Champions of the Rosary

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Visions of the Rosary

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By Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC (Dec 4, 2016)
I thought I would talk about the great new book Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon (Marian Press, 2016) by my friend and fellow Marian Fr. Donald Calloway. In the book, Fr. Calloway highlights many champions of the Rosary — and some of these champions also had a great devotion to the Holy Souls! Here I want to give you a glimpse of one of these heroic champions: Blessed Alan de la Roche.

His name, literally translated, is "Alan of the Rock," and this venerable Dominican was certainly a touchstone of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her holy Rosary. Blessed Alan was a Dominican priest who lived in 15th-century France and helped re-establish the devotion of the Rosary that had been given to St. Dominic by Our Lady two centuries earlier (in 1208) in Prouille, France. According to Fr. Calloway, Blessed Alan received visions from Jesus, Our Lady, and St. Dominic, all of whom implored him to help restore this devotion to its former prominence in the preaching of the Dominican Order and the prayer lives of the faithful. Blessed Alan was at first reluctant to carry out their wishes, Fr. Calloway writes, but Jesus rebuked Blessed Alan because he had been given the knowledge and ability to carry out this task, and yet was choosing not to undertake it. Father Calloway shares St. Louis de Montfort's account of this exchange between Jesus and Blessed Alan:

One day when he [Blessed Alan] was saying Mass, Our Lord, who wished to spur him on to preach the holy rosary, spoke to him in the Sacred Host: "How can you crucify me again so soon?" Jesus said. "What did you say, Lord?" asked Blessed Alan, horrified. "You crucified me once before by your sins," answered Jesus, "and I would willingly be crucified again rather than have my Father offended by the sins you used to commit. You are crucifying me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach my mother's rosary, and you are not doing so. If you only did this you could teach many souls the right path and lead them away from sin — but you are not doing it."

Our Lady also spoke to Blessed Alan, imploring him to preach her Rosary:

"You were a great sinner in your youth," she said, "but I obtained the grace of your conversion from my Son. Had such a thing been possible I would have liked to have gone through all kinds of suffering to save you because converted sinners are a glory to me. And I would have done this also to make you worthy of preaching the rosary far and wide."

Finally, St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominicans (and of the Rosary), appeared to him, too, urging Blessed Alan to renew this devotion because preaching the Rosary will bear fruit and will save souls:

Saint Dominic appeared to Blessed Alan as well and told him of the great results of his [own] ministry: he [St. Dominic] had preached the holy rosary unceasingly, his sermons had borne great fruit and many people had been converted during his missions. He said to Blessed Alan, "See the wonderful results I have had through preaching the holy rosary! You and all those who love Our Lady ought to do the same so that, by means of this holy practice of the rosary, you may draw all people to the real science of the virtues."

After experiencing these visions, Blessed Alan made the renewal of the Rosary devotion his mission in life. He now understood the power of the Rosary as a means, not only to renew the Dominican Order, but to renew the world.

But Blessed Alan also understood the power of the Rosary to help rescue the Holy Souls in Purgatory. According to St. Alphonsus Liguori:

Blessed Alan writes that many of the [Dominican] brethren had appeared to them while reciting the rosary, and had declared that next to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass there was no more powerful means than the rosary to help the suffering souls [in purgatory]. Numerous souls were released daily who otherwise would have been obliged to remain in purgatory for years.

Father Calloway also explains in his book that Blessed Alan helped revive Rosary confraternities as a way to promote the devotion, including as a means of praying for the Holy Souls. He said that one of the "appealing aspects" of these Rosary confraternities was the "after-death benefits" of confraternity members. Father Calloway writes:

When a member of a particular confraternity died, the surviving members of the confraternity promised to continue to pray for the deceased member. Thus, being a member of the Confraternity was a great help for getting out of purgatory and into heaven sooner.

I encourage you to read more about Blessed Alan de la Roche and all the great champions of the Rosary in Fr. Calloway's new book, Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon. In the book, Fr. Calloway gives a complete history of this powerful devotion and highlights 26 champions of the Rosary. He even has a section on how to pray the Rosary and includes some beautiful color images of the Rosary in art. It's a must-read!

Order Champions of the Rosary online at ShopMercy.org or by calling 800-462-7426.

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