by Saint Louis de Montfort
MONTFORT PUBLICATIONS, New York
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1954
THIRD ROSE: SAINT DOMINIC
THIS MIRACULOUS WAY in which the devotion to
Holy Rosary was
established is something of a parallel to the way in which Almighty God
gave His law to the world on Mount Sinai and obviously proves its value
Inspired by the Holy Ghost, instructed by the Blessed Virgin as well as
by his own experience, Saint Dominic preached the Holy Rosary for the
rest of his life. He preached it by his example as well as by his
sermons, in cities and in country places, to people of high station and
low, before scholars and the uneducated, to Catholics and to heretics.
The Holy Rosary which he said every day was his preparation for every
sermon and his little tryst with Our Lady immediately after
One day he had to preach at Notre Dame in Paris, and it happened to be
the feast of St. John the Evangelist. He was in a little chapel behind
the high altar prayerfully preparing his sermon by saying the Rosary,
as he always did, when Our Lady appeared to him and said:
"Dominic, even though what you have planned to say may be very good, I
am bringing you a much better sermon."
Saint Dominic took in his hands the book Our Lady proffered, read the
sermon carefully and when he had understood it and meditated on it, he
gave thanks to the Blessed Mother.
When the time came, he went up into the pulpit and, in spite of the
feast day, made no mention of Saint John other than to say that he had
been found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven. The
congregation was made up of theologians and other eminent people who
were used to hearing unusual and polished discourses; but Saint Dominic
told them that it was not his wish to give them a learned discourse,
wise in the eyes of the world, but that he would speak in the
simplicity of the Holy Spirit and with His forcefulness.
So he began preaching the Holy Rosary and explained the Hail Mary word
by word as he would to a group of children and used the very simple
illustrations which were in the book Our Lady had given him.
Carthagena, the great scholar, quoting Blessed Alan de la Roche in De
Dignitate Psalterii, describes how this took place:
"Blessed Alan writes that one day Father Dominic said to him in a
vision: 'My son, it is good to preach; but there is always a danger of
looking for praise rather than the salvation of souls. Listen
carefully to what happened to me in Paris so that you may be on guard
against this kind of mistake: I was to preach in the great church
dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and I was particularly anxious to
give a brilliant sermon, not out of pride, but because of the high
intellectual stature of the congregation.
'An hour before the time I had to preach, I was recollectedly saying my
Rosary----as I always did before giving a sermon----when I fell into
ecstasy. I saw my beloved friend the Mother of God coming towards me
with a book in her hand. 'Dominic,' she said, 'your sermon for today
may be very good indeed, but no matter how good it is I have brought
you one that is very much better.'
'Of course I was overjoyed, took the book and read every word of it.
Just as Our Lady had said, I found exactly the right things to say in
my sermon, so I thanked her with all my heart.
'When it was time to begin, I saw that the University of Paris had
turned out in full force as well as a large number of noblemen. They
had all seen and heard of the great things that the good Lord had been
doing through me. So I went up into the pulpit.
'It was the feast of Saint John the Apostle but all I said about him
was that he had been found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of
Heaven. Then I addressed the congregation:
" 'My Lords and illustrious Doctors of the University, you are
accustomed to hearing learned sermons suited to your aesthetic tastes.
Now I do not want to speak to you in the scholarly language of human
wisdom but, on the contrary, to show you the Spirit of God and His
Here ends the quotation from Blessed Alan, after which Carthagena goes
on to say in his own words:
"Then Saint Dominic explained the Angelic Salutation to them, using
simple comparisons and examples from everyday life."
Blessed Alan, according to Carthagena, mentioned several other times
when Our Lord and Our Lady appeared to Saint Dominic to urge and
inspire him to preach the Rosary more and more in order to wipe out sin
and to convert sinners and heretics.
In another passage Carthagena says:
"Blessed Alan said Our Lady revealed to him that after she had appeared
to Saint Dominic, her Blessed Son appeared to him and said:
'Dominic, I rejoice to see that you are not relying upon your own
wisdom and that, rather than seek the empty praise of men, you are
working with great humility for the salvation of souls.
'But many priests want to preach thunderously against the worst kinds
of sin at the very outset, failing to realize that before a sick person
is given bitter medicine he needs to be prepared by being put in the
right frame of mind to really benefit by it.
"This is why, before doing anything else, priests should try to kindle
a love of prayer in people's hearts and especially a love of my Angelic
Psalter. If only they would all start saying it and would really
persevere, God, in His mercy, could hardly refuse to give them His
grace. So I want you to preach my Rosary.' "
In another place Blessed Alan says: "All priests say a Hail Mary with
the faithful before preaching, to ask for God's grace. They do this
because of a revelation that Saint Dominic had from Our Lady. 'My
son,' she said one day 'do not be surprised that your sermons fail to
bear the results you had hoped for. You are trying to cultivate a piece
of ground which has not had any rain. Now when Almighty God planned to
renew the face of the earth He started by sending down rain from
Heaven----and this was the Angelic Salutation. In this way God made
'So when you give a sermon, urge people to say my Rosary, and in this
way your words will bear much fruit for souls.'
"Saint Dominic lost no time in obeying, and from then on he exerted
great influence by his sermons."
This last quotation is from the Book
of Miracles of the Holy Rosary
(written in Italian) and it is also to be found in Justin's works (143d
I have been very glad to quote these well-known authors word for word
in the original Latin  for
benefit of any priests
or other learned
people who might otherwise have doubts as to the marvelous power of
the Holy Rosary.
As long as priests followed Saint Dominic's example and preached
devotion to the Holy Rosary, piety and fervor thrived throughout the
Christian world and in those religious orders which were devoted to the
Rosary. But since people have neglected this gift from Heaven, all
kinds of sin and disorder have spread far and wide.
1. We have omitted the Latin
as to not encumber the text. English translations have been given above.