Our Lady of the Rosary
Jonah 1:1-2:2, 11
As a kid growing up in a family of seven kids, it seems we were always saying the family rosary. We always seemed to be like Jonah in today’s readings in the belly of the whale, lost and not knowing what to do. In the early 50’s my oldest brother came down with bulbar polio. My parents were told to go home and pray, that was all that was left to do. So we prayed. We prayed the family rosary. Each night after dinner we would gather in the living room. Everyone picked a chair where they would kneel while my father led us in the mysteries. Later, my parents noticed that my youngest sister Dee was not progressing as she should have been. After many visits to doctors at Illinois Research, Dee was diagnosed with profound retardation–that’s what they called it in those days. It was back to our knees to the family rosary. In 1954 my mother was diagnosed with cancer. More family rosary.
Some of our prayers seemed to be answered. My oldest brother, eventually left the iron lung in the contagious disease hospital and went on to live a normal life. At 75 today, he is the proud father of three and grandfather of three more. Some didn’t seem to be answered. Dee never did recover, but lived the rest of her twenty-two years needing twenty-four a day care. My mother died of her cancer two years after her diagnosis.
This is all very confusing to this simple man of Faith. Today’s feast is called the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. It used to be called Our Lady of Victory. Just for today, I will believe like Jonah that there is a loving God watching over me and all of us, leading us home to a strange land-to victory.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.