Since this is the month of Our Lady, this piece of history is worth telling because we are in desperate need of another saint such as St. Pius V who truly knows that Our Lady can crush the head of the serpent with the use of her mighty weapon – The Rosary. Of course, we know that it is only by the power of God that these miracles can be achieved. Mary on Her own can do nothing without God – She is filled with God’s grace and has been appointed the humble handmaid to crush prideful Satan and his cohorts. When Saint Pius V was Pope in 1566, Christendom faced extreme peril. The Huguenots had been waging a particularly violent war in France since 1562; the Spanish Netherlands exploded in revolt later in the year; England, having gone from schism to heresy, was openly assisting all the anti-Catholic forces; but the greatest danger came from the Muslim aggression throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.
After the defense of Malta, the powerful Ottoman fleet continued to raid Christian lands. Ali Pasha, commander of the naval forces in Malta, captured Chios, the last Genoese position in the Eastern Mediterranean and murdered the ruling Giustiniani family. For three days, the Mohammedans roved over the island, massacred all the inhabitants and destroyed everything Catholic. Two boys in the Giustiniani family, aged ten and twelve, were martyred. The younger boy, almost cut to pieces, was told to hold up one finger if he wished to apostatize and live. He clenched his fists so tight that they could not be opened even after death.
Saint Pius V increasingly asked for more prayers from pious Catholics, especially from the monks and nuns in their cloisters. A devotion to which he gave special attention was the Rosary, so much so that he was called the “Pope of the Rosary.” In fact, the great saint secured the uniformity of recitation of the Hail Mary through a Papal Bull published in 1568.
Prostrated on the cold stones before a crucifix and with deep groans, the holy Pope appealed to God for guidance. The Pope then went into the chapel to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When he reached the Gospel of Saint John, he began to read, “Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomem erat Joannes!” (“There was a man from God whose name was John!”).Turning his face toward the Virgin, he paused and realized that the commander of the crusade was to be Don Juan of Austria.
In the middle of September, the largest Christian fleet ever assembled sailed out from Messina in Sicily to seek out and destroy the Muslim fleet commanded by the Sultan’s brother-in-law, Ali Pasha. Saint Pius V granted all members of the expedition the indulgences of crusaders. Not one of the 81,000 soldiers and sailors had failed to confess and receive Holy Communion. They prayed the Rosary and brought a statue of Our Lady as a means of begging for Her intercession. The Holy League had achieved an overwhelming victory in the largest sea battle fought up to that time, The Battle of Lepanto. Miraculously, the Ottoman Empire lost about 240 galleys and saw 30,000 killed. The League suffered a trifling 12 galleys sunk; 7,600 men were killed.
At the time the battle was won, Saint Pius V was studying financial sheets with the papal treasurer. He rose, went to the window and looked toward the east. When he turned around his face was radiant with supernatural joy, and he exclaimed, “The Christian fleet is victorious!” After human agencies verified the news two weeks later, Saint Pius V added the Feast of the Holy Rosary to the Church calendar and the invocation Auxilium Christianorum (Help of Christians) to the litany of Our Lady, since the victory was due to Her intercession!
We are in great peril today with the loss of Faith, the Great Apostasy, abortion, homosexuality, fallen away clergy and laity. WE NEED OUR LADY! WE NEED THE ROSARY! We also need the Consecration of Russia as Our Lady of Fatima has asked. May we all be diligent in praying our Rosary and asking her for the gifts of healing and peace. May we pray for the Immaculate Heart of Mary to Triumph so that Jesus may reign in the hearts of all men.
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and of Fatima - pray for us!!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!