Did Mary Give the Rosary to Saint Dominic?

Did Mary give the Rosary to Saint Dominic? Catholic tradition states the Blessed Virgin Mary directly and personally instituted the Holy Rosary through Saint Dominic. A previous post described the traditional account of “How Mary Gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic.”

In this second post we examine the historical-critical objection claiming that the Rosary was an organic development of medieval piety and that Mary did not directly give the Holy Rosary to St Dominic.

Dominic Receiving Rosary
I believe this modern claim is incorrect and too simplistic. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe that Mary gave the Holy Rosary to Saint Dominic. Here’s why…

The Claim Against Mary Giving the Rosary

First, let’s examine the modernist argument against the Marian origin of the Holy Rosary. Some moderns hold that the traditional account depicting Mary giving the Rosary directly to St Dominic is a pious etiological myth. This myth, they say, allegorizes the origin of the Rosary with the Dominican order.

The “true” story, the moderns claim, is that the Rosary was a gradual and historical development. They say that since the Dominicans popularized the Rosary devotion, the traditional myth personifies the Dominicans in the person of Dominic. So then, the moderns allege that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not directly give the Rosary to Dominic. Rather, the Dominicans popularized the devotion and so Mary “sort of” gave the Rosary to the world through the “sons of Dominic,” i.e. the Dominicans.

These moderns observe that the practice of praying Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s on beads is a practice that predates Saint Dominic, and that this “Rosary” gradually evolved. This fact, they claim, further substantiates the conclusion that the Holy Rosary is not a revealed gift given directly to Dominic by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.

While it is certain that many (East and West) prayed on beads prior to Saint Dominic, the original claim is that the Holy Rosary as a collection of 150 Hail Mary’s with the 15 Mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious) was literally and historically given to Saint Dominic by the Immaculate Mother herself.

Summary of Points So Far:

1) Moderns claim that the tradition of Mary giving the Rosary to Dominic is an etiological myth.

2) It is true: praying Our Fathers and Hail Marys on beads predates Saint Dominic (in fact, the word “bead” comes from the word “bid” meaning “pray” or “ask”).

3) The key to this debate is realizing that the Holy Rosary is not merely praying on beads, but praying the 150 Hail Mary’s with the 15 corresponding mysteries.* It is this special combination of 150 Hail Mary’s with the 15 mysteries that constitutes the Rosary and it is this “combination” of vocal and mental prayer that Mary gave to St Dominic.

What does the Catholic Church say?

Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Octobri mense, teaches that the Rosary does in fact have its origin from the Immaculate Mary herself “by her command and counsel” to Saint Dominic. Pope Leo XIII teaches:

“That the Queen of Heaven herself has granted a great efficacy to this devotion is demonstrated by the fact that it was, by her command and counsel, instituted and propagated by the illustrious St. Dominic, in times particularly dangerous for the Catholic cause.”

Pope Leo XIII also clarified that this original institution of the Holy Rosary by Mary included the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries, which he calls the “great mysteries of Jesus and Mary, their joys, sorrows, and triumphs.”

In his Supremi Apostolatus Officio, Pope Leo XIII again confirms the supernatural origin of the Holy Rosary of Saint Dominic:

Great in the integrity of his doctrine, in his example of virtue, and by his apostolic labors, he proceeded undauntedly to attack the enemies of the Catholic Church, not by force of arms, but trusting wholly to that devotion which he was the first to institute under the name of the Holy Rosary, which was disseminated through the length and breadth of the earth by him and his pupils. Guided, in fact, by divine inspiration and grace, he foresaw that this devotion, like a most powerful warlike weapon, would be the means of putting the enemy to flight, and of confounding their audacity and mad impiety. Such was indeed its result. Thanks to this new method of prayer—when adopted and properly carried out as instituted by the Holy Father St. Dominic—piety, faith, and union began to return, and the projects and devices of the heretics to fall to pieces.”

The tradition is further confirmed by the apparition of the Immaculate Mary to Blessed Alan de la Roche:

 My son, you know perfectly the ancient devotion of my Rosary, preached and diffused by your Patriarch and my Servant Dominic and by his spiritual sons, your religious brothers. This spiritual exercise is extremely agreeable to both my Son and to me, and most useful and holy for the faithful.  When my Servant Dominic started to preach my Rosary … the reform in the world reached such heights that it seemed that men were transformed into angelic spirits and that Angels had descended from Heaven to inhabit the earth. … No one was considered a true Christian unless he had my Rosary and prayed it. … The prestige of the holy Rosary was such that no devotion was or is more agreeable to me after the august Sacrifice of the Mass.”

As discussed elsewhere, the three apparitions after the Miracle of the Sun also symbolize the three mysteries of the Holy Rosary: Miracle of the Sun Symbolizes Mysteries of the Rosary.

Question: Do you find comfort in the fact that Mary directly intervened and instituted the Rosary? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Recommended sermon: Power and Promises of the Holy Rosary

Recommended book: The Secret of the Rosary

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  • FXVIII

    I have no problem with a Marian origin for the Rosary. I think the ”gradual and historical development” thesis is rather symptomatic of the modernist’s denial of the supernatural. Direct divine intervention in History is central to Christianity. We make that claim as Christians (actually Jesus was the first one to make it). Modernism is such a cancer. It looks inoffensive at first, but after a while following its own subversive logic it undermines the very foundations of sound theology and piety.

  • dmw

    FWIW, the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia discusses this contested issue: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13184b.htm. I, however, have found that many articles in the CE are biased against traditional pious interpretations of history and this one is no exception. Take it with a grain of salt. Or perhaps like Milton Waddams, big grains of salt.

    • Skeinster

      The biggest problem with the “Mary gave St. Dominic the Rosary” story is that, as the Catholic Encyclopedia points out, there is no extant source for this from St. Dominic’s time.
      Nothing in the bios, nothing in the archives, no mention in other writings.
      All sources lead to Alan de Roche, who lived about 250 years later, and who is also the claimant that the B.V.M. appeared to him, confirming his legends about St. Dominic.

      I’m not sure why this is such a sore point with people. I’m not a de-mythologizer, but do think that we do ourselves no favor by insisting on poorly sourced legends, no matter how lovely or comforting, as truth re: peripherals. I say the Rosary every day and am not disparaging it- but it’s a devotion, not a sacrament.

      I think Mr. Phipps covers this well, below.

      • Steve Kellmeyer

        Exactly.

        Relying on one private revelation to confirm what is supposed to have been another private revelation is a pretty slender reed, considering that the CCC specifically says no Catholic needs to accept ANY private revelation.

        As for the two papal pronouncements – those aren’t infallible teachings, just recommendations for a particular spiritual practice. A practice, I might add, that Eastern Christians, even those in union with the Pope, do not have, nor do they miss.

        • Raguel

          No Catholic needs to accept private revelation, but that doesn’t mean you have licence to speak against private revelation. It’s essentially an act of imprudence on your part if you do so.

          The Rosary really is the perfect prayer for both priests and lay people, the educated and the uneducated. It is simple enough that you don’t need to invest much time learning it or saying it, and it easily allows you to give God justice by ensuring you give time each day in prayer and meditation. The mysteries bring you to the roots of our faith, and devotion to it will prove the promises of the Rosary true in your life. This is all is provided that you actually pray the Rosary and do not treat it like some empty pious symbol, like some people do who prefer to hang their Rosaries on statues instead of pray them.

          With regards to Eastern Christians, I know in some areas the Rosary is practiced. Some say it is a “westernization,” but Our Lady gave the Rosary to the entire Church not just the Latin Rite.

      • pete salveinini

        But I can tell you that there is a living oral tradition of many stories about St. Dominic, of which the Blessed Mother giving the rosary to him is one. Not everything is always written down. And as I wrote above, the friars DID have the congregation pray a decade or more after preaching to have it stick in their minds.

        • Skeinster

          Except- the life of St. Dominic is fairly well-documented. If he himself told people about this, nobody thought it worth recording? That just doesn’t sound right.
          Let me put this in a time frame that might make it clearer. And again, I mean no disrepect to anyone. It’s a bit like a contemporary political writer claiming that Cincinnatus appeared to George Washington in 1775 and gave him the plans for the new United States, and then appeared to him in 2013, to tell him about it.
          I replied to our comment below.

          • pete salveinini

            It’s like the Gospels. there’s a living community of believers who share a common life. viz Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Their personal encounters with her are shared. Only some get written down, and are passed on in novitiate instruction, feast day celebrations, discussions and even arguments over the Mission of the Order. Remember, all this was BEFORE the printing press. It is true of other saints of the order, and of other orders. Your relying too much on the necessity of documents. Think of family stories passed on for three generations before anything is written, and NOT ALL IS WRITTEN EVEN THEN. The practice of the Friars preaching and then having the congregation recite some decades, led by the preacher was quite innovative at the time. They copied the example of Dominic himself.

          • Skeinster

            “They copied the example of Dominic himself.”

            Who took an already existing devotion and popularized it. Which, again, is different from what Dr. Marshall, et al. are claiming.

            Look, how about this? Those who want to can believe the pious legend and those that don’t find it credible or helpful, for whatever reason, can choose to not believe it- but without being called a modernist, or a bad Catholic.
            Because no one’s required to believe a private revelation.
            So, truce?

          • pete salveinini

            Not quite. Before Dominic there is no practice of the preacher USING DECADES PRAYED WITH THE CONGREGATION MEDITATING ON THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE SERMON. Remember the content of the Dream and the Saint’s appeal for help from Our Lady. So there is a distinctive development with a new twist. Before that the decade system –there were other variations, like 9 paters, aves, glorias in Croatia–was prayed individually like a Jesus Prayer method for the illiterate. The Carthusians later printed wood cut images of various pictures signifying appropriate mysteries, which helped standardize some subject matter over others and for individual recitation.

  • Faith

    There’s always some truth to legends. Is it true that before Vatican II only Dominican friars could bless rosaries? Or only a Dominican friar’s blessing contained an indulgence? What’s the truth? Happy Feast of St. Dominic! Veritas!

  • Andrew

    If the Rosary came directly from Our Lady (I believe it did) them isn’t the inclusion of the Luminous Mysteries problematic? And doesn’t JP II’s addition feed into the evolutionary theory of the Rosary’s development?

    While some argue that the Luminous Mysteries are optional, I have yet to find any parish or prayer book that leaves them out now. They are defacto part of the official Rosary.

    I’m not against the Luminous Mysteries per se, but if we believe that Our Lady gave us the Rosary whole and complete (she did add a prayer at Fatima) then shouldn’t we respect her wishes and not add things?

    • http://alanphipps.blogspot.com/ Alan Phipps

      Well, I think we need to be careful here about seeing the Rosary as something set in stone. It was not “whole and complete”, even in Dominic’s day. For example, the original form of the Hail Mary consisted of only the opening lines taken from the Gospels, without the addition of “Holy Mary, Mother of God…” . It is likely that the Gloria was not originally said after each decade. Further, Dominicans today pray the rosary in a slightly different form than what is generally done. As a Lay Dominican, I begin the rosary just as we pray the Office, starting with “Lord, open my lips…”

      That said, I see no problem with adding sets of mysteries. The original mysteries are not being eliminated, merely complemented, nothing more. Further, nobody is forced to pray the Luminous mysteries. Finally, all divine mysteries are infinite and ultimately impenetrable, and they are worth contemplating, even during the rosary.

    • Raguel

      The Luminous Mysteries do not pose any sort of problem with Mary giving the Rosary to St. Dominic. When they were introduced by St. John Paul II, they were meant to be an optional addition. And there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, a lot of people even now will tell me they just haven’t had the time to memorize the new mysteries.

      I believe at Lourdes or Fatima, I can’t remember which, they would add a 6th decade for their Guardian Angel (I think). The point is, customs such as these do exist and it doesn’t mean the Rosary has changed from the original form given to St. Dominic.

  • pedroerik

    Everyday, a (beautiful) lesson. Thanks, Dr. Marshall.

  • JoeAllen

    I have an unusual problem. It takes me at least 5 minutes to pray a complete Hail Mary because of all the Marian ideas that fill my mind.

    It’s like setting out to find some info about “X” on the Internet, and after an hour of distracted surfing, you realize you still haven’t gotten around to “X” … .

    • Chloe

      That’s not a problem! That’s a grace! How wonderful to have your mind filled with “Marian ideas!

      Chloe

  • windyrdg

    Growing up, I can recall kneeling in Church when the rosary was recited. It seemed like it took FOREVER, I’d wiggle and rock to try to make the time go faster. My mother would give me a nudge and that “look.” I’d quiet down…for a time until I lost my place on the beads. Now, in my 60′s with severe arthritis and in more or less constant pain, I treasure those blessed beads. When the pain makes it impossible to sleep at night, I sit in the dark and pray my rosary, then the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a Chaplet of Mourning for the souls in Purgatory. I would be lost without the Catholic Faith and the ability to offer up my sufferings through the Blessed Virgin. We’ve been given a power greater than anything of this world; if only we would use it.

  • Adolfo

    I am with Andrew. What about the luminous mysteries? They are added to all prints on the mysteries of the rosary. Is it wrong? They are indeed beautiful aspects of the Catholic religion. I believe Pope John Paul ii is a saint and being saintly would be perfectly normal for adding the luminous mysteries. Don’t you think Mary is pleased with this addition?

    • http://alanphipps.blogspot.com/ Alan Phipps

      See my response to Andrew’s post. The rosary was never necessarily set in stone, even in Dominic’s day. Even if we grant that Mary’s direct intervention played a necessary role (with which I agree), it is also a devotional practice that will necessary evolve somewhat over the years.

  • Andrew O

    Is that asterisk in the post supposed to lead to some kind of note?

  • defiant12314

    I personally doubt both the story and the associated promises as well as Louis De Monfort’s exposition, given how they have not manifested in my own life. I joined the Rosary confraternity, prayed all 15 decades for a while and it did not do me any good

    • Lori Sanders Romes

      Perhaps you were praying expecting something in return? I believe in the Rosary and as in the continuing growth and maturing of the Church, that the Luminous were an added necessity to a more complete series of the Gospel on beads… because it is to me. If some ruler took away all bibles, every Catholic would retain the Truth in the Rosary. As for all the promises, maybe they are not going to be manifested here in this world, in this life or will occur at a later time.

      • defiant12314

        well one of the promises is supposedly that you can obtain whatever you ask for by praying the Rosary, but like all of the prayers that promise that it is complete and utter nonsense (experience) and NO I was not praying for worldly things

        • JoeAllen

          Gosh, have you received NO blessings in this life … ??? What about the profound gifts of Life and Intelligence … ??? Babies who die before they are born have received much less in this life than you.

          • defiant12314

            you’ll have to forgive me Joe, I’ve been knocked about allot during my short time on this earth and that has informed my outlook on life, I prayed the Rosary Ardently hoping for a particular intention that would mean I would not be knocked about again.

          • JoeAllen

            Thanks for your reply. I too have had many un-answered prayers. When I was a kid we said this prayer to Mary:

            “To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
            to thee do we send up our sighs,
            mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.”

            What happened to the Christianity of my childhood … ??? Jesus told us us our HOPE is in the RESURRECTION, and NOT in making a candy-store of this life.

          • defiant12314

            you just don’t get it, I wasn’t praying for a candy store; I was praying for something that would bring me closer to God

          • JoeAllen

            Sorry, I was NOT referring to you. I don’t know what you were praying for.

            I was referring to all those tv-evangelists who promise their followers great wealth and success in this life. Pat Robertson and Benny Hinn and Jim Baker come to mind.

            I think everyone is a failure in this life; otherwise, we would NOT need a Savior.

          • Caoimhin

            Joe, I prayed the Rosary ardently when I was very young. Like breathing.

            I went off to a monastery, wholly naive and innocent, and was abused in heart, mind, body and spirit. Left ship wrecked for ‘decades’ excuse the pun. I could not even begin to comprehend why I’d been so devoted to the Rosary and that happen to my life. Why Mary allowed it. Why Jesus tolerated it. I felt betrayed totally.

            Today I pray the Rosary again – with greater faith and ardor than I did back then. When prayed with and from the heart I believe it has great power.

            How did I manage to reconcile with my earlier experience, life ?

            I was wounded enough to make me angry enough to wish serious harm to another human being. I was no better. There but for the grace of God went I.

            Not an easy lesson to learn and would not wish it on anyone. But God does work in mysterious ways – working to the good all for those who love Him – or seek, wish to love.

            I learned what love might mean – understanding, forgiving and the beginnings of real healing and redemption. For myself – and I hope and sincerely pray that priest too. That we are all dependent on the love, the grace of God to raise us up with Christ.

            Once not too long ago I was praying the Rosary and tempted to give up as you can be. “Why am I even bothering with this ?!…. ” etc.

            Closed my eyes and went back to it. I then had an image, which is the only way to describe it, in my mind it seemed – of a woman – beautiful, angelic as much as human. She was made of a Light greater than she was herself – a light that seemed to radiate from her too – depending on our prayer and the heart we put into it. Something to do with ‘Immaculate Heart’.

            As if the Light from some greater source irradiated this woman and the Light radiated from her to this world – dispelling darkness. Our prayer seemed to be essential to this process. Difficult to explain and maybe just imagination. But afterwards I was completely involved in my prayer again – came to life again in that prayer.

            I was certainly brought down – humbled in more ways than one. I walked some dark paths in life – paths I would not have imagined existed in my childhood. I fell many times and fell hard. I believe Mary was there all along and the one who helped me rise again or had someone help me.

            I am not a woman and never given birth. Now there’s a thought. But it helped me ‘contemplate’ suffering love. How the entire Creation, like a woman in travail, groans for deliverance. How our own suffering when united in love with Jesus can truly bring light, life to others in some way we might never know in this life. Doesn’t make it easier or even wholly comprehensible – seeing through the glass darkly.

            I am sure your prayer will be answered one day. Might not be in the way you expect though.

            It brings a great sense of peace too.

            The Lord works in mysterious ways – a day as a thousand years.

            Sorry for digression. Not really academic. Just experience and not too well articulated. She won’t let you down. But will help you when you fall.

            I do believe the Rosary is ‘a weapon’ of Light –

            the very Light of God in a very real way

            “Light enters darkness and the darkness does not comprehend nor overcome it…… ”

            Caoimhin

    • JC

      Dear defiant12314, I’m surre you know tthe difference between praying and reciting…Perhaps you weresimply doing the drill without really putting your heart into what was supposed to be an exercise for tthe soul, not a mere recital of verses…Think about it!

      • defiant12314

        WOW, you don’t know me and already you seem to know the innermost details of my prayer life !!! Has God blessed you with the gift of reading souls? If not then please keep your opinions to yourself (I am TRYING to be charitable here).

        • DJ

          You have received some unthoughtful responses here my friend, to what sounds like an honest struggle in a dark night of faith. Be assured of my prayers and may I humbly encourage you to spend some time before a Crucifix and Tabernacle telling the Lord about these difficulties and wrestling with God over them if need be. Only He knows the struggles of your heart and only He has the answer to them. I have received great graces when sitting before the Tabernacle and Crucifix in times of anguish and I am sure Mother Mary is praying for you to find peace with her Son too. God bless

  • JConnell

    In some ways it’s like the fact that Jews had ceremonial washing prior to Our Lord’s earthly life, but it was Jesus who instituted baptism.

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  • Andrew

    Good points, but I don’t like how the Luminous Mysteries ruined the association of the 150 Hail Mary’s of the traditional Rosary and the 150 Psalms of the Bible. That is why they called it Our Lady’s Psalter.

    To me, the Luminous Mysteries feed into the cult of novelty that rules the world and had crept into the Church. Always changing, always fiddling. Perhaps we should be more humble and follow the same path of the saints and our Catholic ancestors.

    • Raguel

      I wonder what the number 200 would symbolize.

  • Jean Marie LaFreniere Smith

    I Believe in my heart and soul all the promises of praying the rosary. I was taught to pray the rosary by my mother and have received many graces in my 55 years of life. my mother endured a short time suffering from cancer of the liver and was taken to god on august 15 a holy day of Our Blessed Mother Mary.<3

    • isabel kissinger

      wow, am happy for you, my dear sister…

  • ElizD

    I think people today do not understand about the medieval legends and the way people thought then. Do you think all the stories in the Little Flowers of Saint Francis are literal, too? Maybe you do, but on the other hand maybe after you’ve read a few of them you understand how the author was thinking and that he wasn’t thinking in terms of conveyance of factual historical data being the point.

    • Raguel

      I think many educated modernists like to “disenchant” out Catholic patrimony to the extent that any sort of supernatural event is lowered to some sort of legend or story. It is a trend I see where people downplay the supernatural and would rather question everything than humbly submit and have faith.

      What makes you so sure these stories didn’t happen? You don’t know, if you truly believe in the supernatural you have to at the very least admit it is possible, the Church teaches that events like this do happen. Such as the many Eucharistic miracles as one example. If it’s possible then there is nothing wrong with having faith in the truth of these apparitions, and there is really no basis to seriously question them.

  • Seraphim

    And yet the Russian Old Believers, who were certainly not influenced by the Dominicans, have their own 15 mysteries with which they pray the Bogoroditza Lestovka. According to St. Seraphim Zvezdinsky, the fifteen Old Believer mysteries are

    The Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos
    Presentation of Mary in the Temple
    Annunciation
    Visitation
    Nativity of Our Lord
    Meeting in the Temple
    Flight to Egypt
    Jesus’ Teaching in the Temple
    Wedding at Cana
    Sorrow of the Theotokos at the Foot of the Cross
    Resurrection
    Ascension
    Pentecost
    Dormition
    Holy Protection of the Theotokos

    Did the Holy Theotokos appear to St. Dominic? Sure. Did she make up the fifteen mysteries, or did the mysteries originat there? No.

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      Our Lady gave the Rosary to the Christians of Egypt long before she gave it to St Dominic.

  • Cris

    Catholic traditions change. ALWAYS. But the bible doesn’t. Believe in the bible. It is the truth. What’s biblical is true. Where would you stick to? The proven, or this rosary thing? God bless!

    “Hebrews 13:8-9 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines..”

    • isabel kissinger

      The Bible are all in the Rosary: Joyful (annunciation, visitation, nativity of our Lord, presentation, lost and finding of our Lord in the temple); Sorrowful (the agony in the garden of gethsemane, scourging at the pillar, the crowning of thorns, the carrying of the cross to mount calvary, cruxifiction); glorious (resurrection, ascension, descent of the holy spirit, the last two: assumption, and coronation to our Blessed Mother are an on going revelation in this end times and very much found in the bible). The last two (assumption and coronation of our Blessed Mother) are written in Revelation 12, where the Woman, after Her victory over the dragon, the old serpent, will assumed into heaven and be crowned with twelve (12) stars as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

      • isabel kissinger

        This descent of the Holy Spirit are seen in the world-wide apparitions of the Blessed Mother. She came to remind/counsel/prophesy that if we do not heed Her command “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do”, God the Father will inflict punishment more than the deluge”. She is pleading us to pray the rosary because this prayer will remind God the Father, that for the love of us, He gave His Only Begotten Son to teach us to be holy and be perfect as our Father is perfect and received punishment due us by dying on the cross and by the consent of this PURE CREATURE (Mary) who is ONE with the Son, in suffering, to do the will of the FATHER.

  • Cyclemom

    yes, I do find comfort. Mainly to defend this beautiful type of prayer to my non Catholic friends.
    Mary, Queen of Peace, PRAY FOR US

  • Andrew

    Cris,

    The Rosary is Biblical. It’s prayers come straight from the Bible and the Mysteries do as well. As for the Bible nit changing, well, the Catholic Bible hasn’t. The Bible non-Carholics use had changed as the Reformers dropped 7 from the Old Testament. Luther also wanted to drop James and others as well. If it wasn’t for the Catholic Church there would be no Bible. It was she who preserved it down through the ages (remember Protestants didn’t exist for the first 1500 years of Christianity).

  • pete salveinini

    Having been educated by the Dominicans in postgraduate studies, I can say that, yes, the friars DID utilize the decades in their preaching, but that it took a few centuries for the specific mysteries to become standardized. What the preachers would do is preach on some subject, often at length in those times AND THEN HAVE THE PEOPLE MEDITATE ON WHAT THEY HEARD WHILE SAYING A DECADE OR SO. No doubt that the Blessed Mother responded to St.Dominic’s ardent prayer and penance, btw preachers were supposed to be both poor and penitential before and often after their preaching to be considered authentic in contrast to our present day televangelists! And the early Dominicans were authentic this was. So the idea of meditation joined to the decades is correct, but there was a certain freedom in the actual mysteries. When prayed privately the 150 Aves replacing the 150 psalms for the common people who could not read became gradually more prominent.

    • Skeinster

      But that’s not what Dr. Marshall, et. al. are saying. The legend is that the Blessed Mother gave St. Dominic all fifteen mysteries, in toto, at one time. And your version directly contradicts that. We can’t have it all ways, is what the rest of us are trying to say.

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  • Dan

    I took Dr. Marshall’s advice of prayer the Rosary in my backyard one afternoon. What a great idea! It was totally worth it! My chair was facing a rather large tree, which is what my eyes were focusing on through most of the prayer. Upon further reflection, I guess I could have been subconsciously meditating on Jesus as the tree of life and Mary as the ground out of which he springs? Perhaps I was engaging in a little Celtic Christianity? Anglican Use, anyone?? Ha Ha. I’m just joking around because Dr. Marshall is a former Anglican.

    • isabel kissinger

      Correction, my brother, this is what St. Louie Marie Grignon de Monfort said in the book True Devotion to Mary, pg 97: “If we desire a ripe and perfectly formed fruit, we must possess the tree that bears it. If we desire the fruit of life, Jesus Christ, we must possess the tree of life which is Mary”

      We can read also in Proverbs 3:18 (Benefit of Finding Wisdom) She is a tree of life to those who grasp her, and he is happy who holds her fast.

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  • isabel kissinger

    How should we understand this statement of our Blessed Mother? “My son, you know perfectly the ancient devotion of my Rosary,”…what does She meant by “ancient”?

  • James Finn

    I am no mathematician, but the “modern/popular” Rosary consists of 200 Hail Mary’s.

    I am no theologian, but my simple faith gives me pause when fashionable trends seek to change an ancient devotion.

    The “Psalter” = 150. The Luminous Mysterious should be embraced and accepted for what they truly are (and nothing more): a *suggested* “additional” set of meditations. They should not be made into more than what Bl. John Paul intended.

    The Rosary is, and always will be, built upon the foundation of 150 Ave’s. Is this a dogmatic teaching? Of course not. But venerable traditions, especially one so revered as this, should be respected, nonetheless.