The Franciscan Crown – a precious devotion so rich in indulgences

 

Excerpt from The Manual of the Third order of St. Francis of Assisi, vol. 1 by the Franciscan Third Order

Its origin is as follows: about the year 1420, a young man, deeply devoted to Our Lady, took the habit of Saint Francis. Before joining the Order he had, among other practices, been accustomed daily to make a chaplet of flowers, and with it to crown a statue of the Blessed Virgin.

Having, in his novitiate, no longer an opportunity of making this crown for his Most Beloved Queen, he, in his simplicity, thought that she would withdraw her affection from him; this temptation of the devil disturbed his vocation, and he resolved to abandon the cloister. The merciful Mother appeared to him, and gently rebuking him strengthened him in his vocation by telling him to offer her, instead of the chaplet of flowers, a crown much more pleasing to her, composed of seventy-two Ave Marias with a Pater after each decade of Ave Marias, and to meditate at each decade upon the Seven Joys she had experienced during the seventy-two years of her exile upon the earth.

The novice immediately commenced reciting the new crown or rosary, and derived therefrom many spiritual and temporal graces. This pious practice quickly spread through the whole Order, and even throughout the world; the Roman Pontiffs granted divers indulgences to those who recited this crown, in addition to the plenary indulgence which was for the Franciscans only. This devotion became very popular under different names: some called it the Crown of the Madonna, as if to mark its excellence; others, the Crown of the Franciscans, on account of its origin; and others lastly, the Crown of the Seven Joys, because of the mysteries meditated upon during its recitation.

 

Saint Bernardine of Sienna used to say that it was by the Crown of the Seven Joys that he had obtained all the graces which Heaven has heaped upon him. Is not this a stimulant for us to resolve on embracing with fervour this holy practice?

The Seven Joys of Mary by Lucas Cranach, the elder, 1472-1553; https://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/4049

 

The Crown of the Seven Joys of the Holy Virgin Mary

To begin, make the sign of the Holy Cross
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

V. O God, come to my assistance.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. Amen

The First Joy of Mary at her Annunciation and Divine Maternity (Saint Luke 1: 26-33, 38)
Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Gloria Patri.

Second Joy of Mary at her Visit to her cousin, Saint Elizabeth (Saint Luke 1: 39-45)
Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Gloria Patri.

Third Joy of Mary at the Birth of Jesus (Luke 2: 6-12)
Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Gloria Patri.

Fourth Joy of Mary on the Adoration of the Magi Kings (Saint Matthew 2: 1-2, 10-11)
Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Gloria Patri.

Fifth Joy of Mary on Finding Jesus in the Temple, after having lost Him, where He was disputing with the doctors (Saint Luke 2: 41-50)
Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Gloria Patri.

Sixth Joy of Mary at the glorious Resurrection of her Divine Son (Saint Mark 16: 1-7)
Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Gloria Patri.

Seventh Joy of Mary on her Assumption into heaven, in body and in soul (Saint Luke 1: 46-55)
Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Gloria Patri.

Two Hail Marys are still further prayed; and then an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the Sovereign Pontiff.

The Rosary is concluded with the following prayers:

 

V. In thy Conception, O Virgin Mary, thou was immaculate.
R. Pray for us to the Father, whose Son thou didst bring forth.

Let us pray

O God, who did prepare for Thy Son a worthy habitation, by the Immaculate Conception, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we beseech Thee that, as Thou didst preserve her from every stain of sin, through the merits of the preordained atonement of Jesus Christ, so Thou would grant that we also may come without spot to Thee. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Madonna and Child by Sandro Botticelli (b. 1445-d. 1510); 1470-75; Louvre Museum, Paris, France; commons.wikimedia.org