During the month of the Holy Rosary, ISIS has suffered a number of setbacks — and it may not be just coincidence. Catholics should pray their Rosaries, however, not only for peace with Muslims but also for their ultimate conversion to Christianity.
Just prior to October 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary, more than a thousand Muslim terrorists from ISIS surrendered in Iraq. In Syria shortly thereafter, ISIS was downgraded from a "terror state" to "terrorist organization." October 7 itself was the day assigned by Pope St. Pius V to celebrate the victory of the Rosary, which he'd asked all Christians to pray in order to defeat the Muslim forces at Lepanto in 1571. Christendom complied with his request and the result was a miraculous naval victory over which Our Lady is said to have appeared.
The real goal, of course, isn't merely peace with Islam but the conversion of Islamic forces to Christianity, which Abp. Fulton Sheen said would come through Our Lady's intercession. The 17th chapter of his book, The World's First Love, is titled "Mary and the Muslims." In this chapter, Abp. Sheen writes, "I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as Our Lady of Fatima as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Muslim people and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too."
It wasn't the pope in 2014 who called for Christians to pray their Rosary to defeat a group of bellicose Muslims but Our Lord Himself. The Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, had been ravaging Nigeria and seemed unstoppable. Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, head of the diocese of Maiduguri in Nigeria's Borno State, was in a chapel praying before the Blessed Sacrament in December of that year when Our Lord appeared to him holding a sword.
When He handed the sword to Bp. Doeme, it turned into the Rosary, and Our Lord repeated three times, "Boko Haram is gone." The bishop recalls, "I didn't need any prophet to give me the explanation. It was clear that with the Rosary we would be able to expel Boko Haram."
Since then the terrorist group in Nigeria has faced crushing defeats. As recently as July of this year, some 700 members of the group laid down their arms much like Muslim militants did in Iraq earlier this month.
Archbishop Sheen points out the fact that the town in Portugal, where the Blessed Mother appeared, is named after a Muslim maiden who converted to Catholicism when she married a prince in the 13th century. What is more, the maiden was named after Mohammed's daughter.
The archbishop believed that Our Lady of Fatima is the most effective means of converting Muslims: "Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Muslims will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima."
Watch the panel discuss surrenders and setbacks in The Download—Fall of ISIS.