Mary, Mother of Mercy, has given the Franciscan Family and the whole world a gift with the prayer of the Franciscan Crown Rosary (The Seven Joys of Mary). This devotional prayer should be more widely known and I encourage you to share this prayer with others. It is the ONLY rosary prayer that includes the Mystery of the Adoration of the Magi, which is representative that Christianity is for all people, not just the Jewish people.
Story of the Franciscan Crown Rosary
The Franciscans celebrate this feast August 27 and the Conventuals on August 26. Pope St. Pius X authorized them to celebrate this feast in 1906. The original day was the Sunday after the octave of the Assumption, but in 1914 it was transferred to the octave day itself; and in 1942, when the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was assigned to that day, that of the Seven Joys was moved to August 26 or 27. The Franciscans wear the Rosary of the Seven Joys on their cord.
ON THE FRANCISCAN CROWN
The Blessed Virgin herself pointed out that the Franciscan Crown, like the Dominican rosary, is a devotion pleasing to her. The annuals of the order state that a young man – it is generally believed to be James of the Rosary – who entered the order had been a fervent client of our Blessed Lady and had decked her statue daily with a wreath of flowers. Since he was not permitted to continue this practice in the novitiate, he thought of leaving the order. But first he knelt before the statue of Our Lady to say a prayer. There the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said: “Remain here, and do not grieve because you can no longer weave a wreath of flowers for me. I will teach you how you can daily weave a crown of roses that will not wither and will be more pleasing to me and more meritorious for yourself.” And she taught him the rosary of seven decades. From that incident we can learn not to be selfishly attached to pious practices, and that prayer is of greater value than perishable decorations.
Consider the fragrant roses that make up the Franciscan Crown. This rosary consists of seventy-two Hail Marys, and originally these were said in honor of the seventy-two years which Our Lady spent on earth according to the more probable opinion and tradition. As such, it was certainly in existence during the first half of the fifteenth century, for St. Bernardin and St. John Capistran both promoted it. It was not until the seventeenth century apparently that the children of St. Francis began to recite the seven decades of the crown also in honor of the seven joys of Our Lady.
The seven joys are as follows:
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Nativity
- The Adoration of the Magi
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
- The Resurrection of Our Lord
- The Assumption and Coronation of Our Lady
At each decade it is well to reflect on the sweet joy Our Lady experienced on the occasions indicated. Said in this way, the rosary will be very pleasing to Mary, and you will learn to love it more and more. Consider how effectual this rosary has proved to be. The servant of God James experienced its good effects even in his lifetime, and throughout the history of the Franciscan Order blessed results have been so often achieved in various necessities, that at the request of the superiors of the order the popes have attached rich indulgences to its recitation. It is urgently recommended that all members of the order recite it at least every Saturday. Make that a rule for yourself. You may then rest assured that you will participate in the joys of Our Lady in heaven.
from THE FRANCISCAN BOOK OF SAINTS edited by Marion Habig, OFM
Copyright 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
The Seven Joys of Mary – Great Big Sea
Franciscan Crown Rosary – background and instructions (National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi)
Suggested CD: Aull Family Crown Rosary – audio prayer of Franciscan Crown Rosary (by Jerry and Cricket Aull, O.F.S.)
Suggested Booklet: Praying the Franciscan Crown Rosary (The Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD) – Conventual Friars