Sep 29, 2022 filed under Faith.

woman praying rosary

November fifteenth will mark my thirty-second anniversary as a Catholic. That day in mid-November might have been just another sunny autumn day with me bopping along without the Sacraments and outside the Church — but for the night two years earlier that I learned to pray the Rosary.

In June of 1988, Lori, my future godmother, invited me to pray in Caldwell Hall Chapel on the campus of Catholic University in DC. It was opening night of a big Rosary Congress at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Around 5:00 p.m., Lori called to say she was not feeling well and that I should go by myself. I thought, “What the heck, I love to pray. Sure, I’ll go.” Even though the thought of going solo into an all-Catholic room sort of gave me the creeps. All those rules. All that guilt.

The chapel was already full when I entered. As the murmur of prayer began, I knelt behind the back pew. Feeling out of my element, I was comforted by the rhythm of the prayers. I closed my eyes and listened intently so I could join in, since they seemed to be saying the same thing over and over again. Someone placed a finger Rosary in my hand. When I opened my eyes to see who had done it, no one was there. Slowly I began to repeat, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”

I can’t tell you what happened that night, but this lifelong anti-Catholic had a Rosary routine from that moment on. I would kneel at my bed and pray it every night. I now recognize that the blasphemous thoughts and piercing doubts I experienced in those early days were demonic attacks, but Our Lady took care of them. I received a perseverance in prayer and an acceptance of my frailty that only seemed to bind me closer to my new friend and confidante, my Heavenly Mother.

I then read St. Louis de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary, which gave historical, spiritual and, you might say, scientific reasons for giving myself entirely to this God who had given his Church such a powerful mother — and her most powerful weapon, the Rosary.

Going strong
Thirty-four years later, I am too often guilty of prayers done to “check that box” so I can move on to what’s really important, namely, my to-do list. But despite the times I let go of Mary’s hand, I have never for a moment, since that life-changing evening in Caldwell Chapel, stopped believing that the Rosary will save the world because it is the prayer that invokes, through his Mother, the power of the One who has already conquered the world.

The Rosary asks very little of us. It asks as much focus as we can bring to the fifteen minutes that we’re praying. And whatever we have to give is always enough. It’s said that what we give to Jesus through Mary, she places on a fine plate and adorns with decorations so that even if we give her the bruised fruit of our prayer, she makes it beautiful before presenting it to her Son.

We pray our Rosary the best we know how at the moment and Our Lady spruces up our efforts, giving them the fullness and dignity worthy of her Divine Son, who transforms them into the power that heals the world.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. And lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of your Mercy.

Scroll down and share what the Rosary means to you!
Love always,

15 Responses to “The Night That Changed My Life”

  1. Rose Folsom

    Ana María,
    I am inspired by your devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Joining with her in prayer, we are helping her to save so many souls through the Blood of Christ.
    God bless,

  2. Esther Davis

    In my grade school years and teens, my mother had a Rosary group in our house once a week. Many times, as we kids were walking in and out of the rooms, she laid down for a rest and always had the Rosary in her hands. Little did I know that she was praying for all 14 of us kids, of which 3 died in infancy. Through the years of high school and job and having fun with friends, I kind of forgot about it. But some years after I got married, had four children of my own, I began saying the Rosary a lot. Now in my 90’s, I say it every day for the love of God and His Mother, and for the world, especially for my own family. The Rosary is a special gift that brings us closer to Jesus through Mary. What a beautiful life when I have that Rosary in my hands, sometimes falling asleep, but My Heavenly Mother must have been tired too when taking care of Her Holy Family. What a blessing it is to be able to go through the Mysteries of the Rosary and think of all the Wonders of the world. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story of the Rosary, Rose. Your name is a blessing, and so are you.

    • Anne Gordon

      Dear Esther, Your experience with the rosary truly touched my soul. Thank you so much for sharing your life with the rosary. Anne

  3. Beverly

    Thank you Rose, I look forward to your weekly inspirations which are very uplifting!

  4. Janet Loethen

    Thank you for sharing! I chose to become Catholic at age 18 and stumbled numerous times, I only began faithfully praying the rosary At age 70, I am so grateful to God for Mary to be our Mother ! Amen!

    • Ann C

      Janet, I could have written your response myself. I became a Catholic when I married a Catholic at 18. Not much preparation back then. Now at 70+ I signed up for RCIA to learn what I should have learned a long time ago. My adult granddaughter & I were having a conversation about the rosary & my lack of inspiration. She told me how devoted to Mary she was and saying the rosary helped her daily. So I came home from that visit and have now passed the one year mark of saying it daily& seeing the changes in my life.

  5. Marcia Dustin

    Thank you, Rose! I love the rosary and try to pray it every day! I always have my rosary in my hands when I pray outside an abortion facility! It’s the best weapon to fight evil!

  6. Anne Gordon

    Thank you Rose. Once again you have touched my soul and filled me with hope.
    Only in the last few months have I established a prayer schedule. I look forward to it and I wonder why it took me so long. I am 69. I feel that you had a lot to do with it. I am forever grateful to you for the transition of my life. Thank you so much.
    P.S. I thought your hair looked pretty good after being shampood in hand cream.

  7. Virginia

    Inspirational story. Gives me hope that the world can be changed for good.

  8. Sharon

    Every time I spent the night at my grand parents house they prayed the rosary before bed with us. We prayed it in my family growing up only during Lent. Today when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night I start praying the rosary. I feel guilty because I always fall asleep before I finish it but I tell myself it is just Mary rocking me back to sleep with the rhythm of the rosary. I hope she doesn’t mind!

  9. Darlene Mackey

    Rose, thank you so much for your witness to the Rosary. I, too, believe that through the Rosary, the world will be saved. I know others who have come to the Faith through our Blessed Mother and her Rosary.
    In today’s culture with all the evil that is going on, I have confidence in our Mother. She asked us to pray the Rosary and so I shall. I will also encourage others to do the same. Again – thank you for your powerful witness.

    ps – Your hair is simply bodacious!

  10. Leah

    I dearly love our Mother Mary! the rosary is security and our hope for peace in families, countries, our world) and within ourselves. Security and Peace.
    after all it is depicted as a sword to help us fight our battles . many stories of saying the. rosary and winning the battle, wherher physical or spiritually.
    Thank you Lord for giving us your Blessed Mother Mary.

    ps letsoffer it now for our country. our whole world , fanilies and especially our children,

  11. Debbie

    Hi Rose,

    I hope all is well with you ❤️
    I did not get your email this morning 😒

    In His Peace