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Margaret Dwyer Hogan shares the story of how she discovered the power of the Rosary.

While I was raised Catholic and my mother was quietly devoted to the Rosary, I don’t recall ever praying the Rosary as a family or learning any of the mysteries. It wasn’t until my sweet husband asked me to marry him in 1997, and I moved to the town where he grew up, that I truly discovered the power of the Rosary.  

In the first five years of our marriage, Michael and I buried five immediate family members: a nephew who was like a little brother to me died in a car accident, my dad passed less than a year later after a short battle with cancer, Mike's brother lost his battle with ALS, and his brother-in-law had a failed three-year fight with cancer. My mom was the last; she was diagnosed with cancer in August and went to her eternal rest on Christmas Eve, 2002. 

In the middle of all of this we gave birth to three beautiful children. Each time we were saying goodbye to someone and caring for them in hospice, we were expecting or welcoming a new little one. It was a lot; it could have suffocated our young family. But God sent me a new friend—a sister in Christ—who invited me to pray the Rosary in my first year of marriage.

At every turn when life was overwhelming me, Mary Jo would gently encourage me to learn the Mysteries of the Rosary and pray them daily and get to Mass whenever I could. I was working in Boston, and I put a Rosary card published by Holy Cross Family Ministries and given to me by my new friend—above my car visor. Each week I committed to learning one Mystery of the Rosary until I had them all memorized. 




Having your dad go through hospice while you are 900 miles away, pregnant with your first child, is not an easy thing, but this kept me grounded. Praying for him, praying for my mom, and opening myself up to the Holy Spirit helped me handle the situation on both fronts. My husband, who had prayed the Rosary daily in college, also began praying the Rosary during his daily commute to work.

The Rosary became our lifeline. Four years later, when my sweet mom Beatrice was too weak to speak, she looked me straight in the eyes as I prayed the Rosary at her bedside. It was the last time we were together, as I was not able to travel the final six weeks of my pregnancy. I realized in that moment that while learning and praying the Rosary had been my anchor the previous four years, the Blessed Mother was also preparing me as I helped my mom in her final weeks on earth by praying the Rosary with her. 

Our third child was born six days after my mom died, and we named her Grace Mary. At the birth my Hindu obstetrician asked if her name was after the “Hail Mary Full of Grace” prayer—and I said it most certainly was. It was only fitting, after all the Blessed Mother had done for our family.  

I am forever grateful to my dear friend for inviting me to pray the Rosary—to invite the Blessed Mother into my daily life. It is inevitable that when you pray the Rosary and really meditate on the Mysteries of the Rosary, the Blessed Mother leads you gently back to the Sacraments. You can’t help but grow in appreciation for the grace and mercy available to us through Reconciliation, Mass, and the Eucharist.    


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I am forever grateful to my dear friend for inviting me to pray the Rosary—to invite the Blessed Mother into my daily life.


Fast forward to 2013 when we moved our family to Easton, Massachusetts to be closer to my husband's job. What is down the street? The Father Peyton Center, home of Holy Cross Family Ministries! A “Godincidence” as we say at Cursillio for certain: it is a little slice of heaven, complete with daily Rosary followed by Mass with the Holy Cross Fathers. Father Peyton can be felt in this place as others continue his mission to promote Family Rosary, like the person who wrote and published that Rosary card distributed by Holy Cross Family Ministries in 1998.  



Copyright 2023 Margaret Dwyer Hogan
Images: Canva