Tuesday, October 31, 2023

All Hallows Eve: The Origins

The Christian feast of All Saints was not invented by the Roman Church to replace the pagan Celtic New Year celebration called Samhain, although eventually the two coincided. The feast of All Saints was originally celebrated on May 13 and later transferred to November 1. The Roman Pantheon, once the temple dedicated to all the gods, was dedicated on May 13, 609 to Our Lady Queen of All the Martyrs. It was then that the bones of many martyrs were taken from the catacombs and placed with honor in the Pantheon. As Abbot Gueranger describes in his masterpiece The Liturgical Year, Vol XV:
When Rome had completed the conquest of the world, she dedicated to all the gods, in token of her gratitude, the Pantheon, the most durable monument of her power. But when she herself had been conquered by Christ, and invested by him with the empire over souls, she withdrew her homage from vain idols and offered it to the Martyrs; for they, praying for her as she slew them, had rendered her truly eternal. To the martyrs then, and to Mary their Queen, she consecrated for ever, on the morrow of her merciful chastisement, the now purified Pantheon.
"Come forth from your dwellings, ye Saints of God, hasten to the place prepared for you." For three centuries the catacombs were the resting-place of our Lord's athletes, when they were borne from the arena. These valiant warriors deserved the honours of a triumph far better than did the great victors of old. In 312, however, Rome disarmed but not yet changed in heart, was not at all disposed to applaud the men who had conquered the gods of Olympus and of the Capitol. While the Cross surmounted her ramparts, the white-robed army still lay entrenched in the subterranean crypts that surrounded the city like so many outworks. Three centuries more were granted to Rome, that she might make satisfaction to God's justice, and take full cognizance of the salvation reserved for her by his mercy. In 609 the patient work of grace was completed; the Sovereign Pontiff Boniface IV uttered the word for the sacred crypts to yield up their treasures. It was a solemn moment, a forerunner of that wherein the Angel's trumpet-call shall sound over the sepulchres of the world. The successor of St. Peter, in all his apostolic majesty, and surrounded by an immense crowd, presented himself at the entrance of the catacombs. He was attended by eighteen chariots magnificently adorned for the conveyance of the martyrs. The ancient triumphal way opened before the Saints; the sons of the Quirites sang in their honour: "You shall come with joy and proceed with gladness; for behold, the mountains and the hills exult, awaiting you with joy. Arise, ye Saints of God, come forth from your hiding-places; enter into Rome, which is now the holy city; bless the Roman people following you to the temple of the false gods, which is now dedicated as your own church, there to adore together with you the majesty of the Lord."
Thus, after six centuries of persecution and destruction, the martyrs had the last word; and it was a word of blessing, a signal of grace for the great city hitherto drunk with the blood of Christians. More than rehabilitated by the reception she was giving to the witnesses of Christ, she was now not merely Rome, but the new Sion, the privileged city of the Lord. She now burned before the Saints the incense they had refused to offer to her idols; their blood had flowed before the very altar, on which she now invited them to rest, since the usurpers had been hurled back into the abyss. It was a happy inspiration that induced her, when she dedicated to the holy martyrs the temple built by Marcus Agrippa and restored by Severus Augustus, to leave upon its pediment the names of its primitive constructers and the title they had given it; for then only did the famous monument truly merit its name, when Christian Rome could apply to the new inhabitants of the Pantheon those words of the Psalm: I have said, you are gods. The thirteenth of May was the day of their triumphant installation.
Every dedication on earth reminds the Church, as she herself tells us, of the assembly of the Saints, the living stones of the eternal dwelling which God is building for himself in heaven. It is not astonishing, then, that the dedication of Agrippa's Pantheon, under the above-mentioned circumstances, should have originated the feast of today. Its anniversary, recalling the memory of the martyrs collectively, satisfied the Church's desire of honouring year by year all her blessed sons who had died for the Lord; for at an early date it became impossible to celebrate each of them on the day of his glorious death. In the age of peace there was added to the cultus of the martyrs that of the other just, who daily sanctified themselves in all the paths of heroism opened out to Christian courage. The thought of uniting these with the former in one common solemnity, which would supply for the unavoidable omission of many of them, followed naturally upon the initiative given by Boniface IV.
In 732, in the first half of that eighth century which was such a grand age for the Church, Gregory III dedicated, at St. Peter's on the Vatican, an oratory in honour of the Saviour, of his blessed Mother, of the holy Apostles, of all the holy Martyrs, Confessors, and perfect Just, who repose throughout the world. A dedication under so extensive a title did not, it is true, imply the establishment of our feast of All Saints by the illustrious Pontiff; yet from this period it began to be celebrated by divers churches, and that too on the first of November; as is attested, with regard to England, by Venerable Bede's Martyrology and the Pontifical of Egbert of York. It was far, however, from being universal, when in the year 835 Louis le Debonnaire, at the request of Gregory IV and with the consent of all the bishops of his realm, made its celebration obligatory by law. This decree was welcomed by the whole Church and adopted as her own, says Ado, with reverence and love.
The councils of Spain and Gaul, as early as the sixth century, mention a custom then existing, of sanctifying the commencement of November by three days of penance and litanies, like the Rogation days which precede the feast of our Lord's Ascension.
The main reason the Pope changed the feast of All Saints from May to November was that in the fall after the harvest there was more food to feed the pilgrims who came to Rome to venerate the relics of the martyrs. May 13 is still regarded as the feast of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, and it was on that day that the Blessed Mother first appeared at Fatima in 1917, at the beginning of the century when more Catholics would be killed for their beliefs than ever before.

Monday, October 30, 2023

The Triduum of the Dead

From Stephanie Mann:
Tomorrow is Halloween--All Hallow's Eve--and the Liturgical Arts Journal has a post from the publisher of a prayer booklet for the day and evening of the beginning of these days of special remembrance for the faithful departed:
Halloween is a liturgical holiday. Anyone would be forgiven for not knowing that, because almost nobody keeps it that way anymore—to such a degree that some Catholics are of the opinion that we should wash our hands of the whole business. But Halloween has always belonged properly to the Church, and as such it should be made a key strategic objective in a cultural Reconquista. To help illustrate why, I’d like to walk through the day of October 31st, not as the world celebrates it now, but as the Latin Church celebrated it for centuries, listed in the Martyrology as Vigilia omnium Sanctorum.

The Thirty-first of October would traditionally have begun with the office of Matins before sunrise. Traditionally, weekdays in October Matins featured readings from the Books of Maccabees. But on the 31st, the readings switch to Luke 6 and Ambrose’s homily on the Beatitudes. These lessons appointed for Halloween come from the common “Of Many Martyrs”, and we will see this theme of the Beatitudes reappear not only later in the vigil day but also in the feast of All Saints to follow. . . .
Please read the rest there.(Read more.)


November 1 was the Celtic New Year so it was not a "minor" festivity; All Saints was not instituted as a Christian replacement. From uCatholic:

We’ve all heard the allegations: Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on October 31–as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Solemnity of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland.

The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, “All Hallows Even,” or “Hallowe’en.” In those days Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.

In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in southern France, added a celebration on November 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.

So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland at least, all the dead came to be remembered–even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the church calendar.

But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday center on dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague–the Black Death–and it lost about half its population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned about the afterlife.

More Masses were said on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality. We know these representations as the “danse macabre”, or “dance of death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people–popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc.–into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life.

But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish, who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. The Irish focus on Hell gave the French masquerades an even more macabre twist.

But as every young ghoul knows, dressing up isn’t the point; the point is getting as many goodies as possible. Where on earth did “trick or treat” come in? “Treat or treat” is perhaps the oddest and most American addition to Halloween and is the unwilling contribution of English Catholics.

During the penal period of the 1500s to the 1700s in England, Catholics had no legal rights. They could not hold office and were subject to fines, jail and heavy taxes. It was a capital offense to say Mass, and hundreds of priests were martyred. (Read more.)

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Halloween: Christian or Pagan?

 Here is an excellent bit of exegesis from Mystagogy:
The story is, in fact, more complicated. By the mid-fourth century Christians in the Mediterranean world were keeping a feast in honour of all those who had been martyred under the pagan emperors; it is mentioned in the Carmina Nisibena of St Ephraim, who died in about 373, as being held on 13 May. During the fifth century divergent practices sprang up, the Syrian churches holding the festival in Easter Week, and those of the Greek world preferring the Sunday after Pentecost. That of Rome, however, preferred to keep the May date, and Pope Boniface IV formally endorsed it in the year 609. By 800 churches in England and Germany, which were in touch with each other, were celebrating a festival dedicated to all saints upon 1 November instead. The oldest text of Bede’s Martyrology, from the eighth century, does not include it, but the recensions at the end of the century do. Charlemagne’s favourite churchman Alcuin was keeping it by then, as were also his friend Arno, bishop of Salzburg, and a church in Bavaria. Pope Gregory, therefore, was endorsing and adopting a practice which had begun in northern Europe. It had not, however, started in Ireland, where the Felire of Oengus and the Martyrology of Tallaght prove that the early medieval churches celebrated the feast of All Saints upon 20 April. This makes nonsense of Frazer’s notion that the November date was chosen because of ‘Celtic’ influence: rather, both ‘Celtic’ Europe and Rome followed a Germanic idea…. (Read entire post.)

Saturday, October 28, 2023

St. Jude

The saint of desperate, hopeless and impossible cases is an old and dear friend to my family. I have lit many a votive light at his beautiful shrine. Let us pray to him for the Christians in the Middle East! As one St. Jude site says:
Saint Simon and Saint Jude were apostles, which means they were followers of Christ. After Christ's Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, the apostles travelled all over the world, bringing the word of Christ to the people. This is what Christ asked them to do, and he gave them instructions on how they were to travel and what they were to teach.

Saint Simon was called 'the Zealot' to keep his name different from Saint Peter (whose name was really Simon, Jesus called him 'Peter' which means 'rock') and from Saint Simeon, the brother of Saint James the Less. The name 'Zealot' means someone who is very energetic and dedicated to a cause. Saint Simon loved Jesus and His teachings and was very determined to spread the Good News of Christ's teachings. He traveled to Persia and was martyred there.

Saint Jude was the brother of Saint James the Less and Saint Simeon. There were several brothers and cousins among the Apostles - after all, if you had found the Messiah, who would you tell first, your own family or a stranger on the street? Andrew and Simon Peter were brothers, Saint James the Greater and Saint John the Evangelist were brothers, and Saint Jude, Saint James the Less (called that because he was shorter, not less important) and Saint Simeon were brothers.

These two apostles probably did not travel together. Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Syria, and Mesopotamia. When he was quite old, in 62 AD, he returned to Jerusalem to help with the selection of a bishop for Jerusalem. It is interesting to realise that in just 62 years, or maybe even less, the Church that Jesus Christ began by giving his life, and that the Apostles build and spread with their lives, had grown so large that it needed bishops to help the priests and deacons look after and teach the people.

When Saint Simeon, Saint Jude's brother was elected Bishop of Jerusalem, Saint Jude went back to travelling and teaching. He was martyred in Armenia, a country which did not completely convert to Christianity for another 250 years. (Read more.)
 St. Jude, pray for us!

Friday, October 27, 2023


From A Clerk of Oxford:
All Souls, and a rainy November day in the season of remembrance. The three-day season of Hallowtide - Hallowe'en, All Saints, All Souls - is medieval in origin, as a time for remembering the dead both known and unknown. Medieval literature is rich in serious, profound meditations on mortality, on death, on transience, and in the later Middle Ages, particularly, the iconography and art of death abound; if you need a memento mori, go to medieval art. Sometimes this art pops up into view around Hallowe'en, when you might see, for instance, images of grinning skulls and 'The Three Living and the Three Dead' offered as seasonal fare on social media. It's useful to remember, however, that in the Middle Ages this interest in death was not really confined to any one season of the year - not even Hallowtide, though certainly it was important then. A few years ago I posted some medieval prayers, in poetry and prose, 'for all Christian souls'; but though appropriate for All Souls they weren't specifically intended for today's commemoration, and could be prayed at any time of the year. In the Middle Ages almost every day was a saint's feast, a day to remember the glorious dead; prayer for the dead was a Christian duty all year round, especially but certainly not only on All Souls' Day; and the whole point of a memento mori is that it reminds you that at any moment you are close to death - not just at Hallowtide. (Read more.)

Thursday, October 26, 2023

All Hallows Eve: Saints or Spooks?

I think the saints' costumes are lovely and a good idea for children during Hallowtide. But my daughter had fun running down the street on Halloween pretending to be a pirate with a glow-in-the-dark sword. And others in the past have enjoyed the scary side of Halloween. From Crisis:

The value of any tradition lies in its pedagogical power; but that pedagogy must often be consciously or creatively applied in the work of restoring Christian culture. The implication of Halloween is that death precedes the possibility of saintly glory and the redemptive suffering of Purgatory—and it delivers this earthly message with winks, chills, and some candy. Like a good-humored rendition of Dante’s Inferno, Halloween can and should recall the darkness of error as well as the soul’s fulfillment in Christ.

I believe in the Chaucerian principle that part of the process of overcoming evil is to laugh at it—but that means allowing evil to retain its identity for the sake of our exultant ridicule. And that requires a bold Catholic attitude that looks the fearful in the eye fearlessly—and, at Halloween, the fearful take the form of vampires, werewolves, zombies, and witches. Catholics should laugh at these as symbols of overthrown evil and encourage children to enjoy their silly spectacles, even though they may be a little scary. Again, the character (or caricature) of evil should not be lost in calling out its defeat.

For this reason, saints shouldn’t replace spooks on Halloween. There is, I think, something unimaginative in All Saints dress-up parties that miss out on the significance of ghost and goblin in Catholic iconography and festivity. There is a day for the celebration of all the saints on November 1st, but Halloween is for the imps whose overthrow made way for saints to exist. Such pious costume parties are popular as a counterbalance to the often overwhelming and unfortunate horrors and obscenities of the season; and they do, of course, encourage a traditional awareness and attitude by turning the minds and hearts of children toward eternal things. But these celebrations miss out on some of the potential and delight in the Church’s liturgical poetry. (Read more.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

Today we remember so many valiant souls. 

Merry, merry, merry England,
Isle of Saints and Martyrs blest!
Shining witnesses to Jesus,
Now enjoying Heavenly rest.
Happy England, Mary's Dowry,
Gladly own that cherished Name;
English hearts throughout the ages
Find their comfort in the same.

England, land of fairest Angles,
Apple of Saint Gregory's eye;
Fruitful land where Saints did scatter
Seeds of faith which never die.
Holy England, Catholic England,
Favoured Child of Church of Rome!
Once thy kings, as well as paupers
Kept the Faith within their homes.

Glorious England, land of Martyrs,
Giving forth a sweet perfume;
English Roses, crimson colored
'Neath the gallows thou didst bloom.
Watered by a tide most precious,
Strengthened by the Lord's own grace;
Manly courage shown in contest,
Crowned with victory in the race!

Merry England, Mary's England,
Be her Dowry as of old.
Thrive again beneath her mantle
In the One and Catholic Fold.
Saints of England send a blessing
 From thy place in Heaven above,
On the merry land which housed thee,
Homeland which thy hearts didst love!
By a Carmelite Nun of Rochester

Picture and poem courtesy of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Rochester, NY

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

St. Raphael the Archangel

When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner, and hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord. ~Tobias 12:11-15

 He is one of the mysterious seven who stand before God. More HERE. The late Fr. John Hardon wrote an essay on the on-going mission of St. Raphael in our lives, saying:

Thank God for the trials in your lives. Express your gratitude for the hardships and trials He gives us. Quoting the archangel Raphael, God sometimes enables us who love Him to love Him more through trials. How we need to hear this. God’s graces can be pleasant and enjoyable, but the graces can also be difficult and painful. Never deceive yourself that what is pleasing to us is displeasing to God. Raphael talked to Tobias’ son and is teaching us this.
Finally, Raphael told father and son to be at peace. As we have seen on Christmas morning, again not just one angel, but a host of angels tell us “Peace on earth to men of Good will”. Whatever else we should learn but from not only Raphael, but from God speaking through His angels, is that we should not just be at peace but cultivate peace in our minds and in our hearts. What is peace of mind? Peace of mind is the experience of knowing the truth. Behind that statement stands years of experience. One allegedly developed country after another has tried everything that this world can offer, but are not at peace. Why not? Because we are only as much at peace in our minds as our minds possess the truth. That is why when God became man, He identified Himself as, “I am the truth.”
What is the truth? Truth is our minds corresponding with reality. Yet, millions are living in a dream world of unreality. They do not posses the truth, and the truth, I repeat, is the agreement of the mind with reality. I keep telling one audience after another, statisticians tells us that ninety percent of reading American read is fiction. How we need to guard our minds from reading bewitched by the untruth.
How do we acquire the truth? We acquire it, of course, from God’s revelation. But it is one thing to say posses the truth-such as there are three persons in one God, or I know that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ, the living God-man is present here on earth in the Holy Eucharist. But if we are to grow in this peace of mind, we are to grow in our understanding of the truth that God has revealed.
That is the main purpose of meditation. By prayerfully reflecting on God’s revealed truth we grow in our grasp and understanding of what God has revealed. And our minds grow in this blessed gift of peace of mind. But, as Raphael told father and son and is telling us, we are to have also peace of heart. A synonym for peace of heart is peace of will.
What is peace of heart? Peace of heart is the experience of doing God’s will. And that is the only true source and foundation of joy in this valley of tears. We shall have peace of heart only in the measure that we are doing God’s will. Ah, what an examination of conscience we must all make. How faithful to God’s will am I? How ready am I to accept the cross He sends me? How willing am I to share with others what God has so generously given me? How much attention do I give to prayer in my life? So the litany goes on. Peace of heart is the experience of doing the will of God, and that experience is the happiness of spirit. Know God’s will with the mind and doing it with the will.
As Christ later on will tell us, we are to be peace makers. We shall bring peace to others only if we are at peace ourselves. We will bring peace to others by sharing with them the truth which we believe. We shall bring peace to others only in the degree that we ourselves are generous, loyal and doing the will of God. All of this and far more is locked up in the most detailed and deepest revelation of an angel sent by God to teach us how we are to live our lives here on earth in anticipation of joining the choirs of angels in a heavenly eternity.
Lord of the angels, we thank you for providing for our needs by sending your angels to help us. Your angel Raphael’s name means “God heals,” send us your angels to heal us from such bodily infirmity as you wish us to have removed. But, dear Lord, heal us especially in our spirit from the sickness of soul so that healthy in mind and body we may bless you, the Lord of the angels, and that we may grow in our love for you, healed by you through your angels here on earth and that we may reach you and join you for all eternity.

Monday, October 23, 2023

St. John of Capistrano and the Siege of Belgrade

St. John of Capistrano

How a saintly friar, a soldier, and the prototype of Dracula saved Western Civilization. From Catholic Answers:

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Pope Callixtus III charged [Father John Capistrano]—due to his potent personality, no doubt—to muster a force to arrest the Turkish invasion of Eastern Europe. So, after years of preaching and laboring for the faithful and the Franciscans with Bernardine of Siena, John of Capistrano then turned soldier-priest and amassed what troops he could from the streets and villages of Hungary, determined to gain more official assistance in breaking the sultan’s siege of Belgrade.

John’s meeting with the Hungarian military heads in Györ seemed to fall on deaf ears, so he marched with his motley crew of crusaders toward the besieged fortress of Belgrade. But his exhortation had not been futile. Not only did he win the admiration of the savage Wallachian prince, Vlad Dracul, but he also stirred the martial politician John Hunyadi.

John Hunyadi formed a relief force for the determined John Capistrano and mounted a fleet of 200 ships on the Danube. Throwing his gauntlet into the impending campaign, Vlad Dracul agreed to hold the Transylvanian passes against Turkish reinforcements with his mercenaries and protect the eastern defenses of Belgrade.

In the summer of 1456, John Capistrano met John Hunyadi and Vlad Dracul on the groaning walls of Belgrade. There they sealed their alliance for the cause of Christ. They had mustered a significant militia, including war vessels, siege guns, and cannons. And when battle broke, so did the siege of Belgrade. The blusterous old priest, frail as he was, charged into the thick of the fighting with his men, bearing nothing but a crucifix to protect him.

With the valiant aid of Hunyadi and the strategic support of Dracul, John Capistrano emerged as a central figure in repelling the Ottoman stranglehold around Belgrade, which threatened not only Hungary, but also the Christian West. Together, they burst through the ring of Turkish land forces while the fleet on the Danube cleaved the seemingly unbreakable Turkish armada that had blocked passage to the city.

In desperation, Mehmed II joined the combat and was wounded in the thigh. As he was borne away, the Turkish army succeeded in penetrating the city—but, with the protruding bastions around the rampart turrets allowing for a deadly crossfire from above on those battering the walls below, the janissaries were finally routed at the fortress by the combined forces of John Capistrano, John Hunyadi, and Vlad Dracul.

Over 24,000 Turks fell in the fighting. The beautiful blue Danube ran red with blood as the bells pealed over Belgrade. Te Deum rang out, and when the news reached Rome, Pope Callixtus named the great day of victory as the feast of the Transfiguration.

Though John Capistrano survived the Siege of Belgrade, he did not survive the Bubonic Plague, which took his life only weeks afterward. He died on October 23, 1456 and would be canonized as the patron saint of Hungary.

St. John Capistrano has remained on the offensive for Hungary even from heaven. In fact, exactly 500 years later to the day, in 1956, Hungary chose John’s feast day to rebel against the Hungarian People’s Republic, imposed by the Soviet Union, and were victorious.

The story of John Capistrano’s league with the noble General Hunyadi and the savage Count Dracul of vampiric legend is one of those moments in history that are almost too fantastic for most fairy tales. What happened at Belgrade was a miracle—more of a miracle of concord than combat—and it is such miracles that will save Christian culture. (Read more.)


An account in honor of heroes who must never be forgotten, in a series of battles which kept Europe from being conquered by the Turks. To quote:

At the end of 1455, after a public reconciliation with all his enemies, Hunyadi began preparations. At his own expense he provisioned and armed the fortress, and, leaving in it a strong garrison under the command of his brother-in-law Mihály Szilágyi and his own eldest son László, he proceeded to form a relief army and a fleet of two hundred corvettes. As no other baron was willing to help (fearing Hunyadi’s growing power more than the Ottoman threat), he was left entirely to his own resources.

A Franciscan friar allied with Hunyadi, St. John of Capistrano, preached a crusade to attract peasants and yeomanry to Hunyadi’s cause. The recruits were ill-armed (many with only slings and scythes) but full of enthusiasm, and they flocked to the standard of Hunyadi, the core of which consisted of a small band of seasoned mercenaries and a few banderia of noble horsemen. All in all, Hunyadi managed to build a force of 25–30,000 men....

On July 14, 1456 Hunyadi arrived to the completely encircled city with his flotilla on the Danube while the Ottoman navy lay astride the Danube River. He broke the naval blockade on July 14, sinking three large Ottoman galleys and capturing four large vessels and 20 smaller ones. By destroying the Sultan’s fleet, Hunyadi was able to transport his troops and much-needed food into the city. The fort’s defense was also reinforced.

But Mehmed II was not willing to end the siege and after a week of heavy artillery bombardment, the walls of the fortress were breached in several places. On July 21 Mehmed II ordered an all-out assault which began at sundown and continued all night. The besieging army flooded the city, and then started its assault on the fort. As this was the most crucial moment of the siege, Hunyadi ordered the defenders to throw tarred wood, and other flammable material, and then set it afire. Soon a wall of flames separated the Janissaries fighting in the city from their comrades trying to breach through the gaps into the upper town. The fierce battle between the encircled Janissaries and Szilágyi’s soldiers inside the upper town was turning in favour of the Christians and the Hungarians managed to beat off the fierce assault from outside the walls. The Janissaries remaining inside the city were thus massacred while the Ottoman troops trying to breach the upper town suffered heavy losses. When an Ottoman soldier almost managed to plant the Sultan’s flag on top of a bastion, a Hungarian knight grabbed him and together they plunged from the wall. (Read entire post.)

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Blessed Emperor Charles of Austria

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His Holiness, Pope St Pius X, had granted a private audience to Karl’s fiancée, HRH Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, a short time before their wedding, and the saintly Pope had prophesied that he would one day become Emperor. Zita corrected the Pope reminding him that Charles was only 2nd in line after HIRH the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Nevertheless, the holy Pope insisted that it would be so and told her that when he was Emperor they must both work zealously for peace. Thus St Pius X also indirectly predicted the First World War. (Read more.)


 From Charles Coulombe at Crisis:

This division on the part of those who admire the last Austrian emperor is understandable, in that we live in an age that tries to separate not merely Church from State, but spirit from flesh. Among other virtues, however, Charles was the very opposite of a dualist. For him, his varying roles as ruler, father, husband, soldier, and son (of a most difficult and estranged couple) were in fact part of a seamless whole. His search for peace and for a more equitable constitution for his domains was for him a religious duty, as were his paternal and husbandly roles. “Now we must help each other to get to Heaven,” he told Zita after they were married. The emperor’s devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacred Heart, and Our Lady were both very public and very sincere. His deathbed offering of his horrible sufferings “that my peoples might come back together” was the epitome of his personal synthesis. To try to divide it up is to woefully misunderstand him. (Read more.)

Scenes from the last Habsburg coronation.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Lessons From the Life and Legacy of Blessed Karl

 From Blessed Karl of Austria:

His Imperial Royal Highness Imre von Habsburg-Lothringen, archduke of Austria, is the great-grandson of the last emperor and king of Austria-Hungary, Blessed Karl (1887-1922), and his wife, Servant of God Empress Zita (1892-1989). So how does it feel to have a Blessed in the family? 

“Holiness is unfortunately not hereditary!” replied Archduke Imre, speaking to the Register Oct. 15 from his home in Switzerland just a few days before the feast day of Blessed Karl (or Charles) on Oct. 21. “Many of us surely have holy ancestors, but some are indeed more well-known than others. That said, Karl and Zita have been an inspiration for me and a model to strive for in my marriage, trying to become a better husband and father.” 

Interestingly, Archduke Imre’s U.S.-born wife, Kathleen, had developed a devotion to Zita — whose cause for canonization is also underway — long before meeting her future husband. In fact, the young Kathleen had entrusted her future vocation to Zita, unaware that she would end up marrying Zita’s great-grandson. More providentially, Archduke Imre and Kathleen met and were married in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21, 2010, the feast day of the archduke’s great-grandfather. “Needless to say, Karl and Zita are still very active from above!” observed Imre. “They are an inspiration for our marriage.” 

Blessed Karl and Zita were an especially united couple. What does their witness have to say to the modern world? 

“Their marriage was their strength throughout all the difficulties they had to endure,” said Archduke Imre. “Shortly before their wedding, Blessed Karl said to Zita this striking phrase: ‘Now we need to help each other get to heaven.’ This shows that they understood that marriage is a vocation and a path to that holiness to which we are all called, despite our sins and weaknesses.”

He went on to explain how Karl and Zita gave themselves to each other totally, always trying to be “respectful to each other, to constantly look for the other’s interest, to be open to life, to pray together.” Prayer was key to the family life of this exceptional couple, he said. (Read more.)

Thursday, October 19, 2023

The North American Martyrs

The bravest of the brave. One of the best online accounts I could find was here:
Members of the Society of Jesus who dedicated themselves to the conversion of the American Indians took Christ’s words very literally. They journeyed from Renaissance France to the frontiers of North America that they might preach and baptize. After pouring the saving waters of Baptism on a dying Indian child, Saint John de Brebeuf, the great pioneer of this mission, exclaimed with joy, “For this one single occasion I would travel all the way from France; I would cross the great ocean to win one little soul for Our Lord!” And so pleased was God with the genuine zeal and the extraordinary sacrifices of these Jesuit apostles that He bestowed upon Father Brebeuf and seven of his fellow missionaries the glorious crown of martyrdom. The following is the incredible tale of the Eight North American Martyrs.

The Society of Jesus had been founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola during the turbulent times following the Protestant Revolution. By the dawning of the seventeenth century the Jesuits had won renown as zealous missionaries and ardent defenders of the Catholic Faith.

The Order was still at the peak of its power, prestige, and holiness when a new mission field began to unfold. France, eldest daughter of the Church, was beginning to colonize North America, and the vast untamed regions of the New World were inhabited by pagan natives who had never before been evangelized. (Read entire post.)

Novena to St. Jude

It's that time of the year again. It is time to go to the Apostle and Martyr St. Jude Thaddeus with petitions for his aid in some hopeless and desperate situations and for certain hopeless and desperate persons (including myself).

Novena Prayer
Saint Jude, glorious apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor has caused you to be forgotten by many. But the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of difficult and desperate cases, of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable. Make use, I implore you, of that particular privilege accorded to you to bring visible and speedy help where help was almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly — (here make your request) — and that I may bless God with you and all the elect throughout all eternity.

I promise you, O blessed JUDE, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor you as my special and powerful patron and do all in my power to encourage devotion to you. Amen.

Saint Jude, pray for us and for all who honor you and invoke your aid.

(Say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, 3 times.)

Monday, October 16, 2023

Paray-le-Monial, 1689

In 1689, St. Margaret Mary confided in a letter to her superior Mother de Saumaise about a vision of Our Lord she had recently experienced. Here are the words of Our Lord concerning France and the consecration to the Sacred Heart as she recorded them:
He desires, then, it seems to me, to enter with pomp and magnificence into the palaces of kings and princes, therein to be honored as much as He has been despised, humiliated, and outraged in His Passion. May He receive as much pleasure therein at seeing the great ones of the world abasing and humbling themselves before Him as He once felt bitterness at beholding Himself annihilated at their feet!

In The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque the Right Reverend Emile Bougaud comments thus:
To comprehend Almighty God's request with regard to the standard, we must recall that, from the earliest ages, France had always had a sacred standard, one that was not borne to vulgar combats; one that rested in the sanctuary of St. Denis under the shadow of the country's holy protectors. It was removed from its sacred shrine only when the monarch headed the army, when it was solemnly sought in the hour of the greatest danger, or when it was to be carried afar to the holy wars. It symbolized the religious soul of France, and floated like a sacred prayer amid the nation's banners. It was a standard of this kind that God had given to Joan of Arc. He had prescribed its form and emblems, and communicated to it the secret virtue that roused exhausted France to unhoped-for triumphs. Today, through the lips of the virgin of Paray, God asked of the king of France something of the same kind, a sacred standard which was to symbolize an act of faith. It was to be borne side by side with the nation's flag, and, in a voice that could be distinctly heard above the proverbial bravado of her enemies, proclaim that France places her trust in the blessing of God.
When St. Margaret Mary did not hear from her superior, she wrote again:
Live + Jesus!
August, 1689,
The Eternal Father, wishing to repair the bitterness and agony that the Adorable Heart of His Divine Son endured in the palaces of earthly princes, amidst the humiliations and outrages of His Passion, wishes to establish His empire in the heart of our great monarch, of whom He desires to make use in the execution of His designs, which is to have an edifice erected in which shall be a picture of His divine Heart, to receive the consecration and homage of the king and all the court.
Moreover, this divine Heart wishes to make itself the defender of the sacred person of the king, his protector against all his enemies. Therefore has it chosen him as its faithful friend, to have the Mass authorized by the Holy Apostolic See, and to obtain all the other privileges that ought to accompany devotion to this divine Heart.
It is by this divine Heart that God wishes to dispense the treasures of His graces of sanctification and salvation, by bestowing His benediction on the king's undertakings, according a happy success to his arms, and making him triumph over the malice of his enemies
Bishop Bougaud makes the following assessment:
We have not Mother de Saumaise's answer to his letter of August, 1689. She who had known how to reach Rome and arouse the thoughts of the Sovereign Pontiffs would neglect nothing to to reach even Louis XIV. We know that she had recourse to the Superioress of the Visitation of Chaillot, the refuge of Mlle. de la Fayette, where dwelt the queen of England, and which held, so to say, its door open to the court of Louis XIV. Might it happen that Pere de la Chaise would not dare to speak of it to the king? Might it happen that Louis XIV's soul would not be sufficiently humble to comprehend the Christian grandeur of such a thought? Be that as it may, those tender and magnanimous advances to the Heart of Jesus were not understood, and Margaret Mary's last admonitions were without avail, were lost in oblivion. They were, indeed, her last words, we are at the close of 1689, and she was nearing her death.
1689! Involuntarily we pause at this date, for it evokes another, 1789! A century has just rolled by between the epoch in which the humble virgin, hidden in the depths of a cloister, pointed out to Louis XIV the ark of salvation prepared for him by the goodness of God, and that other epoch in which arose the storm that was to sweep away the monarchy, and with it all other monarchies. If told in the days of his splendor of the perils in store in France, of the necessity of seeking a remedy, a shelter far above man, yea, even in the Adorable Heart of Jesus, Louis XIV would have smiled incredulously. And yet this was true. From Louis XIV France descended to Louis XV, from Louis XV to Voltaire, from Voltaire to Robespierre and Marat; that is to say, from pride to corruption, from corruption to impiety, and from both the one and the other to a hatred of God and man which was to bring about her universal punishment. (Right Reverend Emile Bougaud, The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. Published in 1890 by Benziger Brothers. Re-printed by TAN Books and Publishers, 1990, pp. 267-273.)

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Maxims of St. Teresa

The Holy Mother St. Teresa receives a veil and necklace from Our Lady and St. Joseph

Here are the spiritual maxims of the Holy Mother St. Teresa, for her nuns.
1. Untilled ground, however rich, will bring forth thistles and thorns; so also, the mind of man.
2. Speak well of all that is spiritual, such as religious, priests, and hermits.
3. Let thy words be few when in the midst of many.
4. Be modest in all thy words and works.
5. Never be obstinate, especially in things of no moment.
6. In speaking to others be always calm and cheerful.
7. Never make a jest of anything.
8. Never rebuke any one but with discretion, and humility, and self-abasement.
9. Bend thyself to the temper of whomever is speaking to thee: be merry with the mirthful, sorrowful with the sad: in a word, make thyself all things to all, to gain all.
10. Never say anything thou hast not well considered and earnestly commended to our Lord, that nothing may be spoken which shall be displeasing unto Him.
11. Never defend thyself unless there be very good reasons for it.
12. Never mention anything concerning thyself which men account praiseworthy, such as learning, goodness, birth, unless with a hope of going good thereby, and then let it be done with humility, remembering that these are gifts of God.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Dance of the Sun

October 13 marks the 105th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, when the sun swirled in the sky, a phenomenon witnessed by thousands of people. The three children-- Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta-- saw Our Lady appear as the joyful Virgin Mother, the Sorrowful Mother, and finally as Our Glorious Lady of Mount Carmel. They also saw St. Joseph in the sky, holding the Child Jesus. In his book entitled St. Joseph, Fatima, and Fatherhood, Monsignor Joseph A. Cirrincione offers some thought-provoking reflections.
The role of the priest in relation to Christ is strikingly analogous to the role of St. Joseph in relation to God the Father. Just as the Eternal Father willed to share His Fatherhood with St. Joseph...so Jesus willed to share His Fatherhood with the priest.... (p.28)
Likewise, "the sun stands out in a special way as a symbol and figure of God, and also of His Church...." Monsignor goes on to say that at Fatima "the 'miracle of the sun' represents not so much a threat of evils to come as it does a foreshadowing of the dethronement of God the Father, and an intimation of the appalling consequences inevitably to follow." One month after the "dance" of the sun in Fatima, the Communists took control of Russia.
The combination of atheism and secularism-- which practically speaking amounts to the universal and official rejection of the Fatherhood of God by mankind across the entire face of the earth....And I believe it was foreshadowed by the 'miracle of the sun' at Fatima in 1917.

Rejection of the Fatherhood of God by the vast majority of mankind inevitably has set in motion a chain reaction of consequences affecting fatherhood under every aspect that we have considered here. The notion of fatherhood in many families, for example, has been reduced to a biological fact. And the role of the father as the head of the family has completely gone out of style...the disintegration of the family inexorably and inevitably is leading to the disintegration of society itself....But the spirit of anti-fatherhood has entered even the Catholic Church. Recognition of the fatherhood of the Vicar of Christ...has eroded to an alarming degree...the role of priestly fatherhood is now coveted by women, seeking to escape the noble destiny which God has prepared for their sex, but which nevertheless they are taught to regard as drudgery. (pp.40-41)
Our Lady of Fatima's remedy for societal and moral ills is return to God through the prayer of the rosary, consecration to her Immaculate Heart (symbolized by wearing the brown scapular), and the loving performance of our daily duties. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for Christians to perform the most basic duties of their individual states of life. Yet it is the fulfillment of our ordinary duties upon which our salvation depends. Let us have an ever increasing confidence in the prayers and protection of the Mother of Mercy.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Our Lady of the Pillar

"I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of cloud." Ecclesiasticus 24:7
On this feast day, Columbus first glimpsed the New World, bringing with him a great devotion to Our Lady, as Plinthos explains:
The ship that brought Columbus was Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Spanish Catholics have had a clear and unrelenting devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary for at least five hundred years.

Just thirty nine years later Our Lady herself from Guadalupe converted millions in New Spain to faith in Jesus Christ. There were countless tireless and very effective Spanish missionaries in the first century of the evangelization of America, including the Apostle of South America. It is no accident that the patroness of USA, therefore, is The Immaculate Conception. She was brought here on Columbus Day! (Read more.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Mary, Tabernacle of God

 The stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful: the most High hath sanctified his own tabernacle.
Psalm 45:5 (aka Psalm 46:4)

In honor of the ancient feast of the Maternity of Mary. From Catholic Scot:

Which brings me to Mary and the Tabernacle of the Lord. The Tabernacle was that structure sitting at the heart of the nation of Israel where God dwelt among His people in a special manner. It first took shape as the Tent of Meeting at the time of Moses and later became the Temple of Solomon. There is no doubt that God dwelt in a special way too in Mary, the mother of the Son of God. I would suggest that the principles which underlay the construction of the first Tabernacle, made by human hands, also underlay the creation of Mary in the womb of her mother St Ann by the hand of God.

What were these principles? The details for the Tent of Meeting were laid out at some length in two passages of the Book of Exodus. Chapters 25-31 contain the plans outlined by the Lord to Moses on Mount Sinai and Chapters 35-40 describe its actual construction. Significantly the final verses of the final chapter of Exodus (40) concern themselves with God inhabiting the Tabernacle. It would take up to much space to go through every point here but there are some key aspects to highlight
  • Moses was not just told how to build the Tent but was shown its divine blueprint "Look well, and make everything in due accord with the pattern which has been shewn to thee on the mountain." (Exodus 25:40) Which means that before it existed on earth it was fully formed in God's mind i.e. it existed from eternity.
  • It was to be constructed of the best of all possible materials available, gold, silver, jewels, linen, wools and so on. " Provide thyself with spices, a stone of the best and choicest myrrh, and half a stone of cinnamon, and half a stone of scented cane, a stone, too, of cassia" (Exodus 30:23-24)
  • The most skilled craftsmen (and women) were to be employed on this work and the Lord would fill them with wisdom to complete their tasks. "And now the Lord said to Moses, Here is the name of the man I have singled out to help thee, Beseleel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Juda. I have filled him with my divine spirit, making him wise, adroit, and skilful in every kind of craftsmanship...and I have inspired the hearts of all the craftsmen with skill to carry out the commands which I have given thee." (Exodus 30:1-6)
(Read more.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Meditation on Death, Part V

 David likened the happiness of this present life to a dream, when one awakens. "Yea even like as a dream, when one awaketh." (Ps. Ixxiii. 19.) A certain author observes, " In a dream the senses being at rest, great things appear, and are not, and quickly vanish away." The goods of this world appear great, but in truth they are nothing ; like sleep, they last but a short time, and then they all vanish away. This thought — namely, that all things end with death — made S. Francis Borgia give himself up entirely to God. This saint was obliged to accompany the body of the Empress Isabella to Granada. When the coffin was opened, all those present fled, because of the dreadful sight and smell; but S. Francis, led by Divine light, remained to contemplate, in that body, the vanity of the world; and looking upon it, he said, "Art thou then my empress ? Art thou that great one to whom so many great ones bowed the knee? O my mistress, Isabella, where is now thy majesty and thy beauty?" "Even thus," he concluded within himself, "do the grandeurs and the crowns of this world end. From this day forward I will therefore serve a Master Who can never die!" Therefore, from that time he gave himself entirely to the love of Jesus crucified ; and then he formed this resolution, that if his wife should die he would become a religious, which resolution he afterwards fulfilled by entering the Society of Jesus. ~St. Alphonsus Liguori's Preparation for Death, pp. 12-13


Today is the feast of St. Francis Borgia. There is a biography of that great saint, HERE.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Montjoie Saint Denis!

The Oriflamme
St. Denis carrying his own head
It is the feast of St. Denis the martyr, whose name was the battle-cry of France. Montjoie Saint-Denis referred to the oriflamme, the ancient banner of the kings of France. Saint Denis and his companions died from decapitation on Montmartre, now in Paris, as would many Parisians perish fifteen hundred years later. The Basilica of Saint Denis is where St. Denis was buried along with most of the kings and queens of France, until the tombs were despoiled during the French Revolution. The Carmel of St. Denis was where Blessed Thérèse of Saint Augustine sought the rigors and joys of the monastic life. From New Advent:
Bishop of Paris, and martyr. Born in Italy, nothing is definitely known of the time or place, or of his early life. His feast is kept on 9 October. He is usually represented with his head in his hands because, according to the legend, after his execution the corpse rose again and carried the head for some distance. That, however, while still very young he was distinguished for his virtuous life, knowledge of sacred things, and firm faith, is proved by the fact that Pope Fabian (236-250) sent him with some other missionary bishops to Gaul on a difficult mission. The Church of Gaul had suffered terribly under the persecution of the Emperor Decius and the new messengers of Faith were to endeavour to restore it to its former flourishing condition. Denis with his inseparable companions, the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius, arrived in the neighbourhood of the present city of Paris and settled on the island in the Seine. The earliest document giving an account of his labours and of his martyrdom (Passio SS. Dionsyii, Rustici et Eleutherii), dating from the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century and wrongly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, is interwoven with much legend, from which, however, the following facts can be gleaned. 
On the island in the Seine Denis built a church and provided for a regular solemnization of the Divine service. His fearless and indefatigable preaching of the Gospel led to countless conversions. This aroused the envy, anger and hatred of the heathen priests. They incited the populace against the strangers and importuned the governor Fescenninus Sisinnius to put a stop by force to the new teaching. Denis with his two companions were seized and as they persevered in their faith were beheaded (about 275) after many tortures. Later accounts give a detailed description of the confessors' sufferings. They were scourged, imprisoned, racked, thrown to wild beasts, burnt at the stake, and finally beheaded. Gregory of Tours simply states: "Beatus Dionysius Parisiorum episcopus diversis pro Christi nomine adfectus poenis praesentem vitam gladio immente finivit" (Hist. Franc. I, 30). The bodies of the three holy martyrs received an honourable burial through the efforts of a pious matron named Catulla and a small shrine was erected over their graves. This was later on replaced by a beautiful basilica (egregium templum) which Venantius celebrated in verse (Carm. I, ii). (Read more.)

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Life is Easier with Mary as Our Spiritual Mother

From Ray Sullivan at Catholic Stand:

Spiritual reading led me to the wonderful writings of St. Louis de Montfort. This great French saint of the 18th century wrote several great books concerning the Mother of God, like “The Secret of the Rosary,” “The Secret of Mary,” and “True Devotion to Mary.” The common thread through them all is that if you adopt Mary as your mother, as Jesus said to His beloved disciple (we are ALL beloved disciples of Jesus) from the cross in John 19:27, then the road to find Jesus is faster, smoother, and always infallible. Why? Because Mary’s last recorded words in the Bible were, “Do whatever He tells you.” The ultimate meek and humble Mary, whom God exalted over every other human being ever created to be His earthly mother, will never lead you astray. She will always, always, always, lead you to Jesus faster and better than any of your own human efforts. Her supernatural guidance and protection from the devil are the ultimate flak jacket to protect you from his satanic wiles and temptations. Genesis 3:15 says that “The Woman” is at enmity with satan, which means a lifelong hatred. This enmity between Mary and the devil can be ours as well, if and only if we adopt Mary as our spiritual mother. Otherwise, the devil has a much easier time of it when it comes to leading us astray. Been there, done that. (Read more.)

Saturday, October 7, 2023

The Name of the Rosary

While editing and rewriting sections of my novel about medieval France I researched the development of the rosary. I came across a fascinating blog called Paternosters which was a name given to prayer beads in the medieval period. Here is an article about the origins of the the word "rosary" which I found quite interesting. To quote:
To get back to beads, however, traces of the earlier meaning of bid/bede as "a prayer" still remain. For instance, a wealthy patron in the Middle Ages may have supported poor bedesmen, who had promised to pray for the patron, and may have provided a bedehouse for bedesmen or bedeswomen to live in. Likewise, “bidding one’s bedes” in the Middle Ages does not so much mean praying with a literal string of beads, as it means praying for one’s bedes, that is, the people or requests one is obliged to pray for.
The word “rosary” originally meant a garden devoted to the growing of roses (c1440, “This mone is eke rosaries to make, with setes [seats]”)....Probably both the rose-garden concept and the book title contributed to the idea of referring to a collection of written prayers and devotions as a (metaphorical) rosary, such as the 1526 Rosary of Our Savyour Jesu or the 1533 Mystik sweet Rosary of the faytheful soule.

From here it was a short step to applying the term “rosary” to the specific prayer practice we have been discussing, including its string of beads.

Other European languages also call the rosary by a name referring to roses. In German it is a rosenkranz, in French a rosaire, in Italian and Spanish a rosario, and in Hungarian it is a rózsafüzért (literally a “rose string”). However in Austria it is more commonly a betschnur (“prayer string”) and in France, often a chapelet.
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