The Corner

Culture

WFB’s Favorite Prayer

National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr.

I was emailing with Lee Edwards, author of William F. Buckley Jr: Maker of a Movement about WFB and faith yesterday about the twelfth anniversary of Bill’s death this week, and Lee sent me this:

In the mid-1990s, I had the opportunity to interview Bill for an article about his faith that I was writing for Crisis magazine. In the course of our conversation I asked him if he had a favorite prayer. He replied, “Yes, I pray the Rosary every day.”

I was stunned. One of the busiest men in the world, forever writing a column or a novel, editing a magazine, speaking on a campus, hosting a weekly TV program, Bill Buckley still found time to pray one of Catholicism’s most venerable and extended prayers. He explained the genesis.

At the age of nine, while attending St. John’s Beaumont, a Catholic school in England run by Jesuits, he went to mass every day, praying for the health of his mother who was in the midst of a very difficult pregnancy. He achieved a special reverence for “Our Lady” — Mary, the mother of God — who “became in my mind an indispensable character in the heavenly cloister.”

When his mother gave birth, without complications, to his newest sibling Bill began praying the Rosary daily, in gratitude, for the rest of his life. He later wrote his mother that “the greatest contribution you have given me is your faith. I can now rely on God in almost any matter.”

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