Franciscan Crown Rosary

Author: NA

Franciscan Crown Rosary (Seraphic Rosary) Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Franciscan Crown, or the Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an ancient sacramental treasured by the Franciscan order. Father Luke Wadding, a well-known Franciscan historian, dates the inception of this chaplet to 1422, the entrance date into the novitiate of the order of an unnamed pious young man. This young devotee of Mary had been accustomed, before his entrance, to decorate a statue of the Virgin with crowns of fresh flowers. This practice was forbidden to him in the novitiate, and fearing a lack of devotion to his Queen, he determined to leave the order.

In a vision, Our Lady appeared to him and told him, "Do not be sad and cast down, my son, because you are no longer permitted to place wreaths of flowers on my statue. I will teach you to change this pious practice into one that will be far more pleasing to me and far more meritorious to your soul. In place of the flowers that soon wither and cannot always be found, you can weave for me a crown from the flowers of your prayers that will always remain fresh."

Thereupon, Our Lady requested the young friar to say one Our Father and ten Hail Mary's in honor of seven joyous occasions in her life: (1) the Annunciation, (2) the Visitation, (3) the birth of Christ, (4) the adoration of the Magi, (5) the finding of Jesus in the Temple, (6) the resurrection of Our Lord, and (7) the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven.

As the vision faded, the overjoyed novice began to recite the prayers as she had instructed him to do. While he was devoutly praying, the novice master passed by and saw an angel weaving a wreath of roses. After every tenth rose, he inserted a golden lily. When the wreath was finished, the angel placed it on the head of the praying novice.

The novice master demanded under holy obedience that the novice explain to him the meaning of the vision. The novice complied, and the novice master was so impressed with what he had heard that he immediately told his brother friars. The practice of reciting the Crown of the Seven Joys soon spread to the entire Order.

In later years, two Hail Mary's were added to make the total of the Hail Marys equal to seventy-two, the number of years that Our Lady is said by Franciscans to have lived on earth. A final Hail Mary and Our Father were added for the intention of the Pope. In the twentieth century, it has become customary to add a profession of faith such as the Apostles' Creed to the recitation of this crown. Additionally, since 1968 it has become customary to combine the former third and fourth mysteries and to add two other combined mysteries as the meditation for the fourth decade-the presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the purification of the Blessed Virgin.

Taken from "A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals" by Ann Ball, published by Our Sunday Visitor.

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