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The Rosary and its Origin

The Rosary is one of the most cherished prayers of our Catholic Church. Introduced by the Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Mary’s and the Doxology (“Glory Be"), and concluded with the Salve Regina, the Rosary involves the recitation of five decades, each consisting of the Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, and the Doxology. During this recitation, the individual meditates on the saving mysteries of our Lord’s life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother. Journeying through the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary, the individual brings to mind our Lord’s incarnation, His passion and death, His resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into glory. In so doing, the Rosary assists us in growing in a deeper appreciation of these mysteries, in uniting our life more closely to our Lord, and in imploring His graced assistance to live the faith. We also ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother, the exemplar of faith, who leads all believers to her Son.

The origins of the Rosary are “sketchy" at best. The use of “prayer beads" and the repeated recitation of prayers to aid in meditation stem from the earliest days of the Church and have roots even in pre-Christian times. Evidence exists from the Middles Ages that strings of beads were used to help a person count the number of Our Fathers or Hail Marys recited. Actually, these strings of beads became known as “Paternosters," the Latin for “Our Father."

The structure of the Rosary gradually evolved between the 12th and 15th centuries. Eventually 50 Hail Marys were recited and were linked with verses of psalms or other phrases evoking the lives of Jesus and Mary. During this time, this prayer form became known as the rosarium (“rose garden"), actually a common term used to designate a collection of similar material, such as an anthology of stories on the same subject or theme. Finally, during the 16th century, the structure of the five decade Rosary based on the three sets of mysteries prevailed.

Tradition does hold that St. Dominic (d. 1221) devised the Rosary as we know it. Moved by a vision of our Blessed Mother, he preached the use of the Rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, who had denied the mystery of Christ’s incarnation. Some scholars take exception to St. Dominic’s actual role in forming the Rosary since the earliest accounts of his life do not mention it, the Dominican constitutions do not link him with it, and contemporaneous paintings of St. Dominic do not include it as an identifying symbol the saint.

In 1922, Dom Louis Gougaud stated, “The various elements which enter into the composition of that Catholic devotion commonly called the Rosary are the product of a long and gradual development which began before St. Dominic’s time, which continued without his having any share in it, and which only attained its final shape several centuries after his death." However, other scholars would rebut that St. Dominic not so much “invented" the Rosary as he preached its use to convert sinners and those who had strayed from the faith. Moreover, at least a dozen popes have mentioned St. Dominic’s connection with the Rosary in various papal pronouncements, sanctioning his role as at least a “pious belief."

The Rosary gained greater popularity in the 1500s. At this time, the Moslem Turks were ravaging Eastern Europe. Recall that in 1453, Constantinople had fallen to the Moslems, leaving the Balkans and Hungary open to conquest. With Moslems raiding even the coast of Italy, the control of the Mediterranean was now at stake. In 1571, Pope Pius V organized a fleet under the command of Don Juan of Austria, the half-brother of King Philip II of Spain. While preparations were underway, the Holy Father asked all of the faithful to say the Rosary and implore our blessed Mother’s prayers, under the title Our Lady of Victory, that our Lord would grant victory to the Christians. Although the Moslem fleet outnumbered that of the Christians in both vessels and sailors, the forces were ready to meet in battle. The Christian flagship flew a blue banner depicting Christ crucified. On October 7, 1571, the Moslems were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto. The following year, Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving established the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7 where the faithful would not only remember this victory, but also continue to give thanks to the Lord for all of His benefits and to remember the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother.

Mindful of the action of Pope Pius V, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, in an Angelus address given in October, 1983, stated, “The Rosary also takes on fresh perspectives and is charged with stronger and vaster intentions than in the past. It is not a question now of asking for great victories, as at Lepanto and Vienna, rather it is a question of asking Mary to provide us with valorous fighters against the spirit of error and evil, with the arms of the Gospel, that is, the Cross and God’s Word. The Rosary prayer is man’s prayer for man. It is the prayer of human solidarity, the collegial prayer of the redeemed, reflecting the spirit and intent of the first of the redeemed, Mary, Mother and Image of the Church. It is a prayer for all the people of the world and of history, living and dead, called to be the Body of Christ with us and to become heirs together with Him of the glory of the Father."

The fact that our Church continues to include the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the liturgical calendar testifies to the importance and goodness of this form of prayer. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “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."



  1. 2Y Neh C2 Reply

    one night our house was entered by a ghost but we do not sure that it was a ghost that entered our house,, the door open by itself,,then following night same time we check the door thoroughly to make sure its not the wind that cos it open by itself & at exact same time as yesterday nite the door that we test to make sure its not having any error open again,,so on tomorrow nite all of us that share in one room recite rosary prayer b4 went to sleep,,while our rosary prayer are still going on suddently the wheather change storm coimng strong wind together with heavy rain & lighting blend together with our prayer then after nearly 10 minit prayer finished storm getting subside & rain stop,,& all of us still stay awake all watching at the door that open by it self for 2 consecutive nite has gone forever,,glad we catholic have rosary prayer

  2. henry bala Reply

    Great power of mother marys prayers

    1. bb Reply

      Its man made paganism giving glory to the devil

      1. Laura Neeson Reply

        How can meditating on christs passion & other major gospel events while reciting biblical prayers be paganism? You should try it sometime, you might actually start believing the truth in its fullness and beauty

    2. toki Reply

      Yes me too glad to be catholic, I am used to pray 50 rosary but now I grad I can pray 200 rosary a day thanks mother Mary.

  3. Bibek Reply

    i love is a wonderful prayer……….

  4. Anasetasia Reply

    I came from a strong Catholic family my Mother taught us the rosary all our life and she never miss a day praying the rosary mum passed on and we continue saying the rosary.Mum always said believe in the hidden graces in the rosary unexpected circumstances will flow peacefully if you keep saying the rosary and it’s so true.

  5. Evelyn Onglatco Uberas Reply

    I believe in power of the Rosary , started praying, in my elementary days, never miss it up to now, now all of our children with their families pray the Rosary , now I made it a point to say 4 mysteries of the Rosary daily .For the family that prays together stays together

  6. Edward fernandes Reply

    Yes Rosary is a powerful prayer and a waepon to fight against evil so pray everyday.

    1. bnb Reply

      You a pagan, worship God

  7. Gareth Bell Reply

    the Rosary was given to Saint Dominic by Our Lady in the 13th century this has been recognised by all of the popes that St Dominic receive the Rosary from our lady her self Our Lady taught St Dominic how to pray and use the Rosary, anybody who is of the modernist Liberal way of thinking who denies this even if they are from the domination order are heretical

    1. Chachita Reply

      Yes, it may have been endorsed by the Catholic church, but it never was endorsed by God or by His Christ. How do you test that the spirit by which you pray these prayers are from Yahweh?

  8. woodrow wobblestick Reply

    What a deluded bunch you all are. There is no direction anywhere in the Bible to pray to Mary. Worship God alone ( Father -Son) She fulfilled her purpose in being called to be the mother of Jesus. Read the scriptures, she was not heard of after the church started. She is not divine – to give her that status is idol worship. “You shall not have any other God’s before me” THE FIRST COMMANDMENT! Pray to God – Jesus not an idol. Read the scriptures yourselves.

    1. Laura Neeson Reply

      You are gravely mistaken!! The Gospel of John teaches us clearly that Mary intercedes with her son on our behalf- as she did at the wedding at Cana. Mary knew that there was no more wine and
      approached Jesus and said “they have no more wine”, Jesus said his hour had not yet come yet because she asked on the bride and grooms behalf, and because he so loved his blessed mother, he did as she asked. Therefore we are shown that Mary is the most powerful intercessor of all- we pray directly to Jesus but we also ask Mary to present our prayers to Jesus because we know he cannot resist his blessed mothers requests. She is the ark of the new covenant! “Hail Mary full of grace!” “And henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”

  9. Constance Chapman Reply

    Hey there el Denso. We do not worship Mary. We honor her. Big difference. And this is going to be probably the only spiritual defense we have against Islam. Lepanto…Google it. And quit downing the Rosary. It is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus we reflect on while praying. Unless you have a problem with the Gospel.

    1. Chachita Reply

      Many ‘honor’ her by praying to ‘her’. This is 100% contrary to God’s commands and commandment to honor and serve Him only through His Son. His Son is deity, not Mary. God’s Son is the only person worthy of honor and praise and veneration. Honoring anyone else as many do today is spiritual adultery aka idolatry. Even Mary instructed us plainly in John 2:5 to listen to Christ and do whatever HE tells us to do. Do some research on the mala beads and repetitious prayer, your eternal soul is dependent on the truth you did not obey.

      1. Laura Neeson Reply

        The rosary asks us to meditate upon the life of Christ through the gospels while reciting biblical prayers! You should actually learn what it is before you attack it. It can only bring you closer to God. & the passage you quote about Mary saying do whatever He tells you is what proves you are wrong! It proves that even though Jesus’s hour had not yet come, she asks him for a miracle and he did it for her! It shows us that Mary is a powerful intercessor and when she presents our prayers to her son, he cannot resist her prayers! Stop disrespecting the Mother of God! Do you realise that ALL of the reformers, Luther, Calvin and the rest all believed that Mary was the mother of God and should be honoured? And that was told to me by a Protestant preacher of 18 years! It’s only modern Christian reformers that have changed that view -Catholicism is the fullness of the truth in all its glory!

      2. Pauline Reply

        Obviously, you don’t even know the words of the “Hail Mary”, for if you did you would not make a statement of such complete ignorance as you have. The first part of the prayer is basically Luke 1:42. The second part is simply a petition: “Holy Mary, Mother of God” — she IS holy by virtue of the fact that she said “Yes” to God while Eve–and most of us–said “no”. Note also that this doesn’t say she is God but merely the Mother of God. The petition continues, “…pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” It doesn’t say “Save us”, it says “Pray for us”! A MAJOR distinction. Why would any believing person NOT ask for Jesus’ mother to pray for us? You are absolutely right about John 2:5. Mary instructs us to “do as He tells you.” So what did Jesus tell us to do from the cross? “Behold your Mother”! (John 19:26) Anyone who does not honor Mary as their mother is not only disregarding Jesus’ direct instruction, but is sinning by violating God’s commandments (Exodus 20:12) (Deuteronomy 5:16).

  10. Norma T. Mojares Reply

    I do recite the Holy Rosary everyday. I believe there is a great BLESSING from the Lord and loving HOPE from above.

    1. Chachita Reply

      But the God of the Bible never instructs us to say the rosary? He instructs us to pray to Christ His Son. Why would you place a man-made decree over God’s word? Mary the mother of the man Jesus can’t even hear these prayers you pray. Why not just use your breath to pray to the One who receives them, hears them and answers them in purity – Christ Jesus our Savior.
      1 Timothy 2:5 – for there is One Mediator between God and man – Christ Jesus.
      John 14:14 – You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it. – Jesus

      Shall we obey mortal man over the Supreme Creator and Redeemer?

      1. Muyiwa Reply

        U r right and wrong! Lol sounds confusing. 1 Tim 2:5 did state that but even st Paul and other Apostles still supported the use of intercessors Jas 5:16-17 Col 1:9 2Thess1:11,5;25. Another bible quote u may base on is Jn 14:6 Christ says he’s the way truth… no man comes to the father but by me, but read the surrounding versesud realize Chist was only asserting his God, Phillip says Lord show us the father and thatll be enough for us but christ says How can u say such? I am in the father and vice versa, . Christ is not some kinda Train that takes u to ur destination, Christ himself is ur destination, whether u pray to Christ or to the Father its the same God(trinity) nd Chist does not mean we should not speak directly to the father cos as seen in the Lords Prayer. Now lemme say that anyone one that lives in Christ truly lives, Of cos u will not say marry lives not in christ for she is his mum, and Christ is grace and Mary is full of grace (luke 1:28) so therefore there’s no better intercessor than Mary(we do not pray to Mary but ask her to pray for us) Christ will listen to his mother better, she knows hw to push ours prayers better and persuade him to answer(wedding at canaan), be blessed

        1. Laura Reply

          Dear Muyiwa, Its not something i readily share but over 15 years ago, i had a vision of the blessed virgin Mary. She came in the night and woke me from a sleep through a bright gold light on my eyes. I woke to see a gold ball of light floating at the foot of my bed. the light became bigger and bigger until i saw within it, our lady in all her beauty and glory. She did not speak, she just motioned a calling with her hand and internally I understood that she was calling me back to her son Jesus. That was the beginning of my conversion back to my faith and back to Jesus. She walked me the whole way back and taught me all about her son, through people who came in to my life, through dreams. Whether you believe me or not, is up to you, but I KNOW that our Lady is working vey hard helping to gather the flock before her son returns again. She leads us to her son and never takes the glory for herself. No one will ever be able to convince me otherwise since i experienced this personally. If you accept Jesus, you must honour and love his mother just as you honour and love your earthly mother.

  11. John Grant Reply

    how lovely is the Rosary because when saying it you are transported into the family house in Nazareth and it is like going through our family photograph album from the Annunciation through all the life periods and seeing what our Brother and Mother went through in their lives and also tells us what a great man St Joseph was

  12. miker0wave Reply

    I love the rosary

  13. Akinkuotu Clinton Reply

    Chachita u r getting everything wrong…and av noticed same thing u r doing other protestants also do same ,u twist d scripture so as to blend to ur own will u don’t like to hear d truth same thing Luther did by removing some books in d bible…if u wanna know MRE take my advise clear ur mind,read ur bible search online pray and u will c d truth…u Protestants always make same mistake over and over again….no catholic will tell u Mary is a mediator…I believe mediating and interceding is quite different…and look at d life of d virgin Mary u will know she is not ordinary like u take her to be…

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