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The prophetic advice of the Florida Martyrs.

Updated: May 14

Ave María! In the peace of His Majesty, our Lord Jesus. May our lady of the most holy Rosary, together with all the saints and martyrs, pray for us. On this day, May 13, in 1917, over 107 years ago, Our Lady appeared for the first time at Fatima. In this first apparition our Lady said to the children: "Say the Rosary every day” a phrase which she would repeat at every apparition. On 13 October, Our Lady said: “I want to tell you to have them build a Chapel here in My honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Let them continue to say the Rosary every day.” In 1917 Our Lady of the Rosary, asked for a chapel to built in her honor at Fatima, yet in Florida, there was already a Church built in honor of Immaculate Our Lady under this title. Sitting in the busy city of Jacksonville is the old Holy Rosary Church, established in 1915 and later built into the structure we see today in 1923. This by no means was the only or even the first Church of Our Lady of the rosary in Florida, that would arguably be Nuestra Señora del Rosario de la Punta established in 1720 near St. Augustine. The Church we speak of was used until 1984 when it was sold to Protestants. This was until our beloved sister community, St. Michael’s of Jacksonville, purchased the Church and is currently restoring the Church to her former glory. I encourage everyone to donate at least something small in order to contribute to this grand cause. There is another interesting coincidence in all this. It’s no secret that long before the city of Jacksonville, the Spanish had several missions and settlements in the area. The first being the Presidio San Mateo, originally the French Protestant fort Carolina, which was captured in 1556 by Admiral Pedro Mendez and christened. As time progressed several other Missions sprang up in the area for the native people called the Timuca. One of these missions was the Mission San Juan del Puerto or St. John of the Port. This Mission sat at the river delta of the St. John’s river and revolved around fishing and collecting materials for cochina. In 1702, an English Force of 500 Militia from the Charleston and 600 allied braves were heading south to besiege St. Augustine. On 5 November the English force attacked Mission San Juan, killing the chief in the initial fighting and later captured many Timucuans to be sold into the English slave trade. Among the captured natives was the chief’s wife, Dona Mariana, and their 9-year old son named Jacinto. Recognizing her importance, the English apprehended Mariana ordered her to renounce the Catholic faith in front of her people.  When she refused, they brought her son Jacinto before her, tied him to a stake, and told her if she did not renounce the Catholic faith they would light a fire beneath him. Ignoring the English demands, Mariana reached for her rosary and said to her son “you must pray the rosary.” She made the sign of the Cross and started praying the Rosary, as did Jacinto. The English lit the fire beneath little Jacinto but even with the flames roasting his feet, the young boy did not stop praying. Irritated by this, an English officer ordered some creek braves to remove him and club him to death. Through it all Mariana never stopped praying the Rosary. The English then tied her to a stake and offered her another chance to live, that is if she would renounce the Catholic faith if not they would light a fire under her and burn her at the stake. She stopped praying and responded: “Why don’t you understand, I cannot go with you, you do not have the sacraments, without the sacraments it is worse than to die.” Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:33-34. The English then lit the fire beneath her as she continued to pray the rosary. Until Mariana was consumed by the flames, her final words were “Ave Maria.” With the two 30 more Timucans from Mission San Juan refused to renounce the Catholic faith and were killed by the English. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. Matthew 10:23. If you ever visit the Kingsley plantation, the approximate location of the old mission, you will find a Mile 9 marker which marks the location of Mariana’s martyrdom. The Jacksonville area, hallowed by these and many more Martyrs, will soon have a monument to the wise words of Dona Mariana. “you must pray the rosary.” Upon the threshold of this historic Jacksonville Church bares an image of Our Lady and Our Lord giving the Holy Rosary to St. Dominic in the year 1214 AD. According to St. Louis de Montfort, Our Lady told St. Dominic:  “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?"  St. Dominic responded: “Oh, my Lady, you know far better than I do because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation." Our Lady replied: "I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament." One begins to wonder why the English and their pagan Creeks allies hated the Most Holy Rosary so much. There is much left to thoughts of recollection on the various coincidences surrounding Our Lady, her Rosary and the area of Jacksonville. That comes to mind is Marriana seeing the trials that her son was about to endure and telling him to pray the rosary. It seems reminiscent of our Lady’s answer to Lucy’s question in of St. Francisco de Fatima’s salvation. The wise mother Mariana knew only the rosary could give her son the strength to remain steadfast to the faith. In ancient times most churches were named after the particular martyr who was buried beneath it or was martyred on the site or at least in the vicinity. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 155:15. This honor’s God through His saints and martyrs, who gave glory to God through their refusal to His truth. The interesting aspect of all this, however, is there are no surviving records or local legends that can be attributed to the correlation between servants of God Dona Marianna and Jacinto and the establishment Historic Holy Rosary Church being restored. It is all just one grand and holy coincidence. And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose. Romans 8:28. At the very least, the lesson we can find in the words of Our Lady at Fatima, in the martyrdom of Mariana and Jacinto and the establishment and restoration of the Pompeii Church is this: “Only she can help you.”

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