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A Walk through the Museum of Family Prayer

By: Allison Gingras on October 27th, 2022

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A Walk through the Museum of Family Prayer

museum of family prayer  |  Venerable Patrick Peyton

Over fifteen years ago, a friend invited me to Mass at The Father Peyton Center in North Easton, Massachusetts. On the ride there, she recounted the remarkable life of a holy man, devoted to the Blessed Mother, with an almost single-minded desire to help families pray together, especially the Rosary. It would be the first time I heard Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C.'s message that, "The family that prays together stays together." I was intrigued and a little excited to visit this prayerful place and learn more about him, but little did I know how special this now Venerable priest would become to me as he's been for decades for families across the globe.

After that initial visit, I often returned to the Father Peyton Center, now the home of the Museum of Family Prayer: A Contemporary Experience of Father Peyton’s Ministry, for Mass, to spend time praying on the Rosary walk and quietly sitting reciting the Rosary by his grave. I've lost count of the number of intercessions I've requested and the blessings my family has received from them. It is truly an honor to be a small part of a remarkable team continuing the work of this humble Irish priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. A dedicated and passionate man of faith, we pray and hope he will someday be the Patron Saint of Family Prayer.   




Life and Legacy 

I would love to invite you on a tour through the Museum of Family Prayer, first here in words, then I pray one day in person, especially with your family, to experience this unique, inspiring place.   

Patrick Peyton came to the United States to chase the American dream with his brother Tom. God, however, had even better plans for their lives—as both would become priests of the Congregation of Holy Cross. A solid foundation of faith allowed them to be open to God's plans—imparted from going to their knees every evening as a family praying the Rosary in their home in Ireland. Before the patriarch of the Peyton family would give their trip to America his blessing, he asked the brothers to "Go down on your knees and make me a promise here before the picture of the Sacred Heart. From now on there will be nobody but yourself to advise you and to decide for you. But your first responsibility will always be to save your soul, and so I want you to promise to be faithful to Our Lord in America. 

While working as a sexton at the cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Patrick's heart began to stir with a call to the priesthood. The young Peyton desired to be a missionary priest, which drew him to join the Congregation of Holy Cross. His path, however, was not to be a straight one to the priesthood. He contracted tuberculosis, his prognosis was grim, and he lay in the infirmary, unable to study or continue his priestly journey. In October 1939, the doctors offered Patrick two options: a risky surgery with little hope for success or simply to pray. Father Cornelius Hagerty, C.S.C. visits, reminding Patrick, "You have the faith, Pat," he said, "but you're not using it. You brought it with you from Ireland. Your mother gave it to you, just as her mother had given it to her."   

Father Peyton would experience a truly remarkable and miraculous recovery from tuberculosis; after this, his devotion to Mary, already an integral part of who he was, became his life's work and where he would genuinely become a missionary. As his autobiography is aptly titled, his life would become "All for Her."   


The Museum Tells a Story 

Along your journey through the museum, you'll see a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father Peyton borrowed this statue from Benziger's religious -goods store to remedy a bare-looking Broadway Theater he was visiting to broadcast a radio program in 1945. The brilliantly blue, magnificent figure of the Blessed Mother never made it back to Benziger's. Father Peyton brought it with him to Albany, where it remained in the office of Family Rosary. And that program became a hit across America. It launched Father Peyton onto the national and international stage, establishing him as "the Rosary priest."  

Father Peyton recognized the opportunities presented in his lifetime for new means of evangelization, especially devotion to the Rosary, through radio airwaves and, later, the small and large screens of television and movies. In 1945, he convinced the Mutual Broadcasting System, the largest radio network in the United States at that time, to give him a half-hour of airtime to broadcast the Rosary. Successfully landing this valuable means of reaching into so many families' homes was described by Father Peyton as "the opportunity of a lifetime."  

The section of the museum dedicated to Father Peyton's time in Hollywood, and the development of Family Theater, born from his passion to bring the Rosary to the largest possible audience, is filled with Golden Age celebrities and fascinating memorabilia. One can't help but smile at the images of Father Peyton with the likes of Loretta Young and Bing Crosby, a testimony to what prayer and the intercession of the Blessed Mother can do.   


Museum IG 3


The Rosary’s Reach 

Visitors to the Museum of Family prayer enjoy a "front-row seat" to some of Father Peyton's impassioned speeches for some of the over 260 Rosary rallies he held worldwide. Be immersed in these poignant moments projected on the museum wall. Soak up the exhorting words of Father Peyton to families to pick up their Rosaries and pray—to strengthen marriages, families, and the world, seeing the Rosary as means for peace in our hearts, homes, and world, and reminding those listening that, "A world at prayer is a world at peace."  

As the museum tour winds down, guests learn that in 2001, the cause for the canonization of Fr. Peyton as a saint was opened in the Fall River Diocese. First proclaimed Servant of God, Pope Francis proclaimed him Venerable on December 18, 2017. Visitors can even take a "pilgrimage" over to the cemetery where Father Peyton is buried—you'll recognize his gravestone from the plethora of rosaries strewn atop it. However, before you leave the museum, be sure to spend time interacting with the fascinating video displays of the numerous testimonies of prayer, family prayer, and of course, the Rosary.  

To learn more, or plan your visit to the Museum of Family Prayer, please visit MuseumofFamilyPrayer.org   

About Allison Gingras

Allison Gingras ( ReconciledToYou.com) considers herself a new media evangelist. Authoring The Handy Little Guide to Novenas (OSV), Encountering Signs of Faith (Ave Maria Press) and the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (Our Sunday Visitor), which includes a new title in 2025, Jesus Heals. Allison is a Digital Content and Social Media Specialist for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom, and the Fall River Diocese.