The rosary is one of the most cherished prayers of our Catholic Church. Introduced by the Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Doxology ("Glory Be"), and concluded with the Salve Regina, the rosary involves the recitation of five decades consisting of the Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and the Doxology. During this recitation, the individual meditates on the saving mysteries of our Lord's life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother.
Tradition does hold that St. Dominic (d. 1221) devised the rosary as we know it. Moved by a vision of our Blessed Mother, he preached the use of the rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, who had denied the mystery of Christ. Some scholars take exception to St. Dominic's role in forming the rosary. The earliest accounts of his life do not mention it, the Dominican constitutions do not link him with it and contemporaneous portraits do not include it as a symbol to identify the saint.
The rosary gained greater popularity in the 1500s, when Moslem Turks were ravaging Eastern Europe. Recall that in 1453, Constantinople had fallen to the Moslems, leaving the Balkans and Hungary open to conquest. With Moslems raiding even the coast of Italy, the control of the Mediterranean was now at stake.
In 1571, Pope Pius V organized a fleet under the command of Don Juan of Austria the half-brother of King Philip 11 of Spain. While preparations were underway, the Holy Father asked all of the faithful to say the rosary and implore our Blessed Mother's prayers, under the title Our Lady of Victory, that our Lord would grant victory to the Christians. Although the Moslem fleet outnumbered that of the Christians in both vessels and sailors, the forces were ready to meet in battle. The Christian flagship flew a blue banner depicting Christ crucified. On October 7, 1571, the Moslems were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto. The following year, Pope St. Pius V established the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7, where the faithful would not only remember this victory, but also give thanks to the Lord for all of His benefits and remember the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother.
The fact that our Church continues to include the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the liturgical calendar testifies to the importance and goodness of this form of prayer. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description."
Pope Leo XIII said, "There is nothing more excellent than that numerous voices pray without interruption from all parts of the world, simultaneously lifting up supplications to the Blessed Virgin Mary as they meditate on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary."
Say the Rosary every day, to obtain peace for the world. – Our Lady of Fatima
The Living Rosary is a continuation of the Rosary given to St. Dominic by Our Blessed Mother while he was combating the Albigensian heresy in the South of France during the thirteenth century. Our Blessed Mother asked St. Dominic to spread devotion to Christ by saying the Rosary and meditating on the life of Christ, each and every day.
The Living Rosary Association was founded by Venerable Pauline Jaricot at Lyons, France, in 1826, at the age of 27. She first founded the Propagation of the Faith at the age of twenty. Pauline was a close friend of Saint Jean Maria Vianney, the Cure of Ars. It was formally approved and richly indulgenced by Pope Gregory XVI, and accorded official canonical status on January 27, 1832.
THE LIVING ROSARY is not a new devotion, but a continuation of the Rosary preached by St. Dominic, and announced by Our Blessed Mother for centuries. In these days of evil, chaos, confusion, division and modernism, the Living Rosary will be a mighty force in every family, parish, diocese, and country. The Holy Rosary is a gift to us from the Queen of Heaven. If the Rosary is prayed faithfully, and is strengthened by the unity of association, it will render the attacks of Satan impotent. The Living Rosary is endowed with great power before the throne of God through the union of charity which flows through its members. Immense are the graces and merits obtained daily by every member when united and animated by the Fire of Divine Love in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One who prays the Rosary alone receives the grace and merits of a single Rosary, but if he or she is united with two million members, then all of the graces and merits of the whole are gained.
"The aim of the Living Rosary is to ask God, through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, for the conservation of the Faith in Catholic countries, the conversion of sinners, the strengthening of the just, and the exaltation of the Holy Church.
The people who join together for this pious exercise, divide among themselves the recitation of the prayers of the entire Rosary, and divide into groups of 20, in honour of the 20 principal mysteries of our redemption. Their intention is to form, by the union of their hearts, as so many living rosaries which unceasingly recall to the Celestial Father the sign of salvation manifested to St. Dominic by the Mother of Mercies.
Everything that happens occurs for a reason. It was no accident that God chose the soul of the Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot to form the Universal Living Rosary Association for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Each of us is called to serve God and it is no accident that you are being called to help further this sacred mission.
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. [Romans 8:28]
Today, over 12 million souls, faithful servants, are joined worldwide through the Living Rosary and united with Mary in prayer one decade at a time to hasten the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart and to bring about the Reign of Jesus Christ the King.
Here’s what you’ll do: commit to praying a decade of the every day.
You’ll be assigned a specific mystery.
One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be.
So, what do you say?