Crown, or "Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary" -- also known
as the "Seraphic Rosary" -- is a 7-decade Rosary that focuses on the 7 Joys
of Mary. It's an ancient Franciscan sacramental that has its origins in A.D.
1422, when a young man, whose name is unknown to us, joined the Franciscan
Order. He'd had the practice of crowning a statue of Mary with garlands of
fresh flowers, but couldn't continue the practice during his novitiate. When
he was tempted to leave the Order, he had a vision of Our Lady, who told
him, "Do not be sad and cast down, my son, because you are no longer permitted
to place wreaths of flowers on my statue. I will teach you to change this
pious practice into one that will be far more pleasing to me and far more
meritorious to your soul. In place of the flowers that soon wither and cannot
always be found, you can weave for me a crown from the flowers of your prayers
that will always remain fresh."
She then asked that the novice say one Pater and 10 Aves in honor of each
of her Seven Joys -- the Annunciation; Visitation; Nativity; Adoration of
the Magi; Finding Jesus in the Temple; Resurrection; and Assumption and
Coronation of the Virgin.
The young friar began his prayers as instructed, and when he was deep in
the middle of it, the novice master noticed him, and watched as an Angel
wove a garland of fresh roses, inserting a golden lily after each tenth rose.
When the novice's prayers were finished, the Angel crowned him with the garland.
The novice master asked if the novice knew anything about the vision he'd
just seen, and after it was explained to him, he told the rest of his brothers
what he'd seen. Thereafter, the practice of reciting what became known as
the "Franciscan Crown" spread.
Seven decades of 10 Aves equal 70 Aves, but two Aves were later added to
make the total of the Aves equal to seventy-two, the number of years that
Our Lady is said to have lived on earth.
When praying the Franciscan Crown, one can keep count on standard
Dominican Rosary Beads, just going an extra two
decades; use no beads at all; or obtain a 7-decade Rosary made just for praying
the Franciscan Crown. The beads do not have to be blessed (unless
one is praying the Franciscan Crown publicly and is intending to gain the
indulgences given to those attached to the Franciscan Order when making this
To pray the Franciscan Crown, one simply prays a Pater, and then 10 Aves,
for each decade, in honor of each of the 7 Joys at each decade (meditation
on those Joys isn't necessary). Then add two Aves at the end. One may also
add a Pater, Ave, and Gloria at the very end for the intentions of the Holy
Some announce the Joys by incorporating them into the Ave, like this:
Hail Mary, full
of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed
is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, Whom thou didst joyfully conceive.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our
There are many
variations of the Seraphic Rosary: some add the Apostles Creed, three Aves,
and a Pater before beginning, as in the Dominican Rosary; some add Glorias
to the Paters in between the decades, etc.