October 27, 2017

Rosary brings peace, strengthens foundation of faith

Lisa and Doug Roever stand in front of a Redwood tree during a trip to California. (Submitted photo)

Lisa and Doug Roever stand in front of a Redwood tree during a trip to California. (Submitted photo)

(Editor’s note: 100 years ago, the Blessed Mother appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal, instructing them to spread the word about the importance of praying the rosary for peace in the world, for peace in people’s hearts. In honor of the Blessed Mother’s request, and since October is the month of the Holy Rosary, The Criterion has invited readers to share their stories of how praying the rosary has made a difference in their lives. Here are some of their stories.)

By John Shaughnessy (Third of three parts)

(See part one | See part two)

Lisa Roever didn’t have high expectations that her faith would change dramatically when she began praying the rosary during Lent of 2016.

She also didn’t expect how much the lives of her and her husband Doug would be touched by the grace of God—and strangers—during what would soon become the most heartbreaking time of their marriage.

“During Lent of 2016, I was saying the rosary each night in hopes of building a better spiritual habit because my relationship with the Lord was not very strong,” recalls Roever, a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis.

“I was hoping the spiritual exercise would get me back on track, sort of like hoping that walking each day will lead to jogging, and then running, and then maybe healthy habits in other parts of my life. I didn’t have high expectations.”

She also didn’t consider that her husband’s life was in grave danger when they went to the emergency room on March 15, 2016, thinking he had appendicitis.

Instead, the doctors determined he had cancer, and it was widespread.

“A voice in my head said, ‘The only way we’re going to get through this is prayer,’ ” she says. “I realized at that moment that my entire concept of faith and prayer had changed: Mother Mary and St. John Paul the Great became my sources of strength and inspiration. Praying the rosary became my personal ‘spiritual rock’ upon which a new foundation of faith was built.”

She also began to notice how her prayers—and the prayers of people all across the country—seemed to lead to moments of kindness and inspiration that had an impact on her husband’s care.

“Statistically speaking, my husband could have easily been considered untreatable and funneled toward pallative care and then hospice, but a physician decided instead to advocate for him with specialists outside his own hospital,” she notes. “Then a physician at a different hospital decided to look at my husband’s extended medical record, and saw a pattern that made him think that there might be a treatment for my husband after all.”

A medical team at the second hospital then worked quickly to locate cancer experts across the country, seeking their input about starting treatments as soon as possible.

Such extra efforts continued for months. They also led to the remission of her husband’s cancer for a period of time.

“My husband’s remission was called a miracle by his oncologist—and he wasn’t a man given to religious proclamations or gestures,” Roever says.

“My husband’s remission lasted six months. He passed away five months after it was confirmed his cancer had returned. But I feel the effects of those prayers that led to that miracle. And I can still see the power of prayer at work in the little things in life that add up to a lot.”

Just three months have passed since her husband of 22 years died. She tries to focus on memories of their good times together, and tries to persevere through the tough days that come.

“When I focus on prayer and listening to God, I have more good times than bad,” she says.

She also tries to focus on those 16 months when she prayed the rosary, when her husband’s life was extended, when time after time there were moments when the grace of God and people were revealed to her.

“Each could have been dismissed separately, but taken together they resulted in breakthroughs, kind gestures, renewed perseverance, patience regained and new friendships that could not have happened any other way.”

It’s all given her what she relies on every day now—“my renewed faith in humanity and a stronger relationship with the Lord.”

A connection of love

Clarice Doucette knows there are family gifts we receive as a child that we don’t appreciate fully until years later.

Doucette experiences that reality every time she prays the rosary now.

“Kneeling down in the evenings and saying the rosary as a family was a big part of my faith formation and prayer life when I was growing up. I didn’t always like it then, but how grateful I am now for the gift my parents gave me in teaching me and modeling for me the rosary’s recitation. As an adult, I continue the practice of praying the rosary, usually as I take my daily exercise walk.”

The ritual has strengthened the faith life of Doucette, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carmel, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese.

“First, it keeps me aware of crucial moments—mysteries—in the lives of Jesus and Mary, and so it affords me an opportunity to meditate upon them. Upon doing so, my relationship with Mary and Jesus cannot help but be strengthened. Secondly, if my mind wanders into a worry or other preoccupation, I call it back to the present moment by considering the worry as a point of prayer, asking for intercession as I continue through my recitation.”

Praying the rosary also keeps her in touch with family members and friends who have shaped her life with their love and faith.

“I have a small collection of rosaries that I use, each one significant for its connection to someone I love.

“My parents are both gone now, and I sometimes pray with my mother’s rosary, sometimes my father’s. I also pray with a rosary that a friend brought back to me from the Vatican. Thinking about and praying for the person most associated with it, and using it to meditate on each of the rosary’s mysteries, I am drawn more intimately into the communion of saints.”

‘I felt lost without it’

To deepen her Lenten experience, Patty Meyer prayed the rosary every day. Yet when Lent ended, her dedication to praying the rosary was just beginning.

“I continued praying it because I felt lost without it,” says Meyer, a member of St. Michael Parish in Brookville.

“I have found that praying the rosary every day has brought me so close to Jesus. Contemplating on the mysteries of our Lord and Blessed Mother is the best way of honoring them. This also means praying for certain intentions. People need prayers, and this is one way to be sure I am praying for them and their situation. Praying the rosary each day is deepening my faith in ways I never imagined.”

‘I love my time with Mary’

There are times when Nancy Craig just wants to quit—a feeling she regularly has when she heads to the gym for another workout session.

Yet then she thinks of the troubles that she and other people are experiencing, and she starts praying the rosary for them.

“Somehow the workout seems to get easier, and before I know it my workout is almost done,” says Craig, a member of American Martyrs Parish in Scottsburg. “When I am finished, I somehow feel lighter and unburdened. And, while I don’t like working out, I love my time with Mary.

“I like to go later in the evenings when it is quieter so I can listen to her quiet responses to my prayers. She tells me to hang in there, have faith, don’t give up, push through and see things to the end. When times get hard or worrisome, I take it to Mary through the rosary, and that has made all the difference.”

(The Criterion thanks our readers who responded to our invitation to share their stories of how praying the rosary has made a difference in their lives. We received so many responses that we were not able to include all of them. Still, we are grateful to everyone who shared their story. See part one | See part two.)

Local site Links: