The Franciscans celebrate this feast August 27 and the Conventuals on August 26. Pope St. Pius X authorized them to celebrate this feast in 1906. The original day was the Sunday after the octave of the Assumption, but in 1914 it was transferred to the octave day itself; and in 1942, when the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was assigned to that day, that of the Seven Joys was moved to August 26 or 27. The Franciscans wear the Rosary of the Seven Joys on their cord.
On the Franciscan Crown
- The Blessed Virgin herself pointed out that the Franciscan Crown, like the Dominican rosary, is a devotion pleasing to her. The annuals of the order state that a young man – it is generally believed to be James of the Rosary – who entered the order had been a fervent client of our Blessed Lady and had decked her statue daily with a wreath of flowers. Since he was not permitted to continue this practice in the novitiate, he thought of leaving the order. But first he knelt before the statue of Our Lady to say a prayer.
- There the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said: “Remain here, and do not grieve because you can no longer weave a wreath of flowers for me. I will teach you how you can daily weave a crown of roses that will not wither and will be more pleasing to me and more meritorious for yourself.” And she taught him the rosary of seven decades. From that incident we can learn not to be selfishly attached to pious practices, and that prayer is of greater value than perishable decorations.
- Consider the fragrant roses that make up the Franciscan Crown. This rosary consists of seventy-two Hail Marys, and originally these were said in honor of the seventy-two years which Our Lady spent on earth according to the more probable opinion and tradition. As such, it was certainly in existence during the first half of the fifteenth century, for St. Bernardin and St. John Capistran both promoted it. It was not until the seventeenth century apparently that the children of St. Francis began to recite the seven decades of the crown also in honor of the seven joys of Our Lady. The seven joys are as follows: The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Adoration of the Magi, The Finding of Jesus in the Temple, The Resurrection of Our Lord, The Assumption and Coronation of Our Lady. At each decade it is well to reflect on the sweet joy Our Lady experienced on the occasions indicated. Said in this way, the rosary will be very pleasing to Mary, and you will learn to love it more and more.
- Consider how effectual this rosary has proved to be. The servant of God James experienced its good effects even in his lifetime, and throughout the history of the Franciscan Order blessed results have been so often achieved in various necessities, that at the request of the superiors of the order the popes have attached rich indulgences to its recitation. It is urgently recommended that all members of the order recite it at least every Saturday. Make that a rule for yourself. You may then rest assured that you will participate in the joys of Our Lady in heaven.
The Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary Rosary
The rosary consists of a loop of 7 sets, or decades, of beads. Each consists of 1 large bead (mystery) and 10 smaller beads (Hail Mary beads). From the cross up to the medallion are 3 more beads. The bead closest to the medallion is the starting point. After going around the loop you come back and jump to the middle bead and say 2 additional Hail Mary’s and conclude with the Memorare prayer.
The manner to recite the Franciscan Crown Rosary is as follows:
- Holding the cross in your left hand and making the sign of the cross with the right say, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
- Take the top bead above the cross in the fingers of one hand and recite the first mystery below.
- Still holding that same bead recite the “Our Father..”
- Move to the next bead and say the “Hail Mary” continue moving to the next bead and reciting the Hail Mary until you get to the last bead in the decade. Reflect on each phrase in the prayer for a second or two.
- On the last bead of the decade after the Hail Mary recite the “Glory Be…”
- Move to the next bead, a single one, and recite the next mystery and continue all the way around the loop of beads.
- At the end of the seventh decade two Hail Marys are added
These are the last 2 beads before the cross.
- The rosary concludes with the Memorare prayer.
The seven joyous mysteries:
Annunciation (Luke 1:31-32)
Visitation (Luke 1:42, 45)
Birth of Jesus in a Cave in Bethlehem (Luke 2:6-7)
Adoration of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-6)
Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46-47)
Apparition of the Risen Christ to His Blessed Mother and the Apostles. (Matthew 28:5-6)
Assumption and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Judith 13:18 and Revelation 12:1)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Source: “THE FRANCISCAN BOOK OF SAINTS” edited by Rev. Father Marion Alphonse Habig, OFM.
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