Director’s Letter

Director's Letter

Director’s Letter


Dear Friends,

A little more than 100 years ago, the Blessed Mother made the first of six appearances to three poor shepherd children—Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta—in Fatima, Portugal. On May 13, 1917, as the children tended their sheep in the Cova da Iria, they saw a light coming toward them. Lucia describes the scene as they descended a slope and saw a flash of lightning.

“We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holmoak [tree], we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it. We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her.”

What strikes me about this first apparition of Our Lady to the children at Fatima is how close the children were to Mary. So close, in fact, that they were bathed in the light that emanated from her!

Lucia asked the lady where she was from and she responded, “I am from heaven.” Lucia then asked, “Will I go to heaven?” And Our Lady responded, “Yes, you will.” She asked if Jacinta will go to heaven and Our Lady said, “She will go also.” Finally, she asked about Francisco. Our Lady said, “He will go there too, but he must say many Rosaries.”

The Rosary is central to the life of the Dominican Friars. After all, it was to St. Dominic that Our Lady gave the Rosary as a means to save souls. She asked him to preach her Rosary and the Dominican Friars have been praying and preaching her Rosary since it was given to us over 800 years ago. The Rosary Shrine of St. Jude combines this Dominican devotion to Our Lady and the Holy Rosary with our devotion to St. Jude.

I would also like to invite you to join the Dominican Friars and Sisters and thousands of pilgrims at the upcoming national Dominican Rosary Pilgrimage. This exciting full-day event dedicated to the Holy Rosary will be held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC on September 28, 2024. You can find more information at I’ve also enclosed a special novena prayer card for the 2024 Dominican Rosary Pilgrimage. I hope that you will pray with us, join us for the pilgrimage in DC, and invite your family and friends!

Most of all, stay close to the Blessed Virgin Mary this month of May by praying many Rosaries. Your prayers help lead others to Jesus through devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Jude. And like the children at Fatima, you, and many souls, will be led to heaven.

In Christ, Our Lady, and St. Jude,




Father John Paul Kern, O.P.
Director, Rosary Shrine of Saint Jude