Meeting with... Elizabeth Carillo

Elizabeth, you are 24 years old and come from California. Can you tell us about your pilgrimage experience in Europe this summer?

How would you define your devotion to the Rosary?

Over the course of the summer I was given a renewed and deepened appreciation for the Rosary. In the past, I would pray the Rosary individually and in community, but it never became part of my daily prayer life. This summer, Our Lady changed that.

My friend Michelle and I spent five weeks on a pilgrimage all over Europe, visiting first Fatima and ending in Rome. Our Lady truly arranged, with great maternal care, all the details of our trip which included our stay with the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary. Every day Michelle and I walked down to the shrine, prayed the Rosary, and processed with Our Lady. One day, I came across the Apostolic Letter on the Most Holy Rosary by Blessed Pope John Paul II and decided to read it.

The words and thoughts of Blessed Pope John Paul on the importance of the Rosary in the Christian life captivated me. Particularly his point on the Rosary as a real means to help us to conform to the “mind” of Christ because we recount Jesus’ life through the eyes of Mary- His most perfect disciple. The Holy Father found the perfect words to describe this reality in Blessed Bartolo Longo’s writings.

“Just as two friends, frequently in each other’s company, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding familiar converse with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary and by living the same life in Holy Communion, we can become, to the extent of our lowliness, similar to them and can learn from these supreme models a life of humility, poverty, hiddeness, patience and perfection.”

As Our Lady taught me to “ponder all these things in my heart,” we arrived in Rome for the Holy Father’s Wednesday audience. That day Pope Benedict XVI gave a discourse from the famous canticle that Saint Paul wrote to the Philippians. He highlighted Saint Paul’s exhortation that as Christians we are to have the same mind as Jesus Christ.

At that moment, I realized that the Rosary is truly one of the surest ways to accomplish this preeminent goal of every Christian.

I am ever grateful, that by Our Blessed Mother’s intercession, my appreciation for the Rosary deepened. Mary gives us the Rosary and asks us to meditate on the life of her Son. Mary helps us to ponder - in our little hearts - the infinite love of God. By this Mary draws us out of ourselves and places us back onto the Vine. Our minds are freed to contemplate Christ; our Lord, our Savior, and our rock in whom we trust! What a gift, the Rosary. Thank you sweet Mother, thank you Heavenly Father, thank you Blessed Pope John Paul II, thank you St. Dominic!