Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The Secret of the Rosary


Long before I converted to Catholicism, I loved the Virgin Mary. Although my mother was Catholic, she was not a practicing one. I never saw her pray or recite the rosary. She only attended mass if I begged her to go with me. She never taught me anything about the Catholic religion. She did let me take her ivory rosary, which she had kept from her youth, and later gave me her old, tattered Catholic prayer book, which I still treasure.

As a teenager, I fell in with a group of fundamentalist Catholics, and that's where I learned about the Virgin Mary and the rosary. They gave me St. Louis de Montfort's book, The Secret of the Rosary, and I was hooked for life. I fell in love with the Virgin Mary. Later on in life, I went through RCIA and officially converted.

During one of the most difficult periods in my life, when God severely tested me, I relied on the Virgin Mary, the rosary, and St. Louis de Montfort's book to keep going. The alternative would have been suicide. And even though I suffered greatly during that time, God pointed me in the right direction and made sure that my life turned around. He blessed me with a beautiful and productive life. I have learned a lot from all of my mistakes. I have learned a lot from all of my suffering. The Virgin Mary never left me. She lifted me up and made me whole. I found redemption and salvation in Christ. I found safety and security in my Catholic faith. And even though it is easy to be discouraged with the world and its current direction, we must all as Catholics stand fast and pray and put our faith in God, Jesus Christ, and the Virgin Mary.

I highly recommend St. Louis de Montfort's book to every Catholic. It is just as relevant today as when he wrote it.

St. Louis de Montfort's Prayer to Mary

  Hail Mary, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father! Hail Mary, admirable Mother of the Son! Hail Mary, faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost! Hail Mary, my dear Mother, my loving mistress, my powerful sovereign! Hail my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul! Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am all thine by justice. But I am not yet sufficiently thine. I now give myself wholly to thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If thou still seest in me anything which does not belong to thee, I beseech thee to take it and to make thyself the absolute mistress of all that is mine. Destroy in me all that may be displeasing to God, root it up and bring it to nought; place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to thee.

     May the light of thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind; may thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination; may thy continuous sight of God fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of thy heart inflame the lukewarmness of mine; may thy virtues take the place of my sins; may thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of God and make up for all that is wanting in me. Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but thine, to know Jesus and His Divine will; that I may have no other soul but thine, to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may have no other heart but thine, to love God with a love as pure and ardent as thine. I do not ask thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotion or spiritual pleasures. It is thy privilege to see God clearly; it is thy privilege to enjoy Heavenly bliss; it is thy privilege to triumph gloriously in Heaven at the right hand of thy Son and to hold absolute sway over Angels, men and demons; it is thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as thou wilIest.

Such is, O Heavenly Mary, the "best part," which the Lord has given thee and which shall never be taken away from thee, and this thought fills my heart with joy. As for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was thine: to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures; to suffer joyfully without human consolation; to die continually to myself without respite; and to work zealously and unselfishly for thee until death as the humblest of thy servants. The only grace I beg thee to obtain for me is that every day and every moment of my life I may say: "Amen, so be it, to all that thou didst do while on earth. Amen, so be it, to all that thou art now doing in Heaven. Amen, so be it, to all that thou art doing in my soul, so that thou alone mayest fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity." Amen.


Dawn Pisturino

September 6, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Mary was a Strong Woman


There have been many stories on the news lately about mothers who have lost children to violent crime, illness, suicide, and accidents. Whenever I listen to these mothers, I wonder: how would I handle a similar situation? Could I hold up under all the grief and guilt? Could I survive the death of my child? I'm not sure that I could. After my brother died of cancer, my mother was so consumed with grief, she died four years later. She simply could not live with it.

Our Mother, the Blessed Virgin, was very human, in spite of all the blessings showered down on her by God. She experienced a wonderful miracle - bearing God's Son - and fully accepted all responsibilities and consequences that came with it. From the very beginning of her agreement with God, she was beset with hardship, ostracization, criticism, worry, sorrow, and deep emotional pain. She experienced stress, physical pain, the loss of her husband, and old age - just like the rest of us.

She also experienced some of the most horrific experiences that anyone can experience. As a Jewess, Mary lived under Roman oppression and rule. She saw first-hand how the Jewish people suffered. She was given in marriage to a man that was chosen for her by her family, according to Jewish custom. When Mary agreed to bear the Son of God, she was jeopardizing everything in her life, including her family and her husband. She was risking her very life, as she could have been stoned as an adulteress.

But Mary's faith in God was greater than her fear of retribution and death. She trusted in God to take care of her and her child. Joseph proved to be a tender, loving, and loyal husband. He was the perfect stepfather for Mary's child. Nonetheless, Simeon warned Mary that "a sword of sorrow will pierce your soul" when Jesus was presented in the Temple, and the Holy Family was forced to flee to Egypt to escape King Herod's death threat.

As a mother, Mary felt all the worry and anxiety that mothers feel when their children fall ill, get injured, or become lost. Imagine her anxiety when Jesus embarked on his great ministry. He traveled long distances, and so many things could have gone wrong! Now, put yourself in Mary's shoes during Jesus' arrest and trial. How she must have suffered at the falling of each lash across his back! How she must have wept over every cut, bruise, and drop of blood!

What was Mary thinking as she watched her only son carry the cross through the streets of Jerusalem? Was she praying for a miracle to save him - or was she trusting in God's plan? How much heartache and mental anguish did she feel in those moments? We can only imagine.

When Jesus was nailed to the cross, did she feel every strike of the hammer? Did she cry out in pain? The reality of his death must have struck her then. There was no going back.

I don't know if I could watch my child suffer in such pain and agony without striking out at the guards and the people who cheered on his death. I don't know if I could experience such pain and anguish without falling completely apart. I don't know if I could watch my only child die in such a horrific manner without dying myself. 

Yet, Mary stood at the foot of the cross with courage and strength. She trusted in God's essential goodness and love. And when Jesus' body was taken down, she caressed him like a loving mother and buried him in the tomb with the promise that God would take care of him.

What joy Mary must have felt on the day of her son's resurrection!

Not only did God keep his promise to Mary, but He kept His promise to the whole world. Mary was renewed with new strength and courage - and so must we be. We must trust that no matter what happens, God's plan is in place, and He will take care of us and our loved ones. And we will be reunited in a better place.

Dawn Pisturino

July 16, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Church of All Russian Saints Ukraine Message


(Church of All Russian Saints Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Burlingame, California)

When I lived in California, I used to walk by this church all the time. It always fascinated me with its blue and gold domes, magnificent painting of the Virgin Mary, and clean, white walls. I rarely saw anybody there, and it seemed like one of those mysteries of life, kept locked up and tucked away, that strikes us with awe but never gets solved. For some reason, I was thinking about this church in relation to Easter and the disaster in Ukraine and decided to look it up.

Established in 1952, the church is part of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. This Diocese is also called the "Russian Church in Exile" because it has always seen itself as "part of the suffering Orthodox Church in Russia during the decades of Soviet turmoil, persecution, and subjugation of the Church and its faithful." In 2007, the Diocese reunited with the Mother Church in Russia.

Like everybody else, our Russian immigrants in America are shocked and dismayed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here's the message of hope and prayer posted on the church's website:

"We are overcome with grief over the tragic events in Ukraine, for many of us the land of our forefathers, and for some the land where our relatives live today. We pray to the All-Merciful Lord and His Most-Holy Mother for speedy secession of all hostilities and long-lasting peace.

"Prayer to Our Lord:

O Lord, Lover of mankind, King of the ages and Giver of good things; having destroyed the divisions of enmity and granted peace unto the human race, grant even now peace unto Thy servants, planting within them the fear of Thee and establishing them in love for one another. Quench all strife, and remove all dissensions and temptations; for Thou art our peace and to Thee do we offer up glory, to the father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

"Prayer to the Mother of God:

O much sorrowing Mother of God, more highly exalted than all other of the daughters of the earth, according to thy purity and the multitude of thy suffering endured by thee on earth: Hearken to our sighs and soften the hearts of evil men, and protect us under the shelter of thy mercy. For we know no other refuge and ardent intercessor apart from thee, but as thou hast great boldness before the One Who was born of thee, help and save us by thy prayers, that without offense we may attain the Heavenly Kingdom where, with all the saints, we will sing the thrice-holy hymn to One God Almighty in the Trinity, always now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

Whatever your faith - Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Protestant, Catholic, Russian/Greek/ Eastern Orthodox, Wiccan, pagan - please pray and extend your best wishes and hopes for the people of Ukraine!

Dawn Pisturino

April 3, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Fatima and Russia

(Photo by Andreas Praefcke)

Sister LĂșcia wrote in her third memoir of August 1941 that the Virgin Mary told the three children at Fatima on July 13, 1917:

"God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The [First World] war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the communion of reparation on the first Saturday's. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world." 

The question is: was Russia officially consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

Sister Lucia herself confirmed that Pope John Paul II accomplished this feat during his speech in Saint Peter's Square on March 25, 1984. At that time, he consecrated the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, although he did not specifically name "Russia" and spoke of nations in general that were in great need of spiritual help. As a result, many people believe that Russia still has not been consecrated.

The Virgin also requested that First Saturday devotions be made consistently by the faithful. COVID closed many churches that are just beginning to reopen.

Prayer, along with faith, hope, charity, and love, are the tools we have to resist the spread of Russian aggression. Vladimir Putin is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church. Pray that his heart may be converted away from aggression and war and turn to love of Mary and the Church. Pray that he will find renewed faith in God and stop the killing. Pray that he will submit to Our Lord, Jesus Christ, throw down his weapons, and work for peace.

Pray for the people of Ukraine, who have sacrificed everything for their freedom. 

Dawn Pisturino

March 4, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes


Most Catholics are familiar with the story of Saint Bernadette and the miracles at Lourdes. The Blessed Holy Mother revealed the presence of a healing spring and asked the faithful to pray the rosary. Many people were healed of illness and disability. Those miracles are still happening today. On February 11th, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Prayers for healing:

Prayer to be said when using Lourdes Water

Blessed be the Holy and Immaculate Conception

of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Mother, have mercy on us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, heal us

for the greater glory of the Holy Trinity.

Our Lady of Lourdes, heal us

for the greater glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of Lourdes, heal the sick, convert sinners.

Health of the sick, Help of the suffering, pray for us.

Mary, conceived without sin,

pray for us who have recourse in thee.

St. Bernadette, pray for us!


Our Lady of Lourdes Prayer for healing

O ever-Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy,

health of the sick, refuge of sinners,

comforter of the afflicted,

you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings;

look with mercy on me.

By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes,

you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary,

whence you dispense your favours;

and already many sufferers have obtained

the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.

I come, therefore, with complete confidence

to implore your maternal intercession.

Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests.

(mention your petition)

Through gratitude for your favours,

I will endeavour to imitate your virtues,

that I may one day share your glory.


To Heal a Friend

Think, O God, of our friend who is ill,

whom we now commend to Your compassionate regard.

Comfort him upon his sickbed, and ease his suffering.

We beg for deliverance,

and submit that no healing is too hard for the Lord, if it be His will.

We therefore pray that You bless our friend with Your loving care,

renew his strength, and heal what ails him in Your loving name.



Prayer for Healing I

Lord, look upon me with eyes of mercy,

may your healing hand rest upon me,

may your lifegiving powers flow into every cell of my body

and into the depths of my soul,

cleansing, purifying, restoring me to wholeness

and strength for service in your Kingdom.


Prayer for Healing II

O God who are the only source of health and healing,

the spirit of calm and the central peace of this universe,

grant to me such a consciousness of your indwelling and surrounding presence

that I may permit you to give me health and strength and peace,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Prayer for Healing III

Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to you.

Allow Your healing Hand to heal me.

Touch my soul with Your compassion for others;

touch my heart with Your courage and infinite Love for all;

touch my mind with Your Wisdom,

and may my mouth always proclaim Your praise.

Teach me to reach out to You in all my needs,

and help me to lead others to You by my example.

Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit

that I may serve You with all my strength.

Touch gently this life which you have created, now and forever.



Prayers from Direct from Lourdes website.
Visit them here:

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Virgin Mary and the Ghent Altarpiece


This beautiful painting of the Virgin Mary is part of the Ghent Altarpiece created by the well-known Flemish painter, Jan Van Eyck, in 1432. Rich in exquisite color and detail, the painting shows Mary holding a girdle book and represents her attribution as the "Seat of Wisdom." Girdle books were popular between the 13th and 16th centuries and worn as accessories. A long piece of leather hanging from the book made it possible to secure the book to a garment by means of looping it over the girdle belt. It was then easy to pick up the book and read it whenever the desire hit the owner. Girdle books were popular among monks, clergymen, and aristocrats. Here, Mary is portrayed as an aristocratic woman and represents her role as "Queen of Heaven."

May we all benefit from Mary's wisdom, love, peace, and motherly protection!

Dawn Pisturino
January 20, 2022
Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Nativity of Christ, the Feast of the Holy Family, and the Solemnity of Mary


On December 25th, we celebrate the Nativity of Christ and rejoice that the Messiah has come! He is waiting for us in His Father's house. We celebrate Mary's YES! to God and Joseph's fearless and tender care of Mary and her child.

On December 26th, we honor the Holy Family and look to them for guidance in these troubled and confusing times. May they intercede for us in our prayer intentions. May they serve as a model for the ideal family. May their peace, love, faith, and hope fill our hearts. May their graces shine down upon us and renew our courage and strength.

Prayer to the Holy Family/A Prayer for Families

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,

In you we contemplate

The splendor of true Love.

To you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

May families never again

Experience violence,

Rejection, and division.

And may all who have

Been hurt find ready

Comfort and healing.


"Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt . . ." Matthew 2:13

Dear Lord,

Please protect us from the politicians who continue to lie and mislead the American people. Please protect us from self-serving corporate leaders who harm American workers. Please protect our children, our elderly, and our families from criminal violence. Please end the COVID plague that has infested the world and expose the truth behind the outbreak. Please expose the lies and corruption of our political leaders, who have forgotten that they are the servants of the people, and not the other way around. Please bring America back to God and his holy commandments. Please strengthen our churches and help us in the fight against Evil. Please help us to restore law and order, strengthen family ties, and bless our children with good teachers and role models. Please renew our faith in the face of adversity. Please help the Catholic Church become a temple of faith for the whole world. Please save her from corruption, sexual degeneracy, and politics. Please bring light and hope to all of your faithful servants.


The Feast of the Solemnity of Mary

January 1st marks not only the beginning of the New Year but has been set aside as a day to honor Mary as the Blessed Virgin and the Mother of God. Born without sin, she was chosen by God to bring His Son into the corrupt world and to be a witness to his miracles and message to all the people of the earth. As such, she is considered to be the greatest of all the saints and worthy of honor, respect, and adoration.

God our Father, 

May we always profit by the prayers of the Virgin Mother Mary, for you bring us life and salvation through Jesus Christ her Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dawn Pisturino
December 21, 2021