The month of October marks the start of dedicating 31 days to praying the Holy Rosary. Here we trace back the Rosary’s history, the process of its completion, and how we came to know the Rosary today. The bonus? Trivias and facts you didn’t know!
The origin of the Rosary
Ancient traditions would reveal that people would chant numerous prayers in a day’s time. To keep track of the number of their incantations, they would use natural objects such as counting rocks and pebbles. This was even before Christ was born.
As time passed by, people still continue their tradition of reciting 50 to 150 prayers a day. Instead of rocks, they would keep beads near them — in their purses, above desks, inside their pockets.
However the documented start of the Rosary would be in the 12th century, specifically in 1206. Back then St. Dominic De Guzman was fighting a heresy by a crusade called Albigenses.
According to OSV, “The Albigenses denied the mystery of the Incarnation, rejected Church sacraments and condoned many secular activities considered evil by the Catholic faith.”
St. Dominic was with the church in fighting against this heresy. The Church would say that his ways became more effective after being visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Centuries after Dominic passed away, a theologian named Alan de la Roche dreamed about Mary and St. Dominic. In his dream, Mary imparted the Rosary to the saint, and to use it as a weapon in battling against the heresy.
Formation of the Mysteries
Originally, there are 15 mysteries of the Holy Rosary. These 15 are grouped into three — Joyful mysteries, Sorrowful mysteries, and Glorious mysteries. These mysteries were picked and formed to present the meditations of Jesus’ life and death.
In 2002 Pope John Paul II added a new Mystery and introduced five new Luminous mysteries or Mysteries of Light.
The Rosary as we know today
Developments on the Holy Rosary were made by different heads of the Church throughout the years. Today the Rosary serves as a reminder of Christ’s life and suffering, and the Blessed Virgin’s love towards her conceived child.
Follow these steps in praying the Rosary:
- Make the sign of the cross and recite the Apostles Creed.
- Pray the Our Father.
- Pray three Hail Marys.
- Pray one Glory Be
- Say the first Mystery, followed by an Our Father.
- On the next ten beads, pray the Hail Mary
- Pray one Glory Be
- After each mystery, say the prayer by Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima.
- Repeat these steps for four more times until you go back to the Mary bead.
- After the Rosary, pray the Hail Holy Queen.
The mysteries to be reflected upon vary on days that they were assigned to.
- Joyful mysteries – Mondays and Saturdays
- The Annunciation.
- The Visitation.
- The Nativity.
- The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.
- Luminous mysteries – Thursdays
- The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan.
- The Wedding at Cana.
- Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God.
- The Transfiguration.
- The Institution of the Eucharist. Fruit of the Mystery: Adoration
- Sorrowful mysteries – Tuesdays and Fridays
- The Agony in the Garden.
- The Scourging at the Pillar.
- The Crowning with Thorns.
- The Carrying of the Cross.
- The Crucifixion and Death of our Lord.
- Glorious mysteries – Wednesdays and Fridays
- The Resurrection.
- The Ascension.
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit.
- The Assumption of Mary.
- The Coronation of the Virgin.
Facts about the Rosary
The word Rosary can be traced back to its Latin roots. The word came from rosa, which means rose in Latin. It was transformed to rosarium, which is rose garden in Latin. In Late Middle English, the rosarium was transformed to the word rosary, which means rose garden.
There is a day dedicated to celebrating the feast of the Holy Rosary and that is today, October 7. It is related to the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, attributed to the Rosary.
According to Catholic Online, the Rosary was deemed as an unofficial prayer of the Church. This was changed in the year 1569, when venerated saint Pope Pius V declared it to be an official devotion.
The Rosary is meant to be prayed, not worn. It acts as an aid and guide in reciting the prayers and the mysteries.
The Rosary is not only limited to Christians, but to other branches of the Catholic church such as Anglicanism and Lutherianism. (Kristine Tuting)
Senior Writer, Website Team - Media Ministry
Kristine Tuting knows she has developed a love-hate relationship when it comes to writing. She obtained her bachelor's degree in BA Communication Arts at the University of Santo Tomas and her high school diploma at Nuestra Senora De Aranzazu Parochial School. Aside from being a member of the DPSNDA Media Ministry, she is also an active choir member for the Catholic Ensemble '70, the oldest church choir at DSPNSDA. When she's not working, Kristine treats the writing process as learning, especially when it comes to religious terminologies.