Monday, October 25, 2021

Exploring The Powerful History Of The Rosary

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The rosary is considered a very important element of the Catholic faith. It has been practiced and prayed for centuries now. A lot of people believe and have strong faith in the power of the rosary.

Do you know about the power of the rosary? You must have heard several stories about it.

There are so many miracle stories and apparent myths that it is difficult to keep track and believe in some.

A fun fact about the rosary for you!

Did you know that Ted Bundy, the serial killer, could not attack and kill one of his victims because she had fallen asleep while praying the rosary? Later, the rosary was still in the victim’s hands when the police found her. It’s true! Check it out here.

But, do you know the history of the rosary? What lies behind this mysterious practice?

According to the record of the history of the rosary, the first time the word ‘rosary’ was used was in 1597. However, there are traces of the history of the rosary that can be found before the fifteenth century. The use of the rosary and the history of the rosary have changed and evolved through the centuries.


Origin Of The Rosary

History of the rosary
Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

Rosary is a very powerful practice of praying and is still used by some Catholics aiding in their prayers. Rosary or rosarium came into the church in 1221; however, the use of rosary began much later. Rosarium is a word that has a reference to roses which began before Christians. In Latin and Greek history, there are many references to roses, and they are used as a symbol of love.

The term rosarium was used to refer to spiritual gifts offered to a virgin. Slowly as the term developed, it started merging in with the word psalterium.

Centuries before the rosary came into use, and Christ believers used to pray and keep track of their prayers through rocks or pebbles. Although it was a practice used by the monks, people wanted to do the same and follow the monks’ path.

However, people were not as literate and couldn’t recite all the psalms as the monks. And a lot of them couldn’t afford to buy the psalter. So, they decided on reciting Our father 150 times instead of the psalms.

Evolving from the rocks and pebbles to strings with knots, the practice reached a level where beads helped keep track of the prayers. Later, the rosary came into use as a convenient substitute for the beads.


History Of The Rosary

The true history of the rosary is a topic you can debate for hours and hours. One of the popular beliefs and one that is really accepted by some Catholics when referring to the Rosary is the story of how St Domain received the rosary by the blessed mother of God, Mary.

Mother of God gave the beads and rosary to Saint Dominic to pray and teach others to pray. She promised that his efforts would be rewarded later on. She promised him that the religion he found would prosper and live for long.

History of the rosary, Mother Mary
Photo by Marites Allen on Unsplash

St. Dominic encouraged many people to pray the rosary and form small prayer groups. Although this is a widely believed belief and acknowledged by many, the origins of the rosary are not exactly known yet for sure.

The chain of beads that form the rosary helps the people in praying, and the repetition helps in focusing on the meditation. Dominic preached around 50 Aves and mysteries according to the decades, which are divided on the rosary.

However, Alain of Roche or Alanus de Rupe established his own brotherhood of rosary in the fifteenth century. He rejected the ideas initiated by Dominic earlier about there being 50 Aves to be included in the praying of the rosary. He demolished the aspects initiated by Saint Dominic when he was alive around 250 years ago.

He advocated for the 150 Aves, like the 150 psalms in the bible. 150 Aves, which are further divided into three groups of fifty each, include the three mysteries of Jesus’s life.

The three mysteries are joyful mysteries that talk about the incarnation of Jesus, sorrowful mysteries which talk about the passion and struggles in the life of Jesus, and glorious mysteries that talk about the resurrection of Jesus.

Each mystery talks about five events each and recounts the past life of Jesus. They are a way to remember the life of Jesus, his life, his sorrows, and his resurrection.

Along with these divisions of mysteries, in 2002, Pope John Paul II introduced a new set of mysteries named Luminous Mysteries or the mystery of light.

A list of mysteries of the rosary, each forming the five decades:


  • Joyful Mysteries: The Annunciation, The Visitation, Birth of Jesus, Presentation, The finding of the child Jesus in the temple. (Prayed on Mondays and Saturdays)


  • Sorrowful mysteries: Agony of the garden, scourging at the pillar, Crowning with Thorns, Carrying the cross, The crucifixion. (Prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays)


  • Glorious Mysteries: Resurrection, Ascension, The descent of the holy spirit, Assumption, Coronation of Mary as queen of heaven and earth. (Prayed on Wednesday and Sundays)


  • Luminous Mysteries: Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, Wedding at Cana, Proclamation of the Kingdom, Transfiguration of Jesus, Institution of the eucharist at the supper. (Prayed on Thursday)


How Does The Rosary Work?

History of the rosary
Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

Rosary is used for a variety of prayers and praying techniques. But there is one standard selection of prayers that are used. The most commonly used prayers include Apostle’s Creed, Hail Mary, Our Father, and Glory be. One decade includes one Our Father, Ten Hail Mary full, and one Glory be.

Apostle’s Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father:

Our father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom comes; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this daily bread, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be:

Glory be to the father, the son, and the holy spirit, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Hail Mary:

Hail Mary, full of grace. The lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Hail Mary prayer was initially just the words “Hail Mary full of grace. The lord is with thee”.  Slowly more sentences kept being added to the prayer, and at the end, the whole prayer came to be.

‘Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, ‘hour of our death’ were added in the final prayer. People kept adding their versions till they reached a final complete prayer.

Other prayers included in the rosary are the Hail Holy Queen and Fatima prayer. However, these prayers are only occasionally included while praying the rosary.

History of the rosary
Photo by Chris Liu on Unsplash

Normally, there are around 59 beads on a rosary. Out of those 59 beads, 53 are small ones and 6 big ones. Certain patterns are followed while praying the rosary. Either the Apostle’s creed or Our Father is recited on the big beads, and the small ones are for Glory be and Hail Mary. Though the order can change, and the beads can be used to recite different prayers accordingly. Prayers prayed in devotion to express grace to the lord.


Many people carry the rosary around with them so that they can pray the rosary in the situation. They pray when there is a crisis or whenever they wish to. Some people used to carry it in their pockets, which symbolized it as a weapon to use against evil or Satan and be safe.

The concept of the rosary can be considered as ever new as it has a lot of areas to explore. The mysteries that we pray can behave different divergent aspects themselves. The history of the rosary goes a long way back and has more to it.

The rosary is a spiritual practice and has the power of bringing peace to you by just praying and meditating with it. It has the power of calming you down and creating such a devotion that stays with you for a long. Rosary can be prayed by any age group of women and men.


Do you believe that rosary is really powerful?

If you have had any special experience with the rosary, let us know!

If you know any great facts about the history of the rosary that we missed, you are free to share them with us!

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