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Monday, August 3, 2009

Cory’s Rosary, and Why She Died on Saturday

This article is reposted from the article found at and written by Ralph Pascual Guzman. The author is a former television news reporter who used to cover then President Aquino. He is now a management consultant.

MANILA, Philippines—It is God who has the final say when and where a person will be taken from this earth to be with Him.

As we mourn Cory Aquino’s death, we praise God for giving us a true icon of democracy. The nation also praises Him for giving us a modern-day icon of piety for politicians and ordinary citizens to follow.

Cory lived an extraordinary life for this country, and it only seems fitting that God chose a special time to welcome her to Heaven.

What is special about Aug. 1, 2009?

It is the first Saturday of the month, a day dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Cory had a special relationship with Mother Mary.

She fervently prayed to Our Lady of Fatima, who became the patroness of Edsa 1. She also entrusted the country to Her throughout her term, acknowledging that she and the country were able to survive seven coup attempts because of Our Lady’s intercession

What helped Cory pray? A special hand-made rosary given to her by Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the children who witnessed the miracle at Fatima.

Speculation about Mary

There was even speculation that the Blessed Virgin had blessed the rosary Herself, as Sister Lucia revealed to the Vatican before she died, during a visit paid her by the Mother of God in her later years.

“Sister Lucia sent me this rosary which she herself made, with the message that I would be supported and protected in my presidency,” Cory told Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ, her spiritual adviser. “Sister Lucia added that more sufferings would come my way,” she said.

“I know now that it was a prophetic message, as I had to fight back seven coup attempts to save my administration from power grabbers in uniform,” Cory told Father Arevalo. “With Our Lady’s protection, I stood my ground and never left Malacañang, even when it was being attacked.”

Cory herself has spread devotion to the rosary to many Filipinos, especially during times when all hope seemed lost. She has shown her piety by example and by praying during very critical times, like during the declaration of a state of national emergency in 2006.

She also spread the devotion by lending her rosary to those who needed it. Cory lent the rosary to Fernando Poe Jr. when he suffered a stroke in 2004. The same rosary was said to be instrumental in the recovery of young actor Vandolph Quizon, who met a serious vehicular accident in 2002.

3 lessons for conversion

The nation has seen Cory’s heroism in her inner life, which she also attributes to the lessons she learned by reflecting on Fatima. She shares with the world three lessons that led to her conversion and that of Ninoy: 1) The power of prayer, particularly the rosary; 2) The acceptance of God’s plan in our lives and entrusting our lives to Mary; and 3) The offering of sacrifices to God.

The former president lived a life of spirituality, humility and acceptance. She fought the good fight and kept the faith in her battle against colon cancer. In several interviews, journalists often asked Cory if she had met her quota of suffering. To these questions, she said she would look up to Jesus Christ, who suffered Himself and died to fulfill His mission.

“Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things—with resignation, yes, but above all with blazing, serene hope,” she said.

Proven piety

Cory’s piety is further proven by prayers that she herself had written and published. These include several prayers of thanksgiving, and her “Prayer for A Happy Death.”

It is for these reasons that I believe in the special timing of Cory’s death. Pope John Paul II, who also had a special devotion to Fatima and is regarded as the subject of the third secret of Fatima, died on the first Saturday of April in 2005.

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