Our Lady of the Rosary – Prouille, France (1208)
Domingo de Guzman was a Spanish preacher who went to southern France to oppose the Albegesian heresy which was spreading rapidly. In 1208, while he was praying at a chapel in Prouille, Mary appeared to him and gave him the Rosary and urged him to preach the Rosary to all people as a remedy against heresy and sin.
The factual basis for this series of events is questionable. Nonetheless, Domingo (Dominic) founded an order of preaching friars who went on to halt the Albegesian heresy and establish monasteries all over the world. The order is commonly referred to as the Dominicans.
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Mary’s continuing influence on the development of Christianity in England becomes apparent again with her appearance to Simon Stock, who became a member of the religous order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In her appearance to Friar Stock, Mary entrusted him with the brown scapular (two pieces of brown woolen cloth, usually embroidered with an outline of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and tied together by string and worn over the shoulders) :
“My beloved son receive this scapular for your
Order. It is the special sign of a privilege which I
have obtained for you and for all God’s children who honor me as Our Lady of
Those who die devotedly clothed with this
scapular shall be preserved from eternal fire.
The brown scapular is a badge of salvation. The
brown scapular is a shield in time of danger. The brown scapular is a pledge of
peace and special protection, until the end of time.”
After this apparition, Friar Stock went on to establish Carmelite communities near university towns in England, France and Italy. He became the Superior-General of his order several years after the
apparition. Until very recently, the brown scapular was one of the most widely used religious symbols of personal dedication to the mission of Mary found in her last recorded words in the Bible (John 2:5). The promotion and use of all types of Marian devotional symbols has declined dramatically since the 1960′s.