O Victorious Lady, Thou who has ever such powerful influence with Thy Divine Son, in conquering the hardest of hearts, intercede for those for whom we pray, that their hearts being softened by the ways of Divine Grace, they may return to the unity of the true Faith, through Christ, our Lord. Amen
As today is a Sunday, the church celebrates the Lord's Day rather than feast days. But today is also the anniversary of Our Lady of Victory. In 1571, the Turks had amassed a large fleet for an invasion of Italy. Pope St. Pius V blessed a pre-emptive strike by a small fleet led by Don Juan of Austuria (the bastard son of the King of Spain) near the Gulf of Lepanto to save Western civilization. The two greatest naval forces ever assembled — 280 ships in the Turkish Armada, some 212 on the Christian side. Turkish Admiral Ali Pasha was so confident that he sailed proudly at the center of his own Armada, bringing with him on vessels just to his rear his entire fortune, and even a part of his harem.
There seemed little hopes for the Christian armada. The pope requested that the faithful say the rosary for the victory of the Christian fleet. The passion for defending their own civilization against ruthless invaders also strengthened the muscles of those engaged in the close, bloody, violent hand-fighting when one vessel came alongside another.
The Christian fleet were aided by cannon power. Don Juan aimed his own galley directly at the heart of the Turkish armada, directly at the clearly colored sails of the Ali Pasha’s galley, with its great green flag, inscribed 28,000 times with the name of Allah in gold. Pasha was captured by Don Juan.
The Christian victory was far more complete than anyone had dreamed. The victory seemed to many quite miraculous, and victory was immediately attributed to Our Lady Queen of the Rosary — soon to be called by a new title, Our Lady Queen of Victory. In 1573, the feast name was changed to "Our Lady of the Rosary." Pope Pius X changed the feast day to October 7th to restore the celebration of the liturgy on Sundays.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops orchestrated "The Fortnight for Freedom", two weeks of education, prayer and fasting to celebrate America's Constitutional First Freedom, the freedom of religious expression. In addition, many Christians are engaged in 40 days of prayer and fasting for America. The victory of the Battle of Lepanto ought to be another encouraging example on the power of prayer.
h/t: National Review Online