THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY
by Saint Louis de Montfort
MONTFORT PUBLICATIONS, New York
[Edited by Br Sean, a choir monk, 2008]
SECOND ROSE: ORIGIN AND NAME
THIRD ROSE: SAINT DOMINIC
FOURTH ROSE: BLESSED ALAN DE LA ROCHE
NINTH ROSE: ENEMIES
TENTH ROSE: MIRACLES
SIXTEENTH ROSE: THE HAIL MARY - BEAUTY
SEVENTEENTH ROSE: THE HAIL MARY - FRUITS
THIRTY-THIRD ROSE: A DIABOLICAL POSSESSION
THIRTY-SIXTH ROSE: FREED FROM SATAN
"Blessed Alan de la Roche says that a nun who had always had great devotion
to the Holy Rosary appeared after death to one of her sisters in religion and
said to her: 'If I were allowed to go back into my body, to have the chance of
saying just one single Hail Mary - even if I said it quickly and without great
fervor - 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.' (Blessed Alan
de la Roche, De Dignitate Psalterii, Chapter LXIX) This is all the more
compelling because she had been bedridden and had suffered agonizing
pains for several years before she died." (St. Louis De Montfort)
Blessed Alan also said: "Let everyone who loves you, oh most holy
Mary, listen to this and drink it in:
Whenever I say Hail Mary
The court of Heaven rejoices
And the earth is lost in wonderment.
And I despise the world
And my heart is brim-full
Of the love of God
When I say Hail Mary;
All my fears wilt and die
And my passions are subdued
If I say Hail Mary;
Devotion grows within me
And sorrow for sin awakens
When I say Hail Mary.
Hope is made strong in my breast
And the dew of consolation
Falls on my soul more and more -
Because I say Hail Mary.
And my spirit rejoices
And sorrow fades away
When I say Hail Mary . . ."
SECOND ROSE: ORIGIN AND NAME
SINCE the Holy Rosary is composed, principally and in substance, of the Prayer
of Christ and the Angelic Salutation, that is, the Our Father and the Hail Mary,
it was without doubt the first prayer and the first devotion of the faithful and
has been in use all through the centuries, from the time of the Apostles and
disciples down to the present.
But it was only in the year 1214, however, that Holy Mother Church received the
Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was
given to the Church by Saint Dominic who had received it from the Blessed Virgin
as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other
I will tell you the story of how he received it, which is found in the very
well-known book De Dignitate Psalterii by Blessed Alan de la Roche.  Saint
Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people's sins was hindering the conversion
of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse where he prayed
unceasingly for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but
weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of Almighty God.
He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell
into a coma.
At this point Our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three Angels, and she
"Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to
reform the world?"
"Oh, my Lady," answered Saint Dominic, "you know far better than I do because
next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our
Then Our Lady replied: "I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the
battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter [Hail Mary] which is the
foundation stone of the New Testament [Cf. Lk 1:28, 42]. Therefore if you want
to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter."
So he arose, comforted, and burning with zeal for the conversion of the people
in that district he made straight for the Cathedral. At once unseen Angels rang
the bells to gather the people together and Saint Dominic began to preach.
At the very beginning of his sermon an appalling storm broke out, the earth
shook, the sun was darkened, and there was so much thunder and lightning that
all were very much afraid. Even greater was their fear when looking at a picture
of Our Lady exposed in a prominent place they saw her raise her arms to Heaven
three times to call down God's vengeance upon them if they failed to be
converted, to amend their lives, and seek the protection of the Holy Mother of
God wished, by means of these supernatural phenomena, to spread the new
devotion of the Holy Rosary and to make it more widely known.
At last, at the prayer of Saint Dominic, the storm came to an end, and he went
on preaching. So fervently and compellingly did he explain the importance and
value of the Holy Rosary that almost all the people of Toulouse embraced it and
renounced their false beliefs. In a very short time a great improvement was seen
in the town; people began leading Christian lives and gave up their former bad
1. De Dignitate Psalterii. The importance and Beauty of the Holy Rosary, by
Blessed Alan de la Roche, O.P., French Dominican Father and Apostle of the
THIRD ROSE: SAINT DOMINIC
THIS MIRACULOUS WAY in which the devotion to the Holy Rosary was
established is something of a parallel to the way in which Almighty God
gave His law to the world on Mount Sinai and obviously proves its value
Inspired by the Holy Ghost, instructed by the Blessed Virgin as well as by
his own experience, Saint Dominic preached the Holy Rosary for the rest of
his life. He preached it by his example as well as by his sermons, in
cities and in country places, to people of high station and low, before
scholars and the uneducated, to Catholics and to heretics.
The Holy Rosary which he said every day was his preparation for every
sermon and his little tryst with Our Lady immediately after preaching.
One day he had to preach at Notre Dame in Paris, and it happened to be
the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. He was in a little chapel behind the
high altar prayerfully preparing his sermon by saying the Rosary, as he
always did, when Our Lady appeared to him and said:
"Dominic, even though what you have planned to say may be very good, I
am bringing you a much better sermon."
Saint Dominic took in his hands the book Our Lady proffered, read the
sermon carefully and when he had understood it and meditated on it, he
gave thanks to the Blessed Mother.
When the time came, he went up into the pulpit and, in spite of the feast
day, made no mention of Saint John other than to say that he had been
found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven. The congregation
was made up of theologians and other eminent people who were used to
hearing unusual and polished discourses; but Saint Dominic told them that
it was not his wish to give them a learned discourse, wise in the eyes of
the world, but that he would speak in the simplicity of the Holy Spirit
and with His forcefulness.
So he began preaching the Holy Rosary and explained the Hail Mary word
by word as he would to a group of children and used the very simple
illustrations which were in the book Our Lady had given him.
Carthagena, the great scholar, quoting Blessed Alan de la Roche in De
Dignitate Psalterii, describes how this took place:
"Blessed Alan writes that one day Father Dominic said to him in a vision:
'My son, it is good to preach; but there is always a danger of looking for
praise rather than the salvation of souls. Listen carefully to what
happened to me in Paris so that you may be on guard against this kind of
mistake: I was to preach in the great church dedicated to the Blessed
Virgin Mary and I was particularly anxious to give a brilliant sermon, not
out of pride, but because of the high intellectual stature of the
'An hour before the time I had to preach, I was recollectedly saying my
Rosary - as I always did before giving a sermon - when I fell into
ecstasy. I saw my beloved friend the Mother of God coming towards me with
a book in her hand. 'Dominic,' she said, 'your sermon for today may be
very good indeed, but no matter how good it is I have brought you one that
is very much better.'
'Of course I was overjoyed, took the book and read every word of it. Just
as Our Lady had said, I found exactly the right things to say in my
sermon, so I thanked her with all my heart.
'When it was time to begin, I saw that the University of Paris had turned
out in full force as well as a large number of noblemen. They had all seen
and heard of the great things that the good Lord had been doing through
me. So I went up into the pulpit.
'It was the feast of Saint John the Apostle but all I said about him was
that he had been found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven.
Then I addressed the congregation:
" 'My Lords and illustrious Doctors of the University, you are
accustomed to hearing learned sermons suited to your aesthetic tastes. Now
I do not want to speak to you in the scholarly language of human wisdom
but, on the contrary, to show you the Spirit of God and His Greatness.' "
Here ends the quotation from Blessed Alan, after which Carthagena goes on
to say in his own words:
"Then Saint Dominic explained the Angelic Salutation to them, using simple
comparisons and examples from everyday life."
Blessed Alan, according to Carthagena, mentioned several other times when
Our Lord and Our Lady appeared to Saint Dominic to urge and inspire him
to preach the Rosary more and more in order to wipe out sin and to convert
sinners and heretics.
In another passage Carthagena says:
"Blessed Alan said Our Lady revealed to him that after she had appeared to
Saint Dominic, her Blessed Son appeared to him and said:
'Dominic, I rejoice to see that you are not relying upon your own wisdom
and that, rather than seek the empty praise of men, you are working with
great humility for the salvation of souls.
'But many priests want to preach thunderously against the worst kinds of
sin at the very outset, failing to realize that before a sick person is
given bitter medicine he needs to be prepared by being put in the right
frame of mind to really benefit by it.
"This is why, before doing anything else, priests should try to kindle a
love of prayer in people's hearts and especially a love of my Angelic
Psalter. If only they would all start saying it and would really
persevere, God, in His mercy, could hardly refuse to give them His grace.
So I want you to preach my Rosary.' "
In another place Blessed Alan says: "All priests say a Hail Mary with the
faithful before preaching, to ask for God's grace. They do this because of
a revelation that Saint Dominic had from Our Lady. 'My son,' she said one
day 'do not be surprised that your sermons fail to bear the results you
had hoped for. You are trying to cultivate a piece of ground which has not
had any rain. Now when Almighty God planned to renew the face of the earth
He started by sending down rain from Heaven - and this was the Angelic
Salutation. In this way God made over the world.
'So when you give a sermon, urge people to say my Rosary, and in this way
your words will bear much fruit for souls.'
"Saint Dominic lost no time in obeying, and from then on he exerted great
influence by his sermons."
This last quotation is from the Book of Miracles of the Holy Rosary
(written in Italian) and it is also to be found in Justin's works (143d
I have been very glad to quote these well-known authors word for word in
the original Latin  for benefit of any priests or other learned people
who might otherwise have doubts as to the marvelous power of the Holy
As long as priests followed Saint Dominic's example and preached devotion
to the Holy Rosary, piety and fervor thrived throughout the Christian
world and in those religious orders which were devoted to the Rosary. But
since people have neglected this gift from Heaven, all kinds of sin and
disorder have spread far and wide.
1. We have omitted the Latin quotations so as to not encumber the text.
English translations have been given above.
FOURTH ROSE: BLESSED ALAN DE LA ROCHE
ALL THINGS, even the holiest, are subject to change, especially when they
are dependent on man's free will. It is hardly to be wondered at, then,
that the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary only retained its fervor for one
century after it was instituted by Saint Dominic. After this, it was like
a thing buried and forgotten.
Doubtless, too, the wicked scheming and jealousy of the devil were largely
responsible for getting people to neglect the Holy Rosary, and thus block
the flow of God's grace which it had drawn down upon the world.
Thus, in 1349, God punished the whole of Europe and sent the most terrible
plague that had ever been known into every land. It started first in the
east and spread throughout Italy, Germany, France, Poland and Hungary,
bringing desolation wherever it came - for out of hundred men hardly one
lived to tell the tale. Big towns, little towns, villages and monasteries
were almost completely deserted during the three years that the epidemic
This scourge of God was quickly followed by two others: the heresy of the
Flagellantes and a tragic schism in 1376.
[Note: The Flagellantes were members of a group who, naked
to the waist, used the discipline of self-flagellation most extremely. In the
beginning, they were not in actual error; but in course of time they
declared that no one could receive the forgiveness of his sins, unless he
entered their confraternity; and although laymen, they confessed and
absolved one another. They passed from Italy to Germany, and from that to
Hungary. They were condemned at Paris, 1349.]
Later on when these trials were over, thanks to the mercy of God, Our Lady
told Blessed Alan to revive the ancient Confraternity of the Most Holy
Rosary. Blessed Alan was one of the Dominican Fathers from the monastery
at Dinan, in Brittany. He was an eminent theologian and was famous for his
sermons. Our Lady chose him because, since the Confraternity had
originally been started in this province, it was most fitting that a
Dominican from the very same province should have the honor of
Blessed Alan began this great work in 1460 after a special warning from
Our Lord. This is how he received His urgent message, as he tells it
One day when he was saying Mass, Our Lord, Who wished to spur him on
to preach the Holy Rosary, spoke to him in the Sacred Host:
"How can you crucify Me again so soon?" Jesus said.
"What did You say, Lord?" asked Blessed Alan, horrified.
"You crucified Me once before by your sins," answered Jesus, "and I would
willingly be crucified again rather than have My Father offended by the
sins you used to commit. You are crucifying Me again now because you
have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach My Mother's
Rosary, and you are not doing so. If you only did this you could teach
many souls the right path and lead them away from sin - but you are not
doing it and so you yourself are guilty of the sins that they commit."
This terrible reproach made Blessed Alan solemnly resolve to preach the
Our Lady too spoke to him one day to inspire him to preach the Holy Rosary
more and more:
"You were a great sinner in your youth," she said, "but I obtained the
grace of your conversion from my Son. Had such a thing been possible I
would have liked to have gone through all kinds of suffering to save you
because converted sinners are a glory to me. And I would have done this
also to make you worthy of preaching my Rosary far and wide."
Saint Dominic appeared to Blessed Alan as well and told him of the great
results of his ministry: he had preached the Holy Rosary unceasingly, his
sermons had borne great fruit and many people had been converted during
his missions. He said to Blessed Alan:
"See the wonderful results I have had through preaching the Holy Rosary!
You and all those who love Our Lady ought to do the same so that, by means
of this holy practice of the Rosary, you may draw all people to the real
science of the virtues."
Briefly, then, this is the history of how Saint Dominic established the
Holy Rosary and of how Blessed Alan de la Roche restored it.
NINTH ROSE: ENEMIES
IT IS VERY WICKED indeed and unfair to other souls to hinder the progress
of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Almighty God has severely
punished many of those who have been so benighted as to scorn the
Confraternity and who have sought to destroy it.
Even though God has set His seal of approval on the Holy Rosary by many
miracles, and in spite of the Papal Bulls that have been written approving
it, there are only too many people who are against the Holy Rosary today.
These freethinkers and those who scorn religion either condemn the Rosary
or try to turn others away from it.
It is easy to see that they have absorbed the poison of Hell and that they
are inspired by the devil - for nobody can condemn devotion to the Holy
Rosary without condemning all that is most holy in the Catholic Faith,
such as the Lord's Prayer, the Angelic Salutation and the mysteries of the
life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Holy Mother.
These freethinkers who cannot bear others to say the Rosary often fall
into a really heretical state of mind without even realizing it and some
to hate the Rosary and its holy mysteries.
To have a loathing for confraternities is to fall away from God and true
piety, for Our Lord Himself has told us that He is always in the midst of
those who are gathered together in His name. No good Catholic should
forget the many great indulgences which Holy Mother Church has granted
to Confraternities. Finally, to dissuade others from joining the Rosary
Confraternity is to be an enemy of souls because the Rosary is a sure
means of curing oneself of sin and of embracing a Christian life.
Saint Bonaventure said (in his Psalter) that whoever neglected Our Lady
would perish in his sins and would be damned: "He who neglects her will
die in his sins." If such is the penalty for neglecting her, what must be
the punishment in store for those who actually turn others away from their
TENTH ROSE: MIRACLES
WHILE SAINT DOMINIC was preaching the Rosary in Carcassone, a heretic
made fun of the miracles and the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary, and this
prevented other heretics from being converted. As a punishment God allowed
fifteen thousand devils to enter the man's body.
His parents took him to Father Dominic to be delivered from the evil
spirits. He started to pray and begged everyone who was there to say the
Rosary out loud with him, and at each Hail Mary Our Lady drove one hundred
devils out of the heretic's body and they came out in the form of red hot
After he had been delivered he abjured his former errors, was converted
and joined the Rosary Confraternity. Several of his associates did the
same, having been greatly moved by his punishment and by the power of
The learned Franciscan, Carthagena, as well as several other authors,
says that an extraordinary event took place in 1482: The Venerable James
Sprenger and other religious of his order were zealously working to
re-establish devotion to the Holy Rosary and also to erect a Confraternity
in the city of Cologne.
Unfortunately two priests who were famous for their preaching ability
were jealous of the great influence they were exerting through preaching
the Rosary. So these two Fathers spoke against this devotion whenever they
had a chance, and as they were very eloquent and had a great reputation
they persuaded many people not to join the Confraternity.
One of them, bound and determined to achieve his wicked end, wrote a
special sermon against the Rosary and planned to give it the following
Sunday. But when it came time for the sermon he never appeared and, after
a certain amount of waiting somebody went to fetch him. He was found dead,
and evidently had died all alone without anyone to help him and without
seeing a priest.
After convincing himself that death had been due to natural causes, the
other priest decided to carry out his friend's plan and to give a similar
sermon on another day. In this way he hoped to put an end to the
Confraternity of the Rosary. However, when the day came for him to preach
and it was time to give the sermon God punished him by striking him down
with paralysis which deprived him both of the use of his limbs and of his
power of speech.
At last he admitted his sin and likewise that of his friend and
immediately, in his heart of hearts, he silently besought Our Lady to help
him. He promised her that if she would only cure him he would preach the
Holy Rosary with as much zeal as that with which he had formerly fought
against it. For this end he implored her to restore his health and speech
which she did, and finding himself instantaneously cured he rose up like
another Saul, a persecutor turned defender of the Holy Rosary. He publicly
acknowledged his former error and ever after preached the wonders of the
Most Holy Rosary with great zeal and eloquence.
I am quite sure that freethinkers and ultra-critical people of today will
question the truth of the stories in this little book, in the very same
way that they have always questioned most things, but all that I have done
has been to copy them from very good contemporary writers and also, in
part, from a book that was written only a short time ago: The Mystical
Rose Tree, by the Reverend Antonin Thomas, O.P.
Everyone knows that there are three different kinds of faith by which we
believe different kinds of stories:
To stories of Holy Scripture we owe Divine faith;
To stories concerning other than religious subjects, which do not militate
against common sense and which are written by trustworthy authors, we pay
the tribute of human faith; whereas
To stories about holy subjects which are told by good authors and are not
in the slightest degree contrary to reason, faith or morals (even though
they may sometimes deal with happenings which are above the ordinary run
of events) we pay the tribute of pious faith.
I agree that we must be neither too credulous nor too critical and that we
should remember that "virtue takes the middle course" - keeping a happy
medium in all things in order to find just where truth and virtue lie. But
on the other hand I know equally well that charity easily leads us to
believe all that is not contrary to faith or morals: "Charity . . .
believeth all things;"  in the same way pride induces us to doubt even
well authenticated stories on the plea that they are not to be found in
This is one of the devil's traps; heretics of the past who denied
Tradition have fallen into it and over-critical people of today are
falling into it too without even realizing it.
People of this kind refuse to believe what they do not understand or what
is not to their liking, simply because of their own spirit of pride and
1. 1 Cor. 13:7.
SIXTEENTH ROSE: THE HAIL MARY - BEAUTY
....One day when Saint Mechtilde was praying and was trying to think of some
way in which she could express her love of the Blessed Mother better than
she had done before, she fell into ecstasy. Our Lady appeared to her with
the Angelic Salutation in flaming letters of gold upon her bosom and said
to her: "My daughter, I want you to know that no one can please me more
than by saying the salutation which the Most Adorable Trinity sent to me
and by which He raised me to the dignity of Mother of God.
"By the word Ave (which is the name Eve, Eva), I learned that in His
infinite power God had preserved me from all sin and its attendant misery
which the first woman had been subject to.
"The name Mary which means 'lady of light' shows that God has filled me
with wisdom and light, like a shining star, to light up Heaven and earth.
"The words full of grace remind me that the Holy Spirit has showered so
many graces upon me that I am able to give these graces in abundance to
those who ask for them through me as Mediatrix.
"When people say The Lord is with thee they renew the indescribable joy
that was mine when the Eternal Word became incarnate in my womb.
"When you say to me blessed art thou among women I praise Almighty
God's Divine mercy which lifted me to this exalted plane of happiness.
"And at the words blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of
Heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus Christ adored and glorified
for having saved mankind."
SEVENTEENTH ROSE: THE HAIL MARY - -FRUITS
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 (the Angelic
Salutation which has saved the world) out of carelessness, or because they
are lukewarm, or because they hate it, this is a sign that they will
probably and indeed shortly be condemned to eternal punishment.
The second truth is that those who love this Divine salutation bear the
very special stamp of predestination [of going to heaven].
The third is that those to whom God has given the signal grace 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 divine Son in the degree of glory which they have
earned. (Blessed Alan, chapter XI, paragraph 2)
The heretics, all of whom are children of the devil and clearly bear the
sign of God's reprobation, have a horror of the Hail Mary. They still say
the Our Father but never the Hail Mary; they would rather wear a poisonous
snake around their necks than wear a scapular or carry a rosary.
Among Catholics those who bear the mark of God's reprobation think but
little of the rosary (whether that of five decades of fifteen). They either
fail to say it or only say it very quickly and in a lukewarm manner.
Even if I did not believe that which has been revealed to Blessed Alan de
la Roche, even then my own experience would be enough to convince me
of this terrible but consoling truth. I do not know, nor do I see clearly,
how it can be that a devotion which seems to be so small can be the
infallible sign of eternal salvation and how its absence can be the sign
of God's eternal displeasure; nevertheless, nothing could possibly be more
....My Hail Mary, my Rosary of fifteen or of five decades, is the prayer
and the infallible touchstone by which I can tell those who are led by the
Spirit of God from those who are deceived by the devil. I have known souls
who seemed to soar like eagles to the heights by their sublime contem-
plation and who yet were pitifully led astray by the devil. I only found out
how wrong they were when I learned that they scorned the Hail Mary and
the Rosary which they considered as being far beneath them.
The Hail Mary is a blessed dew that falls from Heaven upon the souls of
the predestinate. It gives them a marvelous spiritual fertility so that
they can grow in all virtues. The more the garden of the soul is watered
by this prayer the more enlightened one's intellect becomes, the more
zealous his heart, and the stronger his armor against his spiritual
THIRTY-THIRD ROSE: A DIABOLICAL POSSESSION
WHEN SAINT DOMINIC was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone 
an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. Saint
Dominic exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it
appears that over twelve thousand had come to hear him preach. The devils
who were in possession of this wretched man were forced to answer Saint
Dominic's questions in spite of themselves. They said that:
1. There were fifteen thousand of them in the body of this poor man,
because he had attacked the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary;
2. They went on to testify that by preaching the Rosary he put fear and
horror into the very depths of Hell and that he was the man they hated
most throughout the whole world, because of the souls which he snatched
from them through devotion to the Holy Rosary;
3. They then revealed several other things.
Saint Dominic put his Rosary around the Albigensian's neck and asked
the devils to tell him who, of all the Saints in Heaven, was the one they
feared the most, and 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, faint from 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 purely natural pity. The devils spoke
through the mouth of the Albigensian, pleading in a heartrending voice:
"Dominic, Dominic, have mercy on us - we promise you that we will never
hurt you. You have always had compassion for sinners and those in
distress; have pity on us, for we are in grievous straits. We are
suffering so very much already, so why do you delight in heightening our
pains? Can't you be satisfied with our suffering without adding to it?
Have pity on us! Have pity on us!"
Saint Dominic was not one whit moved by the pathos of these wretched
spirits and told them that 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 Saint Dominic would be able to hear. The latter
firmly insisted upon their answering clearly and out loud. Then the devils
kept quiet and refused to say another word, completely disregarding Saint
Dominic's orders - so he knelt down and prayed thus to Our Lady: "Oh, all
powerful and wonderful Virgin Mary, I implore you by the power of the Most
Holy Rosary, order these enemies of the human race to answer me."
No sooner had he made this prayer than a glowing flame leaped out of the
ears, nostrils and mouth of the Albigensian. 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 by 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? Please don't torture us any more; have pity on us."
"Woe unto you wretched spirits, who do not deserve to be heard," Saint
Dominic said, and kneeling down he prayed to Our Lady:
"Oh most worthy Mother of Wisdom, I am praying for the people assembled
here who have already learned how to say the Angelic Salutation properly.
Please, I beg of you, force your enemies to proclaim the whole truth and
nothing but the truth about this, here and now, before the multitude."
Saint Dominic had hardly finished this prayer when he saw the Blessed
Virgin near at hand, surrounded by a multitude of Angels. She struck the
possessed man with a golden rod that she held and said: "Answer my servant
Dominic at once." (Remember, the people neither saw nor heard Our Lady,
but only Saint Dominic.) Then the devils started screaming:
"Oh you who are our enemy, our downfall and our destruction, why have you
come from Heaven just to torture us so grievously? O Advocate of sinners,
you who snatch them from the very jaws of Hell, you who are the very sure
path to Heaven, must we, in spite of ourselves, tell the whole truth and
confess before everyone who it is who is the cause of our shame and our
ruin? Oh woe unto us, princes of darkness:
"Then listen well, you Christians: the Mother of Jesus Christ is
all-powerful and she can save her servants from falling into Hell. She is
the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles and subtlety. It is she
who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares and makes our temptations
useless and ineffectual.
"We have to say, however reluctantly, that not a single soul who has
really persevered in her service has ever been damned with us; one single
sigh that she offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the
prayers, desires and aspirations of all the Saints.
"We fear her more than all the other Saints in Heaven together and we have
no success with her faithful servants. Many Christians who call upon her
when they are at the hour of death and who really ought to be damned
according to our ordinary standards are saved by her intercession.
"Oh if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called her) had
not pitted her strength against ours and had not upset our plans, we
should have conquered the Church and should have destroyed it long before
this; and we would have seen to it that all the Orders in the Church fell
into error and disorder.
"Now that we are forced to speak we must also tell you this: nobody who
perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because she obtains for
her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins and by means of
this they obtain God's forgiveness and mercy."
Then Saint Dominic had them all say the Rosary very slowly and with great
devotion, and a wonderful thing happened: at each Hail Mary that he and
the people said together a large group of devils issued forth from the
wretched man's body under the guise of red-hot coals.
When the devils had all been expelled and the heretic was at last entirely
free of them, Our Lady (who was still invisible) gave her blessing to the
assembled company, and they were filled with joy because of this.
A large number of heretics were converted because of this miracle and
joined the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.
1. This incident is referred to by Saint Louis in his "True Devotion to the
Blessed Virgin Mary" when he explains that those who love Our Lady are
not lost. Cf. paragraph 42.
THIRTY-SIXTH ROSE: FREED FROM SATAN
IN 1578 A WOMAN in Anvers had given herself to the devil and had signed
the contract with her own blood. Shortly afterwards she was stricken with
sincere remorse and had an intense desire to make amends for this terrible
deed. So she sought out a kind and wise confessor who advised her to go to
Father Henry, one of the Fathers of the Dominican Friary, who was Director
of the Rosary Confraternity in that town, to ask him to enroll her in it
and hear her confession.
Accordingly she went to ask for him but met, not Father Henry, but the
devil disguised as a Dominican Father. The latter scolded her pitilessly
and said that she could never hope to receive Almighty God's grace again
as long as she lived, and that there was absolutely no way in which she
could regain possession of her contract. This grieved her greatly but she
did not quite lose hope of God's mercy and sought out Father Henry once
more, only to find the devil a second time, and to meet with a second
rebuff. She came back for the third time and then at last, by Divine
Providence, she found Father Henry in person - the priest whom she had
been looking for - and he treated her with very great kindness, urging
her to throw herself upon the mercy of Almighty God and to make a good
confession. He then received her into the Confraternity and told her to
say the Rosary frequently.
One day while Father Henry was saying Mass for her Our Lady forced the
devil to give her back the contract which she had signed. In this way she
was delivered from the devil by the authority of Mary and by her devotion
to the Most Holy Rosary.