Prayer, and how well it is said, has the power to determine where people spend eternity. Out of all prayers, the Rosary is the second most powerful (Holy Mass is the first). The Blessed Virgin Mary provided the Rosary in the year 1214, in its present form and in the method we use today. It was a meditation on the mysteries of the life of Jesus for those who could not read and a means of conversion for sinners. She gave it to Saint Dominic de Guzman, a Spaniard and founder of the Dominican Order, who prayed for help with his missionary work, particularly with the Albigensians, who were heretics of southern France. In turn, he gave the Rosary to the Church.
The power of the Rosary is unlimited. Even one Rosary said devoutly can save a person's soul. Saint Louis de Montfort (1673-1716), a French priest of the Dominican Third Order was famous both for nurturing a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and a great love of the Rosary.
St. Louis de Montfort wrote of a time when a single Rosary did save a woman's soul, an occasion often referred to when speaking about the Rosary. This pious and strong-willed woman lived in Rome (as now did St. Dominic). She was fervent and devout in her holy life, so much that her actions would put even the strictest religious in the Church to shame. She wore sack-cloth and a hair shirt, gave herself the discipline several times a week and carried out many other penances. She made the Stations of Rome every day, which was a devotion of visiting certain stational churches in Rome and saying prescribed prayers at each one.
The woman went to St. Dominic for confession and asked advice about her spiritual life. He gave her one whole Rosary for penance. He also advised her to pray it every day. Horrified at this new devotion, she prayed it once for her penance and stopped. The woman was in prayer later, when she fell into an ecstasy. She had a vision of her soul appearing before Jesus at his Judgement Seat. Saint Michael placed all of her penances and prayers onto one balance of the scales and all her sins and imperfections on the other. The balance fell on the side of her sins and imperfections, greatly outweighing all the good she had done.
Terrified, she cried out for mercy and begged help from the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Mother in Heaven graciously took the one Rosary she had said for penance and dropped it on her tray of good works. The balance fell in the other direction. This one Rosary greatly outweighed all of her sins and good works combined. The Blessed Virgin then admonished her for refusing to follow the advice of Dominic and for not saying the Rosary every day. When the ecstasy ended, the woman rushed and threw herself at the feet of St. Dominic. She begged forgiveness and promised to say the Rosary every day. It is through the Rosary that she rose to Christian perfection and the glory of everlasting life.
A single Rosary saved that woman's soul but daily prayer of it has the capacity to do so much more.
St. Louis De Montfort wrote that all who pray the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death, for the purpose of knowing the truth, and obtaining contrition and pardon for their sins will be saved. This applies to everyone, even people who are on the brink of damnation, have one foot in Hell, sold their soul to the devil, or are heretics.
The Rosary connects us to the Blessed Virgin Mary, through which all graces come, and therefore to Our Lord Jesus. Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) said, 'The Rosary is a long chain that links Heaven and earth. One end of it is in our hands and the other end is in the hands of the holy Virgin ... the Rosary prayer rises like incense to the feet of the Almighty'. Therefore, pray the Rosary and say it well. It will bring you home to Heaven.
Catholic Online. 2021. St. Therese of Lisieux. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=105
De Montfort, St. Louis. 2004. The Secret of the Rosary. Montfort Publications, Bay Shore, New York, USA. pp. 12, 18, 63-64.
Dominican Missionary Sisters. 2021. Who is St. Dominic? https://dominicanmissionarysisters.org/about-us/who-is-st-dominic/
Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia. 2021. St. Louis de Montfort. https://www.nashvilledominican.org/community/our-dominican-heritage/our-saints-and-blesseds/st-louis-de-montfort/
Brown, Veronica. 2020. The Legend of the Holy Rosary. Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, https://springfieldop.org/the-legend-of-the-holy-rosary/
St. Stephen's Catholic Parish. 2021. The Rosary. http://www.ststephens-olds.ca/the-rosary.html