The Dedication of Saint Mary of the Snows

The Dedication of Saint Mary of the Snows

(435)

There are in Rome three patriarchal churches in which, on different feast days, the Pope officiates. These are the Basilicas of Saint Peter on the Vatican Hill, Saint John Lateran, and Saint Mary Major on the Esquiline Hill. The last-named, the Liberian Basilica, was founded in the time of Pope Liberius, in the fourth century; it was consecrated to the Virgin Mary by Sixtus III in the year 435, under the title of Saint Mary ad Nives, or at the snow, because the Mother of God Herself chose, and indicated by a miracle, its site to be that of Her first church in Rome. Continue reading

The Election of Pius X

The Election of Pius X

August 4, 1903: Day 4 of the Historic Conclave, the Election of Pius X, & Cardinal Merry del Val’s Role

The Conclave of 1903 lasted from the afternoon of Friday, July 31, to August 4. At this point in time, the Jus exclusivae had already been invoked by Emperor Franz Jozeph, and Cardinal Rampolla, the leading choice of the Conclave, was out of the running.

Politics were also involved. Not only were the Austria-Hungary and German allies in agreement regarding their opposition to Rampolla but also, the Italian government, part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, was also hostile to him, since Rampolla was affected by the Italian government’s overthrow of his own Sicilian interest in the south. Continue reading

St. Dominic and the Rosary

St. Dominic and the Rosary

The hermits of the first centuries, who could not read the psalter, used to recite one Our Father and one Hail Mary in the place of every psalm; and in order to note the number they said, they made use of small stones, or of seeds strung on a cord. St. Dominic was the first who made the custom general of substituting one hundred and fifty Hail Marys for the one hundred and fifty psalms; hence the rosary used to be called the Psalter of Mary. When, about the year 1200, the heresies of the Albigenseans wrought great mischief in the south of France and the north of Italy, St. Dominic was commissioned by the Pope to preach in refutation of their erroneous tenets. His efforts availed little, and he besought the aid of the Mother of God. She appeared to him, and bade him make use of the rosary as a weapon against her enemies. He accordingly introduced it everywhere, and before long it had effected the conversion of more than a hundred thousand heretics. The use of the Rosary soon spread throughout Christendom, and it became a most popular devotion. It is a method of prayer at once simple and sublime; the prayers are so easy that a child can repeat them, and the mysteries are so profound that they supply a subject for meditation to the most learned theologians. It is a prayer of contemplation as well as a prayer of supplication, for it places before the mind the principal truths of the faith. The Rosary is a compendium of the Gospels; a complete and practical manual of instruction wherein the chief points of Christian doctrine are presented under the guise of prayer. By meditation on the events of Our Lord’s life faith and charity are increased; from the example of our divine Redeemer we learn to be humble, gentle, obedient; we are incited to imitate the virtues which the mysteries teach, to strive after what they promise us. Moreover the union of vocal and mental prayer makes the Rosary easy, pleasant, and profitable. As a method of prayer it is unrivaled; the longer and more devoutly it is practiced, the more one appreciates its excellence and becomes convinced of its supernatural origin. Continue reading

Saint Dominic

Saint Dominic

Founder
(1170-1221)

Saint Dominic de Guzman was born in Spain in 1170. As a student, he sold his books to feed the poor during a famine, and offered himself to ransom a slave. At the age of twenty-five, after taking the religious habit he became acting Superior of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine in Osma, and was soon offered an episcopal chair at Compostella. He answered as afterward he also answered many times: God has not sent me to be a bishop, but to preach. He accompanied his prelate to southern France on a commission for the king of Castille. There his heart was well-nigh broken by the ravages of the Albigensian heresy, a variant of ancient Manicheanism, and the source of devastating wars in southern France. His life from that time on was devoted to the conversion of heretics and the defense of the Faith. Continue reading