How The Whimper Of A Sick Child Is Like The Rosary

As you know I am Catholic. Recently a friend of mine asked me why I, and Catholics in general, say the rosary. It seems like such a boring prayer. I gave her a simple answer, simple and inadequate. And then I said to her I’d think more about it and answer her again in a better way.

So I have been thinking about this and a day or so ago, suddenly, like a curtain opening, I knew exactly what I was going to say. An insight I had from an angle I’d never even thought of before. As usual, I’m going to tell you a story but first a little background.

If you are Catholic I hope this rings true and if you are not Catholic, or not Christian, I invite you to read on for the next few minutes and maybe glean some understanding into this Catholic custom.

I can fully understand how people think the rosary is a boring repetitive prayer, more suitable as a cure for insomnia than anything else. Hail Mary … Holy Mary … Hail Mary … over and over again, the same thing every day….

It has always been there in my life. As a child it was a cue for giggling misbehaviour; just make sure you knelt out of swiping distance of the long arm of the parental law. As a teenager something to be more or less abandoned until exam time when out of desperation it would be resorted to in the hopes that Mary would put a good word in for us in the ear of her son that he would overlook our laziness and procrastination and all those TV shows that filled our study hours … Hail Mary … Holy Mary … Pray for us … I promise I’ll be good forever … now and at the hour….

As a young couple we prayed more fervently, every day together, again and again, praying for help to overcome all the seemingly huge obstacles which stood between us and our longed for wedding day. Mother of God … Pray for us….

And then children come along and it’s an ideal we so often fell far short of. A hit or miss in the hustle and bustle of nappies and laundry and copy books. We’d fit in shortened versions, look out helpful tools for the children and try our best to make this prayer a part of our family life and all too often long-fingering it till bedtime and closing eyelids … Mum and Dad, Husband and Wife, Me and John praying in half sleep and promising that tomorrow we’d do better.

However I cannot say I ever really understood this repetitive prayer. I knew it, I loved it and could see the palpable differences it made to my young family whenever it was part of our family life. But understand it? Not really.

Now you know the story of our little girl and her diagnosis and all that went with it. I’m not planning to drag the rear end out of that tale but it is a story that has so many facets to it, many of which are only unfolding with the passing of time. This story is one of those things which completely passed me by when it was actually happening.

So back we go to a few years ago. A little girl, not quite three, is in distress … my own little girl, back on the ward after her very big operation. Her ragged little heart has just been stopped and restarted, patched, shunted, stitched and changed. Her bones have been wired back together, she has three painful drains coming out of her little body, machines and monitors are attached to her small limbs and her chest. Every vein has been exhausted from blood being drawn.

I have a little camp bed set up beside her with a sleeping bag which is calling me because I am exhausted. But I’m not as exhausted and worn out and wretched as the little girl beside me. I am her mother and that gives me all the energy I need to stay awake.

I am longing to do something for this suffering child who cannot sleep though she needs to. All night she reaches for me to hold her hot little hand in mine. All night she whimpers:

“Mommiee”

“What, Baby?”

“I want you”

“I’m here, Baby”

“Mommiee”

“What, Baby?”

“I want you“

“I’m here, Baby”

“Mommiee”

“What, Baby?”

“I want you”

“I’m here, Baby”

All night long, over and over and over again “… I want you … Mommy … I want you … I’m here Baby.”

A hundred times, a thousand times and then the sun starts to rise and she wakes up from her fifteen minute sleep….

“Mommiee”

“What, Baby?”

“I want you”

“I’m here, Baby”

All day and all the next night. What could I do but hold that little hand and stroke it and assure her I’m here … I’m here. That’s all she wanted. She could say nothing else, a little child who clung to her Mommy in her time of distress.

Was I bored of this little conversation repeated incessantly? What do you think? No I wasn’t bored. I wasn’t bored because it wasn’t boring. Every time she uttered those sorrowful words “I want you” my heart filled to overflowing, it’s capacity increasing with every little whimper. Of course I wasn’t bored and it was an honour to be able to say “I’m here, Baby” to be the one who was able to give that longed for comfort. The assurance that her mother who loved her was watching her and was never going to let go that feverish little hand.

And THAT my dear is why I will never not say the rosary till the day I die. Mary is not bored of our repetitive plea Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners. She’s not bored, because it’s not boring. She has no intention of letting go of our worn out and wretched hand. She is awake because she is the mother who loves her child and loves us all the more when we turn to her and say over and over and over again

“Mommy … I want you.” How The Whimper Of A Sick Child Is Like The Rosary

Jennifer Kehoe

Jennifer is a young mother of six, living in Co. Kildare. She runs a blog ‘Raindrops on my Head,’ at http://jenniferkehoe.blogspot.ie

100 years of Fatima

One hundred years have passed since the Virgin Mary appeared on six occasions to three shepherd children in a small village called Fatima in Portugal. The world was at war and the Portuguese government had declared that God was dead. Churches were closed and priests and religious were imprisoned or expelled from the country. These little children, Lucia dos Santos aged ten, her cousin Francisco Marto aged nine and his younger sister Jacinta aged seven were to become messengers of peace in a country where God was not allowed to be called upon or mentioned by name.

The Blessed Virgin asked these little children to pray the Rosary for peace, and to offer sacrifices for sinners to atone for their failures and sins which offended God so much. The Blessed Virgin spoke not of an angry God but a compassionate lover who cared for his children like any parent. God wished to save his children from their sins and so the Virgin came as a messenger of peace to call these little ones to a close discipleship with Jesus.

After the first apparition, little Jacinta kept proclaiming enthusiastically, “O what a beautiful Lady,” and on returning to her home broke her promise to keep the vision a secret. She told her family, “There was something within me that would not keep me quiet.” The same effect has been produced throughout salvation history, whenever someone has experienced a true, interior and personal encounter with God. This very experience caused the hearts of Jesus’s disciples and countless others in history to “burn within them.” The encounter with the living God fills the soul with an unquenchable joy and light and transforms the witness to bear all sufferings for the proclamation of the gospel of peace. Our Lady told the children that they would suffer much and asked if there were willing to be her witnesses, they agreed.

The Catechism teaches us that “taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.” We do not have to take on extra penances but to carry the crosses that may come our way each day as witnesses and believers in our families and society. We too live in similar times to these three children where it has become more and more difficult to witness to our Christian faith in our modern society. We find it difficult to communicate the faith to our children and grandchildren and at times we may even receive closed doors at the mention of faith and moral living. Lucia’s mother refused to believe her daughter even up to the very end of her life and much suffering was caused to the two families as their humble farms and crops were trod upon by thousands of spectators.

Our Lady came repeating the gospel command, “repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15) These very words were the first words spoken to us by the Lord. The Fatima message speaks to us of God’s mercy for sinners if they only turn to their loving God. We cannot force anyone to believe but we can as Our Lady asked that we pray for them and offer sacrifices for their conversion. We are not asked to condemn the sinner, but love them into new life. Our simple tools are prayer and sacrifice. God wishes to save all his children and promises us that they will have a home in heaven if they only listen to the voice of his Son who does not come to control their lives but set them free.

Our Lady asked the children to pray the rosary daily for peace in the world and in our hearts. The Blessed Virgin herself gave us this prayer through St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominicans. The Rosary is the Gospel on a string, where we sit with Mary and contemplate the life of her Son through her very eyes. These mysteries which Our Lady asked us to keep her company while praying, open for us the mysteries of salvation. They make Christ present here and now wherever we pray this great prayer. The Dominicans commonly called the Rosary the “mass of the evening.” For the Mass of the morning makes present on our altars the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection. At the altar, we can be present to that one saving sacrifice of Christ and to participate in that mystery where the graces of Calvary are poured forth into our world. The “mass” of the evening, the holy rosary, makes present in our homes, workplaces and even our cars the other mysteries from the life of Jesus from which we can draw strength, grace and hope for the situations in which we find ourselves. The Rosary makes present the Lord Jesus in the here and now of daily life. In moments of joy, sorrow and glory, we find a safe harbour in Our Lady’s rosary.

The Virgin Mary at Fatima who called herself “Our Lady of the Rosary,” asks us to pray the Rosary for peace. If we are at peace, those around us will be at peace, our homes will be centres of peace and from there our world will be transformed.

The Fatima message is as relevant today as it was in 1917. The Blessed Virgin came as a messenger of peace, her presence transforming the lives of these children. They in their turn have become beacons of light and love from the turbulent secular society in which they lived. Our Lady’s message of peace issued from her Immaculate Heart, a heart untouched by corruption and sin. It is in this heart we can trust and have recourse to when we feel we have nowhere else to turn. Fatima calls us to conversion, to love and trust our faith, to repent of our sins, to adore God in the Blessed Eucharist, to pray daily for conversion. The message also reminds us of the reality of heaven and the need to pray for the holy souls who rely on our prayers and sacrifices. In many ways, the six apparitions are like a catechism of our Catholic faith. In this Centenary year, may we rediscover the beauty and truth of our faith, and know the God who loves us and forgives us daily.  Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Rosary pray for us sinners, and enfold us in your mantle of mercy.

5th Jubilee Mystery: Revelation in Word and Sacrament at Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35

“They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” 

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

Discussing the things which had happened, all seemed lost and the hope that once attracted them to be disciples appeared to have been dashed. But, we are reminded that elsewhere in the Scriptures Jesus said, “When two or three are gathered in my name there I Am in their midst.”  As they walked away from Jerusalem, Jesus “drew near and went with them.” Faith is a fragile gift – suffering from discouragement, the disciples listen as Jesus opened the scriptures to them. The flame of faith begins to be kindled once again, yet they are kept from recognising him.  “Stay with us,” they ask Him, as he motioned to go on: this is the prayer of the Christian. We no longer see Him in the flesh, yet He is no less present. They recognised him in the breaking of the bread, we too, in faith, see Him before us truly present in the Sacrament of the altar.

“They returned to Jerusalem.” Our Lord shows us that the Eucharist is the place and the moment where we now encounter him most fully. His Word and his Body feed us and nourish us for the journey. It is when we are united around Christ, as His Body the Church, celebrating the Liturgy, that we truly know him and he reveals himself to us.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

Hail Holy Queen.

Prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary

O Virgin Mary, grant that the recitation of thy Rosary for me each day, in the midst of my manifold duties a link of unity in all my actions, a tribute of filial piety, a sweet recreation and a help to walk joyously in the path of duty. Grant, especially, O Virgin Mary, that the study of thy mysteries may gradually form in my soul a pure, bright, fortifying, sweet-scented atmosphere which will penetrate my will, my memory, my understanding, my imagination and my entire being. Thus will I acquire the habit of prayer while working, without the help of formulas, by interior movements of admiration and supplication, or by aspirations of love. I ask this, O Queen of the Holy Rosary, through Dominic, Thy son of predilection, the illustrious preacher of thy mysteries, and faithful imitator of thy virtues. Amen. (Bl. Hyacinth Cormier, OP)

Prayer in honour of St. Dominic

Father, through the intercession of St. Dominic, Doctor of Truth and Light of the Church, make your love glow in our hearts. After the example of so great a saint, make us heralds of your Gospel in a world that hungers for you but often does not know its needs. Give us St. Dominic’s unswerving loyalty to the Holy Church and may we, like him, be founts of true wisdom for our weary world. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

4th Jubilee Mystery: ‘Go tell my brothers,’ Mary Magdalen, Patroness of Preachers.

John 20:11-18

“Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.”

Mary Magdalen received the grace of being the first to see Our Lord after His Resurrection. At first she did not know Him, then He called her by name. She heard His voice before witnessing the glory of His resurrected countenance. Christ then commissioned her to bring the message of the Resurrection to the Apostles, His brethren. She is the apostle to the Apostles. I am a Christian. I am united with Christ by Baptism and already participate in the life of His Resurrection. By my Confirmation I am called to be an apostle. Christ invites me to imitate Mary Magdalen and tell the world that I have seen the Lord.

Jesus wants me to share in Mary’s profound joy, a joy which stems from being close to Him and communicating His Gospel in a cheerful, generous and authentic manner.

May I follow Mary Magdalen’s example and proclaim Christ as my living Lord – by courageously defending the teachings of His Church. May I persevere in this task until the day He calls me by my name and permits me to see the glory of His resurrected body in Heaven.

Holy Mary, my Mother, you are the Queen of the Apostles. Help me to proclaim your Son’s resurrection to my family and friends – by my thoughts, words and deeds.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

3rd Jubilee Mystery: The Commissioning and Sending Forth of the Seventy-Two Disciples.

Luke. 10:1-9

“Say to them, the kingdom of God has come near to you.”

While travelling toward Jerusalem, Jesus appoints, and sends out in pairs, seventy-two disciples. He sends them ahead to visit all the places he himself will visit. The disciples were sent out with very particular instructions about how they were to travel, what they were to bring with them and how they were to behave when they found a place that welcomed them.

To those who welcome them, Jesus tells his disciples to announce that the Kingdom of God is very near to them. To those who do not make them welcome, Jesus tells them again to say that the Kingdom is God is very near. Jesus makes it clear that the presence of the disciples and the kingdom that they bring with them, will be seen by some as a blessing and seen by others as something less positive.

In either case, Jesus insists that the response of the disciples should ultimately be the same. His disciples are to draw attention to the proximity of the Kingdom of God, both as something to be welcomed and something to give pause for thought. For those who welcome the representatives of the Kingdom a great peace will be imparted, whilst those who do not welcome them, will miss out on this peace.

The peace that the disciples carry with them comes from the place they start their journey from, in the presence of Jesus. They go before him to announce his coming, bringing the gifts he wishes to give. It is the job of the disciples to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus, so let us pray that we may be true disciples of the Lord, realising that as he sent them, so he sends us now.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

2nd Jubilee Mystery: The Epiphany of the Lord.

Matthew 2:1-12

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him.”

The grace of God came to the Magi in the form of a star. Having observed this star they began their long and arduous journey in search of the Lord. The Magi followed the guiding light of the star and were rewarded by finding the divine Christ-Child.

The star which has risen in my life is the gift of faith given me at my Baptism. Faith is the kindly light and compass which leads me along the path of life. The Christian life is a pilgrimage which can encounter many dangers and obstacles. If I but follow the beaming star of faith which God has placed in my sky, I am sure to reach my destination. If I remain strong in faith, no obstacle, no Herod, can throw me off course.

The Lord Jesus bids me to journey towards him. He is my guide, my path and my destination. He has chosen me and called me to the faith. If I follow Him, I will come to behold Him in glory.

O Mary pray for me, hold my hand and help me always to follow the light of grace which will bring me to your Divine Son.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

1st Jubilee Mystery: Announcement to the Shepherds of the birth of the Messiah.

Luke 2:8-20

“Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

The Shepherds upon finding themselves in the presence of the angel with the glory of the Lord shining around them were filled with fear. This fear is dispelled by the words of the angel when he says, “Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you news of a great joy.” This joy comes from the knowledge that the Saviour which all Israel had been longing for had finally come to his people. Overcome by what they had witnessed and filled with expectation the shepherds “went with haste” to see the Christ child. As with the annunciation to Mary, the angelic visitation fills them with a joy that cannot be contained, and moves them to action.  The darkness of the night in which they laboured in the fields gives way to the light which they now see before their eyes, the true light of the world; the King of the Universe, in a manger.  Changed forever by this experience the shepherds become messengers of joy, making known to others what they have seen and heard.

Let us pray that we may experience anew the joy that comes with knowing Christ our Lord. Like Mary, who pondered the mystery of her Son in her heart may we by meditating on this mystery be changed by grace and become messengers of joy to all we meet.

One Our Father, Ten Hail Mary’s, Gloria.

Queen of Preachers: Pray for us.

Rosary Letter Winter 2016/2017

The New Year of 2017 brings the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order to a close. It has been a year of many graces and blessings for us here in Ireland with many celebrations and pilgrimages nationwide. It was a year to look back with thanksgiving in our hearts for 800 years of our family’s existence and its faithful service to the Church. The Order of Preachers was born in the heart of a man who passionately loved the Church, the mystical body of Christ on earth. Dominic de Guzman set fire to the Church of his time with zealous preaching on the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. These mysteries he studied, contemplated and preached with passion for the salvation of souls, that the world of his time would once again embrace the saving mysteries of the incarnate Saviour. Dominic brought the faithful to an understanding of the love of God for the world in the person of Jesus Christ. He lived for Jesus and his Kingdom, and like the sower going out to sow, he planted in the hearts of the faithful the seed of renewal and conversion. The mysteries Dominic preached are the mysteries we contemplate in the Rosary. Tradition states that Our Lady appeared to him and gave him the Rosary, asking him to preach the mysteries she herself contemplated in her Immaculate Heart.

A few months ago, two friars were travelling across Ireland by car to a parish mission and in a discussion about the rosary, considered its place in their spiritual life. The discussion developed into a question, ‘If you could add new mysteries to the Rosary, what Gospel mysteries would you pick?’ The mysteries chosen and agreed upon, are presented as a Jubilee Rosary in thanksgiving to God for our founder St. Dominic de Guzman and for the patronage of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary. We share them with you and pray that they lead you closer to Jesus whom Dominic loved and preached with all his heart and soul.

Fr. John Hyacinth Walsh. O.P.

Director of the Rosary Apostolate.

Our Lady of Limerick

The statue of Our Lady of Limerick first came to that city in 1640 as a gift from Patrick Sarsfield and his wife Eleanor. Patrick had purchased the statue on the continent and gifted the statue in reparation for the martyrdom of Sir John Burke of Brittas, Captain of Clanwilliam.  It was Patrick’s uncle, Judge Dominic Sarsfield, who had sentence Sir John to death. Sir John was a member of the Rosary Confraternity connected with the Dominicans of Limerick City. He loved the Order and promoted the Rosary in his family and locality. Each year he invited the Dominicans to celebrate Mass in his ancestral home, Brittas Castle and for having the Holy Mass celebrated in secret, he was condemned to death and his estate confiscated in the Act of Settlement in 1653.

Patrick Sarsfield donated the Statue and a silver chalice dated 1640 to the friars of Limerick and he inscribed it with his wife’s name and his own in reparation for the sin of his Uncle, Judge Dominic Sarsfield. They were presented to Fr. Terence Albert of Brian, O.P. who would later become Bishop of Emly and die for the faith in the city of Limerick on October 30th 1651.

During the siege of Limerick in 1651, the statue of the Virgin was removed and according to tradition was buried alongside the remains of the Martyred Bishop O’Brien.

In 1780 when the days of persecution had passed the Dominicans built a small chapel in Fish Lane to replace an earlier church destroyed by anti-Catholic forces. The statue was recovered from its earthly grave and given a place of honour alongside the main altar. When the Dominicans opened St Saviour’s Church in Perry Square in 1816 the statue was brought in procession and enthroned on its own altar surrounded by images of the Dominican saints. In 1954 the Virgin and Child were crowned with a tiara of gold, pearls and diamonds all donated by the women of Limerick, with the result that rich and poor alike had some share in the graces that flow from the treasury of Our Lady of Limerick. The statue of Our Lady of Limerick is almost life-size. On her arm rests the Infant Jesus; while a long silver rosary, with an ancient tubular cross, stretches from the right hand. Our Lady of the Rosary of Limerick, a gift in reparation for the sins of man, watches over her beloved city and its people to this very day. A Mother’s love never ends, and we pray her intercession over God’s children in this modern and changing world.


Prayer to Our Lady of Limerick.

Most loving lady of Limerick, my Mother and my Queen, I thank thee from my heart for the many blessings and consolations that hast bestowed upon me. I love thee with all the fervour of my soul and promise to serve thee always and to make thee loved by all. I place my entire life with its many cares and anxieties in the tender arms of thy maternal love, knowing that thou wilt always guide and protect me. Inflame my heart with true love of Jesus Christ so that I may every accomplish His holy will. I pray thee, thou Mother of Mercy, to safeguard, as thy special heritage, thy faithful people of Limerick. Thou wert given to us in our hour of suffering to inspire and encourage us; do not leave us until thou see us safe in Heaven, there to bless thee and sing thy mercies for all eternity. Amen

Our Lady of Graces, Cork

Our Lady of Graces is a three-inch ivory plaque that depicts the seated Madonna and Christ child dating from the 14th century.

The Statue was brought from Europe to Ireland in 1304 by the Archbishop of Cashel, Maurice O’Carroll. When he died in 1316, the image, for which he had a special veneration, was buried with him in the Dominican Church in Youghal, Co. Cork. The Dominicans first came to Youghal in 1268 and dedicated their church and priory to Our Lady. For over one hundred years the statue lay buried and forgotten.  Then, at a time when religion had fallen to a very low level, Our Lady herself intervened. She appeared in a dream to one of the Dominican friars of Youghal and asked that the statue be removed from the tomb. The little statue was miraculously unearthed. Our Lady of Graces obviously did not want to stay buried. It was a miracle! The revival of fervour and the growth of devotion which followed the recovery is indicated by the changing of the title of the Dominican Church in Youghal to that of “Our Lady of Graces”. The statue became a focus a fervour, a centre of pilgrimage, an occasion of many graces. According to tradition a blind man recovered his sight, and all those who came to the shrine and venerated the statue found their prayers being answered. Youghal became a place of pilgrimage as people flocked in their hundreds to see the miraculous statue. Youghal was also close to the Shrine of St. Declan of Ardmore and so pilgrims would first visit the saint’s relics and then continue their journey to Youghal. Also from the town of Youghal, pilgrims would leave for Santiago and Rome.

With the persecution of the faith under Henry VIII in the 1500s, Sir Walter Raleigh ordered that the Abbey of Our Lady of Graces and the shrine be demolished. The demolition was dogged with bad luck where one workman fell off the roof, while another died mysteriously just after the work started.

One of the Fitzgerald family, Honoria Fitzgerald, took the statue to safety before the church was demolished. She kept it for many years and even had a special silver case made for it in 1617. In time the statue was handed over to the Dominicans in Cork, where in 1895 Our Lady of Graces found a permanent home in St Mary’s Church, Popes Quay and was placed appropriately on the Rosary altar beside the sanctuary of the church.

Today Our Lady of Graces is loved by the people of Cork and Mass is said in honour of Our Lady of Graces each Saturday in the Dominican Church which houses the shrine.


Prayer to Our Lady of Graces.

O Mary of Graces and mother of Christ, O may you direct me and guide me a right. O may you protect me from Satan’s control, and may you protect me in body and soul.  O may you protect me by land and by sea, and may you protect me from sorrows to be; A strong guard of angels above me provide; May God be before me and God at my side. Three Hail Mary’s and the Memorare.