Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Victory Vessels for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It is named so because of the Battle of Lepanto which was a great Catholic victory over the Turks on this day back in 1571. Victory is said to have been achieved due to the faithful praying the Rosary. Many families celebrate this feast with a family rosary.

Maryan Vander Woude shares an absolutely fabulous recipe, in the Autumn edition of Faith and Family, for celebrating this feast. She quite creatively turns twice baked potatoes into darling sailing vessels reminding us of the Battle of Lepanto, the origin of this feast. More facts about the history of this feast are below...

Our Lady’s Victory Vessels

8 large baked potatoes
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bacon bits (optional)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup milk
salt and pepper
white paper
3 skewers 10 toothpicks (cut in half)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake potatoes for 1 hour. When potatoes are done, allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully cut off the top skin of the potato. Gently scoop the flesh into a mixing bowl. Set the potato shells on a tray. Mix all the ingredients except cheese and bacon. Fill the potato shells and top with cheese and bacon. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until cheese melts.

Cut nine rectangular pieces of paper to put on the skewers in honor of Our Lady. Decorate the “sails” with blue crosses, rosaries, or other Marian symbols. Insert toothpicks in the “hull” of the potato as the oars — 10 on each side.

* Note: If you are pressed for time, just decorate a plain baked potato!

An Excerpt from "Our Lady and Islam" (Source: EWTN)

The Battle of Lepanto

On October 7, 1571, a great victory over the mighty Turkish fleet was won by Catholic naval forces primarily from Spain, Venice, and Genoa under the command of Don Juan of Austria. It was the last battle at sea between "oared" ships, which featured the most powerful navy in the world, a Moslem force with between 12,000 to 15,000 Christian slaves as rowers. The patchwork team of Catholic ships was powered by the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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. We know today that the victory was decisive, prevented the Islamic invasion of Europe, and evidenced the Hand of God working through Our Lady. At the hour of victory, St. Pope Pius V, who was hundreds of miles away at the Vatican, is said to have gotten up from a meeting, went over to a window, and exclaimed with supernatural radiance: "The Christian fleet is victorious!" and shed tears of thanksgiving to God.

What you may not know is that one of three admirals commanding the Catholic forces at Lepanto was Andrea Doria. He carried a small copy of Mexico's Our Lady of Guadalupe into battle. This image is now enshrined in the Church of San Stefano in Aveto, Italy. Not many know that at the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Spain, one can view a huge warship lantern that was captured from the Moslems in the Battle of Lepanto. In Rome, look up to the ceiling of S. Maria in Aracoeli and behold decorations in gold taken from the Turkish galleys. In the Doges' Palace in Venice, Italy, one can witness a giant Islamic flag that is now a trophy from a vanquished Turkish ship from the Victory. At Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome, close to the tomb of the great St. Pope Pius V, one was once able to view yet another Islamic flag from the Battle, until 1965, when it was returned to Istanbul in an intended friendly token of concord.

The Rosary

At Lepanto, the Victory over the Moslems was won by the faithful praying the Rosary. Even though they had superior numbers, the Turks really were overmatched. Blessed Padre Pio, the Spiritual Father of the Blue Army, said: "The Rosary is the weapon," and how right he was!

The Battle of Lepanto was at first celebrated liturgically as "Our Lady of Victory." Later, the feast of October 7th was renamed "Our Lady of the Rosary" and extended throughout the Universal Church by Pope Clement XI in 1716 (who canonized Pope Pius V in 1712).

And with that we are back to Fatima, Portugal where Our Lady, when asked her name, said: "I am the Lady of the Rosary." At Fatima, Our Lady taught us to pray the Rosary every day. Heaven presented its peace plan at Fatima and truly gave us hope for the world. Conversions were promised at Fatima: the conversion of sinners; the conversion of Russia; and what also appears to be the conversion of Islam.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

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  1. I saw the picture of these in Faith & Family and they looked great! Thanks for sharing the recipe here on Catholic Cuisine! :)

  2. I just received an email from Lori, another home educating mother, who says:

    "I just wanted to share that I'm planning on making the Victory Vessels for Columbus Day. Including of course the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria. (noted on the sail of each)"

    I might just have to do that too, my boys would *love* it! Isn't incorporating food into all of our feasts and holidays so much fun?!