Learn about the 7 Decade Franciscan Rosary

My friend Father Pio Hoffman of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal introduced me to the “Seven Decade” Franciscan Crown Rosary. It’s a beautiful tradition and today (Aug 26) is the devotion’s “feast day” – originally authorized by Pope Saint Pius X (himself a Third Order Franciscan).

What is the “Seven Decade” Franciscan Crown Rosary?

The Blessed Virgin herself pointed out that the Franciscan Crown, like the Dominican Rosary (the version we all know), is a devotion pleasing to her. In 1442 a young man – known now as “James of the Rosary” – entered the order had been a fervent client of our Blessed Lady and had decorated her statue daily with a “crown” of flowers. Since he was not permitted to continue this practice in the novitiate, he thought of leaving the order. But first he knelt before the statue of Our Lady to say a prayer.

There the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said:

“Remain here, and do not grieve because you can no longer weave a crown of flowers for me. I will teach you how you can daily weave a “crown of roses” that will not wither and will be more pleasing to me and more meritorious for yourself.” 

The Blessed Mother instructed Friar John to pray seven decades in honor of her seven Joys and that this would serve as a daily crown for her head.

Description of the Seven Decade Franciscan Crown Rosary

The Seven Decade “Franciscan Crown” Rosary consists of seventy-two Hail Mary’s in honor of the seventy-two years which Our Lady spent on earth (according to tradition). The tradition seems to have already existed in first half of the fifteenth century, for St. Bernardin and St. John Capistran both promoted the devotion through their preaching.

The Franciscan Crown commemorates seven joys of Mary on seven decades (i.e. ten Hail Mary’s spaced by one Our Father). They are:

  1. Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary
  2. Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
  3. Nativity of Christ
  4. Adoration of the Magi
  5. Finding of Jesus in the Temple
  6. Resurrection of Our Lord
  7. Assumption & Coronation of Our Lady

At the end, two Hail Mary’s  are added (to bring the number to 72), and the usual prayers for the Holy Father are made (Our Father and Hail Mary).

The devotion of the Seven Decade Franciscan Rosary is recommended for Saturdays – it might serve as a nice varietal in your commitment to praying the “normal” (i.e. Dominican) five decade Rosary. You can pray the Franciscan Crown Rosary on a five decade Rosary – just loop around and pick up two extra decades. Close with the final two Hail Mary’s. And if you like, you can make or buy a special Seven Decade Rosary for this purpose.

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  • Wild Bill

    Thanks for this. Aren’t there also Seven Sorrows to commemorate?

  • Taylor Marshall

    There are 7 Sorrows of Our Lady, but the Franciscan Crown only commemorates
    these 7 Joys – however I’d be happy to be corrected regarding this.
    Godspeed,
    Taylor

  • Psychdoc

    I have a Crown that was made for me by Capuchin Monks.  It is beautiful.  I carry it with me because it makes quite an impression on my non-Catholic friends, especially when I explain it to them.  Gives me an opportunity to talk about the biblical basis of the Hail Mary and about meditating on the Scriptures through this and the Most Holy Rosary. 

    BTW, a Protestant picked friend gave the Crown to me; not even knowing what it was.  She just thought it was a very beautiful Rosary and that I would like it.  Which I do!

  • Blake Helgoth

    He can be forgiven for teaching you such things!  I come from a Dominican Tradition and that borders on heretical!  Actually, Fr. was a roomate of mine at Stuebenville and we always gave each other a hard time about the Fransiscan / Dominican thing.  But really, a 7 decade Rosary, are 15 (now 20) to many?

  • Kathleen Crawford

    Blake, I hate to pop your little bubble but blasphemy, Oh Please!
    The fact of the matter is that the rosary is attributed to St. Dominic.  But it did not come from him.  NO ONE KNOWS where the rosary came from!!!

  • Kathleen Crawford

    I meant to say heretical, not blasphemy. 

  • David

    Thank you for this post!

    Does this ‘Crown of Joys’ have any connection to the Franciscan Feast of the Sacratissimo Stellario (based on Revelation 12:1 with its Crown of 12 Stars) celebrated in Palermo on the last Sunday of August? (Gabriel Garrido has an interesting reconstruction of the 1644 celebration with music by Bonaventura Rubino among others, on the K617 cd label.)

    I have heard the connection with St. Dominic of the more familiar rosary may be a muddling of the contribution of Dominicus Pruthenus, who developed 50 clausulae about events in the life of Our Lord upon which to meditate, one after each “Hail Mary” (around the year 1410), and later (around 1440), in answer to many requests, 150 clausulae.

    Does anyone know any place on-line where these sets of clausulae can be found in the original Latin and in English translation?

  • Re

    There is a feast called “Our Lady of The Rosary”. Not “of The Rosaries” but “of The Rosary”! Thus it is perfectly clear that there is only one rosary: The Rosary. Everything else is not rosary but “rosary”.

    This title of Our Lady also proves The Rosary comes of Her and not of humans. For all humans except Jesus Christ (by His Divine nature) and Her (by God’s grace) are sinners.
    If The Rosary had anything to do with humans i.e. with sinners as many claim then this title would translate: She-sinless of the sinner’s (sinners’). Manifest contradiction in terms and thus a manifest lie.

    Thus the truth is that The Rosary was revealed by The Blessed Virgin Mary Herself to St. Dominic during his unsuccessful struggles with heretical Albigenses, as Catholic tradition has it. And look what happened! Soon after introduction of The Rosary the hertics began to lose the battle they had been winning and not long afterwards were completely routed.

    Thus The Rosary was and has always been the only prayerful weapon for conquering of Satan and his servants (for all pious prayers and efforts of St. Dominic were of no avail against the heretics before The Rosary).

    To be continued below…

  • Re

    … continued from above:

    Look at the form of The Rosary beads. What it is like? It is the form of a noose. A noose for the devil foretold in the Gospel by Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 12:29). Now you know why the devil is so afraid of and so much hates The Rosary. He would do anything that The Rosary not be prayed and that anything be prayed instead of it.

    So he, as the pretending angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15), invented and inspired all kinds of “rosaries” that people pray them instead of the only rosary, The Rosary, which tightly binds him to lose all his power.

    And in these days he pulled out the last of his numerous deceits regarding The Rosary by introduction of the Luminous Mysteries into The Rosary to destroy it completely: see post “12 Tips for Praying the Family Rosary daily (Attention Catholic Dads)”, from September 13, 2010.

    Is it wonder then that this alleged revelation of the Franciscan 7 decades “rosary” by The Blessed Virgin Mary in fact so much fits a deceitful inspiration and a fairy-tale invented by the devil as all the other “rosaries” do?

    In sum: there is no rosary except The Rosary; there is no Dominican nor Franciscan nor Jesuit nor Family nor anyone’s rosary but only The Rosary; no human has anything to do with The Rosary; and The Rosary has only 15 Mysteries, not more, not less than 15.

    It seems we are all going to see sooner rather than later what unbelievable disasters will massive non-praying of The Rosary and praying instead of all kinds of “rosaries” (including the one with Luminous Mysteries) bring to The Church and to the whole world.

    Pray The Rosary and not “rosaries”.

Learn about the 7 Decade Franciscan Rosary

My friend Father Pio Hoffman of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal introduced me to the “Seven Decade” Franciscan Crown Rosary. It’s a beautiful tradition and today (Aug 26) is the devotion’s “feast day” – originally authorized by Pope Saint Pius X (himself a Third Order Franciscan).

What is the “Seven Decade” Franciscan Crown Rosary?

The Blessed Virgin herself pointed out that the Franciscan Crown, like the Dominican Rosary (the version we all know), is a devotion pleasing to her. In 1442 a young man – known now as “James of the Rosary” – entered the order had been a fervent client of our Blessed Lady and had decorated her statue daily with a “crown” of flowers. Since he was not permitted to continue this practice in the novitiate, he thought of leaving the order. But first he knelt before the statue of Our Lady to say a prayer.

There the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said:

“Remain here, and do not grieve because you can no longer weave a crown of flowers for me. I will teach you how you can daily weave a “crown of roses” that will not wither and will be more pleasing to me and more meritorious for yourself.” 

The Blessed Mother instructed Friar John to pray seven decades in honor of her seven Joys and that this would serve as a daily crown for her head.

Description of the Seven Decade Franciscan Crown Rosary

The Seven Decade “Franciscan Crown” Rosary consists of seventy-two Hail Mary’s in honor of the seventy-two years which Our Lady spent on earth (according to tradition). The tradition seems to have already existed in first half of the fifteenth century, for St. Bernardin and St. John Capistran both promoted the devotion through their preaching.

The Franciscan Crown commemorates seven joys of Mary on seven decades (i.e. ten Hail Mary’s spaced by one Our Father). They are:

  1. Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary
  2. Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
  3. Nativity of Christ
  4. Adoration of the Magi
  5. Finding of Jesus in the Temple
  6. Resurrection of Our Lord
  7. Assumption & Coronation of Our Lady

At the end, two Hail Mary’s  are added (to bring the number to 72), and the usual prayers for the Holy Father are made (Our Father and Hail Mary).

The devotion of the Seven Decade Franciscan Rosary is recommended for Saturdays – it might serve as a nice varietal in your commitment to praying the “normal” (i.e. Dominican) five decade Rosary. You can pray the Franciscan Crown Rosary on a five decade Rosary – just loop around and pick up two extra decades. Close with the final two Hail Mary’s. And if you like, you can make or buy a special Seven Decade Rosary for this purpose.

Download My Book for Free
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages
Over 15,000 copies downloaded! This is a quick and easy way to learn the basic philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Popes of the last 300 years have endorsed St Thomas Aquinas. Learn more through this accessible resources. Download it for free.

Comments Policy: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. If your comment contains a hyperlink to another site, your comment automatically goes into "Comments Purgatory" where it waits for release by way of moderation.

  • Wild Bill

    Thanks for this. Aren’t there also Seven Sorrows to commemorate?

  • Taylor Marshall

    There are 7 Sorrows of Our Lady, but the Franciscan Crown only commemorates
    these 7 Joys – however I’d be happy to be corrected regarding this.
    Godspeed,
    Taylor

  • Psychdoc

    I have a Crown that was made for me by Capuchin Monks.  It is beautiful.  I carry it with me because it makes quite an impression on my non-Catholic friends, especially when I explain it to them.  Gives me an opportunity to talk about the biblical basis of the Hail Mary and about meditating on the Scriptures through this and the Most Holy Rosary. 

    BTW, a Protestant picked friend gave the Crown to me; not even knowing what it was.  She just thought it was a very beautiful Rosary and that I would like it.  Which I do!

  • Blake Helgoth

    He can be forgiven for teaching you such things!  I come from a Dominican Tradition and that borders on heretical!  Actually, Fr. was a roomate of mine at Stuebenville and we always gave each other a hard time about the Fransiscan / Dominican thing.  But really, a 7 decade Rosary, are 15 (now 20) to many?

  • Kathleen Crawford

    Blake, I hate to pop your little bubble but blasphemy, Oh Please!
    The fact of the matter is that the rosary is attributed to St. Dominic.  But it did not come from him.  NO ONE KNOWS where the rosary came from!!!

  • Kathleen Crawford

    I meant to say heretical, not blasphemy. 

  • David

    Thank you for this post!

    Does this ‘Crown of Joys’ have any connection to the Franciscan Feast of the Sacratissimo Stellario (based on Revelation 12:1 with its Crown of 12 Stars) celebrated in Palermo on the last Sunday of August? (Gabriel Garrido has an interesting reconstruction of the 1644 celebration with music by Bonaventura Rubino among others, on the K617 cd label.)

    I have heard the connection with St. Dominic of the more familiar rosary may be a muddling of the contribution of Dominicus Pruthenus, who developed 50 clausulae about events in the life of Our Lord upon which to meditate, one after each “Hail Mary” (around the year 1410), and later (around 1440), in answer to many requests, 150 clausulae.

    Does anyone know any place on-line where these sets of clausulae can be found in the original Latin and in English translation?

  • Re

    There is a feast called “Our Lady of The Rosary”. Not “of The Rosaries” but “of The Rosary”! Thus it is perfectly clear that there is only one rosary: The Rosary. Everything else is not rosary but “rosary”.

    This title of Our Lady also proves The Rosary comes of Her and not of humans. For all humans except Jesus Christ (by His Divine nature) and Her (by God’s grace) are sinners.
    If The Rosary had anything to do with humans i.e. with sinners as many claim then this title would translate: She-sinless of the sinner’s (sinners’). Manifest contradiction in terms and thus a manifest lie.

    Thus the truth is that The Rosary was revealed by The Blessed Virgin Mary Herself to St. Dominic during his unsuccessful struggles with heretical Albigenses, as Catholic tradition has it. And look what happened! Soon after introduction of The Rosary the hertics began to lose the battle they had been winning and not long afterwards were completely routed.

    Thus The Rosary was and has always been the only prayerful weapon for conquering of Satan and his servants (for all pious prayers and efforts of St. Dominic were of no avail against the heretics before The Rosary).

    To be continued below…

  • Re

    … continued from above:

    Look at the form of The Rosary beads. What it is like? It is the form of a noose. A noose for the devil foretold in the Gospel by Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 12:29). Now you know why the devil is so afraid of and so much hates The Rosary. He would do anything that The Rosary not be prayed and that anything be prayed instead of it.

    So he, as the pretending angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15), invented and inspired all kinds of “rosaries” that people pray them instead of the only rosary, The Rosary, which tightly binds him to lose all his power.

    And in these days he pulled out the last of his numerous deceits regarding The Rosary by introduction of the Luminous Mysteries into The Rosary to destroy it completely: see post “12 Tips for Praying the Family Rosary daily (Attention Catholic Dads)”, from September 13, 2010.

    Is it wonder then that this alleged revelation of the Franciscan 7 decades “rosary” by The Blessed Virgin Mary in fact so much fits a deceitful inspiration and a fairy-tale invented by the devil as all the other “rosaries” do?

    In sum: there is no rosary except The Rosary; there is no Dominican nor Franciscan nor Jesuit nor Family nor anyone’s rosary but only The Rosary; no human has anything to do with The Rosary; and The Rosary has only 15 Mysteries, not more, not less than 15.

    It seems we are all going to see sooner rather than later what unbelievable disasters will massive non-praying of The Rosary and praying instead of all kinds of “rosaries” (including the one with Luminous Mysteries) bring to The Church and to the whole world.

    Pray The Rosary and not “rosaries”.