Today is the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, formerly celebrated as Our Lady of Victory, which the Catholic Church celebrates to commemorate the victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto, October 7, 1571. This was the first major victory of the West against the Muslims at sea, a military, political and cultural milestone of great importance. Prior to that day, the onrush of the Ottomans had seemed unstoppable. The Turks were not similarly checked on land until 1683, at Vienna. Prior to the battle, Pope St. Pius V asked the faithful to pray the rosary for what appeared to be an unlikely victory, and the victory was attributed to her intercession. The Turkish galleys were propelled by Christian captives taken and held as slaves.
G.K. Chesterton wrote a very stirring poem about the battle.