Manual A Sisterhood of Strength: True Stories of Miraculous Service

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I hardly noticed the sun was shining in the sky that day, even as its bright rays came blindingly through my kitchen window. My marriage was ending. My husband, who had become a stranger, moved out a few days before. I was lonely and discouraged. My younger children woke up from their naps, and my 3-year-old immediately wanted to go outside. My toddler eagerly headed for the door.

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I reminded him of his boundaries before he hurried off to play. I sat down on the front steps to watch and put the baby on my lap. After several minutes, I stood up to stretch my legs and walked to the end of the driveway to check the mailbox. Joan lived across the street and had been part of the neighborhood for about as long as my family had. There was nothing to hope for, except a miracle. But all his life he thought, — and he was so taught at the Moscow University, by very intelligent professors, — that miracles did not exist, that there was no God, that all that was a lie and the invention of illiterate fools or swindlers.

Before the seaman even finished the prayer, the dense fog suddenly dissipated, revealing a Soviet ship which was in that region accidentally. They noticed the seaman and took him aboard. This rescue from inevitable death, particularly after he had read the prayer, appeared to the seaman to be so miraculous, that he believed in God. The Motherland sent me to the front in the very first week of the war. I participated in the fierce battles at Kursk. I will remember November 23, all my life. We found ourselves surrounded.

The fascists brought a storm of fire down on us. The land shook and smoked from artillery, mortar shells and aviation bombs. The air was densely filled with fumes, the sky — was covered with the smoke of fires. Many of my fellow soldiers sprinkled the legendary ground of Kursk with their blood that day, and some found eternal peace in it. Those left alive, separated, morally depressed, led by the instinct of self-preservation, tried to find shelter and salvation in the forest tracts.

That day, we met with a group of soldiers in exactly the same situation, at one forest ravine. There were 13 of us, — exhausted, dirty, cold, and soaking wet. Among us there was a commander, a native of Novosibirsk. We gathered around him, waiting for some decision. When darkness came, it became really cold, and we did not even dare to set a fire, afraid to give our presence away. It seemed that death was inevitable: if not from an enemy bullet, then of cold and starvation.

So there are two Guardian Angels, the wonder-workers, with us. As for all the rest, some were repeating it in a whisper; some knelt, and crossed themselves, bowing to the ground. When we were done with the prayers, it was already very dark. Suddenly we saw some kind of light to our right, behind the fir-grove, a few meters away from us. We knocked at the door. A gray-haired old man met us at the doorstep. Without asking curious questions, we unanimously took him for a local forest ranger.

May I treat you to boiled water and rusks. And there is some straw for you to sleep on. Warmed up, we lay down on the straw "down" in a row, huddled close to each other, and slept till the morning. And when we woke up, we found ourselves in the same place in the ravine, where we had grieved the night before. The hut had vanished. Do not forget God, protect the Church of Christ, remember each other and pray for each other till the end of your lives.

We took these words like a second military oath. Unfolding the map case and finding our bearings, we set off. We made around 15 kilometers under the noise of the cannonade, passing through ravines and coppices, in the direction of Poltava. And all 13 of us rejoined our own units. Aunt Shura was born, and grew up, in a village. She came to Moscow as a young girl, and went to work at a factory. She shared a room in a hostel with the other workers. You can imagine what kind of life it was. Lively, witty, loving singing, dancing and laughing, Shura became the leader of the factory youth.

She did not even think about God. Sometimes she went to church, when there were great Holy feasts and commemorative Saturdays — it seemed to be the thing to do. She gave birth to her son without a husband. With a child, she was able to get a room in a communal flat. Time passed: work, jolly company, admirers. When Shura turned 40, a miraculous event occurred that changed her whole life. It was summer. For some reason she came home from work early, and went to bed early, too. She felt some incomprehensible fatigue.

And she saw a dream, that she was walking in a field and many people were descending the hill. But off to the side, people were going somewhere, too. She joined them. After a while, they reached a church. There was someone on the doorstep. He was in white clothes, just like on an icon. He was blessing everyone. She approached Him for a blessing too. At that moment, Shura woke up. In the morning, she called her place of her work and took some days off, luckily it was vacation time.

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She searched all over Moscow for the church which she saw in her dream. It seemed to her that she had to do that. How she searched, how she went from one kind of transport to another, how she walked the streets and lanes — is a long story. I shall only say that that search did not bring any result at first. During her last day off, Shura found herself in one of the old districts of Moscow. The trolley was passing through a quiet street, — at that time, in , still not congested with traffic.

The branches of the old trees, which had witnessed the revolution and the war, were rustling above. The clouds were floating across the blue July sky. Shura was looking through the window and thought that she would have to ask for some more days off, even if they used her vacation days. Suddenly, from around the corner, a white church floated out like a ship.

Around it there was a clean small square. That same day she started to work there. Aunt Shura has been here in our church for 30 years now. His name was Theodore Mikhailovich Makhov. At that time, all the schools and universities taught that God did not exist, and considered believers backward or insane. Theodore Makhov started to believe in the existence of God after he was saved from the waters.

Once, he was going home on the ice across the river Pekhorka, which is in Podmoskovye a region close to Moscow. It was late evening —it grew dark early in the winter. He could not see the road. Somewhere in the middle of the river he fell into an ice-hole. The river was so deep in that place that, even in summer, not every diver could reach the bottom. When he found himself under the water, he started to drown. If it had been dark on the ice, there was complete murkiness under it.

He began to thrash, in order to swim out. In a few seconds he came up, but did not find the ice-hole, he hit his head on the ice. Then he really began to drown, because he had no idea which way to go to swim out. Sinking to the bottom, he appealed to the Lord with all his might:. At that very moment, the water under the ice lit up. And some force took me by the hair, it seemed, and started to pull me up. Someone helped me to get out.

Most likely God or His Angel saved me from under the ice… First I crawled, and then I got up on my feet and began to walk. My coat was heavy with water, and ice-cold. I got home before I had time to freeze In the mountain region of Central Asia there was a church, in which two priests served.

Stories of Strength

Once, a parishioner came, requesting that a priest give Holy Communion to a dying man. One of the priests was sick, the other one refused to go for some reason. The relative of the one dying returned very sad, thinking that he could not fulfill the last request of the dying. A renowned scholar, a medical man, became very sick. The invited doctors, his friends, found him in such a poor condition, that they saw there was little hope of recovery. The professor lived only with his sister, an elderly lady.

He was not completely atheistic, but did not have much interest in religious questions and did not go to church, though he lived near a small one. Upon hearing such a medical verdict, his sister became very sad, not knowing how to help her brother. Then she remembered that there was a church nearby, where she could go and ask for Proskomedia prayers for her critically ill brother. At the same time, her brother had a vision: as if the wall of his room disappeared, and in its place a church sanctuary appeared. He saw his sister talking to the priest about something.

The priest approached the Altar, took out a prosphora piece, which fell down on the discos, ringing. In the same moment the sick professor felt, that some force entered his body. He stood up from the bed, which he had not been able to do for a long time. The professor lived a long time after that incident, never again forgetting about the mercy of God, which He had shown to him, a sinner. For our summer vacation, our entire family decided to drive round the Golden Ring in our new car.

The last city on our route was Vladimir. In Vladimir we separated, agreeing to meet at 7 PM. I walked around the center of the city and came to the Dormition Cathedral. I entered the church…. I remember that, when I entered, I was struck by the following: in front of me, everything was lit with dazzling light, something was going on — somebody was moving somewhere, it was unclear where. The choir sang in a way that I had never heard before —I was an admirer of rock music.

And I forgot everything: forgot about myself, about my troubles and plans. I was standing… and crying without stopping. I remember that there was no constraint, but something melted in my chest, my soul warmed, I felt amazingly light; even crying, I was glad, sweetly relieved. I do not know how long this lasted. I looked at my watch; it was high time that I went. Have you ever left a warm, cozy house and went into complete, awful dampness? That is how I felt when I left the church, though it was a warm summer evening.

I stepped into habitual reality, which had become strange to me, with something unearthly in my soul, with a completely unfamiliar feeling. Naturally, there was a discotheque close to the church this was the s. I took several steps toward it, and felt that the music was making me sick, not physically, but somehow internally, in my soul. Throughout my being, I felt how cold and savage and strange it was — the music, and our everyday life, and all our surroundings. All of this was very unclean, unworthy and wickedly mocking us….

In our talks and preoccupations THAT receded to the background, was almost forgotten. But It always stays with me — this revealed piece of Supreme Reality. Twelve years later I was baptized in connection with other events, but THAT was the first among them…. There was little joy in our family.

I was an only child. I grew alone; my parents were occupied at work. In the evening, when they came home tired, we gathered in the kitchen for supper. Mama and papa often argued. Their irritated voices and offensive, cruel words pierced my heart…I, myself, was an unattractive, unsociable girl with no apparent talents. I did not have friends, though I wished to.

A certain constant solitude and sorrow resided in my soul. I remember that day: my soul was especially cold and depressed. I did not even wish to read, or even to live. I wandered through the city, and saw a notice on the street that an exhibition of ancient books and icons had opened at the museum. I went there. There were almost no people.

I remember that I immediately plunged into a special state of concentration and silence. My soul became lighter, brighter. For an hour, I walked from book to book, from icon to icon. I wanted to stand near each icon for a very long time. I felt, that warmth was exuding from the icons.

My soul gradually warmed. A Look was fixed on my soul. A Look of such strength penetrated my soul that I myself no longer existed before It, but my life was all about opening up to meeting It. There were no barriers for that Look: It knew everything about me. And it contained such love, such tenderness, the like of which I had never known.

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The feeling that that Love, which was addressed to me at that moment, could never be compared to any human love, remained in my heart forever. This continued for an eternity, and when I came to, there was that wonderful icon in front of me, from which I could not walk away for a very long time. But I had become different. The golden stream warmed that eternal permafrost which lay in the depth of my heart. That look cured my soul, and united it.

Now I had something to live for. I felt joy, beatitude, because I was necessary and dear to Him. To Whom? I still did not understand. I knew nothing about Him. I only knew that He is infinitely more wonderful than all people, that He can forgive all, that there was no coldness in Him, that He could send an ocean of warm golden waves of joy and warmth into a soul and revive it. It was a shock, but the shock was not horrifying, but salutary Remembering that look became my secret life, and helped me to undergo all troubles until He brought me to Church for Holy Baptism.

When my son was three months old, he was ill with bilateral staphylococcal bronchial pneumonia. We were urgently hospitalized. He grew worse and worse. After a few days, the head of the hospital department transferred us to a private room, and told me that my small son would not live long. There was no limit to my sorrow. He gave my mother some Theophany water and told her what prayers to read during Baptism.

He said that, in cases of emergency, when the person is about to die, a lay person could perform the Baptism. My mother brought me the Theophany water and the texts of the prayers. There were glass doors to the room; the nurses scurried through the corridor all the time. Unexpectedly, they had a meeting at three o'clock. I baptized my son quietly, without obstacles. After the Baptism, the child immediately came to his senses. The doctor returned after the meeting and was very surprised: "What happened to him?

I grew up in a faithless family. I knew nothing about Church and God. In , I was 16 years old, and went to the Resurrection Church in Sokolniki to be baptized. It should be mentioned that this was the first time I was in a functioning church. Now, I can say that God called me, but at the time there was no explanation: suddenly, I just went. Twenty years passed. I was as atheistic as my relatives.

Moreover, I laughed at those who went to church. Certainly, I never went there, nor did I wear my pectoral cross. I made many mistakes in my life, went through a great personal tragedy. And then came that black day. Before that day, I tried to understand for nearly a year how I had come to such total ruin. I simply could not understand it. One day at work, I began to talk to an elderly woman, and she said something about church. I asked her whether she really believed in God.

The next day she brought me some brochures. They warmed me a little, though I did not understand much, reading them. Then that day came. I felt the hopelessness of my life, the loneliness, very deeply. All this is hard to describe. I shall only say, that it was like a flash of light lit up my soul, and I understood, that the root of evils was in egoism, pride, and thence indifference to others, anger, insensibility, etc. The answer to my internal question appeared — only one word: God. The relief, which I felt, cannot be described. My happiness was immeasurable.

Now I, too, could say that I believe in God. I am taking a long time to describe this, but everything happened so quickly, it is impossible to measure it with time. I firmly believe, that the Sacrament of the Baptism, performed twenty years before, rescued me. I am glad when I see how people are going to get baptized, carrying their children. I know that they will be under the powerful protection.

Some of what they told were lies, or never came about. But my acquaintance did not consider that to be very convincing and continued to believe them. Time passed. She began to feel ill. Apparently, doubts had entered her soul. My acquaintance was horrified. She immediately went to church, confessed, and never did it again. Nun Xenia told the following about her nephew. Her nephew was a young man of 25, a sportsman, bear-hunter, karate expert, a recent graduate from one of the Moscow institutes — in general, he was a modern young man.

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For some reason, he was not baptized in childhood and rejected it later. He was supposed to enter the third carriage of the train at Of course, the family tried to dissuade him, but he went. At precisely He understood it, because of the extraordinary force coming from him, though externally that person looked normal. The young man sat opposite to the stranger, and suddenly he became horrified. Afterwards, he said, that even while hunting, one on one with a bear, he had never been so afraid.

The stranger looked at him silently. At that moment, the train stopped, and the young man jumped out of the carriage. He was baptized the next day. A marvelous prayer is read during the consecration of water, which asks for curative powers for those using the water. Consecrated objects contain spiritual qualities, which are not common to usual substances. The expression of these properties is comparable to miracles, and testifies to the connection of the human spirit with God. Therefore, any information about the factual expressions of these qualities is very useful to people, especially during times of temptation and doubts about faith, or, in other words, in the spiritual connection of man and God.

This is especially important nowadays, when the erroneous supposition that such a connection does not exist, and that it is proved by science, is widespread. However, science operates with facts, and denial of facts on the basis that they do not fall into a given outline, is not scientific method. One more quite authentic case can be added to the numerous displays of the special curative qualities of consecrated water, which took place at the end of the winter of The elderly teacher-pensioner A.

She was treated in an eye dispensary, but, despite the diligence of the doctors, became completely blind. She was a believing person. When the trouble happened, she put pieces of cotton wool moistened in Theophany water on her eyes, with prayer, for several days in a row. To surprise of the doctors, on one truly fine morning she began to see clearly.

It is known, that such sharp improvement is impossible for glaucoma patients undergoing usual treatment, and the recovery of A. Unfortunately, many miracles are not recorded, even less — published, and we simply do not know about many. In one medical book on psychiatry, which was published at the beginning of the XXth century, its author, a professor, wrote, that he divided insane persons into two categories: those who were possessed, and those patients with physical damage of the nervous system. He determined the latter in a very simple way.

He gave them sacred water to drink: nobody could force the possessed ones to drink it! Our acquaintance visited mother E. Many people from different parts of the country visited her for spiritual help. The nun accepted visitors only in the mornings. She listened to their questions, prayed, and then gave answers when it was necessary ; she also gave them sacred water. According to witnesses, even people with incurable diseases were cured by this water.

As our acquaintance told us, she and several other people arrived, when the nun had already finished receiving. We did not believe her, and persuaded her to go with us. The old woman met us pleasantly, and agreed to give us shelter for the night… When she noticed the woman who had told us about the. Not understanding what was the matter, we began to ask the elderly lady to let the woman spend the night at her place. To prove this, the old woman took out a bottle from behind the icons, poured a glass of water and gave it to the woman whom she did not want to let in.

The woman took the glass in her hands, held it for some time. We could see from the expression of her face, that some kind of a struggle was taking place in her soul. She returned the glass, not even trying to take a sip out of it. Most of us, who passed through the Pioneer and Komsomol organizations during their school days, were brought up in atheism. And few and far between begin to believe in God. Many do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord, do not believe in the miracles performed by Him.

A person wants a miracle, and, besides, one that he can see with his own eyes, — then, maybe, he will believe in God. I lived about the same way. Though I was baptized in infancy, I started to wear a pectoral cross only about five years ago. I attended church once every six months, had confession even more rarely. I attached an icon of the Holy Mother of God on the front panel of my car.

A Sisterhood of Strength: True Stories of Miraculous Service

In time, I began to pray to God and His Holy Mother before each trip, with my own words not knowing any of the traditional prayers. I was approaching an abrupt turn on the way out from Vysokovsk toward Volokolamsk. My speed was just under forty kilometers an hour. The pavement was wet after the rain. The approaching car, not being able to navigate the turn, hurled out into my lane — and our cars collided almost head-on.

Only the two back wheels and the right back door remained undamaged. I only regained consciousness after they had pulled me out of the car, having broken out the rest of the door. When I saw the condition of the driver's seat, I was amazed. In what position could I have been in there? I got away with several bruises, and the icon of the Holy Mother of God was somehow found clasped in my fist.

That is what one priest told me. A woman approached him and gave him a bottle. As soon as the priest began to pour water into it, the bottle exploded in his hands and scattered into fine splinters. The amazed priest asked the woman:. To charm him, I took some magic water from an old woman, but was afraid to give it to my daughter. To be sure, I wanted to add some Holy Water to that water. This church is the one of the most ancient and beautiful ones in Moscow. There was much that was amazing there. I witnessed several miracles. Here is one. The service ended.

I stood at the door. A woman approached me and, choking with tears, began to beg to be shown what icons were in the church and where. Her husband was dying, and she had just come from the hospital. And so, we began to go from icon to icon, and lit candles at each one. I told her about the saints who were portrayed on the icons, trying to console her. How that woman cried, how she asked God to help her husband, to forgive him for his difficult disposition, for everything, that he had done bad in his life!

Nobody around existed for her: only God, His Holy Mother and the saints. This is impossible to forget! I had never seen anything like this. When she was leaving, I do not know why I asked her to give me her phone number. That evening, something made me call her. Suddenly, I heard her cheerful voice. She told me the following. A distant relative just called her, who miraculously found a professor-urologist that specializes in that particular disease,. Even though a complete stranger had called, the professor agreed to examine the patient.

He immediately set everything up with the Burdenko military hospital, where all the necessary equipment was kept, as well as with that hospital where Alexis was staying. And so, they were about to meet and go for Alexis, in order to transfer him to the Burdenko hospital. Hope appeared! The professor examined Alexis till nearly midnight and prescribed treatment. It was very complex treatment.

Valentina stayed in the hospital around the clock. Alexis survived. We still call each other, and I know that he is safe and sound, from time to time repeating the treatment. Alexis is already quite active and does things about the house, he is even going to start working.

This, when in fact, he had been given only days to live: the kidneys had already almost stopped working. Hieromonk John served in the church of Zosima and Savvathias. He used to say, that we, adults, by not following the Christian way of life, are in the power of Satan, and demons attack our children through us, since they are not protected.

We turned out to be the witnesses of a case, which proved the truth of these words. A boy of four or five was brought to the church to be baptized. A small child, cute, but his face was angry. They began to undress him, and then it started. He shouted, squealed, growled, he twisted and turned, struggled to get free. Six adults could hardly hold him. The child's strength was inhuman, as well as the voice with which he shouted. Only after they dipped him into the Baptismal Font, he calmed down and his little face brightened.

After Baptism she felt better, but she was absolutely cured only after Communion of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ. The Mentally Retarded Girl. A mentally retarded girl was brought to the church on a cart on Sundays and feast days: she did not perceive anything, and her face showed absolutely no sense. The girl became transformed as soon as she was brought into the church.

She examined everything around her, and when was given Communion, her little face became joyful. This occurred in the 6-th City hospital in Moscow, in neuropathological department of the spine. We — several parishioners from the Elohovo Cathedral — visited that hospital, and helped the priest and patients in any way that we could. I remember, I entered one chamber and immediately saw a young man, who was, probably, the most seriously ill patient in the entire wing. He lay motionlessly on his back.

I sat down by him, and we began to talk. Mechtilde was praying and was trying to think of some way in which she could express her love of the Blessed Virgin better than before, she fell into ecstasy. Our Lady appeared to her with the Angelic Salutation written in letters of gold upon her breast and said to her, "My daughter, I want you to know that no one can please me more than by saying the greeting which the most adorable Trinity presented to me and by which I was raised to the dignity of the Mother of God.

The Lord is with thee, they renew the indescribable joy that was mine when the eternal Word became incarnate in my womb. Blessed art thou among women, I praise the mercy of God who has raised me to this exalted degree of happiness. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus adored and glorified for having saved mankind. Blessed Alan de la Roche, who was so deeply devoted to the Blessed Virgin, had many revelations from her, and we know that he confirmed the truth of these revelations by a solemn oath.

Three of them stand out with special emphasis: the first, that if people fail to say the Hail Mary, which has saved the world, out of carelessness, or because they are lukewarm, or because they hate it, this is an indication that they will probably be condemned to eternal punishment. The second truth is that those who love this divine salutation bear the very special stamp of predestination.

The third is that those to whom God has given this favour of loving our Lady and of serving her out of love must take very great care to continue to love and serve her until the time when she shall have had them placed in heaven by her Son in the degree of glory which they have earned. Blessed Alan also relates that a nun who had always had a great devotion to the Rosary appeared after her death to one of her sisters in religion and said to her, "If I were able to return in my body to have the chance of saying just a single Hail Mary, even without great fervour, I would gladly go through the sufferings that I had during my last illness all over again, in order to gain the merit of this prayer" It is to be noted that she had been bedridden and suffered agonizing pains for several years before she died.

Whatever you do, do not be like a certain pious but self-willed lady in Rome, so often referred to by speakers on the Rosary. She was so devout and fervent that she put to shame by her holy life even the strictest religious in the Church. Having decided to ask St. Dominic's advice about her spiritual life, she made her confession to him. For penance he gave her one Rosary to say and advised her to say it every day. She excused herself, saying that she had her regular exercises, that she made the Stations of Rome every day, that she wore sack- cloth as well as a hair-shirt, that she gave herself the discipline several times a week, that she often fasted and did other penances.

Saint Dominic urged her over and over again to take his advice and say the Rosary, but she would not hear of it. She left the confessional, horrified at the methods of this new spiritual director who had tried so hard to persuade her to take up a devotion for which she had no taste.

Later on, when she was at prayer she fell into ecstasy and had a vision of her soul appearing before the Supreme Judge. Saint Michael put all her penances and other prayers on one side of the scales and all her sins and imperfections on the other.

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  • The tray of her good works were greatly outweighed by that of her sins and imperfections. Filled with alarm, she cried for mercy, imploring the help of the Blessed Virgin, her gracious advocate, who took the one and only Rosary she had said for her penance and dropped it on the tray of her good works. This one Rosary was so heavy that it weighed more than all her sins as well as all her good works.

    Our Lady then reproved her for having refused to follow the counsel of her servant Dominic and for not saying the Rosary every day. As soon as she came to herself she rushed and threw herself at the feet of Saint Dominic and told him all that had happened, begged his forgiveness for her unbelief, and promised to say the Rosary faithfully every day. By this means she rose to Christian perfection and finally to the glory of everlasting life. Few saints have reached the same heights of prayer as Saint Mary Magdalene, who was lifted up to heaven by angels each day, and who had the privilege of learning at the feet of Jesus and his holy Mother.

    Yet one day, when she asked God to show her a sure way of advancing in his love and arriving at the heights of perfection, he sent the archangel St. Michael to tell her, on his behalf, that there was no other way for her to reach perfection than to meditate on our Lord's passion. So he placed a cross in the front of her cave and told her to pray before it, contemplating the sorrowful mysteries which she had seen take place with her own eyes.

    Blessed Alan relates that a man he knew had tried desperately all kinds of devotions to rid himself of the evil spirit which possessed him, but without success. Finally, he thought of wearing his rosary round his neck, which eased him considerably. He discovered that whenever he took it off the devil tormented him cruelly, so he resolved to wear it night and day. This drove the evil spirit away forever because he could not bear such a terrible chain.

    Blessed Alan also testifies that he delivered a great number of those who were possessed by putting a rosary round their necks. Father Jean Amat, of the Order of St. Dominic, was giving a series of Lenten sermons in the Kingdom of Aragon one year, when a young girl was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. After he had exorcised her several times without success, he put his rosary round her neck.

    Hardly had he done so when the girl began to scream and cry out in a fearful way, shrieking, "Take it off, take it off; these beads are tormenting me. The very next night, when Fr. Amat was in bed, the same devils who had possession of the girl came to him, foaming with rage and tried to seize him.

    But he had his rosary clasped in his hand and no efforts of theirs could wrench it from him. He beat them with it very well indeed and put them to flight, crying out, "Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, come to my help. Our Lady one day revealed to Blessed Alan de la Roche that, after the holy sacrifice of the Mass, which is the first and most living memorial of our Lord's passion, there was indeed no more excellent devotion or one of greater merit than that of the Rosary, which is hke a second memorial and representation of the life and passion of Jesus Christ.

    Borland relates that in our Lady appeared to the Venerable Dominic, a Carthusian devoted to the holy Rosary, who lived at Treves, and said to him: "Whenever one of the faithful, in a state of grace, says the Rosary while meditating on the mysteries of the life and passion of Christ, he obtains full and entire remission of all his sins.

    And whosoever shall persevere in the devotion of the holy Rosary, with its prayers and meditations, shall be rewarded for it; I shall obtain for him full remission of the penalty and the guilt of all his sins at the end of his life. And being filled with grace, I am able to dispense it freely to my dear children. The saintly Blanche of Castille, Queen of France, was deeply grieved because twelve years after her marriage she was still childless. When St. Dominic went to see her he advised her to say the Rosary every day to ask God for the grace of motherhood, and she faithfully carried out his advice.

    In the year she gave birth to her eldest child, who was called Philip. But when the child died in infancy, the Queen sought our Lady's help more than ever, and had a large number of rosaries given out to all members of the court and to people in several towns in the Kingdom, asking them to pray to God for a blessing which this time would be complete.

    This was granted to her, for in St. Louis was born, the prince who was to become the glory of France and the model of Christian kings. Alphonsus VIII, King of Aragon and Castille, had been leading a disorderly life and had been punished by God in several ways, and he was forced to take refuge in a town belonging to one of his allies.

    Dominic happened to be in this town on Christmas Day and he preached on the Rosary as he usually did, and spoke of the graces that we obtain through this devotion. He mentioned, among other things, that those who said the Rosary devoutly would overcome their enemies and regain all they had lost. The King listened attentively and sent for St. Dominic to ask whether what he had said about the Rosary was really true. The Saint assured him that nothing was more true, and that if only he would practice this devotion and join the Confraternity, he would see for himself The King resolved to say the Rosary every day and persevered for a year in doing so.

    The very next Christmas, our Lady appeared to him at the end of his Rosary and said, "Alphonsus, you have served me for a year by saying my Rosary devoutly every day, so I have come to reward you. I have obtained the forgiveness of your sins from my Son. Here is a rosary, which I present to you; wear it, and I promise you that none of your enemies will be able to harm you.

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    He touched her eyes with this rosary, for she had lost her sight, and she was cured. Shortly afterwards the King rallied some troops and with the help of his allies boldly attacked his enemies. He forced them to give back the territory they had taken from him and make reparation for his losses.

    They were completely routed, and he became so successful in war that soldiers came from all sides to fight under his standard, because it seemed that, whenever he went into battle, the victory was sure to be his. This is not surprising because he never went into battle without first saying his Rosary on his knees. He made certain that the whole of his court joined the Confraternity of the Rosary and he saw to it that all his officials and servants were devoted to it.

    The Queen also joined the Confraternity, and they both persevered in the service of Blessed Virgin and lived very holy lives. Dominic had a cousin named Don Perez or Pedro, who was leading a highly immoral life. When he heard that his cousin was preaching on the wonders of the Rosary and learned that several people had been converted and had amended their lives by means of it, he said, "I had given up all hope of being saved but now I am beginning to take heart again.

    I really must hear this man of God. Dominic's sermons. When the latter caught sight of him, he struck out against sin more zealously than ever before, and from the depths of his heart he besought God to enlighten his cousin and let him see what a deplorable state his soul was in. At first, Don Perez was somewhat alarmed, but he still did not resolve to change his ways. He came once more to hear the Saint preach and his cousin, realizing that a heart as hardened as his could only be moved by something extraordinary, cried out with a loud voice, "Lord Jesus, grant that this whole congregation may see the state of the man who has just come into your house.

    People fled in all directions in abject terror, and Don Perez himself was even more appalled when he saw how everyone shunned him. Dominic told them all to stand still and said to his cousin, "Unhappy man that you are, acknowledge the deplorable state you are in and throw yourself at our Lady's feet. Take this rosary, say it with devotion and with true sorrow for all your sins, and make a resolution to amend your life. Dominic ordered him to say the Rosary every day; he promised to do this and he entered his own name in the register of the Confraternity.

    When he left the church his face was no longer horrible to behold but shining like that of an angel. Thereafter he persevered in devotion to the Rosary, led a well-ordered life and died a happy death. Dominic was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone, an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. The Saint exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it appears that over twelve thousand had come to hear him speak. The devils who were in possession of this wretched man were forced to answer St. Dominic's questions in spite of themselves.

    They said: 1 That there were fifteen thousand of them in the body of that poor man, because he had attacked the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary; 2 That by the Rosary which he preached, he put fear and horror into the depths of hell, and that he was the man they hated most throughout the world because of the souls he snatched from them by the devotion of the Rosary.

    Dominic put his rosary round the neck of the possessed man and asked them who, of all the saints in heaven, was the one they feared most, who should therefore be the most loved and revered by men. At this they let out such unearthly screams that most of the people fell to the ground, seized with fear. Then, using all their cunning so as not to answer, the devils wept and wailed in such a pitiful way that many of the people wept also, out of pure natural pity.

    The devils, speaking through the mouth of the Albigensian, pleaded in a heart-rending voice, "Dominic, Dominic, have pity on us, we promise you we will never harm you. We are suffering so much already, why do you delight in increasing our pains? Can't you be satisfied with the pains we now endure?

    Have mercy on us, have mercy on us! Dominic was not in the least moved by the pathetic words of those wretched spirits, and told them he would not let them alone until they had answered his question. Then they said they would whisper the answer in such a way that only St. Dominic would be able to hear. The latter firmly insisted upon their answering clearly and audibly. Then the devils kept quiet and would not say another word, completely disregarding St.

    Dominic's orders. So he knelt down and said this prayer to our Lady: "Oh, most glorious Virgin Mary, I implore you by the power of the holy Rosary command these enemies of the human race to answer my question. Everyone shook with fear, but the fire did not hurt anyone. Then the devils cried, "Dominic, we beseech you, by the passion of Jesus Christ and the merits of his holy Mother and of all the saints, let us leave the body of this man without speaking further; for the angels will answer your question whenever you wish.

    After all, are we not liars - so why should you want to believe us?