Champions of the Rosary

By Barb Ernster –

Fr. Donald Calloway of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception spent over two years researching the history of the rosary, the spiritual sword that conquered his heart in a naval chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Victory after years of living as a man “sick in my heart and sick in my soul,” he says. His passion for the rosary has never waned since that day in 1992.

He asked Our Lady to give him insights into the rosary so that he could touch hearts through his preaching and help people fall in love with Jesus and his Church. The result is “Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon,” a 465-page book with endorsements from over 30 bishops. It documents the history of the rosary and its development into a devotional prayer after it was entrusted in 1208 to St. Dominic, who used it to defeat the Albigensians at the first rosary victory, the Battle of Muret, on September 12, 1213.

The key to understanding the rosary is threefold, he explains:  1) It is a spiritual sword made by God and has power over Satan who constantly seeks to destroy it; 2) the pious tradition of the rosary dates back to St. Dominic in the 13th century and no pope has ever taught a history that has gone against this pious tradition; and 3) appreciation for the antecedents and developments in the rosary that have occurred throughout its history, such as the addition of prayers (the Glory Be and Fatima Prayer) and the Luminous mysteries, and that it is capable of further developments in the Church as God re-sharpens its blade.

st-peters-1-e1478187228306Calloway cites 26 popes, saints and servants of God—champions of the rosary—who have taken up this spiritual weapon throughout the centuries to defeat the evils of their times.  Numerous warrior battles have been won, heretical teachings driven out of the Church, and souls won for God by these simple prayer beads.

Initial silence and little written history on the rosary during its first few centuries, once known as the Marian Psalter, may have been by Divine Providence. Calloway explains in the book: Perhaps the Divine Craftsman may have intended the initial silence on the rosary as a way of protecting it…If the enemy were to find out about the weapon, he might try to destroy it, confiscate it, or cause confusion, suspicion, and doubt regarding its effectiveness…God has been known to use tactics of silence to conceal things from the enemy in other instances. Mary’s virginity, her giving birth, and the Lord’s death were all wrought in God’s silence.

Getting the History Right
While there are hundreds of books on the rosary, most written in the last 80 years have the history wrong. Modernist historians have dismissed the tradition of the rosary’s 13th century origins as “legendary” rather than truly historical. “Many of the popes have consistently said St. Dominic is the founder of the rosary, but modern historians say that’s not true. So I took the greatest book ever written on the rosary which was done by St. Louis de Montfort in the 18th century, ‘The Secret of the Rosary,’ and basically updated it to show what battles have been won through the rosary, which saints have promoted it, how it has developed, and of course Fatima and other approved apparitions that have happened where the main theme is the rosary.”

St. Louis de Montfort said the practice of the rosary will bear more fruit for you in your spiritual life than any spiritual book, adds Fr. Calloway. “That’s a huge statement coming from him because he wrote classics, and many saints have written tons of books, but he says you’ll find the key to spiritual growth in the rosary, so I lead into the book with that.”
Fr. Calloway did a lot of research in libraries and monasteries as he traveled overseas. “All of this came together to be a book given to the Church during the Year of Mercy and in preparation for the centennial of the Fatima apparitions because Our Lady at Fatima declared herself to be Our Lady of the Rosary on October 13 at her last apparition, so this is huge.”

“As we know during this last century, the rosary was abandoned in the 1960s and 70s and people stopped praying it, stopped having Marian devotion. Now we’ve come back around. We need to be reminded of the power of the rosary. The rosary can stop wars; it can overcome radical Islam, which it has done and proven to do time after time, and it is a means of bringing about peace.  I think that’s why we need this book more than ever.”

Miracles and Victories
Hundreds of miracles and victories have been attributed to the rosary over the centuries; many are well-known, such as the Battle of Lepanto, but others are not-known, such as in Austria, Corfu, the Philippines and Columbia. In our present times, Fr. Calloway spoke with Most Rev. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Bishop of Maidurguri, Nigeria, who had a vision in 2014 of Jesus handing him a sword and when he reached to take it, the sword turned into a rosary.  Jesus said, “Boko Haram is gone” three times.  Bishop Doeme has been promoting the rosary in his diocese since then, and he is seeing a significant reduction of Boko Haram, a radical element of Islam, in his diocese.  Bishop Doeme endorsed the book, stating: “This book reveals the rosary to be a spiritual sword that continues to be one of the most valuable means available for converting souls, transforming lives and conquering evil.”

Today the rosary must find itself in the hands of new champions because the times are so serious, writes Fr. Calloway.  “The Church and the faithful are under attack by a world hostile to Jesus Christ and his sacred mysteries. It needs to be taken to the front lines of the battle.”  This is especially true to combat the threats against life, society and families through abortion, contraception, divorce, pornography, euthanasia, suicide, the rise in occult practices and lukewarm Catholicism.

The Rosary for Families
“The saints and the popes have consistently talked about the importance of the family rosary.  It has to start when the children are young,” he says. “The rosary becomes a catechetical tool or a teaching method for turning the family and the home into a little church, so that you’re meditating on the mysteries of Christ right out of the scriptures and it becomes a powerful way of maintaining peace and bringing about happy marriages.”

cov-229x300“I could conquer the world if I had an army to say the rosary.” Blessed Pope Pius IX

“Champions of the Rosary” is available in
our Fatima Gift Shop or call 1-866-513-1917.

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  1. I am reading ,”The Priest of Fatima”, when I try to look up Fr. Nickolas Gruner I find nothing on your website, is this the official Blue Army or the Communist one?

    • This is the official Blue Army, now called the World Apostolate of Fatima.

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