Origin of the Holy Rosary

From St. Louis Grignon de Monfort’s“The Wonderful Secret of the HolyRosary”:


ROSE FIRST. The Rosary contains two elements: mental oration and vocal oration. The mind consists of the meditation of the main mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and his very holy Mother. The vowel consists of saying fifteen dozen Hail Marys, each preceded by a Pater, meditating and contemplating at the same time the fifteen main virtues practiced by Jesus and Mary in the fifteen mysteries of the holy Rosary. In the first part of five tens, the five gaudious mysteries are honored and considered; in the second the five painful mysteries; in the third the five glorious mysteries. In this way the Rosary is composed of vocal prayers and meditation to honor and imitate the mysteries and virtues of life, passion and death and the glory of Jesus Christ and Mary.

SECOND ROSE [10] The holy Rosary, being essentially composed of the prayer of Christ Jesus and the angelic greeting – the Pater and the Ave – and the meditation of the mysteries of Jesus and Mary, is undoubtedly the first and most important devotion in use to the faithful, from the time of the Apostles and the first disciples, century in time to come to us. [11] However, in the form and method in which it is currently recited, it was inspired by the Church and suggested by the Virgin to St Dominic to convert the Albigesi and sinners, only in 1214, in the way I am about to say, as reported by the Blessed Alano of the Rupee in his famous book De Dignitate psalterii. St. Dominic, noting that the sins of men were an obstacle to the conversion of the Albigesi, retreated to a forest near Toulouse and remained there three days and three nights in continuous prayer and penance. And such were his groans and his cries, his penances with discipline to appease the wrath of God who fell unconscious. The Holy Virgin then appeared accompanied by three princesses of heaven and said to him: “You know, dear Dominic, what weapon did the SS. Trinity use to reform the world?” – “My lady – answered her – you know better than me: after your son Jesus you were the main instrument of our salvation.” She added: “Know that the most effective weapon was the Angelic Salterium, which is the foundation of the New Covenant; so if you want to conquer those hardened hearts to God, preach my leap.” The Saint found himself consoled and ardent with zeal for the salvation of those peoples, he went to the cathedral of Toulouse. Immediately the bells, moved by the angels, rang out to gather the inhabitants. At the beginning of his sermon a furious thunderstorm broke out; the ground gasped, the sun darkened, thunder and continuous flashes

made the whole audience pale and tremble. Their fear grew when they saw an effigy of the Virgin, exposed in a clearly visible place, raise their arms three times to heaven and ask for God’s vengeance on them if they did not convert and resorted to the protection of the holy Mother of God. This sky prodigy infused the highest esteem for the new devotion of the Rosary and extended his knowledge. The storm finally ceased for the prayers of St. Dominic, who continued the speech explaining the excellence of the saint Rosario with such fervour and effectiveness that almost all the inhabitants of Toulouse embraced their practice and gave up their mistakes. Before long, a great change of customs and life was noticed in the city.

ROSA TERZA [12] This prodigious settling of the holy Rosary, which is a little reminiscent. the way in which God promulgates the Sinai Law, clearly shows the excellence of this sublime practice. St. Dominic, inspired by the Holy Spirit, taught by the Virgin and his personal experience, as long as he lived preached the Rosary by example and by word, in cities and countryside, to the great and the small, to the scholars and to the ignorant to Catholics and heretics. The holy Rosary, who he recited every day, was his preparation for preaching and his appointment after preaching. [13] One day – the feast of St. John the Evangelist was celebrated – the Saint stood in a chapel behind the main altar of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and recited the holy Rosary to prepare to preach. The Virgin appeared to him and said, “Sunday, the sermon that, you have prepared is good, but much better is this that I pre-feel you.” San Domenico receives from her hands the book in which the speech is written, reads it, tastes it, makes it his own and thanks the Holy Virgin. At the hour of the sermon he ascends to the pulpit and, after saying in praise of St. John the Evangelist only that he deserved to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven, declares to the illustrious audience of the great and the doctors accustomed to singular and scissors speeches, that he would continue not with the learned words of human wisdom, but with the simplicity and strength of the Holy Spirit. And he entertained them on the Rosary, explaining to them, word for word as he would do by speaking to children, the Angelic Greeting, using the very simple thoughts and arguments read on the sheet that had been given to him by Our Lady. [14] The fact has been removed, at least in part, from the book of the Blessed Great Dane of the Rupee: De Dignitate Psalterii, and thus reported by the Cartagena: Blessed Great Dane affirms that Saint Dominic said to him one day in a revelation: “My son, you preach, and he is, well; but so that you do not have to seek human praise more than the salvation of souls, listen to what happened to me in Paris. I had to preach in the great church dedicated to the blessed Virgin Mary and I wanted to speak in an ingenious way, not out of pride but for regard to the elective quality of the listeners. As I prayed, as I used to say for about an hour before the speech, reciting the Rosary, I was enraptured: I saw the divine Mother, my friend, give me a booklet and say to me: “Sunday, however well done the speech that counts to hold, I bring you a much better one.” All glad I take, the book, I read it in full and, as she said, I find there what was to be preached. I thanked her from the bottom of my heart. The time had come to preach, I had before the entire University of Paris and a large number of gentlemen, informed or witnesses, of the wonders performed by the Lord by my means. I’m going up to the ambo. It was the holiday of St. John the Evangelist, but of the Apostle I merely say that he deserved to be chosen as the guardian of the Queen of Heaven. Then I went on to say this to the audience: “Ladies and gentlemen; you are used to listening to elegant and high speeches, but today I do not want to address the learned words of human wisdom, but to reveal to you the Spirit of God and its strength.” And then, notes Cartagena along with the Blessed Alano, St. Dominic, he explained, with familiar comparisons and similarities, the angelic greeting. [15] The same Blessed Great Dane of the Rupee, as the Cartagena still reports, tells of several other apparitions of Our Lord and the Holy Virgin to St Dominic to stimulate him and infer him more and more to preach the holy Rosary so that sin is destroyed and sinners and heretics convert. At one point the Cartagena writes: “Blessed Great Dane tells him that Our Son Jesus Christ had appeared to St Dominic, and had said to him: “Sunday, I am pleased to see that you do not lean on your personal wisdom, that you work with humility to save souls and do not seek to please vain men. Many preachers, on the other hand, use from the beginning thunder against the most serious sins, ignoring that before administering a disgusting remedy it is necessary to dispose of the sick to receive it and to profit from it. For this reason, they must first urge the audience to love prayer and especially the angelic leap. If everyone begins to pray like this, no doubt divine clemency will be conducive to those who will persevere. So preach my Rosary.” [16] And elsewhere he says: “All preachers, at the beginning of the discourse, make the faithful recite the angelic greeting in order to obtain divine favor. This custom comes from a revelation. “My son,” he said, “do not wonder if you fail in your preaching: you work on land not yet irrigated by rain. Know that when God wanted to renew the world he first sent the rain, that is, the angelic greeting: in this way the world was reformed. In your sermons, therefore, call for the reciting of the Rosary and you will reap great fruits for souls.” This is always how St Dominic always did, which explains the full success of his preaching.” [17] I allowed myself to refer word by word these passages (translated from Latin) of good authors for the convenience of preachers and educated people who could question the wonderful effectiveness of the holy Rosary. Until, following the example of St Dominic, the preachers propagated devotion to the Rosary, piety and fervour flourished in religious orders faithful to this practice and in the Christian world. But as he began to neglect this gift from heaven, sin and disorder were observed everywhere.

PINK FOURTH [18] Since everything, even the holiest, when it depends above all on the will of men, is subject to change, it should not be surprised if the Brotherhood of the holy Rosary persevered in primitive fervour only for the space of about a hundred years since its establishment; she was later almost buried in oblivion. To the abandonment of the holy Rosary, undoubtedly contributed the malice and envy of the devil who wanted to stop the course of God’s graces drawn to the world by such devotion. In fact, divine justice struck all the kingdoms of Europe in 1349, with the most horrific plague that had ever come; played from the Levant and spread to Italy, Germany, France, Poland, Hungary; almost all these countries were so devastated that of a hundred men only one survived. In the three years that the contagion lasted, the towns, the villages, the monasteries were almost completely depopulated. This scourge of God was followed by two more: the heresy of the Flagellants and the deadly schism of 1376. [19] When finally, out of divine mercy, these calamities ceased, the Holy Virgin ordered the Blessed Great Dane of the Rupee, an illustrious doctor and renowned preacher of the Order of St. Dominic of the convent of Dinan, Brittany, to renew the ancient Brotherhood of the Holy Rosary; thus, at the disposal of the Virgin, the honor of re-establishing the well-known Brotherhood, it was up to a cleric from the same province where she was born. To accomplish this work, blessed The Alano began to work in 1460, especially after Our Lord – as he himself reports – told him, from the Holy Host as he celebrated Mass, to decide him to preach the Rosary: “But how, again, do you put me on the cross?” “What do you say Lord?” answered the blessed Dane, frightened. “Yes, it is your sins that crucify me,” Jesus added, “and I would rather be crucified at a time than to see my Father again offended by the sins you have committed in the past. And even now you crucify me because you possess science and what it takes to preach my Mother’s Rosary and by this means to teach, to keep so many souls away from sin in order to save them and prevent many other evils, but you do not, and so you are guilty of the sins that are committed.” These tremendous rebukes decided the blessed Dane to preach the Rosary relentlessly. [20] Also, the Holy Virgin, said to him one day to animate him more and more to preach the Rosary: “You have been a great sinner in your youth, but I got from my Son your conversion, I prayed for you and I would have even wished, if this had been possible, to suffer all sorts of pains to save you, because the converted sinners are my glory and to make you worthy to preach everywhere my Rosary.” St. Dominic, revealing to him the great fruits obtained by him in the peoples through this beautiful devotion, told him: “Do you see the fruit I have taken preaching the Rosary? Do so too, you and all those who love Our Lady, if you want to attract all peoples to the true science of virtues by means of this excellent exercise of the Rosary.” Here, in short, is how much. history teaches us about the establishment of the saint Rosario through St. Dominic. and its re-establishment by the blessed Great Dane of the Rupee.

ROSA QUINTA [21] Strictly speaking there is only one type of rosary fraternity of 150 Hail Mary. But if we consider the fervour of the different people who practice this devotion, there are three species: that of the common or ordinary Rosary, that of the Perpetual Rosary, and that of the daily Rosary. The Brotherhood of the Ordinary Rosary requires its recitation once a week; that of the perpetual Rosary, only once a year, that of the daily Rosary asks that it be receded every day and in full, that is, 150 Hail Marys. The omission of one of these Rosaries does not involve sin, not even venial, since the commitment is absolutely voluntary and in the most outsoed; however, it must not be registered in the fraternity who is not determined to recite it as prescribed by the statutes, without failing to meet the obligations of their state. Therefore, when an action imposed by the duty of state coincides or contrasts with the recitation of the Rosary, it must be preferred even if it is less holy than the Rosary. When, in case of illness, it cannot be recited in whole, nor in part without aggravating evil, there is no obligation to recite it. When, by legitimate obedience, or by involuntary forgetfulness, or by urgency, it was not possible to recite it there is no sin, not even venial; in this case, there was also participation in the graces and merits of the brothers and sisters who, in the world, recite the Rosary. Christian, if by sheer negligence, you do not recite it, as long as there is no formal contempt, do not sin, absolutely speaking; but you lose your participation in prayers, good works, the merits of the brotherhood. Moreover, because of your infidelities in small things and free choice, you will fall insensibly infidelity to big things and strictly obligation because “those who despise little will soon fall” (Sir 19,1).

PINK SIXTH [22] Since St Dominic established this devotion and until 1460, the year in which the blessed Great Dane of the Rupee renewed it by order of heaven it is called the Salterio of Jesus and Mary, both because it contains as many angelic greetings as the psalms of David, and because the simple and the ignorant who cannot recite the Salterio of David , they derive from the recitation of the Rosary the same fruit that is obtained with the recitation of the psalms. Indeed, a more abundant fruit: 1) because the angelic salterium produced a nobler fruit, the Incarnate Verb, while the Davidic salterium only announced it; 2) as reality overcomes the figure and the body the shadow, so the leap of the Virgin surpasses that of David who was only the shadow and the figure. 3) because it was the SS. Trinity itself that composed the leaperium of the Virgin, the Rosary composed of Pater and Ave. Here is what the Scholar Cartagena reports in this regard: “The illustrious writer of Aix-La-Chapelle (J. Beyssel) says in his book The Crown of Roses dedicated to the Emperor Maximilian: It cannot be claimed that the Marian greeting is newly invented, but it arose and spread with the Church itself. In fact, at the earliest origins of the Church, the most educated faithful celebrated the divine praises with the triple fifty of David’s psalms. Among the simple, who found many difficulties in divine service, a holy emulation was born. They thought, and rightly so, that in the heavenly praise (of the Rosary) all the divine mysteries of the psalms are included; especially because the psalms sang He who was to come while this prayer formula is addressed to Him already come. For this reason they began to call The Salterio of Mary the three fifties of Greetings, pressed with every ten oration. Sunday as they had seen those who recited the psalms”

[23] The Salterio or Rosary of the Virgin consists of three crowns each consisting of five tens, for the purpose: 1) to honor the Three People of the Holy Trinity; 2) to honor the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ; 3) to imitate the triumphant Church, to help the militant Church, to give relief to the purganting Church; 4) to model on the three parts of the salt, the first of which concerns purgestive life, the second is enlightening life and the third the united life; 5) to fill us with graces in this life, peace to death and glory in eternity.

PINK SEVENTH [24] Since the Blessed Great Dane of the Rupe renewed this devotion, the voice of the people, which is the voice of God, called it “Rosary”, that is, the crown of roses; and this means that every time the Rosary is devoutly recited, a wreath of 153 white roses and 16 red roses of paradise are placed in the head of Jesus and Mary, who will never lose their beauty and their splendor. The Virgin approved and confirmed this name of Rosario by revealing to several that with the Hail Marys recited in her honor, she is given as many welcome roses; and as many wreaths of roses as there are the recited Rosaries. [25] Brother Alfonso Rodriguez of the Society of Jesus, recited the Rosary with such ardour that he often saw from his mouth to each Pater a rose worm and at each Hail Mary a white rose, equal in beauty and fragrance, different only in color. The chronicles of St. Francis tell us that a young religious man had the laudable habit of reciting the crown of the Holy Virgin every day before the meal. One day, you don’t know for what reason, he omitted it. When lunchtime rang, he begged his superior to allow him to recite it before sitting down at the table and with his permission he retreated to the cell. The superior sent a cleric to call him. The brother found him shining with heavenly light; the Virgin and two angels were beside him. At each Hail Mary came out of her mouth a beautiful rose: the Angels collected the roses, one after the other and placed them on the head of Our Lady who was visibly satisfied. Two other religious, sent to see what was the cause of so late, were also able to admire the amazing spectacle, for the Virgin only broke out when the recitation of the entire crown came to an end. The Rosary is therefore. a great wreath of roses; part of the Rosary is like a small serto of pic-coli flowers or a small wreath of heavenly roses that is put in the head of Jesus and Mary. As the rose is the queen of flowers, so the Rosary is the rose and the first among, the devotions.