The Holy Rosary

The Old Irish Woman’s Rosary

Lady Beatrice Allen, a noble and wealthy English lady, an ardent Protestant by conviction, once accosted a poor Irish woman whom she found saying her Rosary.

In the hope of converting “the poor benighted creature,” as she considered her, good Lady Beatrice asked the poor woman why it was that she said that silly prayer. “Silly prayer, my Lady, you call it, but it is for me my joy and consolation. “When I am sad and sorrowful it consoles me, and when I am well and happy it gives me more joy and pleasure. “How could it be silly, my Lady, to speak to the Holy Mother of God, and sure that is what I am doing when I say the Rosary.”

“Well then,” replied Lady Beatrice,“will you tell me all about it?”—quite sure that she was going to hear a story of gross superstition. The explanation of the Rosary which this poor vendor of vegetables gave Lady Beatrice was so clear and, withal, so impressive that she afterward confessed that she had never heard from bishop or dean of her religion a sermon that gave her more to think about.

Weeks passed and months passed and she could not get the words of the old woman out of her mind, much as she tried. It was all so simple, so true, so sincere. Sufficient to say that our noble lady put herself under instruction and was received into the Catholic Church at the end of a year. This caused terrible trouble in her up-to-then happy home. Her husband and friends thought she was mad. During the bitter struggle that ensued, Lady Beatrice never abandoned the Rosary that she had so well learned to say and love and, at the end of the second year, her husband and children joined the Church!

Here is briefly how the dear, old, unlettered woman preached her sermon on the Rosary. Holding up her beads to Lady Beatrice, she showed her the crucifix and said: “When I begin to say my beads, my Lady, I kiss the five Wounds of Jesus Christ as His holy Mother did when He was taken down from the Cross and placed in her arms. I thank Him for all He suffered for me, and I beg Him to pardon my sins and take me to Heaven after my death. “Then, as you see, my Lady, there are two parts in the Rosary: one is small and has only five beads. “That tells me that life is short and that my sufferings will be soon over, and that I had better be ready for I may die any day, and I pray for a happy death. “There is the big part, the five decades, and that reminds me of the long life that is to come that will never end. And I say to myself, ‘Take care, Bridget Murphy, that you go to Heaven and not to Hell.’ And I try my best to be good and not to offend God.

“On the big beads we say the Our Father, the prayer that God Himself gave to us. He must hear us, for sure He promised to do so. It was He who put the words into our mouths, and He must be our Father if He says it. “Oh, it’s a beautiful prayer and I love to say it! To think that God is my Father! That is enough to make anyone happy. “On the small beads we say the Hail Mary, and that prayer, too, came from God for it is what the Angel Gabriel said to the Blessed Virgin when he told her that she was to be the Mother of God. “Oh, how pleased the Blessed Virgin must be to hear again the self-same words of the angel, for I wish with all my heart to give her again the happiness and joy the angel gave her! She is my Mother, and I make bold to ask her to give me some of her great joy and holiness, for a true mother gives everything to her children. “In the Hail Mary, I ask the Blessed Mother to pray for me, her poor child, now, during this hard and wearisome life, to help me in all my little troubles, but above all I ask her to pray for me when I am dying, at the hour of my death. Amen. “Now, my Lady, how could God’s Mother, who is so good and sweet, refuse to listen to my poor prayers? “I know she hears me, I am sure of it, and I am never tired saying the Hail Marys and giving her pleasure.” “But you must be tired repeating all those Hail Marys,” queried Lady Beatrice. “I am never tired, my Lady, of speaking to the Mother of God.

“I now want to explain to you that when we are saying the holy prayers we are thinking of how Our Lord became man and lived for 33 years on earth. These we call the Joyful Mysteries. “After that we think of all His terrible sufferings and how He died on the Cross. These are the Sorrowful Mysteries.” Here the good woman became wonderfully eloquent, talking about the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. She felt all she said, for her poor voice became broken and tears “Last of all, my Lady, we think of how Our Lord rose up from the dead, glory be to God, and how He went to Heaven. These are the Glorious Mysteries. “But before going, He told St. Peter and the other Apostles that He would send down the Holy Ghost to comfort and console them and us all and that He Himself would be always with us to help us.

“And truth He is in the Blessed Sacrament which we have in the Church. Every morning I go to Mass and poor and bad as I am, the priest tells me that I must go to Holy Communion. “And I say the Joyful Mysteries and I think that the good God comes into my heart as He did when He went into the womb of the Blessed Virgin herself, and I ask her to help me to receive my God as she herself did. And I am sure she does, for I feel such comfort and peace.” Lady Beatrice listened in wonder and asked the old woman: “Who taught you all these wonderful things?” “It was the nuns at home in Ireland where I went to school and the parish priest, Fr. O’Toole, God be merciful to him. He had a great way with him and used to explain everything very clearly.”

It was Lady Beatrice herself who told us this story, but at much greater length and with many more details which, due to our limited space, we cannot give in all their fullness. She loves to tell to priests the story of her conversion, and she wears on her arm the old Irish woman’s rosary in the form of a bracelet. She treasures this as one of her most prized possessions. From this fact we see how the Rosary can give to the humblest of the faithful a clear grasp and understanding of the great Mysteries of our Faith.

~Source:”How to be Happy,How to be Holy”

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