26 Champions of the Rosary

I love the rosary so much!  I’ll never be able to say enough about the power and wonder of the blessed beads of Our Lady.

This explains why I spent 3 years researching and writing Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon. In Champions of the Rosary, I present a complete history of the rosary, helpful hints on how to pray the rosary, and 26 of the rosary’s greatest champions.

Who are these champions?  They are the ones who stand out in the 800-year history of the rosary as the main promoters and heroes of the Church’s preeminent form of devotion to Our Lady, the rosary.

26 Champions of the Rosary

The first champion was St. Dominic.  He is the founder of the rosary, the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), and the Confraternity of the Rosary. He was a very holy priest and Our Lady first entrusted the powerful spiritual sword of the rosary to him.  After him, there have been numerous others who have championed this devotion and help spread it to the ends of the earth.

There are even papal champions of the rosary like St. Pope Pius V.  This incredible pope is responsible for saving Western Civilization from Islamic takeover, and he did it through the rosary and a Holy League of men willing to defend Christianity. Other papal champions of the rosary, such as Pope Leo XIII and St. John Paul II, wrote important documents on the rosary and helped spread the devotion far and wide – Pope Leo XIII wrote eleven encyclicals on the rosary, and St. John Paul II re-sharpened the ancient blade of the rosary by turning it into a modern day lightsaber by offering the Church the Luminous Mysteries.

History has also witnessed saints like St. Louis de Montfort and St. Anthony Mary Claret champion the rosary.  Saint Louis de Montfort wrote one of the greatest books ever written on the rosary, and Saint Anthony Mary Claret mandated that every priest in his diocese pray the rosary with their parishioners on Sundays and solemnities. For his zeal in promoting the rosary, Our Lady appeared to St. Anthony Mary Claret on several occasions and declared him to be a “new St. Dominic.”  Similar to St. Louis de Montfort, St. Josemaria Escriva wrote a magnificent book on the rosary, while St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Teresa of Calcutta gave witness to the blessed beads by almost always having a rosary in their hand.

One of the most amazing stories of the power of the rosary is from a man who was once an ordained Satanic priest!  He was from Naples, Italy, and his name is Blessed Bartolo Longo.  After his radical return to Catholicism – which he attributed to the rosary – he began construction on what would become the famous shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii.  His love for Jesus and Mary knew no bounds and he also initiated many works of mercy to help orphans, widows, and the sick.

Then there’s the Servant of God Frank Duff, founder of the world’s largest Marian apostolate, the Legion of Mary.  He required all members of the Legion to pray the rosary; Mao Tse-tung, the Communist leader and father of the People’s Republic of China, once referred to the Legion of Mary as “Public Enemy Number One.”

Did you know that one of the visionaries of Fatima, the Servant of God Sr. Lucia Dos Santos, was explicitly instructed by Our Lady to learn how to read and write in order to promote the rosary to the world?  Sister Lucia was so bold that she desired the rosary be declared a liturgical prayer!

Perhaps one of the most inspiring champions in the long-litany of rosary promoters, was the Servant of God Patrick Peyton.  This holy priest gathered more people together to pray the rosary than any other person in Church history.  Through his heroic efforts, millions of people gathered in the streets Brazil, Columbia, and the Philippines to pray the rosary and peacefully overcome political dictators and ideological regimes; he even gathered half a million people in a park in San Francisco to pray the rosary in 1961.

26 Champions of the Rosary

The holy men and women mentioned above are only a sampling of the great champions of the rosary that you will discover in the new book 26 Champions of the Rosary: The Essential Guide to the Greatest Heroes of the Rosary.  Yet, it is important for you to know that this new book is not only about them, but also about you.  What you will discover is that you, too, are capable of being listed among their company!  By praying the rosary and promoting it, you can be a champion of the rosary of Our Lady!

One hundred years ago, Our Lady came to Fatima, Portugal, and asked the three little children to pray the rosary daily for conversion and peace in the world.  During the last apparition on October 13, 1917, Mary specifically referred to herself as “The Lady of the Rosary.”  The rosary is at the heart of the Fatima message and we need the rosary in our lives more than ever today.

Who, dear reader, will wield the spiritual sword of the rosary for Our Lady today and become a champion against the darkness of our present times? Is it you?


Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, has been a priest for 15 years and currently serves as Vicar Provincial and Vocation Director for the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He is the author of eleven books, a popular speaker at conferences, and frequently leads pilgrimages to Marian shrines around the world. To find out more about his books and pilgrimages, go to www.fathercalloway.com

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