The Rosary, with Illustrations and Meditations

The Rosary, with Illustrations and MeditationsPreface

The Dominican Rosary comes down to us from the thirteenth century. It was revealed to one of God’s most illustrious Saints. It unites its millions of members in one great confraternity – one powerful apostleship of prayer – enriched with the most abundant favors of the Church, and sharing in all the suffrages of the three great branches of the Dominican Order. Since its establishment, the Dominican Rosary has taken possession of the world. There is no devotion more ancient, there is no devotion more widespread, there is no devotion enriched with so many indulgences. We know of no one eminent for sanctity since the days of Saint Dominic, who was not a Rosarian, and devotedly attached to saying the beads. The Rosary is a solid devotion, most pleasing to God and to our Immaculate Mother, drawing down the choicest graces of Heaven on all who practise it with fidelity.

Dear Immaculate Mother, it was to increase your children’s love for you, to make the treasures of your cherished Rosary still more known and more appreciated, that this little work was compiled. Deign to bless this offering, which is placed at your feet, and obtain for all your children an increase of devotion to you, and an advancement in those virtues which your Rosary inculcates.

Saint Dominic, Founder of the Rosary

The thirteenth century saw Europe one vast field of political strife. Innocent III ascended the Papal Throne in 1198. He was destined to behold Sicily deluged in blood; the Germans contending for the sovereignty of Lombardy; three rival claimants for the sceptre of Henry VI; Philip Augustus scandalizing the Christian world by his shameful life, and Spain groveling beneath the iron heel of Emir Almanzor. The last traces of Christianity were now nearly stamped out by the giant power of Mahonietanisni in the East, whilst a fearful heresy was corroding the vitals of France in the West. So great was the relaxation of morals, so much had the faithful fallen away from the fervor of their forefathers, that, for the first time in the history of the Church, it was found necessary to compel them, under pain of excommunication, to approach the Sacraments once a year.

He who never abandons His Church came to her aid in this hour of her affliction, and, as it was through Mary that He redeemed the world, so He ordained that faith and piety should revive through her mediation.

Among the great men then raised up to fight the battles of the Church was a certain Spaniard known in history as Saint Dominic. Prevented by heaven with innumerable graces, destined to be the great instrument in the hands of Mary for reviving piety in the faithful by means of her Rosary, Saint Dominic at an early age entered the ecclesiastical state, the better to labor for the salvation of souls. Soon after his ordination he accompanied his bishop on an embassy to Denmark. On their way they passed through the south of France, then torn with intestine strife, and polluted by that vile sect known in history as the Albigenses.

The Albigenses

This monstrous assemblage of depravity, so often condemned under the various names it had assumed, lived and grew in Languedoc, notwithstanding the horror it excited in the breasts of all Christians. Its followers overran the south of France, pillaging churches, burning priests, ravaging monasteries, and desecrating all that was sacred. Rejecting every moral obligation, the Albigensian recognized no other principle than the denial of all authority.

Such was Albigensianism, the forerunner of all those socialistic systems that have since cursed Christian society. Missionaries were sent by Innocent III to Languedoc, to convert this degraded people, but far from listening to the voice of religion, they awarded to some of the missionaries the crown of martyrdom. Saint Dominic requested and obtained permission to labor among them.

Day after day, with untiring zeal and angelic sweetness, he tried to win them back to the paths of rectitude. But all seemed to no avail. Then he resolved to offer violence to heaven.

After spending the whole day in laboring to convert them, he would retire at night to a forest near Toulouse, where, with a rude discipline, he scourged his innocent body, offering his blood to appease the anger of God, justly enkindled against this people; whilst he poured forth tears and supplications to obtain the conversion of their obdurate hearts. Day after day he continued his preaching, and, three times each night, he renewed his bloody sacrifice in their behalf. Still heaven seemed deaf to his supplications.

At length he directed his prayers to the great Advocate of Sinners. He implored her by that sorrow which pierced her tender heart, when, standing beneath the cross, she saw her Son expire for sinners, not to refuse his petition, but to obtain through her prayers the conversion of this obdurate sect, for whom her Son shed His blood. That prayer was heard.

Establishment of the Rosary

It was in the forest of Bouconne that Saint Dominic, wrapped in ecstasy, saw the Immaculate Mother of God in dazzling brightness coming towards him. Holding a Rosary in her virginal hands, she thus addressed him: “Be of good courage, Dominic. The fruits of your labor will be abundant. You know well how much the salvation of this people has cost my Son. He does not desire the work of salvation to become useless. The remedy of so many evils shall be meditation on the mysteries of the life, death, and glory of my Only Son, uniting thereto the Angelic Salutation, by which the great mystery of redemption was announced to the world.” Then she explained to Saint Dominic how this devotion was to be practised and continued. “The earth shall remain barren till watered by this heavenly dew. This devotion you are to inculcate by your preaching, as a practice most dear to my Son and to me – as a most powerful means of dissipating heresy, extinguishing vice, propagating virtue, of imploring the divine mercy, and of obtaining my protection. I desire that not only you, but all those who shall enter your order, shall perpetually promote this manner of prayer. The faithful shall obtain by it innumerable advantages, and shall always find me ready to aid them in their wants. This is the precious gift which I leave you and your children.” Saint Dominic, full of gratitude towards his Immaculate Mother, and animated with a new courage, arose to obey her command, and hastened back to Toulouse.

Propagation of the Rosary

Before Saint Dominic had entered Toulouse, charged by the Queen of Heaven with his sublime mission of preaching her Rosary, the people, by a mysterious summons, had already assembled in the church. Dominic ascended the pulpit, and proclaimed the devotion revealed by heaven. For a while they remained insensible to his words, but heaven was not wanting in aiding its minister. A violent storm arose, the church was lighted up by the lurid glare of lightning, while peal after peal of thunder rent the elements. A statue of the Blessed Virgin now displayed motion, one time pointing to heaven in a threatening attitude, again pointing to the preacher, as if imploring them to listen to him and obey his voice.

The obdurate hearts of that people were at length touched. The victory was gained. The Rosary had conquered. Prostrating themselves with one impulse at Saint Dominic’s feet, the people begged to be admitted members of the Rosary.

This was the first victory of the Rosary. In a little while Saint Dominic saw his labors crowned with complete success. Historians tell us that he received more than one hundred thousand of this deluded people back to the true fold, where alone is life and salvation. The devotion of the Rosary soon spread through France and Spain. Afterwards it was carried by the faithful children of Saint Dominic over the rest of Europe. Soon a religious revival was noticed among Christians. Wherever that devotion was proclaimed the people flocked in crowds to become members of that glorious confraternity. Every rank was represented in its members. The popes and bishops exercised their influence to have it propagated. The nobles taught it to their vassals. The brave Simon de Montfort had his soldiers to practice it before each onset with the enemy. In one word, the Rosary took hold of the Church, destined never to leave her.

Spirit of the Rosary

To understand the Rosary it is necessary to comprehend the end which it proposes to us, and the means which it employs in order to obtain this end. Without knowing these, we will remain ignorant of the Spirit of the Rosary.

The Spirit of the Rosary is eminently a spirit of prayer and contemplation. We are dependent beings, who have to rely on God for all necessaries of soul and body. God is prepared to give us all things, but requires that we ask; not that He may know our wants, but that we may feel and acknowledge our dependence on Him, and pay Him the homage of our prayers. “Ask and ye shall receive,” says the Son of God.

Prayer is necessary, not only to obtain good, but also to avoid evil. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. The man that prays not is like an unarmed soldier, engaged in deadly strife with a bitter enemy. But, to be efficacious, prayer must be accompanied by meditation. The heart and mind, as well as the lips, must be employed in God’s service. The Creator commands us to love Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. The Rosary meets the wants of the entire man. It presents us with a vocal prayer, which descended from heaven, which was taught by the Son of God and His angel that heralded His coming. In addition to this vocal prayer the Rosary presents subjects of the most sublime meditation – the grandest Mysteries of Our Holy Religion.

The Name, Rosary

The devotion taught by Saint Dominic was not always called the Rosary. It was first called the Pater Nosters, a name which it still retains in some parts of Europe. It was called the Psalter of Mary, because the entire Rosary contains one hundred and fifty Hail Marys, corresponding with the one hundred and fifty psalms of David. It is also called the Chaplet or Crown of the Blessed Virgin, each Hail Mary being as a sweet-scented rose for the Crown of our Mother. The entire Rosary consists of fifteen mysteries, each mystery containing ten Hail Marys, forming the Harp of David, whose ten strings give a pleasing melody that rejoices the heart of the Queen of Heaven.

The Component Parts of the Rosary

Our Father

Jesus Christ Himself taught us the first essential part of the Rosary – the Our Father. This divine prayer contains the petitions for all things necessary for soul and body. It is the abridgment of the Scriptures. Saint Thomas says that by this divine prayer we not only ask those things which we should reasonably desire, but we ask them in the very order in which we should ask them; that in teaching us how we should pray, our Lord has also taught us how to regulate our desires.

The devout soul first utters its ardent love for God, and next expresses its longing desire that the whole earth should praise God as the blessed do in heaven. Then are asked the necessaries of the body, and the deliverance from all evils.

Hail Mary

As we can present no prayer so pleasing, so efficacious to the Eternal Father, as that prayer which he recognizes as coming from His adorable Son, and placed on our lips by our beloved Redeemer, so we can offer no prayer to our Immaculate Mother so pleasing, so efficacious, as that salutation which the same Eternal Father placed on the lips of the angel sent to salute her. When first that prayer was uttered heaven was reconciled with sinful earth, the work of Redemption was begun, heaven and earth were filled with joy. Tertuilian says, that, as the Lord’s Prayer is the breviary of the Gospel, so the Angelic Salutation may be called the breviary of Mary. It tells of her dignity, her power, her glory. One of the highest angels of heaven salutes her, calls her full of grace, tells her the Lord is with her, not as with other creatures, but in an ineffable manner. When we say the Angelic Salutation we fill Mary and all heaven with joy, in recalling the sublime Mystery of the Incarnation to their mind. Mary revealed to Blessed Alanus, the devoted child of the Rosary, that in saying the Hail Mary here on earth, we imitate the angels, who are continually repeating that salutation before her in heaven, filling her immaculate heart with joy in the recollection of the great mystery which secured her the sublime dignity of Mother of God.

To the Hail Mary, as given us by the angel and the divinely-inspired Elizabeth, Saint Dominic added the adorable Name, Jesus. And, since the days of Saint Dominic, that Sacred Name is pronounced with adoring love every day by millions of the faithful. Saint Augustine says the Hail Mary is the treasury of God, whence He distributes the gifts of heaven to men. Saint Jerome calls it the tree of life, which resuscitates the dead, sustains the living, heals the diseased.

Blessed Alanus of the Order of Saint Dominic says: “Heaven rejoices, the earth is astonished, Satan flies, hell trembles, the world appears miserable, the heart is inflamed with love, the flesh is overcome, sadness is banished, fervor increases, the mind is dilated, the heart becomes more ardent, when I say the ‘Hail Mary’. No wonder the Saints delighted in often repeating that divine salutation, so powerful in its effects.

Holy Mary.

This is the universal cry of the divinely-inspired Church. We call Mary the Mother of God, against all those heretics who deny her that sublime prerogative. As we call that woman mother from whom we received only part of our being, that is, our body, so we rightly call Mary the Mother of God, although she only gave Him part of His being. Jesus received from Mary that sacred body which suffered on the Cross, that precious blood which paid the debt of our sins.

While we repeat the Holy Mary, we are making an act of faith in the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ. In calling Mary the mother of God we proclaim to the world our belief that God had a mother, that He was born of a woman, that He was made man. Never’ will a child of the Church forget the Mystery of Redemption, or lose faith in that keystone dogma of Christianity, the Incarnation, so long as he practises the devotion of the Rosary.

In saying “pray for us sinners,” we acknowledge Mary’s power and our own sinfulness. We make an act of humility and an act of contrition; we do not think we are worthy to address God, but, ask the purest, the most holy, and most powerful Virgin to intercede for us.

Gloria Patri

The ten Hail Marys end with the Glory be to the Father, which is an act of supreme homage to the Adorable Trinity. As we adored God the Father in the Lord’s Prayer, and acknowledged the Incarnation and Redemption in the Hail Mary, so we conclude each Mystery of the Rosary with the Doxology, thereby proclaiming our belief in the Adorable Trinity.

The Mysteries of the Rosary

To advance in the paths of virtue vocal prayer is not sufficient; meditation is necessary. Religious must meditate in order to attain the perfection of their state; seculars must meditate in order that the great truths of religion may sink deep in their souls. Indeed, the more one is exposed to the turmoil and trials of life the more he requires to meditate. Jeremiah says, “With desolation is all the land laid desolate, because no one thinks in his heart.” One of the holy fathers says, “It is impossible to keep God’s commandments without imprinting deeply the truths of religion in our souls by meditation, and causing those truths to spread their roots in our hearts.” But every subject does not suit for all persons; some cannot meditate on certain religious truths without injuring their minds. There are, however, certain truths of religion on which all can meditate. These are the Mysteries of the Rosary. Those who cannot soar aloft in contemplating the perfections of the Deity, those who cannot reflect on death, judgment, or eternity, can sit down at the foot of the Cross and meditate with Mary on the sufferings of Jesus. There they behold at once the justice of God demanding such satisfaction, the enormity of sin requiring such atonement, the love of our Redeemer for us miserable sinners, and the shameful ingratitude of those who never think on that sacrifice of love.

Remarks to Opponents of the Rosary

Two different classes object to the Beads; Protestants and temporizing Catholics. To the former the Rosary is a vain repetition, a senseless mummery, a gross superstition, etc.

What God sanctions cannot be vain. The angelic hosts continually repeat Holy, Holy, Holy! Here repetition is not vain. In the Rosary we repeat the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary, the one put on our lips by the Son of God, the other put on the lips of the angel by the Eternal Father. Descending to us from heaven and taught us by God, these divine prayers cannot be vain.

That devotion cannot be senseless which has for its object meditation on the life, sufferings, and death of our Divine Lord, in order to love Him more and to imitate His example. This is what the Rosary proposes.

Saint Paul says: “Those whom God knew He predestined, that they should become conformable to the image of His Son.” Our Heavenly Father says to each of us as He said to Moses, “See and make according to the image shown you on the mount.” Rosarians aim at conformity with their divine model. A true child of the Rosary labors earnestly to be able to say with Saint Paul, “I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me.”

Nor can the beads be considered a superstitious mummery. In Scripture many things are found which to the skeptic appear superstitious. Washing seven times in the river for the cleansing of leprosy, rattling vessels seven times around a city for the purpose of taking it, striking the waters with a rod to divide them, raising a serpent of brass as an instrument of cure, sprinkling blood on the doorposts to save the inmates of the house from the destroying angel, these and many such examples might be regarded as superstitious mummeries. But to call them superstitions would be blasphemy. In performing them the children of faith knew they were obeying God, doing His will. Their faith saved them, and they cared little how their actions were regarded by the unbeliever.

Temporizing Catholics, it is to be regretted, do not correspond in sentiment with the greatest doctors, the most learned theologians, the most illustrious saints of the Church. They should fear discouraging or slighting a devotion so highly enriched by the infallible Church, and so much esteemed by God’s most illustrious servants. Rosarians should thank God for their knowledge and esteem of this heavenly devotion. They are the little ones, of whom Christ says, “I thank Thee, Heavenly Father, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones; yea, Father, for so it was pleasing to Thee.”

The Devotion of the Rosary

We have seen that the devotion of the Holy Rosary was revealed to Saint Dominic by the Blessed Virgin, who admonished him and his holy Order to preach it throughout the world, as the most powerful means of extirpating vice, of converting from heresy, of inflaming all hearts with the love of Jesus Christ, and of promoting among the faithful the practice of every virtue. It is adapted alike to the learned and ignorant, to the cloister and the world, and to every capacity, the words being so easy that the most illiterate may learn them,, and the mysteries so sublime as to form matter of contemplation worthy of the highest intellect and of the greatest sanctity. No Christian could slight the devotion of the Rosary without irreverence, or neglect its frequent use without serious injury to piety. The whole Rosary is composed of fifteen decades, the chaplet or ordinary beads- containing five decades; each of the fifteen decades is recited in honor of a mystery of our Lord’s life, beginning with His Incarnation and ending with His crowning His blessed Mother in heaven. A decade consists of one Pater, ten Aves, and a Gloria – (i. e., one “Our Father”, ten “Hail Marys” and a “Glory be to the Father.”) While reciting the decade place before your mind the mystery honored, and pray that the virtue it particularly teaches may be impressed upon your heart, and that the graces of the holy mystery be imparted to your soul.

To perform the devotion, as taught by our Lady to Saint Dominic, it is necessary to meditate on the mystery proposed, either just before beginning the decade, or whilst repeating it. To meditate is, in the spirit of prayer, to apply a truth to our own soul, thus drawing out of each mystery considerations leading us to love and to imitate the divine example proposed to us in the mystery: in reciting the Rosary, meditation is assisted by selecting one particular virtue, and praying for it through the merits of that holy mystery, in honor of which we are reciting the decade. The following table gives the names of the mysteries, as taught by our Lady, and the corresponding virtue, as suggested by blessed Alanus:

Joyful Mysteries – Spirit of Holy Joy

1. Annunciation … Humility

2. Visitation … Fraternal Charity, i.e., Works of Mercy

3. Nativity … Spirit of Poverty, i.e., as opposed to Avarice

4. Presentation … Obedience

5. Jesus with the Doctors … Love of Jesus and of His holy service

Sorrowful Mysteries – Spirit of Compassion and Contrition

1. Agony … Fervor in prayer

2. Scourging … Penance, i.e., as opposed to dissipation, gluttony, intemperance, and impurity

3. Crowning with Thorn … Moral Courage, i.e., as opposed to human respect

4. Carriage of Cross … Patience

5. Crucifixion … Self-sacrifice for God and our neighbor

Glorious Mysteries – Spirit of Adoration and Faith

1. Resurrection … Faith

2. Ascension … Hope

3. Descent of the Holy Ghost … Zeal for souls

4. Assumption … Filial devotion to Mary

5. Coronation of the B.V.M. … Perseverance

Popularity of the Rosary

The Rosary is a devotion of which Saint Charles Borromeo said “that he depended upon it almost solely for the conversion and sanctification of his diocese similar has indeed been the conviction of each successive saint since first the Queen of Heaven revealed this devotion to the Church. Bishops and parish-priests throughout the whole world have vied with one another in promoting the Holy Rosary in their dioceses, the colleges, and the parishes under their pastoral care. Founders of Religious Orders have, almost without exception,, either commanded or earnestly recommended the daily recital of the Rosary. The Benedictines, represented by men venerable even, amidst an Order so glorious in its traditional sanctity and learning, speedily adopted this devotion in their ancient cloisters. The Carmelites delighted to repeat that they had received from the Dominican Order both their later rules and their Rosary; thus uniting in a double bond of union, the cloistered and the Apostolic Order of our Lady. The Franciscans, ever ardent in their love for Jesus Christ, made their rough-hewn wooden chaplets, and preached over the world, at once poverty and the beads of their Immaculate Mother. The Servites, inspired by similar motives, wore the beads, according to the testimony of one of less their venerable writers, as the best badge of that servitude which is the only true liberty. The first fathers of the illustrious society of Jesus, taught at once by the words and example of their founder, invariably propagated everywhere the devotion of the Rosary, and, like Saint Francis Xavier, who generally used the touch of his chaplet as the means of healing the sick, they would often, on approaching those distant lands where zeal and charity bore them, raise aloft their Rosary, and with it bless the strange and barbarous people, who were to be conquered by that love of Jesus and of Mary, of which the Rosary must ever form the most complete type. Saint Philip, called by Popes the Apostle of Rome, ever stands before us, whether in history or in picture, with that chaplet seeming to belong to him as much as his miracle-working, disinterested, and tender charity. Saint Vincent of Paul, when training a fresh Order to win souls to Christ, by considering them- selves the lowest, when so many delighted to regard them as among the highest, specially instructed those who joined his Order to depend more upon their beads than upon their preaching, in Missions to the people, and in retreats to the Clergy and to students. Who is there throughout this country in whom devotion to the Rosary has not been created or increased by the disciples of Saint Alphonsus, Evangelists of this later age, or by those apostolic congregations which, under the name of the Passion, etc., have won so many souls to God? In the religious Communities of women, amidst the almost countless varieties of grace and of charity, we shall find the old Rosary of our Ladylike a bond of devotional unity among all.

Among the faithful the Rosary has ever maintained its place; other rosaries or beads have been invented, in pious imitation of those taught by our Lady, and have been either condemned by the Church or tolerated, or at length permitted, and even indulgenced; but the faithful have ever caught the spirit of the Church, and clung, with traditional reverence and love, to the devotion which, taught from heaven, alone among all presents to the mind and to the heart the entire of the Christian life. Who does not remember, in early days, old-fashioned beads, treasured amidst faithful families, as memorials of times of danger and of persecution? A venerable priest who lately died at Rome in the odor of sanctity, declared that the faith had been preserved in Ireland solely by the devotion of that ancient people to the Rosary. The venerable Cure d’Ars declared emphatically that in this century it was the Rosary which restored religion in France: and we know by the testimony of Saints, and of our Blessed Lady herself, it was the preaching of the Rosary which, at two terrible epochs, reanimated and saved the faith of Southern Europe.

Power of the Rosary

Succeeding Popes have united their testimony in praise of the Holy Rosary; thus Pope Urban VIII calls the Rosary the “propagator of Christianity” for truly the preaching of the Rosary spreads the kingdom of Jesus Christ, by the loving and persevering knowledge which it imparts to the infidels of the mysteries of Jesus and of Mary. We have proof of this in the flourishing Christianity of Tonquin, and of those parts of China, America, and of the West Indies, where the Rosary preached by the “White Fathers,” as the natives called the sons of Saint Dominic, converted so great a number of idolaters, and kept them constant in the Faith: and ecclesiastical writers have often recorded how, around the convents of the ” Black Friars” (as the same Fathers were called in the northern climates), faith and devotion multiplied.

Pope Saint Pius V describes the Rosary as the “power which banishes away the darkness of heresy,” a title well attested by the historical events of the thirteenth, the sixteenth, and the seventeenth centuries, when festivals and public monuments were instituted as memorials of the triumphs of the Rosary.

Pope Clement VIII calls the Rosary “the protection and the security of the faithful,” and alludes to the victories which have been obtained, and the miracles which have been wrought, through the Holy Rosary. Indeed, successive ages have united their imposing voice to testify how the Rosary has been instrumental in delivering the devout Rosarians from dangers the most awful; in banishing dangers from body and from soul; in healing the sick, and in raising the dead; as the Holy Virgin revealed to the blessed Alanus, “immense volumes would have to be written, if all the miracles of my Holy Rosary were to be recorded.”

Pope Gregory XIII calls the Rosary “the appeaser of the anger of God, the rainbow of peace, uniting heaven irritated with guilty earth,” and speaks of the hands armed with that holy sign of the Rosary, as “shielded by heavenly armor.”

Pope Gregory XIV calls the Holy Rosary “the destroyer of sin.” How often has the soul, abandoned to sin, by the recital of this prayer, been saved from the abyss of vice; and when sincere lovers of souls seek the conversion of others, to what remedy do they apply so constantly, and so efficaciously, as to the recital of the Holy Rosary?

Pope Paul V describes the Rosary as the “treasury of all graces;” in it “sinners find life, the just find it more abundantly;” the contemplation of the sacred mysteries of our Saviour’s life inflames the heart with the love of God, and raises it easily to the exercise of the sublimest virtues. Devotion to the Rosary is a pledge of perseverance in good, of a happy death, and of a blessed predestination.

Pope Julius III proclaims the Holy Rosary to be “the most illustrious ornament of the Roman Church, offering to us, with a sublime reality, those mysteries and precious stones named in Holy Writ, as decorating the vestments of the Spouse of Christ.”

Moreover, the Sovereign Pontiffs have invariably applied to the Rosary some epithet only bestowed on objects deserving the highest veneration; it is called by them, “very holy,” “most holy”, “most sacred”.

Neither can we be surprised at such commendations, when we consider how powerfully the heart is affected by frequent meditation on the Incarnation, the Childhood, the Passion, and the Eisen Glory of our Lord: how great must be the benefit to the soul when such practical meditations are offered up under the invocation of the Queen and the Mother, and joined with the recital of prayers so precious as the Pater and the Ave. The Pater, taught by our Lord Himself, containing the compendium of all virtues; the “Ave, the compendium of all mercy, inspired by the Holy Ghost, and first pronounced by an Archangel, at the moment of the Incarnation.

Advantages of the Rosary

The approval of the Church must ever be the guide and the support of her children; the Indulgences granted to a devotion are highly beneficial to the soul, helping to shorten the penances of those in God’s grace; they are almost equally useful in directing the attention of the faithful to those devotions which chiefly the Church desires to encourage. Then let us remember that the Rosary of our Blessed Lady has received Indulgences greater and more numerous than any other practice of piety. Many devotions which have received great Indulgences, have had these partially withdrawn by succeeding Popes; whereas different Popes, including our present Holy Father, have formally ratified all the Indulgences that have been ever granted to the Rosary by any of their predecessors. We see these Indulgences increase the more earnestly the devotion is undertaken; thus, supposing a person provides himself with a Rosary, gets it blessed by any priest, and says any day five decades, he obtains an Indulgence of twenty-five days on every bead, besides the Indulgence granted to the devout recital of the Holy Name of Jesus; supposing he perseveres in this practice for a month, he obtains a Plenary Indulgence by approaching Holy Communion and praying for the Pope’s Intention on the fourth Sunday of the month. Supposing he gets these beads indulgenced by a priest having power to give the Bridgetine Indulgence or Pope’s Blessing, he obtains moreover an Indulgence of one hundred days on every bead, applicable to the souls in purgatory. He gains, moreover, an Indulgence each day by simply carrying them on his person through devotion to Jesus and Mary; also, whenever doing so he performs any work of mercy; whenever he says the Angelus, De Profundis, or recites three Paters and Aves in honor of the Holy Trinity and of our Lady Immaculate; or five Paters and Aves in honor of the Five Sacred Wounds; whenever he hears Mass, or visits the Blessed Sacrament. If, moreover, the person gives his name to be registered by a Dominican Father, in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, and gets his beads indulgenced by a Dominican Father, he will obtain two hundred days indulgence on every bead, Plenary Indulgence on every first and fourth Sunday of the month by confession and communion, and on all Feast days, besides a great number of other indulgences; and if each week he says fifteen decades of his beads, that is, the entire Rosary in the course of the week, he obtains that week a special union with all the Masses, Rosaries, Prayers, Alms, Penances, and other good works of all the Confraternity throughout the world, and if he dies in the grace of God – having the custom, when in sufficient health, of saying three Chaplets each week – he obtains these same helps in purgatory. If, moreover, he wears the white Scapular given by Our Lady to the Dominican Order, and allowed to be worn by all Rosarians, he moreover will be in the way of receiving some of those special marks of maternal love, which our Blessed Ladv delights to bestow on those who wear her most holy habit – the mantle of her charity and the type of angelic chastity.

– text and illustrations taken from the book The Rosary: with Illustrations and Meditations, no author listed, New York, 1872