This year, before the children begin their lessons, we have been reading St. Catherine's Academy Gazette. We all really liked October Roses which was included in this month's gazette. I am sharing it below.
by Marie St. S. Ellerker
October is the month of the Rosary, and you would perhaps like to hear a story which was told to me by a dear old Irish nun. The first question, of course, is: " Is it true?'' It might be —that is all I can say.
This, then, is the story which might be true:
After St. Dominic had been travelling about and preaching all day he usually passed the night in the church. When he was too tired to pray any longer, he lay down on the altar step to sleep, and one night he had a wonderful dream.
Our Blessed Lady appeared to him, and round her in groups of tens were fifty beautiful angels in shining white robes, carrying lilies in their hands and singing. As St. Dominic listened the music was sometimes glad, and sometimes seemed to be glad but with tears very near. The words seemed familiar to him, and as he listened more closely he distinguished the Archangel's greeting to the Blessed Virgin—the "Hail! Full of grace!"—then our Lady's sweet Magnificat, They sang their own special Gloria in Excelsis then, very softly, the Nunc Dimittis of holy Simeon, and, lastly, verses which he knew came from St. Luke's Gospel: “Son, why hast Thou done so to us ? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing."
"How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"
With these words the white angels spread their silver wings and were quickly out of sight.
The Blessed Virgin was not left long alone; fifty other angels soon surrounded her, but they were clothed in scarlet robes, their purple wings seemed to trail upon the ground, and they carried many symbols—there was a chalice, a cruel scourge, a crown of sharp thorns, a cross, nails, and a spear. St. Dominic could not bear the sight of these terrible emblems, and prostrated, with his face on the ground. The music they sang was the saddest he had ever heard; like, but far sadder than, the solemn music of Holy Week. It nearly broke his heart to listen to it, and the words the angels sang filled his eyes with tears. They began with " Thy will be done," and the words fell from the angel lips as something falls drip, drip to the ground. Then the words were lost, and St. Dominic trembled all over as the awful music drowned them with a clang which sounded like blows being struck. After a little time he heard: " Hail! King of the Jews,'* and " Behold the Man!'' Then the angels formed a long procession and moved away chanting some of the old sad verses from the Psalms. Their faces were covered with their purple wings, but he could just make out the words: “They have dug My Hands and My Feet, they have numbered all My Bones."
It was a long time before St. Dominic dared to look up, but at last he raised himself to catch the sounds of music in the distance—music so grand and so joyful that it drove away the pain and filled his soul with gladness. Already he could hear the " Alleluia," and the words from the Twenty-third Psalm: " Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in." The angels were getting nearer now; St. Dominic could see their robes all of shining cloth of gold, and their sparkling crowns. As they advanced they were singing his own favourite Veni Creator; they grouped themselves around their Queen, and sang in praise of her and the saints glorious hymns such as he had never heard before. Then they, too, disappeared, and left St. Dominic alone with the Mother of God.
Very humbly and very lovingly he begged her to tell him the meaning of what he had seen, and she, so my story tells, taught him what you have been already taught—the Rosary, with its fifteen mysteries. Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious, and its one hundred and fifty Aves, St. Dominic went back to his work; he preached the Rosary of our Blessed Lady, and by means of it he converted very many sinners. And you, too, even the smallest, if you try this month to say your “Hail! Mary" well, and offer it for the conversion of sinners, will do what St. Dominic did—you will win souls for Christ, our Lord.
The whole of October is the month of the Rosary, but it is, as it were, brought to a point on Rosary Sunday.
If you go to a Dominican church to the High Mass on that day, you will see piles of roses brought to the altar—roses, white and red and yellow ; roses which are only buds, and roses which are just ready to scatter their beautiful petals at the foot of the Tabernacle. The priest will bless them, and then give them to the people in honour of our Blessed Lady, one of whose beautiful titles in the Litany is " Mystical Rose." Which is your favourite title for her?
Some children are shy and always forget what to do when there is any little ceremony of this kind, and so do not enjoy it. Try to remember to take off your gloves before it is time to leave your place. Then, when you get to the altar, you will take and kiss the rose which is offered to you; you do this out of respect because it has been blessed. The priest who gives you the rose will hold his hand so that you may kiss it too, and a little Catholic child will do this with utterest reverence, for a priest's hand is one of the holiest things on earth, holding, as it does, each day within its clasp the Sacred Host—the dear White Rose of pure delight. When the priest has passed you, get up and go to your place, in order to make room for others. While you are waiting for Mass to begin, you might look at your rose and see what you could learn from it. I wish you all lived here, and could tell me what lessons it taught you! I wonder what colour you will get? Last year, I heard someone say : " Yellow rose for faith, white rose for purity, and red rose for love."