Champions of the Rosary

"In Champions of the Rosary, Fr. Calloway has writ... Read more

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Meet Mary's Servants of Mercy

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Donna Barnard had a dilemma.

She was a member of a Bible study group in Shreveport, Louisiana. The group had been meeting together for two years — but their group leader had just died. Now the group was searching for something to do, some new program.

One day, Donna was in a Catholic bookstore in Shreveport, and a book cover caught her eye. She took a closer look.

33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC.

She bought it because of the cover and liked what she read so much that she approached her Bible study group about using Fr. Gaitley's book to make their Marian consecration.

The group agreed.

"Since then, hundreds have made their Marian consecration with Fr. Gaitley's retreat, because we started spreading the word," said Donna. And the group kept going: "We have done all of Fr. Gaitley's retreats and books and are forever blessed. I am forever grateful for the divine inspiration of finding the first book and encouraging others to make their Marian Consecration. I also cannot begin to express the gratitude of all of Mary's Servants of Mercy."

The group adopted the name "Mary's Servants of Mercy Prayer Group" in 2015 after they finished Fr. Gaitley's book 'You Did It To Me'.

"This group is made up of women from different parishes in our area," diverse in age and background, said Donna, "but the bond is really hard to describe." She said that one of the biggest blessings to come from the group is the chance to be with women who are so faith-filled and have the desire to grow spiritually together.

The group began meeting in Donna's home but soon outgrew that space and moved to St. Joseph Parish's Family Life Center. Though the group is not officially affiliated with the parish, the pastor has approved the retreats held by the group.

"It is so special, and we learn so much from each other in great discussions," said Donna, who "truly loves" being the facilitator. Along with her co-facilitator, she leads two series of meetings a year, one in the fall and one in the spring, each lasting about 10 weeks.

"We will be together forever, studying and growing together spiritually!" said Donna.

This fall, Mary's Servants of Mercy Prayer Group underwent a unique retreat that they created, based around the recently released Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon by Thirteenth of the Month Club spiritual director Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC.

"I found Champions of the Rosary through the Marian Helper magazine," Donna explained. "I have been fond of Fr. Calloway for years, read all of his books, and had the pleasure of seeing him in person three times. I also share my copy of [the Fr. Calloway DVD] 'Extreme Mercy' with others. After reading No Turning Back and viewing Fr. Calloway's first DVD, I can't even tell you how many people I have shared his conversion story with through the years, especially friends who have children who have left the Church. I tell them Fr. Calloway is the modern day St. Augustine and his mother is St. Monica! So when I saw the book, I presented it to the group and decided we would make this into a retreat ourselves."

For the first week, the group watched Fr. Calloway's Extreme Mercy, which shares his testimony about his wayward early years, conversion, and discernment of a vocation to the priesthood and religious life, "so they would know who he was, which really helped so they could relate to him.

"I would assign chapters, go through the book myself, and come up with discussion questions," said Donna. "We would find highlights in each century. It was so awesome! I guess because we have done so many retreats, it just all flowed!"

The best thing about this group is that they all do their homework and are eager to discuss at each session, said Donna. "We only meet for two hours, but trust me, we could stay longer! This group already had a Rosary devotion, and now learning the history of the Rosary has enhanced our devotion with so much more gratitude. It was truly a blessing at just the right time.

"So many fruits came from Champions of the Rosary," Donna continued, "and I believe the biggest blessing is that many are now praying the Rosary daily, encouraging family Rosaries, and sharing with all of their friends and family to pray this powerful prayer and keep their spiritual weapon with them at all times. I am promoting Champions of the Rosary because so many do not know the history, and I believe it will bring people to have a Rosary devotion!"


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Edna Grimsley - Aug 29, 2017

I would like To join the group. I have a devotion to our Blessed Mother and pray the rosary daily. I am reading Champions of the Rosary and a slow read for me to contemplation. I've read his books and so excited he is coming to St. John's in May. Blessings!

Donna Barnard - Aug 28, 2017

Mary's Servants of Mercy Retreat Group is so excited FR. DONALD CALLOWAY will be in Shreveport, LA at the Cathedral of St John Berchmans on May 10,2018! We are so blessed and spreading the great news!