Graffiti was sprayed all over the walls and streets. Toppled statues and destroyed monuments were everywhere. The boarded-up windows showed that the area was a long way from returning to “normal.”
Under darkening clouds, this scene from the ground of Wisconsin’s State Capitol Building served to underscore the dire state of the nation. On June 29, faithful Catholics arrived in Madison with a growing perception that this rally for order was even more indispensable than others.
As part of the Mary, Mother of Mercy, Restore America campaign, the event was organized by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP). Traveling teams of TFP volunteers are visiting each state capital to ask God for the conversion of this nation and for the virtues of calm, courage, and confidence.
Rosary Rallies for America
Approaching noon, the rally participants assembled at the south-west corner of the State Capitol grounds, the announced location of the event. No one had any idea that others used the place. A friendly policeman told TFP members that this intersection was frequented by the local Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and designated as their “headquarters.” Less than a week ago, rioters tore down the nearby “State Statue for the Women of Wisconsin” named “Forward,” and threw it in a lake.
To add to the confusion, a man with long hair and black clothes approached the rally location. He pretended to be friendly by commenting on how well organized the event was. However, he then provoked those present by announcing that he had kicked over a cross that used to be nearby. He had hoped that his announcement would dampen the morale of the rally participants. It had the opposite effect. When he perceived his mistake, he retreated from the scene shouting out vile blasphemies.
One lady attending the rally made headlines a week before because she and her small children prayed the rosary in front of the capitol. They were accosted by a man with a baseball bat who chased them to her car. She goes there regularly to pray for the nation and an end to socialism. Despite being threatened with a baseball bat, she said: “I am not going to stop. I am not going to give up.” When asked if confronting danger alone worried her, she replied, “We would like to have men protecting us. But if there are none, we are not going to stop – even if that means martyrdom.”
Blessing the rally was the International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. This well-known statue has traveled the world since 1947 and wept miraculously in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1973. At this rally, the unrest and destruction provided the statue with a unique place to preside over the rally. The empty granite pedestal that once housed the toppled self-made woman of the last century served as a platform for the unpretentious Queen of Heaven. Now covered with a cloth and adorned with flowers, Our Lady’s statue looked over the scene of damage and destruction.
Midway through the rally, everyone heard thunder in the distance. A rainstorm was fast approaching. However, more concerning than a storm was a possible counter-demonstration by activists seeing others on “their” corner. However, those worries faded. Hymn by hymn, the decades of the rosary finished with a chorus of steadfast voices. The opposition consisted of two anarchists who paused to yell insults and attack the right of private property. One of them identified himself as a former Catholic who likes liberation theology but hates the Church.
“There’s a severe thunderstorm alert in this area,” said a police officer who approached the prayerful gathering. “I’m not asking you to leave. I just wanted to let you know.”
Two Catholic priests took turns leading the rosary. The rosary finished as calmly as it began. After the final response to the Hail Holy Queen, only then did the rain sweep down the street, falling in sheets over the city. Patrick Sabat, program director for the World Apostolate of Fatima, gave a few eloquent remarks about the statue’s history. Umbrellas were opening before he began. “Now it is raining. This same thing happened when I was in Moscow with the statue,” he told everyone. “It rained as Catholics stood in front of Lenin’s tomb and crowned this same statue.”
The story serves to show how Catholics must reject socialism and anarchy with confidence, courage and calm. In America, now more than ever, Catholics must take an active part in the conversion of their nation.
One way to confront this public danger is through public square rosary rallies like this one. May Our Heavenly Queen strengthen all those she calls to this spiritual fight and send her blessings for this rosary crusade.