We dedicate the month of October to the Holy Rosary. The Lady of the Rosary honors a large battle between the Catholic Church and the Muslim caliphate of the Ottoman Empire. This battle, in the Gulf of Patras, near Greece, took place on in the 16th century, on October 7, 1571.
Don John of Austria led the Christian fleet, which faced a substantial numerical disadvantage against the formidable Ottoman navy. Pope Pius V, leader of the Roman Catholic Church, asked Christians to pray the Holy Rosary together for victory.
Miraculously, the Christian fleet beat overwhelming odds and scored a decisive victory against the Ottoman armada. Pope Pius V attributed this triumph to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He initially celebrated the Feast of the Rosary on the First Sunday in October. In 1913, Pope Pius X moved the date and celebration of the Battle of Lepanto to October 7th
The History of the Holy Rosary
The Holy Rosary has ancient origins. Early Christian monks used beads to pray and recite the Psalms. The beads provided structure and focus to their prayer life. Originally, people in the holy catholic church called the rosary the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary and used beads too. People praying the Rosary venerate Our Lady one hundred fifty times. This corresponds to the number of the Davidic Psalter, and people pray the Lord’s Prayer before each decade.
People today attribute the Rosary to Saint Dominic, a 13th-century Dominican friar. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to him. She gave the Rosary as a spiritual weapon.
The purpose was to fight against false beliefs and bring people together in peace. Saint Dominic embraced this practice and spread its devotion throughout the Catholic world.
In the earliest form of the Rosary consisted of 150 Hail Mary’s which corresponded to the 150 Psalms. In the early Church (and through today) monks and consecrated religious pray the Psalms daily. Many people who couldn’t read used the Rosary to bring the monastic practice of prayer into their daily lives.
Over time the Rosary evolved into the form with which we are familiar today. Sets of ten divide rosary beads, with each set representing one Hail Mary. We precede each decade with an Our Father, then follow it with a Glory Be and the Jesus Prayer.
Each decade also focused on a particular event in the lives of Jesus and Mary, known as the mysteries. There are four groups of mysteries: The Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries, and the Luminous Mysteries.
The devotion to the Rosary in October serves as a reminder of the profound spiritual significance of the Rosary. Through the Rosary, Catholics seek to let go of their burdens and draw closer to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Throughout October, Catholics around the world engage in special devotions, processions, and recitations of the Rosary. This dedication for a month helps strengthen faith and deepen the connection to Jesus Christ’s life and teachings.
In autumn, the beautiful season we are now in, fall leaves change color. Catholics can change too and celebrate the Rosary in Fall to transform their lives through prayer.