"Everyone who belongs to the Truth hears my voice…" (John 18:37)

Believe It or Not!

The Miraculous Power of the Rosary (Our Lady of the Rosary – October 7th)

On August 6, 1945, Fr. Hubert Schiffer began his day with Mass in the Church of Our Lady’s Assumption. When he finished, he headed to the nearby rectory for breakfast.  He had just sat down to slice his grapefruit when there was a sudden, blinding flash of light. “A terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunder stroke,” he recalled. “An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, [and] whirled me ‘round and round’ like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind.”1

Fr. Schiffer was a Jesuit missionary living in Hiroshima, and what he had seen was no ordinary flash of light. It was an atomic bomb that had exploded just eight city blocks from the church. The “fireball diameter” of the bomb – which was between two to four kilometers – should have destroyed everything in its path. Yet though the roof of the church was gone, its walls remained standing. The two-story rectory where Fr. Schiffer was eating breakfast was intact; even the windows were still in place.

Half a million people were annihilated in that blast. Yet miraculously, the eight Jesuit priests living there all survived. Although they were only one kilometer from the epicentre of the blast (where the temperature was in excess of 20,000 to 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit), they sustained only minor injuries. They experienced absolutely no ill effects from their exposure to the radiation and did not have any loss of hearing. In fact, they had no visible long-term defects or sickness at all!2 How was this possible?

a church without a roof

Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Hiroshima, Japan

After the atomic blast – August, 1945

There is no question that it was a miracle that defied all human logic. Apart from the church and the rectory, there were no buildings left standing in the vicinity. And even though the Jesuits were not burned or injured in the initial blast, they should have all received enough radiation to be dead within a matter of minutes. Yet they were all spared. They had no doubt that Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, had protected them. “We believe that we survived because we were living the Message of Fatima,” said Fr. Schiffer. “We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home.”3

Why is the Rosary such a powerful prayer? Mary is our Mother, and her love for us is so Father Schiffer-1957great that she is always ready to intercede for us.  Like any loving Son, our Lord is always attentive to the gentle requests that His Blessed Mother makes on our behalf. He will not deny her anything, for she always prays in union with His Divine Will.

The Rosary is a prayer that can transform our lives if we are prepared to open ourselves to its graces. Consider the 15 Promises4 that our Blessed Mother made to all who pray it faithfully:

1) To all those who shall recite my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and very great graces.

2) Those who shall persevere in the recitation of my Rosary shall receive some signal grace.

3) The Rosary shall be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin, and dispel heresy.

4) The Rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies; it will substitute in hearts love of God for love of the world, and will lift them to the desire of heavenly and eternal things. How many souls shall sanctify themselves by this means!

5) Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary, shall not perish.

6) Those who shall recite my Rosary devoutly, meditating on its mysteries, shall not be overwhelmed by misfortune. The sinner shall be converted; the just shall grow in grace and become worthy of eternal life.

7) Those truly devoted to my Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.

8) Those who recite my Rosary shall find during their life and at their death the light of God, the fullness of His graces, and shall share in the merits of the blessed.

9) I shall deliver very promptly from purgatory the souls devoted to my Rosary.

10) The true children of my Rosary shall enjoy great glory in heaven.

11) What you ask through my Rosary, you shall obtain.

12) Those who propagate my Rosary shall be aided by me in all their necessities.

13) I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity shall have for their brethren the saints of heaven during their life and at the hour of death.

14) Those who recite my Rosary faithfully are all my beloved children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

15) Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

These are wonderful promises, but we do not pray the Rosary because we expect miracles. We pray the Rosary because we love Our Blessed Mother and are grateful to her for her loving protection. During October, the month in which the Church celebrates this powerful prayer, set aside some time to pray the Rosary.5 As you lift up your heart in prayer, may the Blessed Virgin Mary bless you and envelop you in the folds of her loving, protective mantle.

–  Sharon van der Sloot

1 Mark Strabinski, compiler, “Rosary Miracle at Hiroshima,” available from http://www.wjpbr.com/hiroshi.html; Internet; accessed 28 September 2013.

2 According to Dr. Stephen Rinehart (an employee in the U.S. Department of Defense), there were a few badly burned survivors who had been ten to fifteen kilometers from the blast, but they all died of some form of cancer within fifteen years. The Franciscan friary established by St. Maximilian Kolbe in Nagasaki was similarly unaffected by the bomb that fell there. (See Donal Anthony Foley, “True Account of Survival of Jesuits in Hiroshima,” available from http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.ca/2011/08/true-account-of-survival-of-jesuits-in.html; Internet; accessed 28 September 2013.)

3 Strabinski, “Rosary Miracle at Hiroshima.”

4 “The Fifteen Promises of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” EWTN [on-line]; available from http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?number=438582&Pg=&Pgnu=&recnu=; Internet; accessed 28 September 2013. The promises were given to St. Dominic and Bl. Alan de la Roche.

5 If you would like information on how to pray the Rosary, check out the EWTN website at http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/rosary/how_to.htm.

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