According to the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, “The Virgin Mary, humble servant of the Lord, was open to His every word and call. She was embraced by Francis with indescribable love and declared the protectress and advocate of his family.” Saint Francis encouraged his followers to express their ardent love for her by imitating her complete self-giving and by praying earnestly and confidently.
The Rosary is a wonderful way to honor the Blessed Mother through prayer. The Franciscan Crown Rosary began in the early 15th century, when a young man used to pray while weaving crowns of wildflowers for a beautiful statue of Mary. After entering the Franciscan Order, he did not have the time to gather the flowers for this personal devotion and was even tempted to abandon his vocation. One evening the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and encouraged him to persevere, reminding him of the joyfulness of the Franciscan spirit. She also instructed him to meditate daily on seven joyful events from her own life as a new form of the rosary. Instead of a crown of flowers, the novice would now weave a crown of prayers.
The Seven Joys in the Crown of Mary are:
- The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary
- The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
- The Nativity of Christ
- The Adoration by the Magi
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
- The Resurrection of Our Lord
- The Assumption & Coronation of Our Lady
The Franciscan Crown Rosary is a seven-decade Rosary, and the beginning part of the Rosary is slightly different from standard ones. There is a cross on the end, and then two sets of two beads, then one single bead. You can, however, use a standard Rosary to pray the Franciscan Crown, as long as you backtrack a bit for those last two decades! Alternatively, use a finger rosary.
How to pray the Franciscan Crown Rosary:
- Begin with the first Our Father of the first decade (on that single bead on the cross end), rather than beginning on the cross at the end.
- Once you have prayed the seven decades, pray on the beads that go down to the Cross or Crucifix.
- On the first set of two beads, pray two Hail Marys to make 72 in total.
- On the second set of two beads pray, for the intentions of the Holy Father, an Our Father and Hail Mary, finishing with a Glory Be.