The following article, written by Kevin Rowles, one of our English readers,
is published here, with permission…
On May 26th 2020, Pope Francis authorized the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to promulgate the Decree concerning the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Pauline Maria Jaricot, Foundress of the Societies of the “Council of the Propagation of the Faith” and of the “Living Rosary”, opening the way to her beatification. As we approach the month of the Rosary, I thought readers might like to know a little bit more about the important work of this incredible organisation.
The Living Rosary Association was founded in 1826 by Venerable Pauline Jaricot, then aged 27, at Lyon, France. The Venerable Pauline had already founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith at the age of 20, and was a close friend of the Curé of Ars. The Living Rosary devotion spread like wildfire throughout the world and was formally approved and richly indulgenced by Pope Gregory XVI, and accorded official canonical status on January 27, 1832.
The Living Rosary is a perpetual devotion. That is, once joined, you agree to pray a daily decade of the Rosary faithfully for the remainder of your life. This obligation doesn’t bind under pain of sin, but your effort and desire to remain faithful are crucial. Your decade may be offered at any time of the day or night. ULRA builds a list of 15 names of those who contact them, wishing to join the Living Rosary. Each of the 15 people are then allotted their specific mystery to pray every day and are notified by post which mystery they are to be allotted and when to begin it. The intention of the decade is always the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in honour of Saint Philomena.
Patti Melvin of Texas, U.S.A began the revival of The Living Rosary Association on December 8, 1986, with 30 members. The apostolate has been richly blessed by Our Lady and under the powerful patronage of St. Philomena, the membership now stands at 8,000,000 and has been planted in every continent of the world. Each member is asked to voluntarily give a monthly donation if possible, as the organisation has no other means of financial support. The donations received are then ploughed straight back into spreading the Living Rosary devotion, maintaining the ULRA centre, and mailing devotional literature and sacramentals such as the Rosary, the Brown Scapular, the Miraculous Medal, St Philomena’s Cord and St Philomena’s Oil to the missions and elsewhere throughout the world. If it isn’t possible to donate financially, ULRA asks that its members pray fervently that its material needs are met. The Living Rosary has ecclesiastical approval and is affiliated to the Shrine of St Philomena at Mugnano, Italy.
One ULRA article states: “In these days of evil, chaos, confusion, division and Modernism, the Living Rosary will be a mighty force in every family, parish, diocese and country. The Holy Rosary is a gift to us from the Queen of Heaven. If the Rosary is prayed faithfully and is strengthened by the unity of association, it will render the attacks of Satan impotent. The Living Rosary is endowed with great power before the throne of God through the union of charity that flows through its members. Immense are the graces and merits obtained daily, by every member, when united and animated by the fire of Divine Love in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One who prays the Rosary alone receives the grace and merits of a single Rosary, but if he or she is united with EIGHT million members, then all of the graces and merits of the whole are gained.”
A regular newsletter called Dedicated Decades is posted to members. It is a beautiful magazine, full of traditional and inspiring Catholic devotional articles, pictures and prayers. It also contains reports of ULRA’s work and many testimonials from all over the world of spiritual and temporal graces received through the practice of the Living Rosary and the intercession of Our Blessed Lady and St Philomena. Dedicated Decades is a wonderful antidote to the spiritually poisonous literature so prevalent today. All ULRA literature and prayer cards show the Mass represented in the traditional form.
One letter published by ULRA, dated October 19th 2007, was heart-breaking to read:-
“Cher Madame Patti, Bonjour from Goma in D.R. Congo. We have not written to you for a long time because the situation here in Eastern Congo is the very worst in the world according to U.N. reports. We are so sorry we missed Emma’s visit to us (Emma – Emmanuel is the ULRA African Liaison). We hear now he is in Sudan. God bless him! Oh, the renegade rebel, General Nkunda of Rwandan descent is massacring our people in large numbers! Many teachers and pupils cried to me to give them the Miraculous Medal, so at least when they are shot, they will be dressed in Our Lady’s medal. I told them I had none as when Emma came, we told him not to come to us, as we feared for his life. I am so sorry to say that many of those who cried for medals have since been killed. We had over 320,000 refugees who lived here and now they have been scattered. We have no way to reach Emma. When will he be back in Rwanda so that he can send us the medals? When is he coming out of Sudan? We are in the middle of the biggest war. Rebels invade at night and kill, claiming to be protecting the Tutsi of Rwandan origin. Please save the situation. If only Emma could come, we might at least die wearing Our Lady’s Miraculous Medal. We beg you, let us at least die with Mother Mary. Hear our voice! We cannot pray now, because we are all running and hiding, but at least the precious Medal would be around our neck. Please reply. We have no other hope! Bonnie in Bukavu, Congo is also struck and cut off from us . . .”
A tragedy like this is certainly enough to put our own problems into perspective, and it should also act as a rebuke to those Catholics who display general indifference and sometimes even contempt towards the beautiful sacramentals that Our Lady has given to aid us in our journey towards eternal salvation. It should also act as a prompt to us, to help make such sacramentals available to as many others as possible.
I joined ULRA and was given my decade, the Nativity of Our Lord, to start on Christmas Day 2003. Through good times and bad, it is comforting to know that one is part of a great spiritual family, supporting each other and praying for the most important of intentions – the hastening of Our Blessed Lady’s promise given at Fatima: “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph”. I urge you to join – you won’t regret it!
To join ULRA, or for further details, please contact:- In England: Anne Curran, Universal Living Rosary Association, P.O. Box 9964, Colchester, CO1 9FN. firstname.lastname@example.org . In America: Patti Melvin, Universal Living Rosary Association, P.O. Box 1303, Dickinson, Texas 77539, U.S.A. email@example.com