Our Lady of the Rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary is a title of the Virgin Mary related to the prayer of the Rosary, whose origin has been attributed to an apparition of Our Lady to St Dominic in 1208 in the monastery church at Prouille, near Carcasonne in the south of France.

Pope Pius V instituted the feast of “Our Lady of Victory” to commemorate the naval victory of Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet at Lepanto on the 7 October, 1571, the first Sunday of the month. The victory was attributed to the help of the Mother of God, because a rosary procession had been offered on that day in St Peter’s Square in Rome for the success of the League in preventing Muslim forces from overrunning Western Europe. Two years later, at the request of the Dominican Order, Pope Gregory XIII, in 1573 allowed this feast to be kept in all churches which possessed an altar dedicated to the Holy Rosary. In 1671, the observance of the feast was extended by Pope Clement X to the whole of Spain.

Somewhat later, Pope Clement XII, following the victory over the Turks gained by Prince Eugene on 6 August, 1716 (the feast of our Lady of the Snows), at Peterwardein in Hungary, decreed that the Feast of the Rosary be celebrated by the whole Church on the first Sunday in October.

Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October, and in 1969, Pope Paul VI changed the name of the feast to “Our Lady of the Rosary”. Today’s celebration invites all of us to meditate often on the mysteries of Jesus’ life.

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