selected from the annals of history unto our current day
The Holy Rosary
Instructions and Meditation Aids
Different Methods of Reciting the Beads
from the Formulary of Prayers for the use of the Sisters of St. Joseph
In order to prevent distractions, and to keep up attention and fervor in the recital of the beads, it is useful to form to one's self certain particular intentions which can be changed at each decade, or even at each Ave Maria.
This holy practice has the advantage of giving an agreeable variety to one of the most salutary exercises of piety in use in the Church for honoring the Mother of God. It also serves to fix the inconstancy of the imagination, and to prevent the distaste which the frequent repetition of the same prayers might sometimes cause to persons not very fervent.
We shall here propose several methods and various specimens of intentions, which each one can choose, according to the wants of her soul, and as the fancy of each one may suggest.
To meditate on the mysteries usually proposed. This method of recalling to mind the principal mysteries of our holy religion presents to us, in the person of Jesus Christ and of His holy Mother, the models of the most sublime virtues.
I. The Joyous Mysteries.
1. The Incarnation: the virtue of the Mystery, humility.
2. The Visitation: Charity towards our neighbor.
3. The Nativity of our Saviour: love of poverty.
4. The Presentation in the temple: perfect obedience.
5. The Finding of Jesus: fervor.
II. The Dolorous Mysteries.
1. Decade, the Agony of our Saviour: perfect resignation.
2. The Flagellation: invincible patience.
3. Crowning with thorns; unalterable meekness.
4. The Carrying of the Cross: patience under the trials of our state of life.
5. The Crucifixion: love of Jesus.
III. The Glorious Mysteries.
1. Decade, the Resurrection: a perfect conversion.
2. The Ascension: desire of heaven.
3. Descent of the Holy Ghost: recollection.
4. Assumption of the Blessed V. Mary: the grace of a good death.
5. Her crowning in heaven: sincere devotion to Mary.
To honor the glorious relations of Mary with the Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity.
Honor, by the three first Aves of each decade, the eternal Father, whose beloved daughter Mary is; by the three following Aves, the eternal Son, whose Mother Mary is; and by the next three, the eternal Spirit, whose chaste Spouse she is; and by the tenth Ave, glorify the most Holy Trinity, whose august temple she is. As all the dignity of Mary is derived from her relation to the three divine Persons, we can practice nothing more glorious in regard to her than to commemorate them often. Hence persons are accustomed to offer up, in the beginning of the Rosary, three Aves with this intention.
To commemorate the Glories of Mary.
Recite the three first Aves of each decade, to honor Mary as the Queen of the triumphant Church; three more, as the Advocate of the militant Church: the next three, as the Consoler of the suffering Church; and the tenth, as the chief work of an Omnipotent God.
To honor the Virtues of Mary, and to ask her for the grace of imitating them.
1. Her profound humility.
2. Her lively faith.
3. Her unshaken hope.
4. Her ardent love of God.
5. Her tender charity for all.
6. Her immaculate purity.
7. Her perfect obedience.
8. Her extreme poverty.
9. Her unalterable patience.
10. Her spirit of prayer.
As, according to the sentiments of holy doctors, the best criterion of true devotion to the Virgin is the imitation of her virtues, how agreeable to her, and advantageous to us, must not this method be!
To recite the Beads in memory of the principal Feast of the B. V. Mary.
1. The Immaculate Conception.
2. The Nativity.
3. The holy name of Mary.
4. The Presentation.
5. The Annunciation.
6. The Visitation.
7. The Purification.
8. The Seven Sorrows.
9. The Assumption.
10. The Sacred Heart of Mary.
By pursuing this method, one may be considered to celebrate all the feasts of the Blessed Virgin, whenever he recites the beads.
To honor Mary as Queen of the Angels.
Recite the nine first Ave Marias of each decade, in union with the nine choirs of angels.
1. The Seraphim.
2. The Cherubim.
3. The Thrones.
4. The Dominations.
5. The Virtues.
6. The Powers.
7. The Principalities.
8. The Archangels.
9. The Angels.
10. The whole celestial court.
How pleasing must such prayers be to Mary, which are united with the concerts of praise eternally celebrated in her honor by the celestial spirits!
To honor Mary as the Queen of Saints.
One or several decades can be formed of the blessed in heaven, according to the order indicated in the Litanies of the Saints.
1. Patriarchs and Prophets.
2. The Apostles and Evangelists.
3. The holy Martyrs.
4. The holy Pontiffs and Confessors.
5. The holy Doctors.
6. The holy Priests and Levites.
7. The holy Monks and Hermits.
8. The holy Virgins.
9. The holy Women.
10. All the Saints of heaven.
This view of so many faithful servants of Mary, who have been saved by her powerful intercession, ought to inspire a profound respect and entire confidence in this divine Mother.
To unite ourselves with those Saints who on earth were in any way related to her.
1. Saint Joachim, her father.
2. Saint Anne, her mother.
3. Saint Joseph, her spouse.
4. Saint Zachary.
5. Saint Elizabeth.
6. Saint John the Baptist.
7. Saint John the Evangelist.
8. Saint Martha.
9. Saint Mary Magdalen.
10. All her holy relations.
The united intercession of so many saints, who bore such intimate relationship to Mary, must certainly prove highly advantageous to us.
To recite the Rosary in union with those Saints who were the most distinguished for their devotion to Mary.
1. Saint Bernard.
2. Saint Bonaventure.
3. Saint Dominic.
4. Saint Simon Stock.
5. Saint Francis Xavier.
6. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.
7. Saint Teresa.
8. Saint Louis, King of France.
9. Saint Francis de Sales.
10. Saint Vincent of Paul.
It is easy to compose a rosary or decades at one's option, commemorating those saints towards whom one feels most devotion.
To implore Mary's aid for souls in Purgatory.
Recite the first Ave for your deceased Sisters. You cannot give them a more sincere and solid proof of your attachment towards them. The second Ave for your parents: filial piety demands it of you; the third for your spiritual and temporal benefactors, as attribute of gratitude; the fourth for those who suffer on your account: it is an act of justice; the fifth for those who are most devout to Mary; the sixth for those souls who are most abandoned, as most worthy of compassion; the seventh for the deceased of the parish, who seem to have a right to it; the three last Aves for the souls departed, in general.
To unite the Litany of Mary with the Beads.
One can say the Pater and the three Aves at the beginning of the beads in honor of the Most Blessed Trinity. On the first decade, the first Ave, Sancta Maria, or Hail, Holy Mary; the second, Ave, Sancta Dei Genitrix, or Hail, Holy Mother of God; the third Ave, Sancta Virgo Virginum, or, Hail, Holy Virgin of virgins; and thus in succession.
On the Eve of Communion.
The beads may be recited in order to prepare for that great action, and to implore a share in the holy dispositions of the Blessed Virgin, and in the pious sentiments which animated her at the moment of the Incarnation, and also when she had the happiness of receiving communion after the Ascension of Jesus Christ. During the first decade, make an act of faith and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; during the second, an act of profound humility; during the third, an act of sincere contrition; during the fourth, an act of confidence and love; during the fifth, excite in your heart an ardent desire of being united with Jesus Christ.
On the Day of Communion.
On the day you have had the happiness of going to communion, unite yourself to Mary, and with her recite the first decade with lively sentiments of admiration; the second, in sentiments of thanksgiving; at the third, offer yourself without reserve to Jesus; at the fourth, implore of Him to grant you all His graces through the intercession of His divine Mother; at the fifth, take the resolution of being entirely His, and deposit this resolution in the hands of Mary.
In this way it is easy to perceive that the beads recited in any of these methods, or others similar to them, must be most useful and salutary, and that this devotion ought not to occupy an inferior place among the devotions of a good Religious, or of any Christian attached to the Mother of the Saviour of mankind. Experience will shortly convince you how suitable they are for removing distractions, and for cherishing in the soul the most tender sentiments of devotion towards this divine Mother.
August Queen of Heaven! Sovereign Mistress of the Angels! Thou, who from the beginning hast received from God the Power and mission to crush the head of Satan; we humbly beseech thee to send thy holy legions, that, under thy command, and by the power, they may pursue the evil spirits; encounter them on every side; resist their bold attacks, and drive them hence into the abyss of everlasting woe. Amen.
"Who is like unto God!"