Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, October, 7th, 2021
The devotional prayer, the Rosary, has been a part of the Church prayer life for centuries. And it perdures to today. My introduction to it was in my childhood. It was part of our parish life particularly because in 1917 the people of St Peter’s Colony in Saskatchewan with their pastor, Father Metzger, built a replica shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Through more than a hundred years pilgrims have visited the shrine. One essential part of the official August pilgrimage day was reciting the rosary together. When I was very young, after the evening supper, with dishes and food still on the table, my dad would kneel down and begin the rosary. My mum, sisters, and I followed suit kneeling and, leaning elbows on the seat of our chairs, answered each invocation with ‘holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.’ The rosary continued to be an integral personal devotion in my early Jesuit formation.
Although through the years it became less part of my personal prayer, just recently that has changed. I was struck by how consoling praying of the rosary was to a young married man who endured a lingering dying this past spring and how the Knights of Columbus of his Council here at St Ignatius Parish have taken to praying the rosary regularly together virtually! Also during this fall the students and staff at St Paul’s High School created an outdoor Rosary Garden around a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes just beside their multiplex. I was touched by this gesture of devotion.
Consequently the rosary is once again regular in my daily schedule. I’ve been struck how each of the Glorious, Joyful, Sorrowful, and Luminous events prayed about, are truly mysteries, ‘known unknowns’ as one commentator has dubbed them. It is easy to be lost in wonder at each. One of my sisters in Regina, Marlene, confided to me three weeks ago that she too has taken up the rosary in a new and regular way, praying for specific intentions. I kidded her that we, in our elder years, may be imitating Simeon and Anna in St Luke’s Gospel, doing the most important thing we can, praying for people.
But one doesn’t have to be old to pray the rosary. For anyone of any age it is an easy peaceful powerful prayer. If it isn’t already in your daily routine, as the old adage goes ‘try it; you’ll like it’.