Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005 and before that a regular correspondent for the paper. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He is the author of Fruits of Fatima — Century of Signs and Wonders. He holds a graduate degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
Some people make promises that are too good to be true. But not our Blessed Mother. When she makes a promise, it is absolutely 100% true and worthy of belief.
The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7 — indeed, all of October which is celebrated as the month of the Holy Rosary — is a perfect time to remind ourselves of her 15 in-and-out-of-this-world promises she made to those who pray the Rosary faithfully.
Or to learn about them for the first time. And take our Blessed Mother at her word.
Father Donald Calloway of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception shared some insights about the 15 Promises and their importance as much for today as in centuries past. Marian Father Calloway (FatherCalloway.com), is a national speaker and author of books on Mary. First, though, let’s look at the promises.
Fifteen Promises of the Blessed Virgin to Christians Who Faithfully Pray the Rosary
- To all those who shall pray my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and great graces.
- Those who shall persevere in the recitation of my Rosary will receive some special grace.
- The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy.
- The rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies. It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
- Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary will not perish.
- Whoever recites my Rosary devoutly reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune. He will not experience the anger of God nor will he perish by an unprovided death. The sinner will be converted; the just will persevere in grace and merit eternal life.
- Those truly devoted to my Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
- Those who are faithful to recite my Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces and will share in the merits of the blessed.
- I will deliver promptly from purgatory souls devoted to my Rosary.
- True children of my Rosary will enjoy great glory in heaven.
- What you shall ask through my Rosary shall obtain.
- To those who propagate my Rosary I promise aid in all their necessities.
- I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity shall have as their intercessors, in life and in death, the entire celestial court.
- Those who recite my Rosary faithfully are my beloved children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
- Devotion to my Rosary is a special sign of predestination.
Father Calloway, whose latest book Rosary Gems: Daily Wisdom on the Holy Rosary (here and here) has the largest collection of quotes on the Rosary ever to appear in print, started with a look at where the promises arose.
“The Rosary basically was given to St Dominic to overcome heresy and to promote virtue,” he began. That is a very important part of understanding the promises. They are not magical. If you look at the promises, it looks at those things.”
In The Secret of the Rosary, Part I, St. Louis De Montfort gives some details how St. Dominic presented the Rosary to the Church in 1214 in the method we use today because he had received it directly from the Blessed Mother “as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners,” noted St. Louis.
“It’s very powerful against hell and destroys vice and heresy,” Father Calloway stressed. With the promises, “Our Lady is reminding us to why she gave us the Rosary in the first place — to combat falsehood.”
That’s why “popes teach the Rosary is applicable to every age, explained Father Calloway. “There is vice and sin and the evil one in every age, and the Rosary is our weapon.”
That is how Our Lady explained it to St. Dominic. She said, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?"
He answered, "Oh, my Lady, you know far better than I do because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation."
Our Lady told him: "I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter."
Father Calloway believes that in parts of the 15 Promises Our Lady is drawing us back and reminding us of these things.
“That’s why in approved apparitions of the Church, Our Lady talks about the Rosary, tells us pray the Rosary. In the approved apparitions like at Fatima she talked about the importance the Rosary as our weapon against vice, sin, and falsehood.”
A look at Promise One brings us directly into the picture in an extraordinary way. Father Calloway pointed out, “Our Lady says those who devoutly recite my Rosary will have my special protection.”
A Faithful Gift
The Rosary is not only a weapon but it is also the way we lay spiritual roses at the feet of our Mother, noted Father Calloway.
“We are her spiritual children. It’s beautiful to do and it’s pleasing to Jesus. When we’re praying the Rosary and giving her those beautiful roses, she’s going to have a particular love for us and shower us with many graces…and gives us her protection.”
He pointed out that another promise is that those who are devoted to the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
His priestly experience is a powerful witness to this promise. He explained, “I talk to people who are dying in old age, and they prayed the Rosary for a good part of their life. They might not be aware of the promises, but will have a priest come and give the anointing of the sick and they will die peacefully with the sacraments.” So even in these cases it’s “not like a contract signed and they were aware of the promises” but they will be “beneficiaries of Our Lady’s goodness.”
Another Father Calloway directed attention to was Promise 9: Our Blessed Mother will quickly deliver souls devoted to her Rosary from purgatory.
“That’s great because I hope I don’t have to spend very long in Purgatory,” he said. “I hope the Rosary will be my lifeline out of that. So it has benefits not only in this life, but in the next.”
In fact, the next promise continues the thought. He underlined that “the true children of her Rosary shall not only get out of purgatory quickly but get more glory in heaven — so that’s a pretty good deal.”
What a Deal to Be Faithful
To promote and pray the Rosary, St. Dominic also instituted the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary which gets specifically mentioned in one promise.
“The promises are meant to encourage us,” Father Calloway reminded. Our Lady gave these to St. Dominic and to the Dominican Blessed Alan de la Roche.
“In the Church many saints have affirmed these,” he added. “This is part of our tradition…It’s worthy of being believed. We can put our trust and hope in this.”
The Promises also urge us on, even if we go through dry periods. “When we have promises like this,” Father Calloway encouraged, “it gives us incentives when we struggle to pray a bit.”
He has one more important reminder for us. “The promises help us remember we are to pray it devoutly as she asked, and meditate on the mysteries so we’re not just flying through it and praying in sloppy ways.”
October is the perfect time to pick up our Rosary and begin to pray it daily. How can we not when we have such heavenly promises directly from Our Blessed Mother?