ORIGIN OF THE FRANCISCAN CROWN
Do not fear, Mary, for you have favor with God. Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Jesus. Luke 1:30-31
The Franciscan rosary, or as it is properly called, The Franciscan Crown, dates to the early part of the 15th century. At that time a young man who found spiritual joy in weaving a crown of wild flowers for a beautiful statue of Mary decided to enter the Franciscan Order. After entering the community, however, he was saddened when he no longer found the time to gather flowers for his personal devotion. One evening, while feeling tempted to abandon his vocation, he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mother encouraged the young novice to persevere by 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. Before long, many other Franciscans began to pray the Crown and soon it spread to the entire Order, becoming officially established in 1422.
In addition to developing this Marian devotion, the Franciscans are credited with adding the final words to the Hail Mary, Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. In 1263, Saint Bonaventure, Minister General of the Order, encouraged liturgical devotion honoring the mystery of the Visitation. Saint Bonaventure also popularized the daily triple recitation of the Angelus which it is believed Saint Francis initiated after visiting the Holy Land. Francis was deeply impressed by the Muslim practice of stopping to pray several times a day, and desired to Christianize this pious custom. A Franciscan pope, Sixtus IV (1471-1485), introduced the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the feast of Saint Joseph as husband of Mary. He also issued the first papal pronouncement encouraging the rosary as in invaluable instrument of personal and societal conversion.
Taken from The Franciscan Crown
a beautiful booklet available in most Catholic Book stores
Courtesy of The Franciscan Friars of Marytown
How to Pray The Franciscan Crown
- 1. Using beads for the Franciscan Crown (seven decades), announce the First Mystery and pray the Our Father on the single bead just before the medallion (center medal).2. Pray one Hail Mary for each of the ten beads. (It seems most fitting to proceed around the beads in a clockwise direction.)
3. On the single bead between the decades, announce the next Mystery and then pray the Our Father. Continue as in Step 2 for the remaining Mysteries.
4. After the last Mystery, pray one Hail Mary each on the fourth and third beads from the Cross to complete 72 years of Mary’s Joy.
5. Pray the Our Father and the Glory to the Father (Gloria Patri) for the intention of the Holy Father on the 2nd bead from the Cross.
6. Pray a Hail Mary on the single bead closest to the Cross.