What is it like to pray the Rosary for an hour each day, before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? These nuns know.
When I knelt in the monastery chapel after entering through the enclosure door to begin my postulancy, Mother read the traditional prayer for this moment: “O Mary, my good Mother, behold at your feet this child whom the charms of your Holy Rosary have drawn into this dear solitude . . .” At the time, I would have listed many other elements whose “charms” drew me more strongly than those of the Rosary. As the years have gone by, however, I have realized more and more the graces flowing from our practice of the Perpetual Rosary.
As a devotion, the Perpetual Rosary began at a time very much like our own. During a plague in 16th-century Italy, Dominican Fr. Timothy Ricci responded to the people’s distress by organizing the perpetual prayer of the Rosary, with each person committing to pray at a specific hour each month.
The devotion continued over the centuries, until in 1880 the French Dominican Fr. Damien-Marie Saintourens was inspired to found a community of sisters who would be able to keep the Perpetual Rosary with greater fidelity. The Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary would act as Mary’s Guard of Honor, always praising her with the words of the “Hail Mary,” and interceding with her for the needs of the world.