Millions of Rosaries have been prayed on Instagram because of a woman’s ‘yes’

3 mins read

When siblings Kristin Reilly and Jill Greenwood began Many Hail Marys at a Time (MHM), a ministry to pray the Rosary live daily on Instagram, they intended it to be a monthlong initiative.

“We never wanted our faces out there,” recalls Reilly. “But we said, ‘we’ll just do this for the month of the Rosary for October.'”

That was three years ago.

The founder of Many Hail Marys recounts how 200 people would participate in the daily live Rosary. Reilly interpreted this as “Mary saying, ‘You can’t stop.'”

Kristin Reilly
Kristin Reilly (Courtesy photo)

So Reilly continued, as did the growth of the ministry.

When COVID-19 drove people to stay in their homes, the ministry’s community increased further. Reilly explains that MHM reached people in their sense of isolation during the pandemic. It was their social outlet for the day, she said.

The ministry has flourished to now include more than 1,000 people joining live on Instagram daily and nearly 10,000 watching the replay on IGTV, Facebook and YouTube.

“It’s really always been about just praying the Rosary every day, and not about growth, per se, or numbers,” said Reilly in a phone interview with Our Sunday Visitor.

Even so, the numbers are impressive.

Reilly has a goal to have 1 billion Rosaries prayed in her lifetime. This year alone, counting all the views on various media platforms, more than 2 million Rosaries have been prayed. The community of MHM includes participants from across both the United States and the world, including in Brazil, Canada, Italy, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.

Since its inauguration on Oct. 7, 2018, the feast of the Rosary, Many Hail Marys at a Time has grown in its format as well.

Each morning at 6:45 a.m. CST, a guest is welcomed. This person shares in the recitation of the Rosary followed by a discussion of their story in relation to both the Rosary and their faith journey. Past guests have included Father Donald Calloway, Leah Darrow, Sister Miriam James Heidland, Lila Rose, Jonathan Roumie and Chris Stefanick.

Additionally, as the Rosary is prayed, participants are able to share their intentions in the comments section. “Mary’s really created this digital community,” Reilly said of the Mother of God.

Through Many Hail Marys, Reilly has been surprised by numerous things including “the beauty and grace of the humanity of our universal Church.”

“Their hearts are just so big and so beautiful and so great,” said Reilly, in reference to those who pray with the ministry. “The people are really such a gift, just so loving and such amazing witnesses.”

“Many Hail Marys has really been a lifesaver for myself, and I think many others,” said Reilly. “It feels like the communion of saints.”

Reilly family
Reilly family (Courtesy photo)

Though her family had been committed to praying the Rosary daily for many years prior to the foundation of MHM, Reilly has been amazed by “the real fruits and gifts that really come from the Rosary.” It is truly an art form of reaching the soul, she marvels.

Reilly notes how there are a multitude of ways to pray the Rosary.

She suggests that there’s tangible fruit in one’s “fidelity to prayer.” Thus, when a person is faithful to daily prayer, especially when they don’t feel inclined toward doing so, blessings are in store. “That’s when you’re going to really see the Holy Spirit working throughout your day,” she assures.

In addition to the huge commitment and undertaking of being live on Instagram every day at a specific time, Reilly is a full-time Chicago-based banker and a soon-to-be mother of eight children under the age of 13. She finds encouragement in the stories and direct messages she receives about the ministry’s impact.

Reilly acknowledges that at the culmination of each day, when she reflects on what has transpired — beyond loving her husband and children — praying through MHM ranks highest in what she’s accomplished. “I feel like it’s always the greatest thing that I’ve done all day,” states Reilly.

In regard to her favorite mystery of the Rosary, Reilly says she has many. Beyond the Agony in the Garden, which comes to mind first, Reilly also greatly appreciates the Visitation, wherein Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth.

“That’s what I like to draw from with Many Hail Marys,” said Reilly, noting that the Visitation highlights how Mary brings Jesus to others.

“It’s really this meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, and it’s this joyful occasion, and they’re happy and laughing,” she said. “I just like to really meditate on the joy and that love between one another.”

When explaining why MHM is important and something to take part in, Reilly speaks of the Rosary’s capacity to properly orient one’s day and life.

“I think it directs your steps with heaven,” she said. “It opens your eyes to the love of the Holy Spirit, with Mary holding your hand.”

Reilly also has a bit of a promise. “It’ll be your greatest source of peace that will carry you through your day,” she said.

You can join the Many Hail Marys at a Time daily live Rosary at 6:45 a.m. CST on Instagram (@manyhailmarysatatime).

Nicole Snook writes from Canada.

Nicole Snook

Nicole is an alumna of Ave Maria College in Michigan. She holds bachelor’s degrees in theology and journalism as well as an MA in Theology. Having experienced a "call" to journalism when she was a youth, her work in media has spanned nearly 30 years. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia with her husband and children.