Still Committed to the Rosary Pledge I Signed in 1955
Luky Whittle, Kroonstad – Thank you for your articles on Rosary Priest Fr Patrick Peyton which brought back memories of his 1955 visit to my convent school in Bloemfontein during my Standard 9 year.
An aura of saintliness, kindness, empathy and integrity radiated from this priest. When he shook my hand, he smiled warmly, like an old and dear friend.
An Irish priest who had emigrated to America, he found himself shaken by the rate of divorce in the United States. In Ireland, the elimination of the prohibition on divorce would only be signed into law in 1996, 41 years on, so as far as he was aware, it didn’t exist.
Fr Peyton said: “My people were poor, but their family life was strong. Many Americans were better off. They seemed to own little houses with a little car in the garden but their prosperity did not appear to bring families closer together. Upon reflection, I concluded that the difference lay in the fact that so many Irish families recited the Rosary together daily.’’
This led to Fr Peyton’s slogan, “The family that prays together, stays together”, and culminated in his establishing a Rosary campaign.
I was hesitant to sign the Rosary pledge he proffered, doubting my ability to persevere, but his rapturous praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary prevailed and I signed on the dotted line. Although my record is not unblemished, I still make an effort to adhere to my commitment.
I asked a fellow parishioner, with whom I had been at school, if she remembered Fr Peyton’s 1955 visit. She said she still recited her Rosary daily.
People tell me the Rosary takes too long to say, but it does not take long at all.
On that point, our catechism teacher, Fr Albert Detremmerie OMI, told us that the Knights of Da Gama had visited parishioners of the pro-cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Bloemfontein to invite them to sign up for the Rosary pledge.
Fr Detremmerie was a Belgian in whom an impish sense of humour battled for mastery with a profound religious fervour.
He chortled when he told us that two knights had been told by a lady parishioner that the Rosary took too long to say, “Fifty-three Hail Mary’s! It’s endless.’’
The knights replied, “No ma’am, only 12 minutes max’’, and went down on their knees to prove it while she held the stopwatch. It was a rush against time but they managed to beat the deadline. I think she signed.
As for me, some days, before starting to pray the Rosary, I may feel stressed, cross, uncertain, disillusioned, heartsore or afraid. By the end, however, the six Cs prevail: calm, comfort, confidence, consolation, contentment and courage.
Therefore I remain deeply grateful to Fr Peyton, whose Rosary campaign brought me these munificent gifts, while also, incidentally, saving me a king’s ransom in tranquillisers.