A History of the Rosary
The Rosary is a beautiful blend of Sacred Scripture (the written Bible, officially compiled in the 16th century by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent) and Sacred Tradition (the oral teachings and traditions of the Apostles, handed down by the Church - cf. John 21:25, 1 Corinthians 11:2, and 2 Thessalonians 2:15).

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Dominic in the 12th century and gave him the first Rosary. The original Rosary had 150 beads, the same number of Psalms in the Bible. Religious orders and many lay faithful, both then and now, recite the Psalms in the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church, to mark the hours of the day, days of the week, and seasons of the year. People who were illiterate (the vast majority until modern times) thereby also could learn the Psalms by praying memorizing prayers on a string of 150 beads or knots, recalling the life of Our Lord and His Mother.

The prayers of the Rosary owe much to the Bible. The Our Father was dictated by Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 6:9-13) and the Hail Mary derives from the Archangel Gabriel's greeting to Mary at the Annunciation, "Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee," (Luke 1:28) and Elizabeth's greeting, "blessed are you among women" (Luke 1:42).

In the 15th century, a Carthusian monk divided the Rosary into fifteen groups of ten beads, or "decades", and a Dominican assigned Mysteries, or events in the life of Jesus or His mother, upon which to meditate for each decade. On October 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II, declared the “Year of the Rosary” and defined five new Mysteries from Jesus's public life. The new Mysteries brought a full Rosary to twenty decades.

The Rosary is an inspiring and pious way to remember the life of Jesus under the gentle guidance of His Blessed Mother.  Visit our How to Pray page to learn the prayers, Mysteries, Biblical references, and Spiritual Fruits of the Rosary!
"Pray the Rosary every day
to obtain peace for the world!"
(Our Lady of Fatima)
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Church - Lourdes, France
Stained Glass Windows - Emmitsburg, Maryland
National Shrine Basilica of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
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