The history of the Rosary is as old as the Church, for from the times of the apostles Christians were meditating upon these mysteries in Jesus' life.
However, it wasn't until the year 1208, that the Rosary as we know it came to be. Mary herself revealed the Rosary to St. Dominic.
It was her wish that this devotion be spread throughout the world.
Within the early history of the Rosary, only 100 years later, devotion to the Rosary declined substantially. Not long after the Black Plague swept across Europe in the 1300s, Mary choose Blessed Alan de la Roche to re-establish devotion to her Rosary.
The people needed the peace and reassurance that this prayer brings more than ever.
Alan belonged to the order St. Dominic founded. He was a Dominican preacher from Brittany. In 1460 Alan was visited by Jesus.
Jesus gave him a warning...
"How can you crucify Me again so soon?" Jesus questioned Alan. "You crucified Me once before by your sins and I would willingly be crucified again rather than have My Father offended by the sins you used to commit. You are crucifying Me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach My Mother's Rosary, and you are not doing so. If you only did this you could teach many souls that right path and lead them away from sin - but you are not doing it and so, you yourself are guilty of the sins that they commit."
These unforgettable words from Jesus set Alan afire and he went out with as much fervor as St. Dominic himself had and preached the Rosary.
Mary also appeared to Alan. She also had a message for him.
"You were a great sinner in your youth but I obtained the grace of your conversion from my Son. Had such a thing been possible I would have liked to have gone through all kinds of suffering to save you because converted sinners are a glory to me. And I would have done this also to make you worthy of preaching my Rosary far and wide."
Alan was visited not only by Jesus and Mary but also of St. Dominic, the father of his order and the original preacher of the Rosary. St. Dominic mentored Alan. One of the things he told Alan was...
"See the wonderful results I have had through preaching the Holy Rosary! You and all those who love Our Lady ought to do the same so that, by means of this holy practice of the Rosary, you may draw all people to the real science of the virtues."
The Rosary is the best way to honor the mother of Jesus. It brings peace to peoples lives by bringing them closer to Jesus. But we need to live according to the commandments of God, and here are just a few of many great chapters about how to honor our Blessed Mother of Mercy and her Son:
The words of the glorious Virgin to Saint Bridget about how to dress and with what kind of clothes and ornaments her daughter should be adorned and clothed.
Click this link to read more: Book 1 - Chapter 7
I am Mary who gave birth to the Son of God, true God and true man. I am the Queen of Angels. My son loves you with all of his heart. Therefore, you should love him. You should be adorned with the most proper clothes, and I will show you how and what kind they should be. Just as before you had an undershirt, a shirt, shoes, a cloak, and a brooch on your chest, so now you shall have spiritual clothes.
The undershirt you shall have is contrition for your sins; for just as an undershirt is closest to the body, so contrition and confession are the first way of conversion to God. Through these the mind, which once enjoyed sin, is purified, and the unchaste flesh restrained from evil lusts. The two shoes are two intentions: namely, the will to make amendment for your past sins, and the will to do good and refrain from evil. Your shirt is hope in God; and just as a shirt has two sleeves, so may justice and mercy be paired with your hope, so that you will hope for the mercy of God, yet not forget his justice. Think about his justice and harsh judgment in such a way that you do not forget his mercy, for he does not work justice without mercy, or mercy without justice. The cloak is faith, for just as the cloak covers everything and everything is enclosed in it, man can likewise comprehend and attain all things by faith. This cloak should be decorated with the tokens of your Bridegroom’s love - namely, how he created you, how he redeemed you, how he raised you and led you into his spirit and opened your spiritual eyes...
Therefore, be modest and polite and do not think about or desire anything but your God and Creator - for when you have him, you have everything! Adorned in this way, you shall await your Bridegroom.”
The words of the Queen of Heaven to her beloved daughter, Saint Bridget, teaching her how she should love and praise the Son of God together with his blessed Mother.
Click this link to read more: Book 1 - Chapter 8
I am the Queen of Heaven. You are concerned about how you should praise and honor me. Know and be certain that all praise of my Son also is praise of me, and those who dishonor him also dishonor me. This is so because I loved him and he loved me so ardently that both of us were like one heart. He so magnificently honored me, who was an earthen vessel, that he raised me above all the angels. Therefore, you should praise me like this: “Blessed be you, God, Creator of all things, who deigned to descend into the womb of the Virgin Mary! Blessed be you, God, who wished to be within the Virgin Mary without burdening her, and deigned to take immaculate flesh from her without sin! Blessed be you, God, who came to the Virgin, bringing joy to her soul and her whole body, and who went out of her without sin, to the joy of her whole body! Blessed be you, God, who after your heavenly ascension gladdened the Virgin Mary, your Mother, with continuous comforts and visited her with your consolation! Blessed be you, God, who assumed the body and soul of the Virgin Mary, your Mother, into heaven and honorably placed her above all the angels next to your Divinity! Have mercy on me for the sake of all her prayers!”
The Virgin Mary’s words to the bride about how there are three things in the dance and company of the world, and about how this world is symbolized by the dance, and about Mary’s suffering at her Son’s death.
Click this link to read more: Book 1 - Chapter 27
The Virgin Mary, the Mother of God spoke to the bride and said: “My daughter, I want you to know that where there is a dance, there are three things: namely, empty joy, loud shouting, and useless and vain work. But when someone enters the dance house sorrowful or sad, then his friend, who attends in the joy of the dance sees his friend coming there sad and sorrowful, immediately leaves the joy of the dance and separates himself from the dance and mourns with his sorrowing friend.
This dance is this world that is always caught up in trouble, even though it seems like joy to foolish men. In this world there are three things: empty joy, frivolous words, and useless work, because everything that a man gathers by his work he must leave behind himself. The one who joins in this worldly dance should consider my labor and sorrow and then mourn with me, who was separated from all worldly joy, and then separate himself from the world.
At my Son’s death I was like a woman whose heart had been pierced by five spears. The first spear was his shameful and blameworthy nakedness, for I saw my most beloved and mighty Son stand naked at the pillar without any clothing to cover him at all. The second spear was the accusation against him, for they accused him of being a traitorous betrayer and liar, him, whom I knew to be righteous and true and never to have offended or wished to offend or injure anyone. The third spear was his crown of thorns that pierced his sacred head so violently that the blood flowed down into his mouth and his beard and ears. The fourth spear was his sorrowful voice on the cross with which he cried out to the Father, saying: ‘O Father, why have you abandoned me?’ It was as if he wanted to say: ‘O Father, there is no one who pities me but you.’ The fifth spear which pierced my heart, was his most bitter and cruel death. My heart was pierced with as many spears as the arteries from which his most precious blood flowed out of him. In truth, the pain in his pierced sinews, arteries, feet, hands and body went mercilessly to his heart and from the heart back to his sinews; for his heart was healthy and strong and of the finest nature, and life contended long with death; and thus his life was prolonged in the midst of the most bitter pain...
Then my hands became numb, my eyes were darkened, and my face became pale as a dead man. My ears could hear nothing, my mouth could not speak, my feet trembled, and my body fell to the ground. When I got up from the ground and saw my Son looking horribly disfigured and more miserable than a leper, I submitted my entire will to his knowing with certainty that everything had happened according to his will and could not have happened unless he had allowed it. I therefore thanked him for everything, and so there was always some joy mixed with my sadness, because I saw that he, who had never sinned, had, in his great love, wanted to suffer this much for the sins of mankind. Therefore, may all those who are in the world contemplate how I suffered when my Son died and always have it in front of their eyes and in their thoughts!”
The Rosary prayer is so pleasing to Jesus that He will not allow people to forget its saving powers.
In 1521 Alberto da Castello another Dominican Preacher created a book called The Rosary of the Glorious Virgin Mary.
This publication is the first time the Rosary appeared in the form that it is prayed today.
Adding to the history of the rosary, another Dominican Preacher made a standard form for the Rosary. Pope St. Pius V did this at the time of the famous Battle of Lepanto in the mid 1500s.
What Do Modern Popes Have To Say About The Rosary?
"Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary."
"We do not wish here to pass over in silence the fact that the Blessed Virgin herself, even in our times has solicitously recommended this manner of prayer, when she appeared and taught it to the innocent girl in the Grotto of Lourdes."
Pope Leo XIII - Reign 1878-1903
"A powerful means of renewing our courage will undoubtedly be found in the Holy Rosary."
Pope Benedict XV - Reign 1914-1922
"This prayer is perfect because of the praise it offers, because of the lessons it imparts, because of the graces it obtains and because of the triumphs it achieves."
Pope Pius XI - Reign 1922-1939
"If you desire peace in your hearts, your homes and your country, assemble every evening to recite the Rosary."
"Among the various supplications with which we successfully appeal to the Virgin Mother of God, the Holy Rosary without doubt occupies a special and distinct place."
"Tell your faithful people that the Pope is not satisfied with simply blessing the Rosary, but that he prays his Rosary everyday and invites all his children to do the same."
Pope Pius XII - Reign 1939-1958
"There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the family... than the daily recitation of the Rosary."
"We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils which afflict our times."
History Of The Rosary Leads You
Through The Life Of Jesus
The History of the Rosary contains spectacular heavenly visits from the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Two of the most popular apparitions were at Lourdes and Fatima. During these visits, Mary encouraged her children to pray the Roman Catholic Rosary and taught them of the amazing power of the Rosary.
We encourage you to investigate more about the fascinating history of the Rosary below...
Appears to Sickly Girl at Lourdes
Mary appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes, France, in the late 1850s... read more...
Documented Phenomenal Event In Fatima
On May 13, 1917, Mary chose three shepherd children in rural Portugal to give her Rosary message to... read more...
The history of the Rosary is fascinating indeed. It is important to learn this history so that the value of the Rosary can be appreciated and understood.
Our Lady of the Rosary
She told of the great benefits and graces that would be sent to individuals and to the world as a whole if this request would be fulfilled.
Therefore, Catholics should strive to pray the entire 15-decade Rosary each day, if possible. One set of mysteries at three different times in the day is the recommendation of St. Louis De Montfort as a good way to get that accomplished. Frankly, many Catholics who are home most of the day are not getting the full rosary accomplished, when they easily could. Thus, they are missing out on tremendous graces from the rosary, and the opportunity to help save other souls by their prayers.
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Hail Mary, and the holy rosary are essential. Catholics must come to learn and understand the power of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Hail Mary, and the holy rosary.
St. Louis De Montfort (+1710): “Blessed Alan de la Roche who was so deeply devoted to the Blessed Virgin had many revelations from her and we know that he confirmed the truth of these revelations by a solemn oath. Three of them stand out with special emphasis: the first, that if people fail to say the Hail Mary (the Angelic Salutation which has saved the world) out of carelessness, or because they are lukewarm, or because they hate it, this is a sign that they will probably and indeed shortly be condemned to eternal punishment.” (Secret of the Rosary, p. 45)
St. Louis De Montfort (+1710): “… there are some very sanctifying interior practices for those whom the Holy Ghost calls to high perfection. These may be expressed in four words: to do all things by Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary; so that we may do them all the more perfectly by Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus and for Jesus.” (True Devotion to Mary#257)
We strongly recommend that Catholics make the consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary which St. Louis De Montfort explains in his book, True Devotion to Mary.
St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary #39: “We must not confuse devotion to the Blessed Virgin with devotions to the other saints, as if devotion to her were not far more necessary than devotion to them, and as if devotion to her were a matter of supererogation [extra special devotion].”
St. Louis De Montfort (+1706): “Make for me, if you will, a new road to go to Jesus, and pave it with all the merits of the blessed, adorn it with all their heroic virtues, illuminate and embellish it with all the lights and beauties of the angels, and let all the angels and saints be there themselves, to escort, defend and sustain those who are ready to walk there; and yet in truth, I say boldly, and I repeat that I say truly, I would prefer to this new, perfect path the immaculate way of Mary.” (True Devotion to Mary #158)
It is precisely because most don’t understand the Blessed Virgin Mary’s unique connection to Jesus, and her role in the Incarnation and the salvation of souls, that they never make much progress in the way of perfection.
St. Louis De Montfort: “As there are secrets of nature by which natural operations are performed more easily, in a short time and at little cost; so are there secrets in the order of grace by which supernatural operations, such as ridding ourselves of self, filling ourselves with God, and becoming perfect, are performed more easily. The practice which I am about to disclose [of true devotion to Mary] is one of these secrets, unknown to the greater number of Christians, known even to few of the devout, and practiced and relished by a lesser number still.” (True Devotion to Mary #82)
St. Louis De Montfort (+ c. 1710): “By this practice [the True Devotion to Mary which he teaches], faithfully observed, you will give Jesus more glory in a month than by any other practice, however difficult, in many years…” (True Devotion to Mary #222)
St. Louis De Montfort: “… many others have proved invincibly, from the sentiments of the Fathers (among others, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Germanus, St. John Damascene, St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure), that devotion to Mary is necessary to salvation, and that… it is an infallible mark of reprobation to have no esteem and love for the holy Virgin.” (True Devotion to Mary # 40)
Regarding the Holy Rosary, Sister Lucia told Father Fuentes in a famous 1957 interview:
"Look, Father, the Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary, we will save ourselves. We will sanctify ourselves. We will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls."
Certainly the Mother of God was given a special station of mercy by the Lord Jesus Christ. Any sinner, no matter how dark his state, can feel confident in turning to her at all times. At the same time, however, this quote reveals Mary’s justice. Having a perfect soul and perfect faith, she is also perfectly in tune with God’s justice. This incident shows us that those who think they can sin mortally and despise His grace – and that she will somehow find a way to obtain Christ’s mercy for them anyway – are very mistaken.
St. Alphonsus (c. 1755): “In the year 1611, in the celebrated sanctuary of Mary in Montevergine, it happened that on the vigil of Pentecost the people who thronged there profaned that feast with balls, excesses, and immodest conduct, when a fire was suddenly discovered bursting forth from the house of entertainment where they were feasting, so that in less than an hour and a half it was consumed, and more than one thousand five hundred persons were killed. Five persons who remained alive affirmed upon oath, that they had seen the mother of God herself, with two lighted torches set fire to the inn.” (The Glories of Mary, p. 659)
We recommend that all Catholics obtain and read the following books. If one reads and thinks about the four last things (DEATH, JUDGMENT, HELL, HEAVEN,) one will most likely avoid sin, the occasions of sin, and live a good life. We consider these books to be essential for proper spiritual formation, and we believe that one will gain more from reading them than one will from reading many other books.
- True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Louis De Montfort
- The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis De Montfort
- Preparation for Death by St. Alphonsus (abridged version)
Won't you obey Our Lady by fulfilling her request...
... by praying the Rosary every day!