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The word rosary comes from Latin and means a garland of roses, the rose being one of the flowers used to symbolize the Virgin Mary.


October is the month of the Rosary and to celebrate I’m going to meditate on the Mysteries of  the Holy Rosary over the coming weeks concentrating on the connection in our daily lives and this special prayer  with Scripture .


The traditional story of the rosary was that Mary herself appeared to Saint Dominic in the twelfth century. At that time, tradition says she gave him the rosary and promised Dominic that if he spread devotion to the rosary, his religious order would flourish. It is quite true that Dominic was quite devoted to the Blessed Mother, but no one knows for sure if Our Lady herself gave Dominic the rosary. If she did, it is quite certain that she did not give him a rosary that looks like the one we have today.

Originally the rosary had 150 beads, the same number of psalms in the Bible. In the twelfth century, religious orders recited together the 150 Psalms as a way to mark the hours of the day and the days of the week. Those people who didn’t know how to read wanted to share in this practice, so praying on a string of 150 beads or knots began as a parallel to praying the psalms. It was a way that the illiterate could remember the Lord and his mother throughout the day. The “Divine Office”; the official prayer of the church; is the recitation of the psalms over a four week period, and is still prayed today.

This first rosary was prayed as we do today, a person would pass their fingers over each bead and say a prayer, usually the “Our Father”. The “Hail Mary” as we know it wasn’t even around at that time.

The Hail Mary owes its origin to the rosary. When people said the rosary in the twelfth century, Gabrielle’s greeting “Hail Mary, full or grace, the Lord is with thee” was often said along with the Our Father. Later, Elizabeth’s greeting ”blessed are you among women” was added. It was not until the sixteenth century that the words “Holy Mary., Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” were added.


We begin the Rosary with

The sign of the cross and then we say

Oh thou oh Lord shall open my lips

and my tongue shall announce thy praise

incline unto my aid oh God

Oh Lord make haste to help us


Creedo – caress the Crucifix

Our Father

3 Hail Mary’s for the Pope

Our Father

Then we enter into the mysteries

The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciaton

The Angel Gabriel appears to Mary, a young Jewish girl.

Gabriel greets Mary saying, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” Luke 1:28.

These familiar words is how Mary is greeted in the Hail Mary Prayer, the main rosary prayer.

Gabriel is declaring that Mary is holy. She never had original sin, in the words of the angel, she is “full of grace”.

Mary being very humble is disturbed by the angels words. The angel recognizing this then adds, “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.”Luke 1:30

Gabriel continues with his message to Mary,

“Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31-33

Now because Mary is a virgin she is puzzled and asks the angel how this is possible.

He answers her…

“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

Mary knows about the promise of a savior and is well informed of the Messianic prophesies of the Old Testament.

However, when you look at her comments to the angel, Mary obviously doesn’t fully understand all that is happening to her but she answers in the most obedient and confident way.

She says…

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” -Luke 1:38

Mary always conforms her will to that of God’s.

Imitating Mary’s attitude toward God’s will is a sure way to bring peace to your life.

For the exact Bible account of the Annunciation please see Luke 1:26-38

Our Father Hail Mary (x10) … Glory be … O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven especially those who have most need of thy mercy.

Let’s meditate……….