Marian Consecration

The Rosary and Spiritual Motherhood – or is that Spiritual Warfare?

Happy feast of Our Lady of the Rosary!  This reflection is in her honor.

Photo of a Dominican Nun with praying hands displaying her Rosary

The Rosary and Spiritual Motherhood—what a beautiful thought!  By praying the Rosary, we enter into the gaze of the Blessed Mother as she exercises her motherhood in the mysteries of our Redemption, the source of spiritual life for all mankind. As Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, praying the Rosary is a key way in which we become “through Mary, instruments in the hand of God for the salvation of souls,” as our Custom Book says.

The Rosary can be symbolic of our entire life of spiritual motherhood, which after all isn’t limited to the time each individual Sister spends at her Hour of Guard. Meditation on the mysteries of Christ’s life overflows the decades of the Rosary to unite our whole life to Him. As virgins consecrated to God in the cloister, every moment of our life is devoted to gaining “spiritual life”—by the total gift of ourselves to God, in our fidelity, in our weakness, in order to receive as fully as possible the gift of His Divine Life for ourselves and for others. The Rosary becomes a privileged way in which, in union with Our Lady, the Word can become fruitful through our spiritual motherhood.

But wait a minute. As Dominicans, shouldn’t we associate the Rosary with martial imagery—after all, the Dominicans are the Knights of Truth, the rosary hanging from their left side in place of the worldly knights’ sword of steel? Isn’t the Rosary our spiritual weapon with which we fight to wrest souls from perdition?

Well, yes. Spiritual motherhood IS spiritual warfare.

What is the primal example of both spiritual motherhood and spiritual warfare? The “Protoevangelium” from the Book of Genesis, that promise of the Redeemer contained in God’s curse to the serpent:

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel. (Gen. 3:15)

Or as St. Jerome translated it in the Vulgate: “She shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” Either way, the motherhood of the Woman is placed at the heart of the battle for the human race.  Mary, the New Eve, brings this motherhood to fulfillment both physically and spiritually when she bears our Savior Jesus Christ, the Crusher of the serpent and Redeemer of mankind.

This brings us back again to the Rosary, in which the mysteries of our Redemption are seen again through Mary’s eyes.  As our Custom Book says, “It is a great happiness to be able to fulfill our heavenly functions as Mary’s Guards of Honor [praying the Rosary] at the foot of the Tabernacle.  We thus study all the mysteries of Jesus under the veil of the Host which contains them.  What a source of joy to be able by this sweet industry, to cause the gift [to fructify] which Jesus had made of His merits . . . by placing them into our hands, so to speak, through the Holy Eucharist!”

Spiritual motherhood and spiritual warfare, maternal and martial: the Rosary in the Scriptural Rosary for Vocationshand—and heart—of the Dominican nun.

Would you like to learn more about our vocation as cloistered contemplative nuns?  See our Vocation Page or contact the Vocation Directress.

Or, learn more about our Devotion to Our Lady or the origin of the Perpetual Rosary branch of the Dominican Nuns.

UPDATE 2017: Scriptural Rosary for Vocations link fixed!