A charism is a spiritual gift given to an individual or group for the good of the community. Pope Paul VI was the first to label "charism". He explained that a charism is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who is always at work within the Church. A charism touches the very core of a believer’s existence and colours everything that we do.
Our charism at Our Lady of The Rosary's is a Marian Charism. Our Parish and School are named to honour ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’.
Mary is the mother of Jesus. Mary is recognised as Mother of God and Mother of the Church. The church recognises Mary as important in the formation of the Early Church Community.
Many of the titles the church has given Mary throughout time come from stories associated with prayers answered with Mary’s intercession. At OLR we recognise two of Mary’s special Marian titles. The first is our school and Parish title of Mary ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’. We also recognise that Mary is the patron saint of Australia under the Title ‘Our Lady Help of Christians’. We also recognise the major Feast Days and titles of the Liturgical Calendar, including Mary Mother of God, Mary Mother of the Church, the major feast days of The Assumption, The Annunciation and The Visitation, along with the birthday of Mary and The Immaculate Conception, which recognises Mary’s destiny and favour in relation to bringing Jesus to the world.
Mary is a great example of discipleship. Believers recognise her example to ‘know love and serve’. By her example of faith, Mary shows us the way to Jesus, her Son. We recognise the strength and courage she needed to live her life of service, to dare to say ‘Yes’ in bringing God’s dream for the world forward.
Mary is our prayer and life companion. We ask her to pray for us – to God, through Christ, because Jesus Christ is the one who brings all people into a loving relationship with God.
Our contemporary expression of Marian Charism encourages us to know love and serve, and ‘dare to say yes!’ to the great possibilities and opportunities before us.
Many of the titles the church has given Mary throughout time come from stories associated with prayers answered with Mary’s intercession. The story of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (held on October 7th each year) is an interesting one.
The Rosary is the story of the Gospels/New Testament. Through the beads, we follow the life of Mary and Jesus. There are five sets of ten small beads separated by a larger bead. Each set is called a decade. Using the beads, we pray and reflect on twenty scripture stories centred on the life of Jesus.
The prayer set we call ‘The Rosary’ was developed to help people learn the stories about the life and teachings of Jesus. The Rosary recalls both the story of Jesus and the role and example of Mary, his mother. We remember Mary as a person transformed (changed) by God, a person who believed in God’s dream for the world, which was made possible through Jesus. We follow Jesus from the moment the messenger Angel Gabriel came to Mary announcing God’s intention that she be the mother of Jesus, through His childhood, His teachings and actions (Ministry), His cruel death on the cross (Passion and Crucifixion), the joy of Easter when He rose from the dead (Resurrection), to the day He ascended to Heaven (Ascension).
Many religions use beads to keep track of prayers being said, including Jewish, Islamic and Christian traditions. Until the last few hundred years, most people did not read or write, so they learnt prayers by saying them, repeatedly.
For Christians, this way of praying has its beginnings in the early days of Christianity, over two thousand years ago. People would say large sets of prayers. They were usually the 150 psalms of King David. To keep track of how many prayers were said, believers used pebble stones, transferring a stone from one bag to another to keep a count. Later, some people tied knots in strings, to keep track of prayers being said. Eventually, sets of wooden beads were used to help count and remember the prayers. Gradually over time, Christians who did not know the words of the 150 psalms would say 150 ‘Our Father’ or ‘Hail Mary’ prayers instead. It was usually the priests and community leaders who knew all the words of the psalms, and who had access to the very few written or printed copies of the prayers and scriptures. People relied on memory and speaking and listening to learn their scriptures and sacred stories, too.
The prayer set we call ‘The Rosary’ was developed to help people learn the stories about the life and teachings of Jesus. The word ‘Rosary’ means ‘circle of flowers’. Another name for a decorative circle of flowers, worn around the neck or on the head, is a ‘garland’. We use the circle of Rosary beads to remember sets of stories about Jesus, recorded in the Gospels.
Inspired by people like Saint Dominic, who lived in France more than 800 years ago, the Rosary developed into a set of prayers that recalls both the story of Jesus and the role and example of Mary, his mother. According to tradition, Mary appeared to Saint Dominic in a rose garden, holding a garland (circle) of flowers. Sometimes this image is represented with Mary wearing the rosary, or garland, of flowers on her head, or holding beads in her hand.
For over 800 years, the Rosary has been recognised as a powerful Catholic Christian prayer set, used in times of war and in times of peace (both sad times and happy times). The Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary was added to the Catholic Calendar around 450 years ago.
Along with the prayers of the ‘Hail Mary’, the ‘Our Father’, and the ‘Glory Be’, other special prayers are used when praying The Rosary. Each day of the week is dedicated to different Gospel story sets. The sets are known as “Mysteries”. There are Four Mysteries (or mystery story sets). These are called the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous (Light filled) Mysteries.
And so, we say “Our Lady of the Rosary”, pray for us.