The Rosary After 800 Years: Why Our Lady’s Apparition to St. Dominic Still Matters

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Written by Michael Matt | Editor, The Remnant

“Moreover, we may well believe that the Queen of Heaven herself has granted an especial efficacy to this mode of supplication, for it was by her command and counsel that the devotion was begun and spread abroad by the holy Patriarch Dominic.”

– Pope Leo XIII, (Octobri Mense Encyclical on the Rosary, 1891) –

Editor’s Note by Michael J. Matt: The following was published in The Remnant back in 1995, before the promulgation of Pope John Paul’s (when he was very elderly and ill) Luminous Mysteries. It is very fashionable these days to argue that Our Lady never actually appeared to St. Dominic in order to commission him with the task of spreading devotion to the most Holy Rosary. This entire incident, supported by at least 15 popes and numerous saints, is nevertheless chalked up as yet another one of the “pious legends of old Christendom” of which our Modernist friends are so fond.

But this “legend” is so well substantiated by popes and saints in history that its authenticity cannot be reasonably questioned without revealing at least a Modernist leaning.

When Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic at Prouilhe in southern France in the 13th century, she was accompanied by three angels, and she asked him: “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world? I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers and you will obtain an abundant harvest.”

At this, St. Dominic went out and preached the Rosary, first to the Albigensian heretics and then to all of Europe, in compliance with the instruction he’d received from Our Lady—with fifteen mysteries grouped into five decades each.

Lest there be any doubt of this, here is a photograph of the Basilica of Our lady of the Rosary and the Dominican Monastery of Prouilhe:
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This is one of the most venerated pilgrimage destinations in France, and it is where St. Dominic established the headquarters of his Order of Preachers—the very spot where according to 800-year-old tradition Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic and gave him the devotion of the Holy Rosary.

The history of this event is strongly supported by the tradition of the Dominican Order itself, but also Pope Leo XIII—the “Pope of the Rosary”, who wrote 12 encyclicals and 5 apostolic letters on the Rosary—who affirmed over and over again the Dominican origin of the Rosary and in a letter to the Bishop of Carcassonne (1889), admits that he accepts the tradition of Prouille as the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic, revealing this devotion—a tradition supported by at least 15 popes, including the great St. Pius V who codified the Rosary as it had been given to St. Dominic by Our Lady along with the Tridentine Mass after the Council of Trent. It should come as little surprise, then, that Modernists have been trying to crush both the Tridentine Mass and Rosary, ever since.

Here, then, is a more thorough history of the Rosary itself as well as its documented and demonstrated power against evil in the world, both in the past as well as more modern times. MJM

Ultimate Liturgy

There is no mention whatever of the Rosary in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Not even in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, whose final chapter deals exclusively with our Lady ’s role in the Church. A vague reference in Article 67 to “practices and exercises of devotion towards her” might be assumed to include it, but according to Bishop Rendeiro of Coïmbra, the Bishops who wished to add to the text “the Rosary with meditation on the Mysteries of the life of Christ and the Blessed Virgin” were voted down. Apparently the Council deemed it best to follow the recommendations of the Theological Commission and make no mention of particular devotions, for fear of encouraging manifestations of piety beyond what they termed “the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine.” [1]

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