October is one of two Marian Months dedicated by the Catholic Church to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This month we look at The Feast of the Holy Rosary.
The year was 1571. The Catholic Church and Christianity faced a growing threat from Muslim conquerors who were on the march from the Middle East. For some time, the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding its territory, seizing Christian communities, killing those who would not reject the Catholic Faith. In 1570, the Ottomans laid siege to a Venetian colony on the isle of Cyprus. Outnumbered, the Venetians surrendered on the condition that they would be allowed to evacuate and return home. But the Turkish commander went back on his word and slaughtered the leaders and imprisoned the colonists.
In response, the Holy League, which consisted of the Republic of Venice, the Spanish Empire (including the Kingdom of Naples, the Habsburg monarchy and the kingdoms of Sicily and Sardinia, the Papal States, the Republic of Genoa, Savoy, Urbino, Tuscany and the Knights Hospitaler, amassed a naval fleet to respond to the Ottoman incursions.
The expansion of the Ottoman Empire, and the capture of Christian communities was seen as a great threat by members of the Holy League. Not only did the Ottomans represent a threat to the Christian faith, but the empire’s expansion also threatened trade and commerce throughout the Mediterranean region.
The Holy League had amassed a substantial armada, with more ships, better armaments, more troops and sailors. However, the Ottoman navy was formidable. They had not lost a significant naval battle in over 100 years.
According to tradition, Pope Pius V implored Christians to pray the Rosary, seeking Our Lady’s intervention at the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571. The stunning defeat of the Turkish navy was the most significant setback for the Ottoman Empire, halting their aggressive expansion. The victory at Lepanto is dedicated to The Blessed Virgin and is commemorated by the invocation, “Our Lady, Help of Christians.”
October is one of two months dedicated to The Blessed Virgin. During this month, we can honor our Mother by praying the Rosary every day and dedicating ourselves to her adoration. At Regina Angelorum Academy, our students have a special affinity for Our Lady. We dedicate our school to her honor, and we entrust our success to her intervention. As a private, independent Catholic school, Regina Angelorum Academy is committed to protecting the wholesomeness of childhood and praying the Rosary. We trust that the Virgin Mary is interceding for us with Jesus as we dedicate ourselves to bring students to her son.