Among Mary’s many titles, this is one of my favorites. There are volumesof books written about the power of praying the rosary.

The saints, too, have much to say about it. And while I could quote many of them happily, I would instead share three graces that I have received through the intercession of Mother Mary by praying the rosary. (Seven would have been more dramatic since the feast falls on the 7th but that would take too much space!)

My maternal aunt, my uncle and their whole household have a practice of praying the rosary daily at 6p.m. So when my sisters, cousins and I would spend summers with them, we all had to abide by this particular house rule. No matter where we were in the neighborhood or what we did, we had to come together to pray the rosary. Part of the tradition was letting everyone get a chance to lead and say a particular intention for every decade. The intentions included praying for departed relatives, peace in the home, studies and school and one that was particularly close to my heart: for my dad to quit smoking. I was very young then but I knew that smoking was a bad and dangerous habit. And not something that I could do anything about. So we turned to prayer. And then one day, I came home from one of those summers away and found out that my dad had indeed quit smoking. I didn’t quite make a connection until I had grown up and found my own devotion to the rosary. And as I looked back on the many graces I had received, I knew with a certainty that that particular grace was a direct result of praying the rosary.

The second favorite grace that I received through the intercession of Our Lady is a devotion to the Holy Mass. My mother is a daily communicant and while I admired this about her as I was growing up, I found it much too tiring to go to Mass when I became an adult. In my early twenties, when I began praying the rosary daily, as I would come to the fifth mystery of light—the Institution of the Eucharist—I would pray for a devotion to the Holy Mass. It came about gradually—the desire to go to Mass one other time aside from Sunday. And then it became twice a week. Thrice a week.Until finally I learned to incorporate the daily Mass in my daily weekday schedule. Now, I begin my weekdays with a Mass. And in doing so, I have learned to love my Catholic faith all the more, become more devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and learned to appreciate Scripture. All thanks to the example of an earthly mother and the intercession of a heavenly one.

Finally, my third favorite grace from Our Lady are the graces promised by a devotion to a little known Marian movement. The Schoenstatt Movement aims for a worldwide spiritual renewal by renewing families. And one of the ways it does this is by letting households form spiritual communities by sharing the image of Our Lady of Schoenstatt. Twice a month, the image visits a household and members of the household pray the rosary together and say a prayer to consecrate themselves to Mary. My mother signed us up for this more than a decade ago.Again, the acceptance of the graces of “being at home, inner transformation and apostolate” (which are specific graces that we pray for) did not register in me until I realized that these were graces had been actively working in my life for some time now. Again, from my earthly mother to my heavenly one!

At the end of my days, when I look back on my life, I will not be surprised if I find that all the big and small seemingly inconsequential graces were actually the direct result of Our Lady’s intercession. For it has always been characteristic of her to be humble, quiet and gentle even though she is the noblest creature on earth.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

[Originally written in TACKED THOUGHTS for The Freeman
by Nancy Unchuan Toledo]

About Nancy Unchuan Toledo

When Nancy started teaching high school at age 21, she didn’t really think she’d make a career out of it. She was right. Ten years later and she realized teaching isn’t her career, it’s her passion. Writing is her passion, too, and she writes a bi-monthly column for the Freeman. Mostly she writes about her family, her friends, her students, her experiences in teaching, her love of books and her faith. Because those are the things that she cares about the most–although not necessarily in that order.

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