"The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description."
-- Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
A Brief History of the Rosary
The Rosary is a Marian devotion that uses a set of beads to count prayers during its recitation. Since the establishment of monastic orders, it was common practice to use beads and pebbles to count repetitions of prayers such as the Our Father and the Hail Mary, which both come directly from the Bible. Many attribute the origins of the Rosary devotion to Saint Dominic. It is believed that an apparition of the Blessed Mother visited him in 1214 and told him to spread the Angelic Psalter (the recitation of 150 Hail Marys) for the conversion of souls. Popular during Dominic’s lifetime, this devotion became neglected a century later, but around 1460 it was revived and enhanced by Blessed Alan de la Roche again under the direction of Mary. Over the next century the devotion of the Rosary evolved with additions and changes in its recitation into what we have today. The Secret of the Rosary, written by Saint Louis de Montfort sometime before his death in 1716, is a powerful book explaining the history, significance, and power of the Rosary. Lost during the French Revolution, the manuscript was finally rediscovered in 1842, but not printed until 1911.
Essentials of the Rosary
Sometimes called the "Bible on a String," the Rosary is a beautiful, ancient meditation of the Church dating back to the 13th century that uses beads to help count out prayers including the Our Father and Hail Mary. The required prayers involved in reciting the rosary are the: 1) Our Father, 2) Hail Mary, 3) Apostle's Creed, 4) Glory Be, and 5) Hail Holy Queen. Many also include the Fatima Prayer between decades. All prayers are either scripturally or thematically based. Additionally, the rosary is divided into decades or groups of ten prayers. Each decade is dedicated to a mystery of the life of Jesus. There are 4 groups of mysteries: 1) Joyful, 2) Glorious, 3) Sorrowful, and 4) Luminous. Use the button below to get more detailed information on how to pray the rosary.
The Mysteries of the Rosary
When you begin praying the rosary, you should be mindful of its meditative benefit. Each day you will reflect on a different part of the life of Jesus with each of the five decades devoted to a different mystery within that portion of the life of Christ. Originally the church set up three sets of mysteries that reflected on:
1. The early life of Jesus (called the Joyful Mysteries),
2. The Passion of Jesus (called the Sorrowful Mysteries), and
3. The heavenly life of Jesus (called the Glorious Mysteries).
In 2002, Pope John Paul II proposed a fourth set of mysteries that encompassed the earthly ministry of Jesus (called the Luminous Mysteries). According to his suggestion, the four sets of mysteries may be prayed on the following days:
1. The Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Saturday, and Sundays during Advent,
2. The Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday, and Sundays during Lent,
3. The Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday and Sunday,
4. The Luminous Mysteries on Thursday.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Glorious Mysteries
The Luminous Mysteries
The Divine Mercy Chaplet
Another powerful prayer that can be said using rosary beads is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The image below shows how to pray the chaplet:
For more information on this powerful prayer and its history please visit: