Rosary revolution
[Prayer's effectiveness]


In 1986 the threat of a civil war was hanging over Philippines. The totalitarian dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, established in 1972, was then dying away, while the dictator himself used to react nervously to any activities that could endanger his ruling. The country plunged into corruption and economic stagnation, communist fighting squads rose in power, while the prisons were crowded with Marcos' political opponents.

However, the dictator was unwilling to evoke a conflict with the Church, whose respected Cardinal Jaime L. Sin had become a strong critic of the dictator's ruling. The assassination of an uncompromised oppositionist Benigno Aquino in 1983 brought about Marcos in an open conflict with the nation.

On February 22, 1986, Marcos ordered to detain the defense minister gen. Juan Ponce Enrile as well as several other officials. The minister along with gen. Fidel Valdez Ramos, the armed forces deputy commander-in-chief, and three hundred other military men, barricaded themselves in the barracks at Manila's Revelation of the Saints Avenue (EDSA). They announced to fight to the death. They requested Cardinal Sin to support them. After an hour and a half of prayers in the chapel Cardinal Sin called on the Philippines' people on the radio to come out to the streets and stand between the rebels and the approaching troops of the loyalists. The worshippers did obey the appeal. Two million people – the poor and the rich – appeared side by side in an avenue of Manila, holding rosaries in their hands. A major national religious service began and lasted for the next four days. There was prayer, Marian songs, while bishops and priests were conducting services at camp altars. Told so by Cardinal Sin, the religious sisters in three contemplative orders stayed ceaselessly vigilant, fasting and praying.

Twenty-five tanks and six thousand armed to the teeth ruthless professional troops were sent against the praying crowd. The two million people then knelt in the street facing the approaching tanks. They raised their rosaries and began to pray. And then something astounding happened – the tanks halted, and the military men began to join massively the praying people rather then to raid them. People approached the troops with flowers, gave them sandwiches, embraced them. Marcos was furious. He ordered to disperse the crowd with tear gas. When the gas containers were thrown into the crowd… the wind reversed unexpectedly and thus the aggressors had to flee. So was two hours later. An order was given to use mortars to shell Enrile. Initially the order was not obeyed since “no appropriate target had been found.” “We do not want to kill civilians” – explained the soldiers. After several hours of “seeking a target” the mortars were fired, but the shells appeared to be … blind. The crews of the task force helicopters sent to suppress the rebels … joined them instead. On February 25 Marcos fled to Hawaii. Corazon Aquino, the widow of Benigno, was elected new president.

The bloodless revolution has been deemed a miracle. Cardinal Sin unveiled that at the key moment a Mary's revelation happened and it was God and Holy Mary who saved the Philippine people from a massacre. “The tanks attempted to ram into the crowd. People were praying and putting up high their Rosaries. Then a Lady of enormous splendor appeared to them…” the Cardinal told in a review. “She was beautiful, and Her eyes were shining. And that beautiful woman spoke out to the soldiers using the words: ‘Stop, my dearest soldiers! Don't go any further! Do not harm my children'. Having heard this the soldiers abandoned everything, left the tanks and joined the people” – said Cardinal Sin.

FD from "Cuda i Łaski Boże"

  © International Secretariat of The World Prayer for Life, 2008.

e-mail: secretary@world-prayer-for-life.org