The History of the Holy Rosary

Jude Missa

The Holy Rosary is the most commonly used prayer of Catholics in the world. It comes in second to the Holy Mass. During prayer, one would use rosary beads with a Crucifix while kneeling in front of the altar in church, chapel, or at home. Prayer was often led by a priest, deacon, nun, lay people in church, or any family member at home.

Before the Holy Rosary was formed, the faithful, including the Desert Fathers, carried pebbles in pouches to count their praying of Psalms in the third century. Until the creation of Pater Noster Cord where it was to use to count the recitation of the 150 psalms while those who don’t memorize it prayed the Our Father 150 times.

During the battle between St. Dominic de Guzman and the Albigensian Heresy in France in 1214. He received a rosary from the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared to him. She showed him the way how to use this and assured him that his apostolic efforts would be blessed with success. Then in the 15th Century, Blessed Alain de la Roche (or Alanus de Rupe) received a vision from our Lord Jesus Christ to reinstate the Holy Rosary as a form of prayer and received the Blessed Virgin’s fifteen promises. This devotion was exclusively practiced by the Dominicans.

In 1571, where Pope St. Pius V called all the faithful in Europe to pray the Holy Rosary to ask for help from the Blessed Virgin Mary for victory at the Battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman Empire. The Holy League prevailed, and the Pope established the feast of Our Lady of Victory and made it mandatory for all churches worldwide to recite it. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII renamed the feast to Our Lady of the Rosary.

The Holy Rosary is divided in three mysteries, as instructed by the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Dominic: the Joyful, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious mysteries. The Rosary features the crucifix as the place to pray the Apostle’s Creed, while the six solo beads are used to pray the Our Father. The first three beads are three Hail Marys, the five decades of beads are ten Hail Marys, and at the end of each decade to pray the Glory Be.

In 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared to the three children of Fatima, she taught them a prayer instructing them to add in praying the rosary at the end of each decade (after the Glory Be), this is called the Fatima Prayer:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.

Pope John Paul II added the Luminous mysteries as optional in 2002. As time passed, it became a requirement to include it in the Rosary. The Traditional Catholics were against using these mysteries as they were not given instructions by the Virgin Mary to St. Dominic and the three seers of Fatima. For Centuries, the original traditional form of rosary has produced great saints and innumerable miracles. So why change something handed out by our Mother herself?

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