Throughout the Jubilee of the 800 years of the foundation of the Order of Preachers, the Rosary has travelled through the Dominican monasteries. Each month, it allows itself a day’s pause dedicated to an intention linking liturgy, prayer and apostolate.
This was the case on 19 March 2016. On this feast day of Saint Joseph, the eve of Palm Sunday, the Rosary paid a visit to prisoners. We were still in Lent, a time of the year when we are invited to pay particular attention to others: “I was in prison and you came to me.” (Mt 25,36)
The chaplain of the Nice prison, the Dominican Jean-Marie ZANGA, accepted our proposition immediately. We saw the men in the morning, the women in the afternoon. At the beginning of the encounter, a letter written for the prisoners by the Master of the Order was read out. There then followed a moment of celebration and prayer, with the reciting of ten Hail Marys. Finally, we were able to have some more personal exchanges.
Here is bro. Bruno CADORÉ’s letter:
My dear sisters and brothers of Nice prison,
Bro. Louis-Marie tells me that today you will be particularly associated with the praying of the Dominican Order’s Jubilee Rosary. With heartfelt thanks, I will be praying in communion with you. In the school of Mary, our mother, this praying of the Rosary allows us to be inhabited by the mystery of the life of Jesus Christ. By addressing her, we venture to ask her to teach us how to live with the grace and blessing of a God who wants liberty and life. By entrusting ourselves to her, we ask her to guide us in the confidence in a God who comes to bring us together to make us all his people.
The feast of Easter approaches, and we raise our eyes towards the Christ who, within our lives, with their beauty and their fragilities, opens up a path of light and peace. He himself looks at each one of us, without first asking us to account for the good or not so good things we have done, but simply to let us know of his friendship and of God his Father’s desire to welcome us as his daughters and sons. He wants us to accept his friendship as the source of our real liberty, and to grasp the hand he extends to us so he can lead us out of all that turns us in on ourselves. With a friend’s tenderness, he asks us to allow ourselves to be forgiven, we who sometimes find it so hard to pardon ourselves, so our lives can be in tune with his mercy.
May the Lord of tenderness and mercy keep you and bless you, and may He bless all your loved ones!
May Mary keep you in her prayers.
Please pray for the sisters and brothers of the Order of Preachers who wish to be witnesses to God’s magnificent friendship for each one of us.
It is hard to recount what we experienced.
The day was quite simply beautiful and deeply moving.
A visit which became… Visitation, with Mary!
Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, OP
General Promoter of the Rosary
(25 February 2017)