Newsletter N.º 77 – Christmas 2002


At this joyful season of Christmas we wish to express our deep gratitude for all the material and spiritual assistance of our Friends of Fatima without which we could not continue serving the Church in our life of prayer and penance. In loving gratitude we place all of your intentions in our Christmas novena of Masses and prayers. At the same time, we continually entrust you and all those dear to you to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Mother of Christ and Cause of our Joy.

We wish you a most
Holy and Happy Christmas
and a New Year filled with the Blessings of
Peace and Love!


“I wish once again to entrust the great cause of peace to the praying of the Rosary. We are facing an international situation that is full of tensions, at times threatening to explode. In some parts of the world, where the confrontation is harsher – I think particularly of the suffering land of Christ – we can realize that, even though they are necessary, political efforts are worth little if one remains exacerbated in his mind and no one cares to demonstrate a new disposition of heart in the hope of reviving the struggle and effort of dialogue.

Who but God alone can infuse such sentiments? It is more necessary than ever that from every part of the earth prayer for peace be made to Him. In this perspective, the Rosary turns out to be the form of prayer most needed. It builds peace because, while it appeals to the grace of God, it sows in the one praying it the seed of good from which we can expect the fruit of justice and solidarity for personal and community life. I am thinking of nations and also of families. How much peace would flow into family relationships if the family would begin again to pray the Rosary.”

(Pope John Paul II Angelus Message 29 September 2002)


On the 16th of October 2002, at the commencement of the 25th year of his Pontificate, Pope John Paul II issued his new Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae – the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The purpose of this Letter is to help the faithful to rediscover the beauty and depth of this prayer. In a sublime way this document opens our hearts and minds to the contemplative, evangelizing nature of this prayer already present in the Church for nearly 1000 years.”The Rosary which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God… still remains at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.”

On this occasion the Holy Father also proclaimed a Year of the Rosary – October 2002- October 2003 – and, for the first time in centuries, has altered this prayer by adding five new mysteries related to events in the public life and ministry of Christ. These Mysteries of Light, as he calls them, beautifully link the Joyful Mysteries to the Sorrowful, concluding as always with the Glorious. The new mysteries are: 1) Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan, 2) Christ’s self-manifestation at Cana, 3) Christ’s proclamation of the Kingdom of God with His call to conversion, 4) Christ’s Transfiguration and 5) Christ’s institution of the Eucharist as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery. “This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer’s traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary’s place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory” (No. 19). Our Holy Father suggests that these new Mysteries of Light be prayed on Thursdays in place of the Joyful, which would be moved to Saturday the traditional day of Our Lady. Thus, except for this change, the format of the Rosary remains the same.


Almost three years ago Pope John Paul II led the Church in the celebration of the opening of the Third Millennium since the Birth of Christ our Saviour. In his Letter issued for that occasion Novo Millennio Ineunte he invited every member of the Church to set out a new, to “put out into the deep” in order to contemplate afresh the face of Christ in all His Truth and Splendour. And by so doing to allow His Truth and Light to penetrate our entire lives. Now the Holy Father puts before all the faithful a sure path to respond to this invitation. It is Mary’s way, which is the contemplative prayer of the Holy Rosary.

The Pope says: “as a way of highlighting this invitation, [to contemplate the face of Christ] “,I desire that the prayer of the Rosary should be especially emphasized and promoted in the various Christian communities. I therefore proclaim the year from October 2002 – October 2003 the Year of the Rosary” (No.3).

The Vicar of Christ has proclaimed a year of prayer – the prayer of the Rosary. In the parable of the fig tree (Lk13:6-9) the vinedresser, who represents the Lord, begs for more time, precisely one year and offers to tend the tree very carefully in order that it may bear fruit and thus be saved. In the opening paragraph of his Letter the Holy Father speaks of the Rosary thus: “Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.”

The fruit of the contemplative prayer of the Rosary is holiness. The Holy Father is confident that if we respond in this special Year to his invitation to focus our gaze – our entire lives – on the Face of Christ, with Mary in the Rosary there will be an abundant “harvest of holiness” in the Church. Jesus said: “I am the Light of the world, whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). This is holiness” this is the purpose of the Year of the Rosary…to invite us to tend to our souls carefully that we may bear the fruit of holiness and be saved. We can be sure that where there is holiness the Light, Who is Christ, will shine forth and draw others into that same Light.

Joyful Mysteries
Monday, Saturday

Mysteries of Light

Sorrowful Mysteries
Tuesday, Friday

Glorious Mysteries
Sunday, Wednesday


(We have chosen to quote for our Friends of Fatima those passages, which speak directly of the Rosary as prayer of peace and prayer of the family. They can be found in paragraphs 5, 40, 41, 42 and 43 of the document.)

“A Path of Contemplation

The most important reason for strongly encouraging the practice of the Rosary is that it represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery which I have proposed in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte as a genuine training in holiness…: “What is needed is a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer”.


The grave challenges confronting the world at the start of this new Millennium lead us to think that only an intervention from on high, capable of guiding the hearts of those living in situations of conflict and those governing the destinies of nations, can give reason to hope for a brighter future.

The Rosary is by its nature a prayer for peace, since it consists in the contemplation of Christ, the Prince of Peace, the one who is “our peace” (Eph 2:14). Anyone who assimilates the mystery of Christ – and this is clearly the goal of the Rosary – learns the secret of peace and makes it his life’s project. Moreover, by virtue of its meditative character, with the tranquil succession of Hail Marys, the Rosary has a peaceful effect on those who pray it, disposing them to receive and experience in their innermost depths, and to spread around them, that true peace which is the special gift of the Risen Lord (cf. Jn 14:27; 20.21).

The Rosary is also a prayer for peace because of the fruits of charity which it produces. When prayed well in a truly meditative way, the Rosary leads to an encounter with Christ in his mysteries and so cannot fail to draw attention to the face of Christ in others, especially in the most afflicted. How could one possibly contemplate the mystery of the Child of Bethlehem, in the joyful mysteries, without experiencing the desire to welcome, defend and promote life, and to shoulder the burdens of suffering children all over the world? How could one possibly follow in the footsteps of Christ the Revealer, in the mysteries of light, without resolving to bear witness to his “Beatitudes” in daily life? And how could one contemplate Christ carrying the Cross and Christ Crucified, without feeling the need to act as a “Simon of Cyrene” for our brothers and sisters weighed down by grief or crushed by despair? Finally, how could one possibly gaze upon the glory of the Risen Christ or of Mary Queen of Heaven, without yearning to make this world more beautiful, more just, more closely conformed to God’s plan?

In a word, by focusing our eyes on Christ, the Rosary also makes us peacemakers in the world. By its nature as an insistent choral petition in harmony with Christ’s invitation to “pray ceaselessly” (Lk 18:1), the Rosary allows us to hope that, even today, the difficult “battle” for peace can be won. Far from offering an escape from the problems of the world, the Rosary obliges us to see them with responsible and generous eyes, and obtains for us the strength to face them with the certainty of God’s help and the firm intention of bearing witness in every situation to “love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col 3:14).

The family: parents…

As a prayer for peace, the Rosary is also, and always has been, a prayer of and for the family. At one time this prayer was particularly dear to Christian families, and it certainly brought them closer together. It is important not to lose this precious inheritance. We need to return to the practice of family prayer and prayer for families, continuing to use the rosary.

In my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte I encouraged the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours by the lay faithful in the ordinary life of parish communities and Christian groups; I now wish to do the same for the Rosary. These two paths of Christian contemplation are not mutually exclusive; they complement one another. I would therefore ask those who devote themselves to the pastoral care of families to recommend heartily the recitation of the Rosary.

The family that prays together stays together. The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. Individual family members, in turning their eyes towards Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God.

Many of the problems facing contemporary families, especially in economically developed societies, result from their increasing difficulty in communicating. Families seldom manage to come together, and the rare occasions when they do are often taken up with watching television. To return to the recitation of the family Rosary means filling daily life with very different images, images of the mystery of salvation: the image of the Redeemer, the image of his most Blessed Mother. The family that recites the Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the centre, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from the hope and the strength to go on.

…and children

It is also beautiful and fruitful to entrust to this prayer the growth and development of children. Does the Rosary not follow the life of Christ, from his conception to his death, and then to his Resurrection and his glory? Parents are finding it ever more difficult to follow the lives of their children as they grow to maturity. In a society of advanced technology, of mass communications and globalization, everything has become hurried, and the cultural distance between generations is growing ever greater. The most diverse messages and the most unpredictable experiences rapidly make their way into the lives of children and adolescents, and parents can become quite anxious about the dangers their children face. At times parents suffer acute disappointment at the failure of their children to resist the seductions of the drug culture, the lure of an unbridled hedonism, the temptation to violence, and the manifold expressions of meaninglessness and despair.”To pray the Rosary for children, and even more, with children, training them from their earliest years to experience this daily “pause for prayer” with the family, is admittedly not the solution to every problem, but it is a spiritual aid which should not be underestimated. It could be objected that the Rosary seems hardly suited to the taste of children and young people of today. But perhaps the objection is directed to an impoverished method of praying it. Furthermore, without prejudice to the Rosary’s basic structure, there is nothing to stop children and young people from praying it – either within the family or in groups – with appropriate symbolic and practical aids to understanding and appreciation. Why not try it? With God”s help, a pastoral approach to youth which is positive, impassioned and creative – as shown by the World Youth Days! – is capable of achieving quite remarkable results. If the Rosary is well presented, I am sure that young people will once more surprise adults by the way they make this prayer their own and recite it with the enthusiasm typical of their age group.”

The Holy Father concludes his letter with these words: “May this appeal of mine not go unheard! At the start of the twenty-fifth year of my Pontificate, I entrust this Apostolic Letter to the loving hands of the Virgin Mary, prostrating myself in spirit before her image in the splendid Shrine built for her by Blessed Bartolo Longo, the apostle of the Rosary. I willingly make my own the touching words with which he concluded his well-known Supplication to the Queen of the Holy Rosary: ‘O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of Hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we will never abandon you. You will be our comfort in the hour of death: yours our final kiss as life ebbs away. And the last word from our lips will be your sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompei, O dearest Mother, O Refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. May you be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in heaven.”

Prayer to St. Dominic

O Holy Father Dominic,

With faith and confidence I turn to you, Who art “Light of the Church”, “Teacher of truth”. I pray to you, that with your intercession I may come to understand the will of our Lord, that guided by the Wisdom that comes from above I may follow His ways, and that I may obtain the serenity of the spirit, which can find rest in God alone. To you I entrust my dear ones, who have parted with the Church and religious practice: may they rediscover the light of faith, the consolation of Christian hope, the joy to be found in love as the gift of self. Intercede especially for our youth, that they may discover in Christ the new model of Man, and in His gospel, the direction for life. O Holy Father Dominic, in your help do I trust, as well as in that of the Saints and Blessed of the Order which Divine Providence inspired you to found for the service of “charity in truth”, for the benefit of the Church and of all souls.
(Convento Santo Domenico, Bologna, Italy)


On the 8th of August, just before one o’clock in the afternoon our dear Sister M. Teresa died peacefully here in our Monastery. In her final weeks Sister Teresa, a widow, enjoyed the consoling presence and assistance of her daughter Sr. Teresia, a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Infant Jesus. And just three weeks before, her son Patrick and his wife Phyllis had traveled all the way from their native Singapore to visit with Sister. This last earthly reunion was truly a gift of grace for all her family.
It was in 1973 that Sr. Teresa, under the guidance of the holy and eminent Fr. Teixeira, made her radical decision to follow the call to the Rosary cloister in a land nearly 20,000 miles from her home. The change of climate and culture was not always easy. But Sister’s family, ever so faithful, visited as often as possible.
Her life in the cloister was marked by dedication to the Holy Mass, the Divine Office and the Perpetual Rosary. It was inspiring to see her determination to continue to be present in choir as long as possible for Holy Mass even when her poor health made this an heroic effort. This was witness to her deep faith in the Eucharist. Sister’s sense of humour was always a source of joy for our Community. She possessed that gift of refreshing forthrightness so often found in those who have lived a long and serene life. In the last two days she suffered intervals of intense pain. The Sisters who accompanied her tried to encourage her by their prayer and presence. In response she repeated: “Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything.” In fact, these were the last words Sister spoke in this life.
As Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary we thank God and Our Lady for the life of our dear Sister M. Teresa. She knew the importance, the value, the gentle power of consistent prayer. In a conversation not long before she died she remarked: “So many in the world are chasing after rainbows. What we need is more prayer!”
We ask our Friends of Fatima to remember her precious soul in prayer and at the same time we trust that she will fulfill her promise to help us also on our journey home to Heaven.

Christmas 2002

Dear Rosarians,

May the grace and peace of our Saviour Jesus Christ be with you! Truly we have received a most beautiful gift in the Pope’s new Letter on the Rosary. It is at once a strong affirmation of and a great challenge to our life and work as Rosarians. In the world today, so many are easily influenced and deceived by the evil one resulting in waves of violence and terrorism which claim innumerable innocent lives. Sadly, instead of turning to God in prayer to replace the darkness with His Light, the hatred with His Love, we hear calls for revenge and retaliation, which only serve to fuel the cycle of unending hatred and division.
The Holy Father speaks of the Rosary as a prayer particularly effective for bringing family life together by helping individual members to look one another in the eye to communicate, … …to forgive one another… and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God. If the contemplative prayer of the Rosary centred in Christ can help restore peace and harmony to individual families surely we can believe that it will do the same for the whole human family. The following story took place on the battlefield between two dying soldiers, the one, German and the other French, during World War I. The French soldier, with a supreme effort succeeded in taking out of his coat a Crucifix completely wet with blood. He kissed the Crucified Saviour and began to pray, in a low tone of voice, the Hail Mary. Hearing this, the German soldier nearby, who seemed to be apparently dead, also made a great effort and put his hand on the Crucifix near the hand of the French soldier and, in a low voice, repeated the second part of the Hail Mary. The two soldiers looked at each other in a brotherly way and soon after they died. They were two good souls, victims of hate provoked by war. In the Crucified Saviour they recognized themselves as brothers.

Dear Rosarians, each one of us stands in need of God’s Mercy, some more so than others as Our Lady taught the Little Shepherds here in Fatima. Last summer, while in Poland, the Pope again offered humanity the message of mercy, capable of “regenerating the world, leading to love of brothers and even of enemies.” How does one enter into this mystery of the mercy of God? The Italian theologian Msgr. Forte responds in this way: ” Surrender. Humility is the way to experience mercy. To entrust oneself, to have confidence; it is, perhaps, what costs our pride most, the pride of modern adult reason. However, precisely for this reason, humility is the only door that introduces us into the mystery of the mercy of God. With God, one wins if one loses.”

With Mary, humble Handmaid of the Lord, let us firmly believe and humbly go forward with the poor but powerful weapon of the Rosary in our hand and the message of the Gospel on our lips for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

With loving prayers and gratitude, Your Perpetual Rosary Sisters

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