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Our Lady of the Rosary, also known as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to the Rosary. The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is October 7, the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined Christian fleet in 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto, defeating an Ottoman fleet off western Greece. It was formerly sometimes known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.
According to Dominican tradition, in 1208, St. Dominic was in Prouille, France attempting to convert the Albigensians back to the Catholic faith. The young priest had little success until one day he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who gave him the Rosary as a tool against heretics. Even if Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic, including the 15th century priest and teacher, Alanus de Rupe.
On December 3, 1836, Fr. Charles Eléonor des Genettes had an interior locution directing him to dedicate the parish of Our Lady of Victory to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In 1987, during the civil war with the anti-clerical Sandanista government, sacristan Bernardo Martinez reported seeing an apparition of Our Lady who urged him to pray the rosary and work for peace. One of the appearances was in the parish church of Our Lady of Victories near Cuapa, Nicaragua.
On October 7, 1571 the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, sailed from Messina, Sicily, and met a powerful Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Lepanto. Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct material disadvantage, the holy pontiff, St. Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory, and led a rosary procession in Rome.
The pope had organized a coalition of forces from Spain and smaller Christian kingdoms, republics and military orders, to rescue Christian outposts in Cyprus, particularly the Venetian outpost at Famagusta which, however, surrendered after a long siege on August 1 before the Christian forces set sail. As a result of naval battle, the Muslim fleet lost 20,000 dead, wounded or captured, along with 137 ships captured and 50 ships sunk, and 10,000 Christian galley slaves were freed, while the Christian fleet only lost 17 ships and 7,500 dead.
After about and decisively defeated in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece, the combined navies of the Vatican, Venice and Spain managed to stop the Ottoman navy, slowing the Ottoman advance to the west and denying them access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Americas. If the Ottomans had won then there was a real possibility that an invasion of Italy could have followed so that the Ottoman sultan, already claiming to be emperor of the Romans, would have been in possession of both New and Old Rome. Combined with the unfolding events in Morocco where the Sa’adids successfully spurned the Ottoman advances, it confined Turkish naval power to the eastern Mediterranean.
Although the Ottoman empire was able to build more ships, it never fully recovered from the loss of trained sailors and marines, and was never again the Mediterranean naval power it had become the century before when Constantinople fell. Pius V then instituted "Our Lady of Victory" as an annual feast to commemorate the victory, which he attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Dedications to Our Lady of Victory preceded this papal declaration. In particular, Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester built the first shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Victory in thanks for the Catholic victory over the Albigensians at the Battle of Muret on September 12, 1213.
In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of the "Feast of Our Lady of Victory" to "Feast of the Holy Rosary".Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays.
Our Lady of the Rosary is the patron saint of several places around the world. The diocese of Malaga, Spain (which, however celebrates her patronage on September 8), and the Spanish cities of Mellila and Trujillo celebrate Our Lady of Victories as their patroness. Furthermore, María del Rosario is a common female Spanish name (colloquially abbreviated to Rosario or Charo). Rosario can also be used as a male first name, particularly in Italian.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary is located in Duluth, Minnesota. The cathedral church of the Diocese of San Bernardino, California is also named in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary.  The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary on State Street in New York City began in 1883 as the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary for the Protection of Irish Immigrant Girls; it houses the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Although the title Our Lady of Victory has been superseded to some extent by that of Our Lady of the Rosary, the former is still in popular use at a number of parishes and schools.
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, Paris is an historic Marian shrine and place of pilgrimage. Augustinian friars built it in 1629 with financial assistance from Louis XIII, who named the church Notre-Dame des Victoires in gratitude for the victory of French forces over the Huguenots at the Siege of La Rochelle (1627-8).
Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica is located in Lackawanna, New York. Our Lady of Victory is the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Victoria, Texas. The Church of Our Lady of Victory, also known as the War Memorial Church, in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City was dedicated to Our Lady of Victory by Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York and Apostolic Vicar for the U.S. Armed Forces on June 23, 1947 " ... in Thanksgiving for Victory won by our valiant dead, our soldier’s blood, our country’s tears, shed to defend men’s rights and win back men’s hearts to God." The chapel at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota is named for Our Lady of Victory, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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