On Saturday 27 May, Catholics around the country are being invited to join in the second annual Australian Nationwide Rosary to Our Lady Help of Christians. Beginning in 2022, the Nationwide Rosary is the initiative of Theresa Blatchly and Yvette Kaminski, two women who are passionate about the power of the Rosary and who hope to establish this as an annual event, with parishes around the country taking part.

‘We come from very small beginnings,’ Yvette says. ‘We’re just a couple of regular Catholics.’

The friends met in Marian Valley, the Brisbane Archdiocese Shrine to Our Lady Help of Christians, and the idea came about through ‘divine intervention,’ she says. Her friend Theresa was reading the weekly news and became deeply troubled by so many of the stories she was hearing. Wanting to do something, she prayed and asked Our Lady what she might be able to do, and as soon as she concluded her prayer, ‘she thought of a nationwide Rosary,’ Yvette explains.

Theresa has been making hand-made rosaries for many years in Toowoomba, Queensland, sending out about 1,400 a year to primary and high schools around the area. Yvette has taught children’s liturgy for 20 years at her local parish in Brisbane and now assists with teaching primary school children about the Rosary.

That the Nationwide Rosary is to Our Lady Help of Christians should be significant to Australians, Yvette thinks. Not only has Our Lady Help of Christians been the patroness of Australia since 1844, but in the early years of colonial Australia, it was the Rosary that sustained Catholic communities when they didn’t have priests or weren’t able to celebrate Mass publicly.

Yvette also wants to draw people’s attention to the ways the ‘fruits’ of the Rosary can help them in facing life’s challenges. Each mystery of the Rosary has a certain fruit associated with it. For example, the fruit of the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, ‘The Carrying of the Cross’, is patience.

These fruits enhance our character and are just some of ‘the gifts that are available to us from God,’ she says.

You can’t go to the shop and buy courage or persistence or patience of perseverance, or faith or hope or love. You can’t buy those things … [But they are] essential to survive the challenges of our times.

These gifts, she says, can help us to overcome our personal trials, deepen our faith and, ultimately, lead a more fulfilling life.

Everyone is invited to pick up a rosary on the day. It would be even better, however, if this initiative could grow in communities, Yvette says. ‘We’d like to grow in parishes. That would be preferable … St Louis de Montfort [said] that when people come together, unified, and pray the Rosary, it is more powerful.’

Over time, Yvette and Theresa hope the initiative will grow and that they will have representatives in each state who can help further the movement.

This year, Yvette says, ‘We are praying with our Blessed Mother Mary for God’s peace and love in our world, for people who are experiencing war, famine, abuse, sickness, poverty, homelessness and the effects of environmental disasters. We are praying for more priests and a strengthening in our faith. It is also a great opportunity to give thanks to God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and Blessed Mother Mary for their love and intercession in our lives.’

The Nationwide Rosary to Our Lady Help of Christians will take place on Saturday 27 May from 2pm to 4pm EST. (Each state may revert to their respective time zones if preferred.) You can access the program for the event here.

For all enquiries, email olhcrosarynationwide@gmail.com.