Franciscan Crown
Seven Joys of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
(or Seraphic Rosary)

 

The Franciscan Crown Rosary is a Rosary consisting of seven decades with each decade describing a particular joy from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The Seven Joys are:

1) The Annunciation
2) The Visitation
3) The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ
4) The Adoration of the Magi
5) The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
6) The Appearance of Christ to Mary after the Resurrection
7) The Assumption and Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven

The story of the Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin dates back to the early 15th century. A pious young man named James had been accustomed to adorning a beautiful statue of Mary with a crown of flowers, which he had picked and woven himself. He later entered the Franciscan Order, but either because of a lack of time or permission, he was no longer able to continue this devotion. Distraught because of this, he decided to abandon the religious life and return to the world.

Our Lady then appeared to him and convinced him not to leave the order. She told him that he should not be downcast because he was no longer permitted to adorn her statue, for she would teach him a way to give her honor which was much more pleasing and meritorious. Instead of a crown of flowers, which quickly wither, he was to weave a crown of prayers, and these prayers could be offered at any moment. She then taught him the Rosary of the Seven Joys, adding that these prayers would not only form a more acceptable crown, but they would also yield innumerable graces for himself and others.

This simple but beautiful devotion of praying the Crown of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin soon spread over the entire Franciscan Order and was officially established in 1422.

Method of Prayer

The Franciscan Crown Rosary begins quite simply by stating the first Mystery and then praying one Our Father and ten Hail Marys while meditating upon it. This same procedure is then followed for the other six Mysteries. At the end of the seventh decade two Hail Marys are added to complete the number of years (72) that the Blessed Virgin is said to have lived on earth.

There are other ways of reciting the Crown but the one given seems to be in more general use. The plenary Indulgence attached to the recitation of the Franciscan Crown, and applicable to the dead, may be gained as often as the crown is recited.

It is not required that the beads be blessed, or in fact that beads be used at all, since the Indulgence is not attached to the material rosary, but to the recitation of the prayers as such. In 1905 Pope Pius X, in response to the petition of the Procurator General of the Friars Minor, enriched the Franciscan Crown with several new Indulgences that may be gained by all the faithful. Those who assist at a public recitation of the Franciscan Crown participate in all the Indulgences attached to the Seraphic Rosary that are gained by the members of the Franciscan Order. It is required, however, that beads be used and that they be blessed by a priest having the proper faculties. A translation of the pontifical Brief is given in "St. Anthony's Almanac" for 1909.

A beautifully illustrated Seven Joys of Mary can be found at the site for the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi.



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