THE HOLY ROSARY, BEING SUBSTANTIALLY COMPOSED OF THE RECITATION OF THE OUR FATHER AND THE HAIL MARY AND OF THE MEDITATION ON THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS AND MARY, IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE FIRST AND PRINCIPAL DEVOTION IN USE AMONG THE FAITHFUL SINCE THE TIME OF THE APOSTLES AND THE FIRST DISCIPLES, ONLY FORMALIZED LATER.
In the form and method in which it is currently recited, it was inspired by the Church and suggested by the Madonna to Saint Dominic in 1214, to pray to move the hearts of Albigensians, who at the time believed that ‘the good human soul was trapped in an evil human body’, a destructive heresy opposed to the heart of the Christian faith, which proclaims both body and soul to be beautiful, good and true, designed in God’s very own image and likeness.
St. Dominic, having ascertained the great sanctifying power of the Rosary for himself and for his mission and witnessing the change in those around him, preached the Rosary by example and word, in the cities and in the countryside, to the great and the small, to the wise and the ignorant, to Catholics and heretics for as long as he lived. The malice and envy of the devil, however, who wanted to stop the course of God’s graces drawn to the world by the power of the Rosary, managed to make it decay first into disuse and then into oblivion.
In about 1450, the Holy Virgin ordered Blessed Alano della Rupe, an illustrious doctor and preacher of the Order of St. Dominic, to renew the ancient splendors of the Holy Rosary.
Since then, this devotion assumed the name of “Rosary”, that is, crown of roses, and this to signify that every time the Rosary is recited devoutly, a crown of two hundred white, blue, red and yellow roses is placed on the heads of Jesus and Mary.
In 2002, with the apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Saint John Paul II added a new cycle of mysteries, the Mysteries of Light, to the traditional Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries.
The Virgin approved and confirmed the name of Rosary, revealing to many that with the Hail Marys recited in her honor, she is given as many pleasant roses; and as many crowns of roses as there are Rosaries recited. In turn, she bestows countless graces from God through her hands, upon those praying for her help.