, they come to understand Holy Scripture.

5.  A little before ascending to heaven, Jesus orders His Apostles to “teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

6.  The nations must render public honor to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and all of society’s laws must be in harmony with His teachings.

7.  Jesus appears one last time in Jerusalem and eats with His Apostles.

8.  He promises to send them the Holy Ghost.

9.  He leads them to the Mount of Olives.

10.  Jesus raises His hands and blesses His Apostles, all while moving away from them up to heaven.


1.  The Apostles are distraught.

2.  Everyone returns to the Cenacle to pray and wait for the Holy Ghost.

3.  The Apostles, the disciples and the holy women number about 120 persons.

4.  Matthias is elected to replace the traitor Judas.

5.  St. Peter says Mass each day. All receive communion and passes the day in prayer.

6.  During this time, an innumerable crowd of Jews from throughout the world is assembling in the city to celebrate the feast of the Jewish Pentecost.

7.  Suddenly, accompanied by the sound of trumpets, a violent wind opens the windows of the Cenacle.

8.  Tongues of fire descend upon the heads of the Apostles, and, in the blink of an eye, they understand all of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Immediately they descend into the street to announce to the crowd the forgiveness of their sins, upon the condition of doing penance and being baptized.

10.  Around 3,000 people ask to be baptized.


1.  Each day more and more people ask for baptism so as to be saved, but the jealous Jews try to exterminate the Christians.

2.  St. Stephen, St. James the Lesser and many others are killed in hatred of the faith.

3.  Mary supports the nascent Church through her prayers.

4.  St. Luke questions the Blessed Virgin on the details of Jesus’ infancy.

5.  The Blessed Virgin receives daily communion at St. John’s Masses.

6.  She appears to St. James the Greater in Spain to encourage him.

7.  She enlightens and encourages all those who come to see her at St. John’s home.

8.  She so ardently desires to be with her divine Son, that her body can no longer retain her soul.

9.  Her soul and her body separate, but her body suffers no trace of corruption.

10.  A little afterward, her body rejoins her soul and the Blessed Virgin is assumed entirely into heaven.


1.  At the moment of her Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin exceeded in grace all the angels and saints combined.

2.  During each moment of her existence, she made an act of love which multiplied in an extraordinary way the degree of grace in her soul.

3.  Thus, at the moment of her entry into heaven, the Blessed Virgin was raised in glory higher than one can imagine.

4.  Her glory is quasi-infinite; she touches the “confines of the divinity.”

5.  Our Lord places a mysterious crown on the head of His Blessed Mother.

6.  This crown symbolizes the total power with which the Blessed Virgin is invested from that point on.

7.  Jesus proclaims the Blessed Virgin, “Queen of Heaven and Earth.”

8.  All the angels and saints acclaim her as their queen and mistress.

9.  Jesus desires that all the graces that we receive pass through Mary’s hands.

10.  Mary now distributes all the graces that she has merited with and through Jesus at the foot of the Cross.

A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions (continued): the Sorrowful Mysteries


A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions (continued): the Sorrowful Mysteries

The Sorrowful Mysteries

The world around us is moving further away from Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Everywhere anti-Christian governments reject not only the laws of the Church, but even the laws of nature, because they are a constant reminder of the author of nature, our Creator and God.  How can we not see the realization of Psalm 2: “The princes of the earth are gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ”?   What can we do against these powers that seem to hold everything in their hands: money, the media, parliaments, armies?   Well, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil.4:13)!  It pleased God to topple Goliath with a humble shepherd like David.   Our “sling” is the Rosary, and the “five smooth stones taken from the river bed” (I Kings 17) are the five Mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful or Glorious) upon which we meditate each day.   If we look, we’ll discover these mysteries hidden in the depths of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is nothing less than an impetuous torrent of love for God and man.

To restore the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth, we all have something to do, a duty to perform according to each one’s state.  However, there is a duty that we all have in common: the regular prayer of the Rosary.  Have courage! “There is no problem, no matter how difficult, that we cannot resolve by praying the Holy Rosary” (Sister Lucy of Fatima).

Many of you have told us that you have enjoyed the meditations on the Joyful Mysteries according to the method of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort.  We continue here with the Sorrowful Mysteries, hoping that these examples will help you to compose meditations yourself using this method which is so practical and useful for dispelling distractions!   (Reminder: a sentence is read before each Hail Mary.)


1:  On the eve of His Passion, Jesus celebrated the first Mass.

2:  Before leaving the world, He wanted to leave us a pledge of His love, by giving us the Eucharist.

3:  Jesus, troubled in spirit, said to the Apostles: “One of you shall betray Me.”

4:  St. Peter protested, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.”

5:  After the Last Supper, Jesus takes Saints Peter, James and John to pray on the Mount of Olives.

6: The Apostles are not able to watch even one hour with Jesus.

7:  Jesus sees all the sins for which He is going to atone through His passion; His sweat becomes as drops of blood.

8:  Judas arrives and betrays Jesus through a sign of friendship.

9:  The Apostles are afraid and flee in all directions.

10:  Saint Peter denies Jesus three times.


1: Jesus is taken before the High Priest, where He is falsely accused, slapped and insulted.

2: The Jews drag Him before Pilate, because Pilate alone can declare the death penalty.

3: The crowd demands the release of Barabbas, a murderer.

4. Pilate does not find Jesus guilty of any crime, but he orders Him to be flogged to appease the Jews.

5: The soldiers first use a whip with metal balls at the end of the strips.

6: When Jesus’ body is swollen and red, they then change to a whip topped with tiny bones that tear the skin.

7: Jesus is covered with blood from head to foot. His skin is in shreds.

8: In this way, Jesus has atoned for our sins of sensuality.

9: “Sins of the flesh send the most souls to hell.” (Our Lady of Fatima to Jacinta)

10: Lord, give us the courage to do a little penance.


1:  Pilate asks Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?”  Jesus answers, “I am King, but My kingdom is not of this world.”

2:  Jesus’ Kingdom “did not come from this world,” but it extends over this world.

3:  Jesus is King of all creation and He has the right to be recognized as such by all men and by all governments.

4:  He is King by nature, because He is the Creator; and He is King by conquest, because He has redeemed us.

5:  The soldiers mock the royalty of Jesus by putting on Him a purple robe, a reed scepter, and a crown of thorns.

6:  They spit on Him and beat Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

7: Jesus keeps quiet and offers His suffering for the very people who despise Him.

8:  Pilate presents Jesus to the Jews: “Behold the man.”

9: The Jews shout, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

10:  The high priests say: “We have no king but Caesar.”


1:  Jesus is condemned to death.

2:  Jesus takes up His cross with love.

3:  Jesus falls the first time.

4:  Jesus meets His Blessed Mother.

5:  Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross.

6:  St. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

7:  Jesus falls the second time.

8:  Jesus consoles the women of Israel.

9:  Jesus falls the third time.

10:  Jesus is stripped of his garments.


1:  Jesus is nailed to the Cross.

2:  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

3:  Jesus says to his mother, “Woman, behold your son.” Then he says to the beloved disciple, “Behold your mother.”

4:  “Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.”

5:  “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

6:  “I thirst.”

7:  “It is consummated.”

8:  Jesus dies, saying: “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.”

9:  Jesus is taken down from the Cross.

10:  Jesus is buried.

A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions: The Joyful Mysteries


The Annunciation (Fra Angelico)

A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions


— Preamble: warning of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the world

In conclusion, we will recall these words, spoken by Sister Lucy of Fatima to Father Fuentes in 1959 (Messagero del Cuore di Maria, nos. 8-9, August-September, 1961):

“ – She told me this three times:

“Firstly; she stated that the devil is engaged in the decisive battle, that is to say, the final battle, from which one will emerge the victor or the vanquished: either we are with God or we are with the devil.

“The second time, she repeated to me that the ultimate remedies given to the world are: the holy Rosary and devotion to the immaculate Heart of Mary. The ultimate signifies that there will be no others.

“The third time, she told me that the other means, scorned by men, having been exhausted, she gives us in trepidation the last anchor of salvation which is the Blessed Virgin in person. The Lady said again that if we do not listen and if we still offend, we will no more be forgiven.

“Father (Lucy said to me), we must urgently take heed of the terrible reality. We don’t want to frighten souls, but this is an urgent appeal to reality.  Since the Most Blessed Virgin has given so great a power to the Rosary, no problem exists, material or spiritual, national or international, which cannot be resolved by the Holy Rosary and by our sacrifices.  To recite the Rosary with love and devotion will allow us console Mary and wipe away the many, many tears of her Immaculate Heart.”


— A method to pray the Rosary without distractions

Have you ever heard this episode from the life of St. Francis de Sales?  The illustrious bishop of Geneva had promised his horse to a brave peasant, provided he could recite one Our Father without distraction. Having barely arrived at “give us this day our daily bread…” the poor man stopped to ask if the saddle and bridle were included!

Who can boast of never experiencing any distractions during prayer?  The Blessed Virgin, knowing the difficulties of her children, has given us through St. Dominic a very effective way to fight against dissipation in prayer.  The Rosary, with its beads linked together, gives us a tangible reminder that we are in the act of praying.  However, we must know how to use it.  One method of reciting the Rosary suggested by St. Louis Marie Grignon-de-Montfort (but coming from the Middle Ages) is to precede each Hail Mary with a different thought relating to the mystery.  This does not add much time to the recitation of the Rosary (contrary to what one might think), and it helps us to refocus our attention.

Here is an example of this method as applied to the Joyful Mysteries:


1. The Blessed Virgin withdraws to a corner of the house to meditate on the Scriptures.

2. She reads the passage from Isaiah (7:14), “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a child…” and she begs the Lord to send the Messiah.

3. The Angel Gabriel appears and greets her by saying, “Hail full of grace.”

4. “Full of grace means she was preserved from all sin from the first moment of her existence.

5. She was conceived without original sin and never committed the slightest fault, even venial, neither through weakness, nor through surprise, nor through negligence.

6. The Blessed Virgin, who understands the meanings of his words, is troubled.

7. She knows that she is sinless, but it would be unthinkable for her to glorify herself.

8. It would be unthinkable for her to be greeted by an angel; who is by nature superior to men.

9. The angel says to her, “Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shall bring forth a son…And of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

10. She understands that she has been chosen to be the Mother of God.


1. The Angel Gabriel announces that Elizabeth has also conceived a child.

2. The Blessed Virgin, not thinking of herself, thinks only of her aged cousin.

3. She begins the tiring journey under the watchful protection of St. Joseph.

4. On arrival, the Blessed Virgin greets her cousin.

5. At the sound of the Blessed Virgin’s voice, St. John the Baptist is cleansed of original sin, and he leaps in the womb.

6. St. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Ghost, exclaims: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb…”

7. The Blessed Virgin gives all the glory to God.

8. “My soul magnifies the Lord….”

9. The more we glorify the Blessed Virgin, the more God is glorified.

10. The Blessed Virgin remains three months in humble service to her cousin.


1. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph travel to Bethlehem for the census.

2. Because the crowds come to be enrolled, there is no room in any inn.

3. Thinking back to his youth, St. Joseph remembers a cave away from the city.

4. He sweeps the ground a little and puts things in order, then he leaves to go search for firewood.

5. During his absence, the Blessed Virgin prays deeply, waiting for the great mystery about to happen.

6. She enters into a state of ecstasy.

7. She awakens and there in her arms she sees the most beautiful baby the world has ever seen.

8. She has experienced no pain. Her soul is filled with unspeakable joy.

9. She contemplates the radiant Child, and she recognizes there her own features.

10. St. Joseph returns; upon seeing the Child, he falls to his knees to adore Him.



1. Forty days after His birth, the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph carry the Infant Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord.

2. They give five shekels of silver to “redeem” the Child. (Numbers 1 8:16).

3. They also bring a pair of turtledoves for the sacrifice prescribed to women after birth. (Leviticus 12: 1 et seq.)

4. The old man Simeon, moved by the Holy Ghost, goes to the Temple.

5. He sees the Holy Family and recognizes Jesus as the awaited Messiah.

6. “Now thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy salvation.”

7. Simeon blesses the Holy Family.

8. He prophesizes: “Behold this Child is set…for a sign which shall be contradicted,” that is to say, now every man will be either for Him or against Him.

9. To Our Lady he says, “A sword will pierce your soul.”

10. The Blessed Virgin keeps all these things in her heart.



1. As Jesus is now twelve years old, the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph have taken Him to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.

2. They are part of a group of pilgrims from Nazareth.  Men and women and walk separately during the day.

3. During the return trip, St. Joseph thinks that Jesus is with the Blessed Virgin, and Our Lady thinks that Jesus is with St. Joseph.

4. In the evening, after having searched among all the pilgrims and not finding Jesus, they retrace their steps.

5. The Blessed Virgin knows that Jesus must suffer and die, but she does not know when.

6. This uncertainty is torture for her.

7. Jesus asks questions of the rabbis about the coming Messiah.

8. It was not to learn anything, but rather to show them that they themselves had misconceptions about the subject.

9. He quotes passages of Scripture that teach that the Messiah will have to die to save us from our sins, and not to assure world domination by the Jews.

10. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph find Jesus among the amazed and confused rabbis.

(To be continued with the sorrowful and glorious Mysteries)

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The Origin of the Prayer of the Rosary and its Excellence

A constant tradition, which, on several occasions, the Popes have solemnly endorsed, tells us that Saint Dominic (+ 1221) instituted the Rosary.

For instance, in the Bull Consueverunt of September 17, 1569, inaugurating the great movement in promotion of the Rosary which, two years later, was to lead to the famous victory of Lepanto, Pope Saint Piux V wrote:

The Blessed Dominic (…) himself lived in times similar to our own, when the Alibigensian heresy was ravaging France and Italy, casting a great number of the laity into the blindness of impiety and raging with fury against the clergy and priests of Our Lord.   Guided by the example of those who had preceded him in the service of God, and filled with the Holy Ghost, Dominic raised his eyes to Heaven and fixed his gaze on that holy mountain, that is to say on the glorious Virgin Mary, the sublime Mother of God.   In begetting Christ, she crushed the head of the Infernal serpent.   She alone has destroyed all heresies.   By the fruit of her womb, she saved the world from the damnation which the fall of our first parents had merited for us.  From this holy mountain without human aid, the stone which is Christ was detached; and the Son of Mary, immolated on the tree of the Cross, let abundant streams of grace flow from His wounds.

Full of these thoughts, Saint Dominic then discovered and easy method, accessible to all, a method of imcomparable piety and an excellent way of praying to God and making our supplications to Him.   This method is called the Rosary, or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   It consists in honoring the Mother of God by offering her the recitation of the Angelic salutation a hundred and fifty times, corresponding to the hundred and fifty psalms of David.  Each decade (of ten Hail Marys) is preceded by an Our Father and the decades are accompanied by meditations in the course of which we pass in spirit through the whole life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Such is the rite in which Saint Dominic created and which propagated in every part of the Roman Church through the intermediacy of his children, the religious of the Order of Friar Preachers.

This devotion was gladly received by the faithful.  Soon, in the midst of these meditations and these prayers, hearts were inflamed with the ardour of charity; one saw a multitude of people transformed by this devotion; the darkness of heresy vanished, and the light of faith shone forth anew in the world.   In order to establish this veneration of Mary in a lasting manner, Confraternities were founded in various places, set up by the religious of the Order of Friar Preachers, who were given authority by their superiors for this purpose, and many people were received as members of these Confraternities.

This passage from the Bull Consueverunt is particularly noteworthy.  By itself, it amounts to a whole treatise on the Rosary, because it defines its essential elements with perfect clarity.  It tells us:

  1. The name of this devotion:  The ‘Rosary’, or ‘Mary’s Psalter’.
  2. Its matter:  that is, the hundred and fifty Angelic salutations and fifteen Our Fathers, recited in a particular order and in decades.
  3. Its form (in the scholastic sense of the word, that is, what determines a thing’s specific nature):  the meditation on the mysteries of the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. Its qualities:  This devotion is an easy method, accessible to everybody, has an admirable piety, and is an excellent way of praying to God and of honoring Mary.
  5. Its author:  Saint Dominic, who through divine inspiration, thought of this treasure.
  6. Its ministers or promoters:  the Friar Preachers, who have spread this devotion in every part of the Roman Church.
  7. Its method of propagation:  that is, its lasting extension through the Confraternities instituted with the assistance of the Friar Preachers.
  8. And finally, the effects or the object of this devotion: to inflame hearts through meditation on the mysteries of the life of Christ, to enlighten minds through the clarity of the Faith, to revive in souls, Catholic beliefs and virtues, to dispel the darkness of error, and to cause the splendors of revealed truth to shine forth in the world with a new brilliance.

Through this last point we see that the Rosary has a double efficacy:

  • The Rosary has a marvelous efficacy of intercession especially against heresy and error which attack souls;
  • The Rosary has also a powerful efficacy of sanctification: it is a school of prayer of virtue and of Catholic holiness.

What the Rosary has been and has done in the past, it should continue to be and to do in our own day.  This depends on each and every one of us.

In this time of apostasy in which we live, it is necessary for us also to fix our gaze on the Mother of God – the holy mountain – and to be filled with the thoughts which inspired Saint Dominic and Saint Pius V.    Our Lady, through Jesus, the Fruit of her womb, has received eternally the power to crush the head of the Serpent, the Prince of this world.   In consequence of this, it her wish that what she accomplished in the 13th century in exterminating the Albigensian heresy through the intermediacy of Saint Dominic, and what she did in the 16th century in restraining Protestantism and destroying the Turkish threat through the agency of Saint Pius V, she still desires to continue, so as to annihilate the heresy of neo-modernism and the paganism of our time.  She wishes to do this and she certainly will do this – through the same one and only means of the holy Rosary.

One must be profoundly convinced of this fundamental truth because it determines all our faith in the Rosary.

The Rosary Confraternity

The Rosary Confraternity is an association intended to spread widely the devotion of the Rosary.  It is very old – one of the first confraternities was established in Valencia in 1221, the year of Saint Dominic’s death.  It is very rich in spiritual favors, and in various privileges which the Popes have constantly granted to it.

Leo XIII in the Constitution Ubi Primum, published on October 2, 1898, which constituted the “charter” of the Rosary Confraternity, determined its object and its nature:

The Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary was instituted with the object of encouraging a great number of men, united through fraternal charity, to praise and to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to obtain her protection through praying with one accord, using the very pious prayer formula from which the association has taken its name.   And that is why, without seeking any gain, without asking payment, the Confraternity accepts men of every condition and establishes no other bond between them than that of the recitation of Mary’s Rosary.   That is how it comes about that everyone, through bringing only a little to the common treasury, draws much from it…  Every member who follows the rules of the Confraternity, and who accomplishes the recitation of the Rosary, joins in the intention all the members of the society, who render to him, many times over, the same charitable office.

The Rosary Confraternity is thus a real mutuality of prayers and good works.

Conditions of Admission

In order to be part of the Confraternity, it is necessary:

1.  To be enrolled by a Dominican Father (or an authorized priest) in the register of a Confraternity.

It is essential that the applicant should provide his baptismal name (the forename) and (for reasons of practical convenience) his legal identity.

Everyone (so long as they are baptized) can be admitted, even children if they have attained the age of reason and are capable of reciting the Rosary.

However, one cannot enroll somebody against his will, nor can one enroll a person who is dead.

2.  To meditate the complete Rosary of fifteen decades (the three series of mysteries) every week.

Obviously, one can divide up the Rosary by reciting five decades at a time, or one can even say one decade at a time.  It is strongly recommended that one should follow the custom of reciting the Joyful Mysteries on Mondays and Thursdays; the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays; and the Glorious mysteries on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

This obligation of praying the full fifteen decades each week certainly does not prevent us from praying the full fifteen decades of the Rosary each day.   This practice of praying the fifteen decades daily is even the ideal, and is recommended that we should aim for this, little by little, so far as it is possible.

In this respect, the advice of Our Lady of Fatima will be remembered:  Six times, at each of her apparitions, she said to the children:  “I want you to recite the Rosary every day.”

In fulfilling this obligation it is not necessary to add it to any other obligations one may have contracted (the living Rosary, perpetual Rosary, Rosary Crusades, etc.);

3. To possess a set of Rosary beads which has been blessed by a Dominican Father (or a priest with a power to do this) using the form of blessing which is specially reserved to the Order of Friar Preachers.

The recitation of the Rosary with beads blessed in this way (and it is desirable to carry them with one always) adds special graces and privileges granted by the Popes since Benedict XIII.

However, if this last point cannot be adhered to, membership in the Confraternity and the gaining of indulgences associated with it (except for those attached the Rosary beads with Dominican blessing) are not prevented.

To these three principal conditions some optional matters may be added:

  • to receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist on the feast-day of the Confraternity (the first Sunday of each month) and for the Feast of the Holy Rosary (October 7);
  • to take part in the meetings or the processions of the Confraternity if they exist;
  • to practice the goods works of the Confraternity, etc…

None of the rules of the Confraternity obliges anyone under pain of sin.  Anyone who, in spite of his promise, fails to observe them, is deprived of only the corresponding advantages and graces.   (He may, nevertheless, commit a fault if this failure is caused by something which is in itself a fault:  laziness, carelessness, etc.)

Advantages of the Confraternity

By belonging to the Rosary Confraternity, one obtains three sorts of advantages:

1.  A growing love Our Lady and her very special protection.

As Saint Bernard says: “He who is devoted to Mary will not perish.”   Likewise Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, in his Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin and in his little work The Secret of Mary, has explained how the true devotion to the Blessed Virgin is a very quick, easy, direct and sure means of being saved, of being sanctified, and of bringing back many souls.  Thus, membership in the Rosary Confraternity, through the obligations that one undertakes, through the presence of other members and the graces that are obtained, encourages that true devotion and causes the love of Mary to grow stronger.

2.  And abundant participation in the spiritual benefits of all.

As we read above in the words of Leo XIII, each member “though only bringing a little to the common treasury, draws much from it.”   Why? Because this treasury is immensely rich and is common to all by virtue of the mystery of the communion of the saints.  The Rosary and the merits of each thus become the treasury of all.

Moreover, the members of the Rosary Confraternity, during their lives and after their deaths, enjoy a special participation in the prayers, Masses, penances and good works of all the past and present members of the great Dominican family.  In this way they benefit equally from a multitude of saintly protectors.

3.  A great number of valuable indulgences

Father Faber called the Rosary “the queen of indulgenced devotions.”  This ought especially to be understood and applying to the Rosary Confraternity which more than thirty Popes have endowed with indulgences.  These indulgences can be gained for oneself, or for the souls in Purgatory.

The plenary indulgence, if it is gained in full (which depends on the dispositions of our soul, according to whether we are, or are not, purified from all venial sin and completely free of all attachment to sin), remits all temporal punishment still owed by a soul in the state of grace, whether living on this earth or detained in Purgatory.  The partial indulgence (and the plenary indulgence which is not gained in full) remits only a part of this punishment.

The main list of indulgences of the Rosary Confraternity is found in Pope Leo XIII’s Constitution Diuturni temporis, published on September 5, 1898.   Since then, a few more indulgences have been added by the Popes.

Here are some examples of plenary indulgences attached to the Rosary and to the Rosary Confraternity:

  • A plenary indulgence once a year if one recites five decades with devotion, using a set of rosary beads with the Dominican blessing, on condition that one goes to Confession and receives Communion.
  • A plenary indulgence each time one recites five decades with devotion before the Blessed Sacrament exposed (or present in the tabernacle), on condition that one goes to Confession and receives Communion.
  • A plenary indulgence each month, on the last Sunday of the month, to those who recite the five decades together, at least three times a week, on condition of visiting a church that same Sunday, and of praying for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff and of approaching the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist.
  • Two plenary indulgences on admission to the Confraternity.  They can be gained either on the day of admission itself or on the Sunday or feast-day which follows.  The first indulgence requires Confession and Communion as conditions.  The second requires that the new member communicates in the church or chapel of the Confraternity, that he recites five decades of the Rosary, and that he prays for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff.
  • A plenary indulgence each day for members of the Confraternity who say the full fifteen decades of the Rosary within the space of twenty-four hours, provided that they visit a public church or oratory.
  • A plenary indulgence every day if, in the course of that day, one recites the full fifteen decades of the Rosary for the triumph of the Church over her enemies.   One may separate the decades, but Communion and a visit to a public church or chapel are required (Pope St. Pius X, June 12, 1907).
  • Three plenary indulgences, on the first Sunday of each month, if the members of the Confraternity take part in the procession of the Rosary, and / or if they visit the chapel of the Rosary and pray for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff; or if they spend some time in  adoration before the Blessed Sacrament exposed and pray for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff.
  • A plenary indulgence on October 7, if the members of the Confraternity (and other members of the faithful), having been to Confession and received Communion in memory of the victory of Lepanto brought about through Mary’s intercession, visit the chapel of the Rosary and pray there for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff.  This indulgence can be gained each time – toties quoties – that they visit this chapel from First Vespers on the eve of the Feast to sunset on the Feast.
  • A plenary indulgence at the point of death if the member receives the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, or if he invokes the Holy Name of Jesus, at least in his heart if he is unable to do so with his mouth, or, if fortified by the Sacraments and professing the faith of the Roman Church, he recites the Salve Regina and recommends himself to the Most Blessed Virgin.
  • Very many partial indulgences also exist;  for example:
    • For each time one recites five decades
    • Each day, from the fact of constantly wearing or carrying a set of Rosary beads (blessed with the Dominican blessing)
    • For visiting a member of the Confraternity who is ill, etc.


  • To obtain the indulgences one must:
    • Have the intention, at least the general intention, of gaining them
    • Be in the state of grace
    • Fulfill the acts indicated, freely and in the manner laid down
  • Confession and Communion, if they are called for, may be made the day before (or, for Confession, in the eight hours beforehand), and during the whole octave which follows.  Moreover, those who communicate every day, or almost every day, and who go to Confession at least twice a month, are not obliged to go to Confession once more in order to gain the indulgences.
  • The intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff are fixed by the Church, and which exclude any and all other intentions not explicitly indicated; they concern:
    • the granting of freedom to the Church and her exaltation
    • the propagation of the Faith
    • the extermination of heresies
    • the conversion of sinners
    • the extension of the reign of Christ
    • the true peace among Christian peoples
    • the other goods of the Christian peoples, etc.
  • When one is required to visit a church and to pray there for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff, prayers prescribed are:  the Apostles Creed, and in some cases, the Pater (Our Father…), Ave Maria (Hail Mary…), and Gloria Patri (Glory be…) (which can all be said in English).   Outside of these cases, the prayers for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff consist of the Pater, Ave Maria, and Gloria Patri, said six times.
  • Concerning visits to be made to the chapel or altar of the Rosary in order to pray there:  if this is not possible, one may ask one’s Confessor to change this condition for another work of devotion.

It should be noted that it is not necessary to know the details of all these graces and indulgences in order to benefit from them.

In conclusion, we will recall these words, spoken by Sister Lucy of Fatima to Father Fuentes in 1959 (Messagero del Cuore di Maria, nos. 8-9, August-September, 1961):

She told me this three times:

  • Firstly; she stated that the devil is engaged in the decisive battle, that is to say, the final battle, from which one of the two will emerge the victor or the vanquished: either we are with God or we are with the devil.
  • The second time, she repeated to me that the ultimate remedies given to the world are: the holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The ultimate signifies that there will be no others.
  • The third time, she told me that the other means, scorned by men, having been exhausted, she gives us in trepidation the last anchor of salvation which is the Blessed Virgin in person.  The Lady said again that if we do not listen and we still offend, we will no more be forgiven.
  • Father (Lucy said to me), we must urgently take heed of the terrible reality.  We don’t want to frighten souls, but this is an urgent appeal to reality.   Since the Most Blessed Virgin has given so great a power to the Rosary, no problem exists, material or spiritual, national or international, which cannot be resolved by the Holy Rosary and by our sacrifices.  To recite the Rosary with love and devotion will allow us to console Mary and wipe away the many, many tears of her Immaculate Heart.

A confraternity entrusted to the Order of the Friar Preachers

Here are the terms in which Leo XIII addressed the Master of the Order of Friar Preachers on September 15, 1883 (fifteen days after the publication of the Encyclical Supremi Apostolatus on the Rosary and on the institution of the month of the Rosary).  He exhorted the Dominicans to “make the devotion of the Rosary known and propagate it with all their might”:

The Rosary is yours, it is your own property, a sacred and inalienable heritage; consequently you have a special mission to share this boon with others, to make all the world participants in this treasure entrusted to your care.

In the present evils of the Church [ what could we say today!  —Editor ] I consider nothing better nor more opportune than to recommend and to promote this manner of prayer.

In consequence, in order to restore the faith and revive the spirit of prayer and holiness,

Let all the children of Saint Dominic rise up for the fight and let them, like mighty warriors, be prepared to use in the battle the weapons with which their blessed Father, with so much foresight, armed them.  This is what they have to do:   Let them plant everywhere the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary; let them propagate and cultivate it with fervor; through their assiduous care may the nations be enrolled in these holy militias where the ensigns of the Rosary shine; may the faithful learn to avail themselves of this weapon, to use it frequently; may they be instructed in the benefits, graces, privileges of this devotion.