How the Rosary Saved the World

Oct. 6th, 1571. The Ottoman Turks had already captured the Island of Cyprus and were quickly advancing toward the rest of Europe. Their fleets had not been defeated in over 100 years of constant battle, their men were of the most experienced sailors in the world, and their artillery was something to be reckoned with.

They were determined to overtake the world and eliminate Christianity in their wake. The Holy League, made up of Spanish and Italian powers, was running out of time and thus deployed immediately from the shores of Western Europe. They feared they would not be able to arrive in time to block the Ottomans from their deathly procession.

Under the leadership of Don Juan de Austria, the crew and the King declared that all of the citizens and soldiers would put all of their strength in the recitation of the rosary to call upon Our Lady for aid in battle. Upon the decks, battle-ready and iron-clad shipmen fell to their knees to beg Our Lady for her intercession in order to claim victory over the Muslim regime.

The wind shifted.

A total of 226 Holy League galleys arrived at Lepanto and faced of between 222 Muslim war ships just before they were able to cross into European mainland territory. This fight would decide who would control the religious and state affairs of Western civilization.

The two fleets wasted no time deploying cannonballs, arrows, and the like, and as soldier upon soldier fell to the bottom of the Mediterranean, it was the faith of the Holy League that kept their barques afloat. All the warriors rejoiced with the raised arms and the most powerful weapon the world has ever known clutched in their hands: the Rosary. Our Lady claimed victory.

The Rosary saved the world.

In October, we celebrate World Missions Sunday and it is my hope that we reawaken the common practice of praying the Rosary not only for ourselves, but for the success of the various missionaries who risk their lives in the trenches of spiritual warfare. May be prayed with the same zeal and fervor as those of he soldiers and citizens of the various powers that were represented in the Holy League during the Battle of Lepanto. Our world needs Our Lady now more than ever, and the best way to ensure the ongoing success of Mother Church is through the recitation of her rosary.

The World Mission Rosary, created by Blessed Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, is a unique rosary in that its colors represent the continents in which missionaries are currently serving. As a former missionary, I can safely tell you that their lifestyle is no joke. These fearless sojourners have been called by Christ to live out the Gospel message by going to far off lands and baptizing those on the fringes of society into the Catholic faith. They’ve sacrificed the comforts of home to be overtaken by God’s love for the poorest of the poor.