Dear Father, Someone recently gave me a leaflet with 15 promises, supposedly from Our Lady, for those who say the rosary. Are these really from Our Lady and can you please comment on them?
The promises were supposedly given by Our Lady to St Dominic, founder of the Dominicans, in the 13th century.
It seems that the 15th Century Dominican preacher Blessed Alain de la Roche claimed to have had a vision in which it was revealed to him that Our Lady had appeared to St Dominic, giving him the rosary as a means of converting the Albigensian heretics of his day.
While it now seems certain that Our Lady did not give St Dominic the rosary itself, since the rosary had gradually been taking shape through Christian piety for a century or two before that, she did urge him to use it in his efforts of conversion and she apparently gave him the fifteen mysteries of the life of Christ on which to meditate while saying the Hail Marys.
“Wherever they came from, the promises are consistent with Catholic belief and are benefits that anyone praying the rosary with faith and love would hope to receive.”
Our Lady would supposedly have communicated the 15 promises to St Dominic when she appeared to him at some time. The sources on this question are very vague and therefore uncertain. Comprehensive books on the rosary, with an extensive treatment of its history, like Fr Donald Calloway’s recent Champions of the Rosary (Marian Press, 2016), say nothing about the promises.
Wherever they came from, the promises are consistent with Catholic belief and are benefits that anyone praying the rosary with faith and love would hope to receive. A leaflet listing the promises was given the Imprimatur (let it be printed) by Patrick Hayes, Archbishop of New York from 1919 to 1938. It had previously been given the Nihil obstat, (nothing stands in the way), a declaration that there is nothing against the Catholic faith in the promises.
The promises fall under the category of private revelation, which a person is free to accept and believe or not.
What then are the promises? Our Lady promises to someone who recites the rosary, that they “will receive significant graces” and that she will give them “her special protection and the greatest graces”.
She promises that the rosary “will be a powerful armour against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies”. It will “cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the heart of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things”.
The soul which commends itself to Mary by the recitation of the rosary “shall not perish”. Moreover, “whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered and never overwhelmed by misfortune.
God will not chastise him in his justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death (unprepared for heaven). The sinner shall convert. The just shall grow in grace and become worthy of eternal life”.
A person with true devotion to the rosary “shall not die without the sacraments of the Church” and “will have during their life and at their death, the light of God and the plenitude of his graces”
Our Lady will “deliver them from Purgatory” and they will “merit a high degree of glory in heaven”. People will “obtain all they ask of Our Lady by the recitation of the rosary”.
Those who spread devotion to the rosary “will be aided by Mary in their necessities” and they will “have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death”.
Those who recite the rosary “are Mary’s sons, and brothers of her only son Jesus Christ” and “devotion to the rosary is a great sign of predestination”. All of these promises are eminently reasonable and consistent with what we know of God’s mercy and the power of Our Lady’s intercession.
Naturally, people have to correspond freely to the graces God will give them. The more people pray the rosary, the more they can look forward to being blessed by God on earth and being with him forever in heaven.