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The rosary is an evolution. With the help of some of my fellow rosary enthusiasts I have compiled a timeline of the rosary. Please forward me more information or revisions for this historical narrative of the rosary.

1st Century (1 ad – 100 ad)

65 – 150 ad: SYRIA. The Didache, (a.k.a. “Little Instruction Book” or “The Apostolic Catechism For the New Church”) is formed. People are encouraged to say the Lord’s Prayer as commanded in Scripture (Matt. 6: 9-13). They are told, “Three times in the day, thus pray.” Still honored at Mass and Liturgy of the Hours; Lauds and Vespers. It also instructs them to baptize “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,’ ‘in living water’. If it is not available they are to use ‘other water,’ ... and if the water is not ‘cold, then warm,’ if neither available, they are to ‘pour water on the head 3 times’ for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

79 ad: ITALY. Mt. Vesuvius erupts in Naples Bay and swallows Pompeii. Centuries later when excavated, a small home altar is discovered with signs of a cross above it.

155 ad. St. Polycarp is allowed to complete his prayers and “pronounce the word Amen” before the fire was lit beneath him.

2nd Century (101 ad – 200 ad)

200 ad: apostles creed. Tradition tells us it is the teaching of the Apostles themselves and is an overview of the Christian faith. It is believed to be part of the baptismal prayer or rite of new Christians since the beginning. The earliest written form known is Tertullian in 200ad. (The present form dates before 700AD.)

3rd Century (201 ad – 300 ad)

The practice of counting prayers using a string of beads is very old. There are legends of St. Anthony in the desert counting his prayers with pebbles in the third century.

Desert Fathers: Prayer Beads have been a counting device for almost every religion on earth. Sandstone sculptures of the Sunga and Kushan period show Hindu Sages holding Rosaries (185BC-AD320). Hindus predate Christians by 9 centuries B.C. and desert fathers counted with stones, sticks and notches long before recorded history.

211ad: Tertullian (re: the sign of the cross): has recognized that it is common practice that Christians seldom do anything of importance without making the sign of the cross. By 230AD Tertullian writes that baptism candidates are marked with a sign of the cross on their foreheads. “... we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross” which stems from the Old Testament (Ezekial 9:4) This would be during their formation or training as catechumens. The earliest existing form of the Apostles Creed also comes from Tertullian during this period.

235ad: Most Ancient Prayer to Our Lady: “We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.” (This prayer was found in a book of prayers to Mary, published in 1921, 'The Key of Heaven' quoting from a fledgling church still in the throes of Roman persecution and dated 235AD. (Another original copy of this prayer was found in 1917 written on Egyptian papyrus. This prayer again spread from Egypt where Joseph and Mary had fled with Jesus to Europe and other parts of the Christian World.) Believed to be earliest written prayer to Mary.

248ad: north africa. Cyprian is elected Bishop of Carthage. In an early church document he warns the people that they are to respect the command of God by saying the Paternoster (Lord’s Prayer) lest you ‘establish your own tradition’.

251-356 ad: EGYPT. St. Anthony the Great is Founder of Christian monasticism. He was also given credit for bringing the Byzantine Rosary into the church by knotting a woolen cord for the counting of prayers. On the death of his wealthy parents, he inherited all at 20. Inspired by the Apostles and the words, ”If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all thou hast" he gave his property away and devoted his life to religious exercises.

4th Century (301ad – 400ad)

Prayer rope used by the Desert Fathers to count repetitions of the Jesus Prayer. PRAYING WITH THE WHOLE BODY The desert hermits develop a prayer technique that involves the whole body. Rhythmic physical movements are used as they pray. Eventually this is brought into Ireland by the Monks.

GEORGIA: With her own wooden cross in her hands, St. Nino blessed the Queen. She made the sign of the cross by touching her with it on her head, feet, and each shoulder. Immediately, this life-giving symbol triggers a miracle. According to Studia Biblica, "she was cured."

EGYPT: The mummified remains of St. Thais a legendary courtesan along with an ascetic Serapion found and exhibited in the early 1900s confirmed the following. Along with iron instruments of penance there was a cribbage board like apparatus pierced with holes. It was called a 'compte-priere' - a counter of prayers. St Thais was a public sinner in Egypt in the 300s who was converted by St. Paphnutius.

330 ad: turkey. Constantine is taken with Christianity after winning a battle where a cross in the sky spoke to him. It becomes the official religion of the empire. He re-names the small town of Byzantium, Constantinople. He sends his mother, St Helen’ to Jerusalem to find the true cross. This Christian influence is reflected by the wearing of the cross and molded glass amulets representing droplets of Christ's blood and other symbols of the Christians such as 'fish, doves and faces of Christ.

331 ad: turkey. Constantinople becomes the seat of the Roman Empire and the people come on pilgrimages from North Africa, Spain, Denmark, and other far away places. From all this wealth there are signs of the Church beginning to discourage the wearing of jewelry, and 'beads will be increasingly limited to rosaries.

341 ad: egypt. Early records state (Abbot) Paul of Thebes (c. 234 - 347), a hermit, who was simply 'praying in the manner old and beyond memory', said his 300 daily Paternosters by moving pre-counted pebbles from one pile to another.

354 – 430 ad: hippo. St Augustine admonished the faithful, 'God is a circle whose center is everywhere’ He said, '[returning] within yourself, for it is the inward man that truth dwells.' Prayer Beads were not known to be circular during his lifetime but it speaks clearly to the rosaries of today that are.

387 ad: scotland. St. Patrick is born near Dumbarton (died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461)

benedict's garden. Latter part of this century, the OUR FATHER will become an official part of the Mass. St. Benedict of Nursia plants a monastic rose garden called a 'Rosary'. In his Holy Rule, he teaches the desert monks to pray the 150 Psalms every day. He arranges the Psalms so that all 150 of the Psalter of David are recited in 7 days. This becomes the Divine Office (Breviary) that priests and religious will recite every day for centuries.

5th Century (401 ad – 500 ad)

400s: ireland. St. Patrick (Feast day: March 17), Patron of Ireland, had a devotion to the Holy Cross and a love of Our Blessed Lady. He recited daily each of the 150 Psalms of David and the Apocalypse as well as other hymns and encourages the monks to do the same. (It is said that if they started to fall asleep, they would stand barefoot in cold water to stay awake until they were finished) He also taught them to make the Sign of the Cross 100 times in the morning and 100 times at night. He develops the visual understanding of the trinity by using the trifold leaf of the shamrock and the division of the Psalter into 3 sections called 'na tri coicat' (three fifties). The Irish monks would soon bring in song or chanting back into the Psalms. In Malory's Morte de Arthur it is stated that there are 150 Knights of the Round Table - a carry over of the Celtic background.

430 ad: The prayer and the bead is connecting. They are mentioned by St. Augustine and adopted into the church as a counting device but have little resemblance to the Rosary of today. He is quoted as saying that when we devoutly say the Our Father, ‘Our venial sins are forgiven’.

431 ad: turkey. The Council of Ephesus declares Mary as “Theotokos” (God-bearer). This is in response to heretics of the time who say Mary is, “Mother of Christ,” not God. Tradition tells us the people of Ephesus riot. Taking to the streets and carrying torches they shout, “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners...”

6th Century (501 ad – 600 ad)

500s: ireland. St. Columba brought “prayer without ceasing” (1Thess 5:17) into his rule for the monks in Ireland. Along with St. Gall they brought to the Continent the custom of using the fifties for penance and in praying for the dead. They founded monasteries in Riechenau on Lake Constance. Reichenau will become known as a center for rosarymaking in Germany.

523 ad: ireland. St. Bridgit of Kildare aided her prayers using a small string of little wooden or stone beads such as was “customary among hermits” (p35 The Rose-Garden Game)

550s: wales. St David brings country to the Christian faith and the crucifix becomes a symbol to the people.

elizabeth's greeting. During this century the Angelic Salutation (Luke 1:28) and Elizabeth's greeting (Luke 1:42) are beginning to be used as a single formula in the ancient liturgies. Within the next 100 years it will be seen in the Roman collection of prayers (offertory text - Feast of the Annunciation and 4th Sunday of Advent) in the 7th century.

7th Century (601 ad – 700 ad)

600s: ireland. Monks are keeping track of the Psalter (150 Psalms) on knotted cords. Those, generally the laity, who cannot read (Latin) say the Divine Office by setting 150 knots on a cord and use them to chant the Paternoster, which is also known as the ‘poor man’s breviary’.

600s: russia. It is recorded that the Byzantine Church has embraced a knotted woolen prayer cord called a 'Chotki' chaplet. This Byzantine Rosary has varying numbers of knots (33-100 or 300, some with larger knot at the beginning of each decade). The mantra or prayer said on each knot varies but generally it is, 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner' or 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner' Adapted from the parable of the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14), and the tax collector, in which the latter was 'justified through humility'. It is also know as the Jesus Prayer.

600s: continental europe. People are beginning to use the knots to count 150 “Ave’s,” but only saying the Angel’s greeting, “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you.” (Elizabeth’s greeting will become more universally used in the 12th century.)

600s: St. Eligius (c. 588-660). Wrote of making a chair adorned with 150 gold and silver nails to aid in the praying of the Psalter of Blessed Mary, which substituted one Hail Mary for each of the Psalms.

600s: Jewelry is now considered a pagan custom, discouraged by the church. Jet, ivory, coral, precious metals and gemstones are primarily used for prayer beads.

659 ad: belgium. The Abbess Gertrude of Nivelles is discovered with fragments of prayer beads in her tomb. It seems to be custom as many from this period on are found buried during this time with beads wrapped around their fingers.

665 ad: ireland. Saint Fechin of Fore (Naomh Féchín Fabhar), a native of Connaught, settled at Fore in Westmeath as a hermit. Many followed him because of his example. His little hermitage became a monastery with Fechin as the abbot. It is said, “”He hew a bluff of solid rock to bring water to the mill he built so the monks could grind their grain.” He also founded a monastery near Galway on the island of Immagh, where they converted many to the faith. Each night he would recite the entire Psalter of 150 Psalms.

8th Century (701 ad – 800 ad)

Venerable Bede (d. 733): Attests that churches and public places in France and England had prayer beads available for the faithful to use.

700s: The Apostles Creed is formed as we know it now. People pray the Psalter (150 Psalms) for the souls of deceased and there is a new written guide or rulebook regarding penitents and how many Paters are to be said depending on sins confessed. Strings of beads helped the penitent to count. Many wear their beads as a sign of their sorrow.

700s: prayer counters – rings, thongs: Leather thongs, found in European gravesites, are sewn into a circle. Bone rings are aligned and sewn into place like scales on the thong. As prayers are counted the rings are turned over. Still in use as late as the 19th century in Southern Germany. St. Jerome is praying one of these rosaries in the painting, “St. Jerome in the Desert" by Bono da Ferrara c 1440. (National Gallery - London).

782 ad: It is traditional for the monks of St. Apollinaris to say 300 Kyrie Eleisons (Lord have mercy), Christe Eleison (Christ have mercy) twice a day in gratitude for the pope’s benefactors; suggesting that a counting apparatus of some kind would be necessary to keep track of prayers.

9th Century (801 ad – 900 ad)

800s: germany. Reichenau and Saint Gallen (Switzerland) the rule of the Fifties and the triple Psalter were still in practice and in a compact between the two - offer Mass and 50 Psalms for each deceased brother. This practice was also custom in Canterbury and Fulda.

10th Century (801 ad – 1000 ad)

900s: ireland (800-900 AD): Quoting Catholic Apologetics: “Historians trace the origin of the Rosary back to ninth century Ireland. Today, as then, the 150 Psalms of the Bible, The Book of Psalms of King David, were an important form of monastic prayer. Monks and clergy recited or chanted the Psalms as a major source of hourly worship. People living near the monasteries realized the beauty of this devotion. But unable to read or memorize the lengthy Psalms, the people were unable to adapt this form of prayer for their use.”

first stage: An Irish monk suggested to the people around the monastery that they might pray a series of 150 Our Fathers in place of the 150 Psalms. At first, pebbles were carried in a pouch to count the 150 Our Fathers; later ropes with 150 or 50 (1/3 of 150) knots were used. Eventually string with 50 pieces of wood was used.

second stage: Next the Angelic Salutation (Luke 1:28) was added. St. Peter Damian (d. 1072) was the first to mention this form of prayer. Soon the Angelic Salutation replaced the 50 Our Fathers.

third stage: Some medieval theologians considered the 150 Psalms to be veiled mysteries about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. They began to compose "Psalters of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" - 150 praises in honor of Jesus. Soon Psalters devoted to 150 praises of Mary were composed. When a Psalter of 150 praises in Mary's honor numbered 50 instead of 150, it was called a rosarium, or bouquet.

11th Century (1001 ad – 1100 ad)

From at least as early as A.D. 1000, rosaries, paternosters or similar strings of prayer beads have been a common accessory carried by men and women, old and young.

Other religions use prayer beads as well, but we cannot be certain whether Christians, Muslims and Hindus invented the idea independently or borrowed it from each other.

Among the early mentions of prayer beads in England is the will of Lady Godiva. She actually did exist (although her naked ride through Coventry is mythical) and died in about 1041. She left to the monastery she and her husband had founded, “a circlet of gems that she had threaded on a string, in order that by fingering them one by one as she recited her prayers, she might not fall short of the exact number.”

1001 ad: italy. St. Peter Damian (1007-1072), a Camaldolese monk (who later became a cardinal / Doctor of the Church), called the Hail Mary the “angelic” or “evangelical, prayer” and recommended it. Before the 11th century, it was not universally a popular prayer. But some monastic communities began the practice of reciting the twofold salutation as part of their prayers.

1014 ad: germany. Blessed Herman is born a cripple - deformed from birth (1014 - 1054). The monks at the Abbey of Reichenau take care of him from birth. He will become a Benedictine monk in 1034 at the age of 20. He will make musical instruments and when he becomes blind, he will write hymns. The Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) will be his best known. He knows well the suffering - as he writes “…to you we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears” (is believed he suffered from cerebral palsy, a cleft palate and spina bifida). It will be recited as a standard prayer at the conclusion of the rosary centuries later. (His feast day is 25 September.)

1040 ad: europe. Wooden and clay beads are replacing knotted cords among the people in many regions of Europe.

1075 ad: england. Countess Godgifu (Lady Godiva) wife of Leofric, who strung jewels to say her prayers “exactly,” wills them to the monks at the Monastery in Coventry, to be hung on the statue of “Our Lady of Coventry” (Virgin Mary) after her death. It is described as a “circlet or string of precious stones” and is believed to be the first written information of a strung prayer counter.

c. 1075 ad: Lady Godiva refers in her will to "the circlet of precious stones which she had threaded on a cord in order that by fingering them one after another she might count her prayers exactly. . .”

1088 ad: italy. Cardinal Bishop Odo of Siliac, is elected Pope Urban II. (during the Synod of Bishops), he required the clergy to make sure that not only was the Creed and the Pater being recited but to add the Ave. This created a new interest and soon it is being included in the councils of many other countries to do the same. It becomes very very popular into the next century.

1096 ad: italy. In the ‘Ancient Customs of Cluny’, it says that it is common for priests to offer Mass and the Laity to say 50 Psalms or repeat the Paternoster 50 times for “brothers far and away.”

1000s: aves vs. paters. Regionally, the Ave prayer is beginning to replace the Paternoster. The Paternoster knots and beads are being integrated into a structural framework by spacing 150 Ave’s into decades or groups of 10. It is believed this prayer to Mary is imitating God’s love for her.

1000s: sealing oneself with the sign. In “The Prayer Book of King Henry” one is directed to mark “the four sides of the body.” Over the centuries there are many variations of sealing ones self with the cross (i.e.: forehead or brow only) all of which are taken very seriously.

12th Century (1101 ad – 1200 ad)

A rule for anchorites in mid-12th century England gives directions on how fifty Hail Mary’s are to be said divided into sets of ten, with prostrations and other marks of reverence.

It is recorded in 12th century Mary-legends (Marien-legenden) that a certain Eulalia was told to pray five decades slowly and devoutly instead of fifteen decades in a hurry.

It is recorded by a contemporary biographer that St. Aibert, who died in 1140, recited 150 Hail Mary’s daily, 100 with genuflexions and 50 with prostrations.

1160 ad: Saint Rosalia is buried with a string of prayer beads

1109 AD: ENGLAND. St. Amselm of Canterury makes a “Rosary” or “Rosarium” to honor of Mary. The prayers are composed of Psalms praising her and is fashioned after the traditional 150 “Psalms of David.”

1100s – It is becoming more common to see people carry a “Paternoster cord” (50 count or “fifties” to be repeated 3 times instead of traditional longer strand of 150 (called “Na-tri-coicat”). By the second half of the century, the full scriptural half of the Ave is becoming a formula of prayer, adding “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” (The petition or second half is still not a formal part of prayer on beads.)

1128 AD: The Knights Templar, (known for protecting pilgrims) if unable to attend the choir are to repeat the Lord’s Prayer (normally sung) 57 times. When one of the brethren dies, they say the Pater Noster 100 times a day for 7 days (This is called “two fifties”).

1140 AD: A contemporary of St. Albert’s, wrote how he (Albert), bent his knees in prayer 100 times a day” 50 times while repeating the Annunciation part of the Hail Mary. There are general instructions for various physical exercises or signs of devotion while praying. It is a familiar custom during this century.

1160 AD: ITALY. Palermo. Saint Rosalia (Virgin - 1132 - 1166), a relative of Emperor Charlemagne, became a hermit in love of Jesus as a young girl. In 1625, her remains would be accidentally found by a hunter in the cave on Mt. Palermo where she lived. She was found “with a little string of little beads that ended in a cross.” Palermo was suffering under a terrible epidemic of the plague in 1625. Her remains were carried through the city and the plague disappeared that day. In thanksgiving, Palermo celebrates this event for 3 days, 13 to the 15th of July. It is said she would weave garlands of mountain flowers and wild roses, offering them to the Lord as she hung them on a terra cotta crucifix.

1172 ad: ENGLAND. It is told that an English Saint whose name is lost, counted prayers on pebbles / stones kept in a pouch.

1100s: GAUDI BEADS. During the Middle English Period (ca. 1100AD - 1500AD) the Pater bead that divided the decades, was often more ornate than the Ave beads. It was called the “gaudi” or “gaude” bead because of this. Gaud comes from the word which means Joy (gaudium: joy, gladness - Gaudete Sunday during Advent). It is also the root for gaudy as many rosaries are becoming very ornate, losing their original purpose of counting prayers and becoming adornment.

1100s: major changes. During the 12th through 15th century, the varied concepts and designs of the rosary throughout Europe will take on major changes, converging on a more uniform design for prayer.

13th Century (1201ad – 1300ad)

1208 AD: It wasn't until the year 1208, that the Rosary as we know it came to be. Mary herself revealed the Rosary to St. Dominic.

1208 ad: france. The Dominican Order claimed for many years that their founder, St. Dominic de Guzmán Garcés (1170 – August 6, 1221), was miraculously given the rosary in its modern form by the Virgin Mary on the 1208AD. According to tradition, The Blessed Lady appears to St. Dominic with a Rosary in her hand, in response to his prayers to her for help during the Albigensian heresy which is destroying Christendom in the 12th and 13th centuries. She teaches him how pray the Rosary. (It is known that Mary’s Psalter predated St Dominic). Mary's' Psalter predated the Spanish Saint but according to Fr. Ennio Staid a Dominican Theologian, St Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order became its principal promoter along with his brothers.

There is, however, no mention of the rosary in Dominic’s own writings, or in any of the writings about him, for at least 200 years after his death. The confusion seems to date as far back as the first printed rosary manuals in the late 1400s, but what led to the association of the rosary with St. Dominic is still not certain.

1213 ad: france. A crucial battle of Muret is victorious for the Christian army because of recitation of the Rosary by the soldiers under the instruction of St. Dominic.

1216 ad: france. The Dominican order is confirmed, growing to 30,000 within 15 years after Dominic's death. 5 years after his death there are 90 convents. Today, this order carries on the tradition of the Rosary in a powerful way.

1223 ad: france. Blessed Romee, companion of Dominic, is documented to have died with a little knotted cord, held tightly in his hands, “on which he said his ‘Ave’s’.”

1244 ad: ITALY. From 1233 to 1244 A group of seven men, who had devoted themselves to the “Holy Mother of God” were gathered in prayer when Mary appears to them asking them to retire from the world and dedicate themselves to prayer and service to God which they did. They adopted the religious habit of the Dominicans and the rule of Augustine. They call themselves the Servites. By the 14th century they had over 100 convents throughout Europe, India, and Crete. The Servite Rosary (Rosary of the Seven Sorrows) was formed and prayed as a regular devotion.

Mid-13th century: The word "Rosary" was first used (by Thomas of Champitre, in De apibus, ii. 13), not referring to prayer beads but in a Marian context.

1254 – 1325 AD: ITALY. Venetian traveler Marco Polo, on trip to visit the court of Kublai Khan, relates how the king of Malabar, wore a silken thread around his neck with “104 faire pearls as beads to number his prayers said daily.”

1259 AD: ITALY. After Dominics death, Dominicans in Piacenza establish the “Confraternity of Prayer.”

1261 AD: FRANCE. Rosaries are becoming so elegant with their gold and silver that the Dominicans are forbidding lay brothers to “give themselves airs” by using excessively grand beads in their prayer beads. Mediterranean and Italian Coral has become the choice bead for rosaries by the wealthy and is seen more and more in portraits of the rich and famous.

1261-64 AD: ITALY. It is believed that Pope Urban IV is the one who added the name of “Jesus” to the Angelic Salutation during this century.

1263 AD. Saint Bonaventure, Minister General of the Franciscan Order, encourages liturgical devotion to honor the mystery of the Visitation.

1268 AD: FRANCE. Stephen Boyleau's, "Livre des métiers" (Book of the Trades) describes the 4 guilds of “Patenôtriers” in Paris.

1279AD: BAVARIA. Records indicate good business as “Bavarian communities are sending men to Venice to purchase glass canes for Paternoster Beads for rosaries.”

1292 AD: ITALY. Venetian glass beadmakers are moved to an island in the lagoon (Murano) as the city fathers were fearful the glass furnaces would catch Venice on fire. This also gave the bead makers better control over their secret recipes for making glass cane to create their “millefiore” beads. Venice was the main supplier and exporter of glass beads for rosary making. In the mid 1400s the bead industry moved to Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), hurting the Venetian glassmaking industry.

1200s: THE PSALTER OF OUR LADY. The Psalter of Our Lady becomes the prayer as people pray 150 Ave’s. The term Rosary is applied. The praying of the Hail Mary spreads to the west. Reflection on the Annunciation and Mary was basically the Antiphon used during the 4th week of Advent through the 7th century. Not included at this time is the second half, “Holy Mary Mother of God, Pray for us sinner...”, and neither is the name of Jesus used.

1200s.During this century and into the next, the 50 Ave’s are said along with psalm verses or other phrases that spoke of Jesus’ life. It is generally known as the “rosarium” or “rose garden.”

1200s. In the 13th Century, St. Bonaventure divides his 150 Marian Psalms into three groups. The first 50 begins with '”Ave,” Group two with “Salve” and the third group of 50 with the word “Gaude.” These Rosaries of praise are called “Our Lady's Psalter.”

1200s: PATERNOSTER GUILDS. By the 13th century, makers of prayer beads, called “Paternosters, “are forming craft guilds that specialize in beads of a particular material: i.e. they only work in amber or precious stones, metal or glass. Most common are wood and glass. A street in London is still named “Paternoster Row” and is where many guilds gathered and worked.

1200s: PNEUMS. A legend is traveling throughout Europe telling of Mary taking rosebuds from the lips of a young monk as he recited the Ave’s. She wove them into a garland and placed it upon her head. This Rosary prayer is called “pneums.”

1200s. Religious communities are recorded as praying “chaplets” of various sorts from at least the 13th century onward.

1200s. It is recorded of St. Louis of France (1214-70) that "without counting his other prayers the holy King knelt down every evening fifty times and each time he stood upright then knelt again and repeated slowly an Ave Maria."

1200s. A contemporary of St. Francis, he is deeply loved as a man of God and for his good works which included encouraging all to pray the Rosary for the conversion of sinners and those who had left the faith. He is credited with the “Militia of Jesus Christ” in which members recited the Psalter of Our Lady daily.

14th Century (1301ad – 1400ad)

1300s — 1400s. Within the early history of the Rosary, only 100 years later, devotion to the Rosary declined substantially. Not long after the Black Plague swept across Europe in the 1300s, Mary choose Blessed Alan de la Roche to re-establish devotion to her Rosary. The people needed the peace and reassurance that this prayer brings more than ever. Alan belonged to the order St. Dominic founded. He was a Dominican preacher from Brittany.

In 1460 Alan was visited by Jesus. Jesus gave him a warning..."How can you crucify Me again so soon?" Jesus questioned Alan. "You crucified Me once before by your sins and I would willingly be crucified again rather than have My Father offended by the sins you used to commit. You are crucifying Me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach My Mother's Rosary, and you are not doing so. If you only did this you could teach many souls that right path and lead them away from sin - but you are not doing it and so, you yourself are guilty of the sins that they commit." These unforgettable words from Jesus set Alan afire and he went out with as much fervor as St. Dominic himself had and preached the Rosary.

Mary also appeared to Alan. She also had a message for him. "You were a great sinner in your youth but I obtained the grace of your conversion from my Son. Had such a thing been possible I would have liked to have gone through all kinds of suffering to save you because converted sinners are a glory to me. And I would have done this also to make you worthy of preaching my Rosary far and wide." Alan was visited not only by Jesus and Mary but also St. Dominic, the father of his order and the original preacher of the Rosary. St. Dominic mentored Alan. One of the things he told Alan was... "See the wonderful results I have had through preaching the Holy Rosary! You and all those who love Our Lady ought to do the same so that, by means of this holy practice of the Rosary, you may draw all people to the real science of the virtues." The Rosary is the best way to honor the mother of Jesus. It brings peace to peoples lives by bringing them closer to Jesus. This prayer is so pleasing to Jesus that He will not allow people to forget its saving powers.

1347 AD: newfoundland. First documented glass bead is excavated in North America. Found in a Viking colony, the clear round bead is believed to be part of prayer beads worn by a Viking woman.

1350s: TUNISIA – ITALY. Coral is highly prized for prayer beads.

1350s: GERMANY. An Augustinian canon from Osnabruck outlaws the wearing of coral rosaries around the neck. They are now being worn in some areas as both adornment and devotion.

1373 AD: EUROPE. Earliest recorded information on a flower named for Mary, Marigolds (Saint Mary’s Golds) was set into an herbal recipe to destroy pestilence.

1376 AD: europe. Between 1376 and 1417 several popes opposed one another creating a Schism. It involved the whole church and unity was to be found in the praying of the rosary, which still was not uniform in count or prayer. The Dominicans and Benedictines along with their brotherhoods encouraged prayer and by the end of the 15th century, there was also more unity in the prayer and bead sequence.

1380 AD: france. Royal inventories list Rosaries of enameled gold encrusted with jewels. One inventory of King Charles V reads, “nineteen Rosaries made of‘rose tinted amber and coral with pearls for markers.” There were gold beads, Jet beads with eleven gold crosses and black coral and pearls alternating with silver. There were also gold beads of Damascus work (metal wire laid on top of metal or in this case may suggest a type of filigree) which were filled with musk.

11300s. A German woodcut shows the legend of Mary giving St. Dominic the rosary. It can be noted that the count of beads and configuration in their hands are not of the rosary as we know today. But has two different sizes, Aves and Paters or “Gauds.”

11300s. The rosary frame around the figures is much more familiar in count. The heart, 2 pierced hands and 2 pierced feet used as Paters tells the story of the Crucifixion of Christ. Images like this were used to educate a non-reading public.

11300s. “crowns” AND “cavaliersbettens”? Until about the end of the 15th century, there were many counts used for prayers on beads. One was called the “Crown” which did not have a designated count of beads and was seen in old paintings as an open ended or as a ring of beads (usually in favored coral). A short open crown became very popular with men and thus the name, “Cavaliersbetten” (men's praying). Sibylle Jargstorf lists 3 versions of the “Crown” in GLASS BEADS FROM EUROPE. Short: 10 to 25 beads, Medium: 26 - 50 beads and Long: (Paternoster or Chaplet) with 150 beads, which she points out was traditionally worn as a necklace.

11300s. healing powers? It is believed different stones have different healing powers. Coral is especially favored by people during this period because [they believed] that coral had “special healing properties,” and helped with blood circulation problems. These rosaries were looked on as “strengthening ones emotions,” and helped one to have a more “loving and harmonious nature.” It was also considered to “influence one spiritually and intuitively” symbolizing the teaching thereof. Medieval Cordoba is now famous for its prayer beads of gold.

11300s: pomander beads. The pomander beads we now see in museums are usually gold with enamel designs. Some are set with jewels and shaped in natural forms such as flowers, hearts and balls. Many believe pomander beads, often filled with musk, cloves and myrrh will protect the wearer from the plague. Others believe the aroma is like the “sweet incense of prayer rising to heaven” and is given to God. The circle or crown of beads will eventually be seen as similar to a wedding ring or God never ending. Women also enjoy adding small trinkets such as figurines, images and gemstones to their rosaries along with the scented dried fruit and flowers.

15th Century (1401ad – 1500ad)

early 15th century. Dominic of Prussia, a Carthusian, introduces 50 mysteries, one for each Ave Maria.

1408 ad. In the inventory of The Princess of Orleans, Valois was entered a rosary of amethysts and jasper with a stud (bouton) of pearls, another of jet with nine bells (dandins) of gold and a jewel of nine pearls as a pendant, and another again of jet with 9 gold markers and a gold figurine of St. Christopher attached.

1410 ad. A Carthusian from Cologne, Dominic of Prussia forms a Marian Psalter for the faithful which has only 50 Aves. Highly received, it grew in popularity through the 15c. Depending on the region, many bible references were added depending on popular devotions. Upwards of 300 were added in some areas.

1420 ad. “The Merode Altar Piece,” a Triptych from the Cloisters collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.), pictures a woman and man kneeling before an open door. The woman, looking down, is holding a long string of coral prayer beads with a large silver bead at each end.

1422 ad. The Franciscan Crown, also known as the Franciscan Rosary is officially established. (developed in the latter part of the 15th c). It consists of 7 decades (Hail Mary's) instead of 5 and meditates on the 7 Joys of Mary in the life of her son, Jesus. The Franciscans are also credited for the latter part of the Ave, (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.

1427 ad: ITALY. A sermon, which included "Ave Maria Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis" (Hail Mary, Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us") by St. Bernard of Sienna was preached. Interest in this prayer began to grow into the next century.

1439 ad: BELGIUM. Painting by Jan Van Eyk “The Virgin of the Fountain” pictures the baby Christ in Mary’s arms holding coral prayer beads. This, like the one above is a string not a circle.

1450s: BOHEMIA. Craftsmen begin to make their own glass beads, mostly for prayer beads, instead of importing glass canes from Venetian merchants, hurting the exports of Venetian glass in Europe.

1460 ad. Blessed Alanus de Rupe preaches the “Dominican Rosary” which is divided up into three groups of 50 beads and three groups of mysteries (Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection). It is called the “Marian Psalter.” The Paternoster is still being recited by others.

1470 ad. Blessed Alanus de Rupe encourages people to pray in groups. This forever changes the way people use the Rosary in prayer. The first rosary guild or brotherhood was founded by Blessed Alanus in Douai (then part of Flanders, now northern France).

1475 ad. A rather more famous rosary guild or brother hood was founded by Jakob Sprenger in Köln (Cologne, Germany), and the movement spread very quickly throughout Europe. Unlike many other religious guilds, rosary guilds cost nothing to join and did not require expensive annual dues. Women as well as men were admitted. The prayers were simple, and could be said at home or while working. You did not have to be able to read, nor did you have to purchase and use a special book, as many other devotions required.

1475 ad: GERMANY. Cologne is miraculously saved from an attack by the Burgundian Troops. The credit for the miracle was given to the Dominican Prior of the city, Jacob Springer who encouraged the prayer of the Psalter of Our Lady. Thus the Confraternity of the Rosary was set into place with the celebration of a Pontifical Mass held at the Dominican Church of St. Andreas in Cologne.

1483 ad: Use of the second part of the Ave “Holy Mary”... and the use of the name Jesus in the first part are becoming more universally used.

1483 ad: ulm. The first picture rosary is published in Ulm by Conrad Dinckmut. This manual, “Our Lady's Psalter,” shows 3 woodcuts, one for each of the 3 mysteries of the rosary. Each shows five medallions. The Joyful Mysteries are the “White Rosary,” the Sorrowful Mysteries, the “Red Rosary” and the glorious – “Gold Rosary.” It becomes so popular that it had been printed in at least 7 editions by 1503. Visual aids for religious devotions are becoming very popular.

1484 ad: netherlands. A rosary manual encouraged the reader, “Those who cannot read should look at the illustrations while repeating the Ave Maria and think of the life and passion of Our Lord.”

1485 ad: germany. The municipal council of Regensburg decreed that none should possess more than three or four rosaries and that these should not exceed the value of 10 gulden. (three fat oxen could be purchased for 12 gulden at that time)

1489 ad. A book now lists the “Mysteries” in almost the same way they are written today. There is a growing sense of needing more than the prayer mantra or repeated prayer and may be “Our Lady's Psalter” as it travels to other areas of Europe.

1495 ad: italy. Only three years after Columbus lands in the new world, Pope Alexander VI urges the faithful to pray the Rosary.

1400s. The Franciscan Crown rosary, with seven decades for the seven joys of Mary, was invented in the 15th century. There are six-decade or Brigittine rosaries, and four-decade rosaries for the dead.

Not all of these early rosaries had a cross or crucifix. Rosaries could also end in a silk tassel, or in a religious medal or small figure of a saint. The “drop” of a modern rosary, the short string of five extra beads ending with the cross, makes its first appearance in the 15th or 16th century, but does not become really universal until the 18th or 19th century. For example, the gold filigree rosary carried by Mary Queen of Scots to her execution has no “drop,” but has an elaborate gold cross hanging directly from the circle of fifty beads.

1400s. A German woodcut from the 15th century images a paternoster maker cutting stones into beads. Glass beads would become more popular as prayer beads at a later date.

1400s: wearing the rosary. During this century, people openly carried beads as a sign of penance. Pilgrims on their way to holy sites such as shrines and churches including holy places in Rome wear beads around their waist to denoted they are members of a religious confraternity or third order. The Knights of St. John (12c) adopt the rosary as a part of their “uniform” for laity as they were required by their constitution to say 150 Paters every day. If the beads had been touched to a relic or had been worn by a person of sanctity they were believed to hold miraculous powers and healing virtues. SUMPTUARY LAWS: Nuns are not allowed to wear Rosaries around their necks and male religious (monks and friars) are prohibited from having Rosaries of precious stones such as coral, amber and crystal. Local customs kept variety interesting. Sumptuary laws are always being enacted and broken. Over the centuries we see extravagances being controlled by various monastic and municipal laws. These are especially prevalent with the religious in regard to the wearing of Rosaries during this time.

1400s: the glory be. The Glory Be (Gloria Patri or the lesser doxology) is becoming a part of the prayer. It has been the common formula for Christians and has not changed. Prayer beads are more universally being called “Rosaries.” Rose gardens and garlands are becoming more and more associated with Virgin Mary and many are beginning to meditate on the life of Mary while reciting the Ave beads.

1400s: marigolds. During this century, Marigolds are named after Mary. Today, at the end of October into November the market places Mexico and other Latin American countries are filled with Marigolds. The petals are strewn to make a pathway into the home or workplace to the altar or “offrenda” (for the dead) which is heavily decorated with them. (Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead”: 'All Hallows-Eve', All Saints and All Souls Day). During this time, mortals are reminded that heaven and earth are joined and that Mary intercedes. Adding to Mary’s Garden of many flowers named after her besides the rose. (Rosaries are strung with fresh Marigolds for Aves and Roses).

1400s: mass production of rosaries. Mass production of Rosaries begins making it possible to have less expensive Rosaries of bone, wood, glass, jet and metals like iron, lead and pewter instead of precious metals and stones.

1400s: legance.In the Musee National du Louvre, Paris, there are small prayer beads, possibly a bracelet of 10 hollow agate beads all of which open to reveal a scene in enameled gold. A sign of extravagance to many, to others as sign of giving God back the best one can craft.

1400s: florilegium. Another word for the Rosary at this time is “florilegium.” These prayers, 50 to 150, are little poems or thoughts about Mary that rhyme with “Ave.” The Hail Mary is then repeated after each.

16th Century (1501 ad – 1600 ad)

c.1514 ad. Hail Mary prayer attains its current form.

1514 ad: The widow of Cesare Borgia, duke of Valentinois (Valence), Charlotte d’Albret, has Rosaries of enameled pierced-gold beads for holding scent.

1521 ad. Alberto da Castello, a Dominican, began to simplify the rosary and is credited with 15 evangelical passages for meditation. This included a short prayer at the end of each Hail Mary.

1521 – 1524 ad: germany. Tilman Riemenschneider — a master woodcarver creates the magnificent “Madonna im Rosenkranz” showing Mary holding the Christ child and surrounded by a wreath of 50 flowers (Aves) divided by 5 larger flowers (Paters) as a teaching aid for those who could not read to pray the rosary.

1521 ad. Alberto da Castello another Dominican Preacher created a book called The Rosary of the Glorious Virgin Mary. This publication is the first time the Rosary appeared in the form that it is prayed today.

1530 — 1540 ad: germany. A chronicle from the city of Biberach relates that everyone “carries a Paternoster” or is taken to be non-Christian. Carrying a rosary wrapped around one’s hand or upper arm is considered a sign of respectability. “It was a badge of religion.”

1531 ad: MEXICO (Tenochtitlan). Our Lady of Guadalupe visits Juan Diego and her exquisite image is set on the fragile cloth of his garment. Her bowed head tells the Aztecs that she is not a god as there is another. Castilian are called for by Mary. Growing on a barren hill in December, Juan Diego picks them and Mary arranges them in his tilma. He obediently carries them to the Bishop as a sign. When he opens his garment, the roses. like an unattached rosary - cascade out and her image forms on his tilma. Within this image of Mary lies the unborn child - Jesus. The life of Christ is in her - just as in the rosary today.

1547 ad. Webster’s Dictionary dates the word Rosary at 1547.

1550 ad: ENGLAND. From 1550 to 1660, “Decade Rings” became popular because of the persecution of Catholics in England. (Rosaries and chaplets gave your religion away.) 10 nobs surrounded the outside of the ring (Aves) for counting and the front of the ring became the Pater. Once freedom of religious was restored by King Charles II, they continued to be made because of convenience. (Today, we see them more as a larger “thumb ring” because of sizing.)

Mid 1500s. Adding to the history of the rosary, another Dominican Preacher made a standard form for the Rosary. Pope St. Pius V did this at the time of the famous Battle of Lepanto.

1550s. By mid century, a Rosary called the “Three Fifities,” is beginning to take shape. The longer Rosary, using 150 Ave beads, is divided into groups of 10 separated by 15 larger Paternoster beads. It is now attached to form a circle, called ‘the garden’. A pendant, hanging from one of the large beads has 3 small and 1 large bead and ends in a cross and is considered the “pathway or gateway to the garden.”

1500s. The Rosary receives official recognition by the Church through the work of the Rosary Confraternity.

1568 ad: italy. The Rosary prayers - Ave - are now approved and incorporated into the reformed Roman Breviary by Pope Pius V with the bull Consueverunt Romani Pontifices. This followed their usage by the Mercedarians (1514), the Camaldolese (1515) and the Franciscans in (1525)

1569 ad: italy. Pope Pius V (1566 - 1572) officially establishes the fifteen mysteries, “the rosary or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary” as used today, calling it the “Dominican Rosary.”

1550s. Paternosters, and other devotions using beads or chaplets, also continued popular even after the invention of the rosary as we now know it. Before the English Reformation, for instance, King Henry VIII of England was given an elaborately carved boxwood paternoster by Cardinal Wolsey (which is on display at Chatsworth in England).

1571 ad: italy. Admiral Doria carries a copy of the image of Our Lady of (Mexican) Guadalupe aboard ship into the sea battle of Lepanto and Pius V, a Dominican, also devoted to Our Lady, calls for a public recitation of the Rosary throughout Europe against the unbeatable Turks. The Christian ships (from Venice, Genoa and Spain) are surrounded by the Turks (Saracens) but the European fleet over run them, driving them back. Christian Europe is saved.

1572 ad: italy. Pope Pius V commemorates an annual remembrance of the Battle of Lepanto in honor of ‘Our Lady of Victory’.

1573 ad: council of trent. The Rosary as we know it today (Dominican Rosary), becomes standardized. (50 Aves and 4 Paters dividing 5 decades on the loop with a connector Pater that leads to the pendant. The pendant now includes 3 Aves or 'Antiphon Beads' along with the Pater(s) and the crucifix. Many will include a 'Credo' (Creed) cross above the crucifix. In the 6th Session of the Council (Chapter X on the 'Increase of Justification Received', it reads 'and this increase of justification holy Church begs when she prays, "Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope and charity." (Mary is the model of faith, hope and charity, thus we pray to her to intercede for us on these 3 beads.) It will take time for this standardization to reach all of Christianity and the 'Credo' cross will eventually be dropped.

1573 ad: italy. Pope Gregory XIII sets aside the first Sunday in October calling it the ‘Feast of the Holy Rosary’.

1578 ad: germany Prayer beads, Crowns, Rosaries still stay regional when it comes to the count of beads and devotions but men are more likely to pray on a “Gebetskette Zehner” (Prayer chain with 10 beads). The one below has a large filigree or pomander bead (to carry spices / herbs) to ward off the plague - or cover the aroma between baths which were not daily.

1578 ad. A German woodcut dated 1578 AD shows a man with one hand on a dog and the left hand praying on a “Zehner” or a “Tenner” (10 beads) ending in a tassel. Tassels on rosaries were symbolic of “wiping away the tears of sin or sorrow.”

1587 ad. Mary Queen of Scotts is beheaded while wearing a necklace of pomander beads (scented Rosary).

1587 ad. A Book on the Rosary entitled Rosario della Sacratissima Vergine Maria by Ven. Luis de Granada is published in Italian, which uses a similar method to the fourth method of the five methods of praying the rosary by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort.

1590s. More and more men and women are wearing Rosaries around the neck. Some for ornamental purposes (adornment) while others for spiritual reasons. Often worn to identify love of God or organizations and confraternities.

1593 ad: europe. Sees a more universal organization and use of Paternoster guilds for making Rosaries all over Europe, especially in Germany, Austria and England.

1597 ad. First recorded use of the term "rosary" to refer to prayer beads.

1500s: woodcuts of 2 ornate rosaries. Two German woodcuts from the 16th century show women of position or wealth, possibly royalty wearing very ornate rosaries. This custom was a sign of ones faith as if you did not, you were considered to be a non-Christian. But for some, it was considered a fashion statement during this period.

1597 ad: europe. We see the first “found” recorded use of the term “rosary” to refer to prayer beads although term is used and well known in most parts of Europe.

1500s. Two 16th century German woodcuts showcase a Rosary of different sized beads with a pendant carried by a Nun wearing a scapular styled habit. The other showcases a rosary of beads all the same size. The nuns have been identified from the order of St. Bridget of Sweden (holding book and rosary, wearing a scapular.) It also showcases headgear worn by the Brigettine Sisters. A band around the head is connected to bands over the head. 5 circles on each of the connecting points symbolize the 5 wounds of Christ.

1500s: glory be and second half of ave. The “Glory Be” (Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen) and the second half of the “Ave” (Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen) are now part of the formal Rosary. But many other variations will co-exist for the next two centuries depending on local customs.

1500s: filigree beads. Filigree beads are found in a 16th century Venice necklace strung with enameled gold beads (now in Milan's Museo Poldi-Pezzoli) confirming that the Byzantine beadmaking practices were still being used after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (1453) according to the History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin.

1500s: the "galway cross" and "the fruit". During the 16th century, Ireland begins to trade with Spain, especially during the Penal Times. A hollow, tubular crucifix is formed and used on rosaries. It becomes known as the “Galway Crucifix” and “Galway Rosary.” The primitive corpus is typically Spanish in design (seen in many of the pieces brought to New Spain or Peru, Mexico, etc). The tubular design allows for the beading string to go through to the bottom of the cross. It ends in a bead and/or a tassel (Tassel was for the “wiping away of the tears”). A string was carried through the cross bars ending with a string (or finely torn fabric) tassels to match the bottom one.

The Galway cross is often seen with a figural Madonna and child on the backside of the cross (which remains popular throughout Europe in various styles during the next few centuries). Since the Irish rosary beads were often made of strung dried berries, they became known as 'The Fruit"

1500s: The 5 decade rosary is beginning to use a larger “Gaudi Bead” more universally. It is also called the Pater Bead and is larger than the Aves. There is also a chaplet or a 10 bead prayer counter called a “tenner” as the name suggests. This one decade of the rosary is especially popular with men and will be used by monks traditionally for the next 200 years. They end with several Paternosters and passementerie (an ornamental knot, tassel) or special medal.

1500s: “mary in the rosary”. Limewood carving - 9 x 6 feet 'MADONNA IM ROSENKRANZ’: Tilman Riemenschneider (1521 - 1524). This magnificent carving of Mary surrounded by a five decade rosary hangs in St. Maria im Weingarten Chapel (Volkach am Main.), Germany. Carvings like this along with illustrations were meant to teach those who could not read the prayers and mysteries of the rosary.

paters: Note the five large 'flower' Paters that tell the story of the mystery in picture form. Starting at the top, the Annunciation and following to the right, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation and the Finding at the Temple.

aves: Ten flowers make up the 'Ave prayers' between each of the Pater beads. 6 Angels surround Mary and Child Jesus in her arms.

filigree beads: Filigree beads are found in a 16c Venice necklace strung with enameled gold beads (now in Milan's Museo Poldi-Pezzoli confirming that the Byzantine beadmaking practices were still being used after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (1453) according to the History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin.

17th Century (1601 ad – 1700 ad)

1627 ad: france. King Louis the XIII orders public recitation of the Rosary against the rebellious Huguenots. Fifteen thousand Rosaries are distributed to the troops with set hours of prayer. The battle is won and France is saved.

1673 ad: france. St. Louis De Montfort is born in Brittany. He will be the founder of two religious orders and many of his sermons are now in book form. True Devotion to Mary, The Secret of Mary and The Secret of the Rosary are the most popular. Today these books guide those who choose to Consecrate their lives to Jesus through Mary.

1683 ad: austria. Again the Saracens tried to invade. Their navy is broken but their army is strong. They try to take over the Balkan area by going into Vienna. King Leopold turns to Our Lady of the Rosary and the city is miraculously saved.

1694 ad: north america. Father Gravier writes from the Illinois country about giving beads to the children, “It is true that the hope of getting a red bead - which is a fruit the size of a small bean (Oh that I had a bushel of them!) incites the children to answer well,” but he adds, “they must answer very well for several days to obtain either a rosary or the red bead or a cross.”

1600s. apostles creed and credo cross. The Apostles Creed is added to the Rosary prayer. The overall configuration and prayer sequence of the Rosary is becoming more and more universally the same. The "Credokreuz” (Credo Cross) serves a reminder to pray the Apostles Creed. Still no universal use of the 3 Ave beads in the rosary “drop.”

1600s. filigree beads: portugal. Three Rosaries from the Heritage of Rauluchantim catalogue, all from the 17th century, are quite different but do exhibit the popular use of filigree beads as Pater Nosters:

(160 mm): 5 decades of coral Ave beads are strung close together and separated with five gold filigree Pater Noster beads. Hanging from one of the Pater Noster beads is a pendant of 4 coral and 1 filigree (center). (All beads are the same size). It ends with a cross made of 7 filigree beads. (Private collection)

(175 mm): 6 decades of turned eagle-wood [a rare, aromatic wood - from the Far East also known as Agarwood] beads with silver caps are linked together with an ‘s’ chain. They are separated by 6 smaller gold filigree beads. The circle is completed by the addition of 3 more eagle-wood beads . A small, plain gold cross hangs from a ‘center’ cross of twisted and coiled wire. This is attached directly to the Ave beads of the Rosary. There are no beads on the pendant. (Museu de Art Antiga - Lisbon).

(174 mm): Five decades of small filigree Ave beads are separated by 4 medium filigree Pater Nosters, all set on a chain. The filigree cross hangs from a flat medallion. The medallion is attached to the Rosary by 2 large filigree beads. There are no beads on the medallion. (Museu de Art Antiga - Lisbon)

1600s: orient imports. There are many records of Rosaries (made for European use) from the Orient, of amber, crystal, coral and fine, aromatic woods. Rosaries made in Portuguese India are highly prized from a “very early date.”

18th Century (1701 ad – 1800 ad)

1700s: silver filigrees begin to flood the market.

1700s: austria and bavaria. At end of this century and into the next, a silver filigree rosary is popular (Some date back earlier). Very elegant, with the Paternosters of filigree beads and the Ave’s in coral, crystal and other precious stones. Small reliquary boxes from pilgrimages are attached and many have unidentified pieces of wood set into the crosses. Seven decades of Ave beads are popular. We discovered they were still being made in the Bavarian Forest as of 2007.

1700s: signs of the 3 ave beads in the rosary drop. A wooden rosary dated 1720AD by antique dealer in Oberammergau, Germany shows the pendant configuration of 1 Pater, 3 Aves and 1Pater. Also the Creedo Cross directly above the medallion. The Creedo Cross reminds the pray-er to pray the Creed and enter into the three aves above for prayer of an increase of Faith, Hope and Love (Charity).

19th Century (1801 ad – 1900 ad)

1826 ad. The “Living Rosary” is formed. Fifteen members create a circle of prayer, each agreeing to say a single decade each day. With this, each circle completes the whole Rosary.

1829 ad: prague. The first recorded showing of pressed glass beads was at a trade show in Prague. By 1850, glass beads were being produced by the millions, and exported all over the world. Pressed glass beads became very popular because of interesting shapes including faceted surfaces.

1834 ad. One Eustace Sirena authors hymns of the Rosary which are to be sung at 1st Vespers, Matins, Lauds and 2nd vespers. They include the mysteries and end with an invitation for one to “weave a crown of flowers” from the prayers of the Rosary for Mary.

1846 ad: france. In La Salette, two children, Melanie (15) and Maximin (11) are asked by the Blessed Lady if they say their prayers well. “Hardly at all,” they replied, at which she firmly and lovingly suggests they say at least an “Our Father” or a “Hail Mary” at night and in the morning.

1852 ad: italy. From the diary of John Thomes Hymes (1843 - 1868): December 7th - “Bought some rosary rings and mosaic ornaments to amount of $55 to serve as presents on my return to the West Indies…”

1858 ad: france. When Bernadette of Lourdes sees the Lady - she reaches for her Rosary beads in fear, but is made motionless. Mary makes the sign of the cross with the Rosary she has in her hand and immediately, Bernadette is able to do the same. “Once I made the sign of the cross,... fear left” she said, and prayed the Rosary in the Lady’s presence. When Bernadette tells Abbe (Father) Peyramale that Mary says, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” this simple peasant girl could hardly pronounce it. (A term is known only to the hierarchy).

1862 – 1886 ad: sydney. A complete dried berry rosary was excavated from under the floor boards of the Hyde Park Asylum. Nuns would string berries by hand and in this rosary added “gilt and copper.” It probably belonged to one of the patients/inmates as the Catholic population was well represented in the barracks.

1871 ad: france. The apparition of Mary in Pontmain is in fullness when pastor Abbe Guerin begins to recite the Rosary. “The stars on her navy blue gown grew larger and larger until she appears clothed in gold.” The result of her apparition is that the invading army of Prussia withdraws. Some Prussian soldiers on the outskirts of the city see the Virgin too, “...guarding the country and forbidding us to advance.”

1879 ad: ireland. When Mary appears in Knock with St. Joseph and St. John, her silent mission gives hope and comfort to the people afflicted with the deadly potato famine and for a people who are often denied the right to attend Mass. During her visit, the people recite the Rosary, which they call the “Irish Catechism.”

1883 – 1894 ad: italy. In his encyclical of September 2 1883, Pope Leo XIII promotes the Rosary as the “most glorious and effective prayer” for those who want to reach Jesus through Mary. He encourages the Family Rosary and writes 12 encyclicals and many apostolic exhortations and letters on the Rosary, more than any Pope before him.

1884 ad: italy: vision of pope leo xiii. During Mass he stared fixedly at something in the air and with a terrible look on his face, collapsed to the floor. As one rendition of the story tells it: “He suddenly heard voices - two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation: ‘The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: "I can destroy your Church." The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.” Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.” Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?” Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.” Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will." (This event prompted the writing of the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

1888 ad: italy. St. Michael the Archangel prayer written and release by Pope XIII on September 25, 1888 against the evils of Satan and war. “Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.”

1892 ad: new york (ellis island): Becomes a center for immigration. Hundreds of thousands of Immigration Rosaries are entering the new country at an unprecedented rate in the pockets and hands of people from Germany, Italy, Spain, France and other countries. America is receiving a new blessing from these people.

1898 ad: italy. Leo XIII issues a new charter of sorts, in the Apostolic Constitution on the Rosary Confraternity.

20th Century (1901 ad – 2000 ad)

1900s: The rose and the rosary. To the best of knowledge, it is a myth that rosary beads were ever (until quite recently) made of mashed-up rose petals. Rose-petal rosaries seem to date back only to about the 1920s.

1914 ad: bosnia. Arch Duke Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo, the capitol of the Austrian province of Bosnia. There is great unrest in Europe and sparks WWI.

1917 ad: portugual. In Fatima, the aroma of roses is present. Mary has a Rosary in her hand and calls herself “The Lady of the Rosary” and encourages the children to “Say the rosary every day, to obtain peace for the world and an end to the war.” The children, saddened by the anger their parents have shown over the story of the first apparition, decide not to take their usual short cut in saying only the titles “Our Father” and “Hail Mary - Holy Mary” on each bead of the Rosary any more. They agree to say the whole prayer on each bead in hopes of making things better.

1917 ad: europe. WWI breaks out.

1931 ad: POLAND – divine mercy. (Feb 22) St. Faustina receives instructions from Jesus to have an image painted of him with two rays of light streaming from his heart, one red and the other white and the words “Jesus I trust in you.” For next 7 years she obediently wrote his messages in a diary (“Divine Mercy in My Soul”. He made known to her that it was her job to prepare the world for His final coming. Jesus told her: “Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…(Diary 1146).” "My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy (Diary 1588).”

1941 ad: europe. WWII begins.

1953AD ~ ROME ~ From the Raccolta: Indulgence for carrying the rosary: "The faithful who devoutly carry about their person [to wear] a Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary that has been properly blessed may gain an Indulgence of 500 days once a day, if they kiss the Rosary and at the same time devoutly recite these words of the Angelic Salutation: "Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." (Pius XII, Audience March 12, 1953.)

1982 ad: bosnia-hercegovina (yugoslavia). Mary appears to 6 children, Ivan, Jakov, Marija, Mirjana, Vicka, and Ivanka. in Medjugorge (not approved by the Church to date) and becomes a major pilgrim site.

1992 ad: bosnia-hercegovina (yugoslavia): the siege of sarajevo. (April 6) A war termed the worst in Europe since the end of WWII broke out as the Serbs began to fight the Muslims. Most of the towns fell, except for Sarajevo. The people of the war zone begin to understand why she came to their country.

1900 ad. According to a vision given to Pope Leo XIII (1888), this century is given to the devil. We see two major world wars along with Korea and Vietnam. Prayer is removed from school and following this there is a fast pacing breakdown of morality. Killing the unborn becomes commonplace. People are more and more confused by New Age practices and attitudes. The Rosary, which is truly the prayer of peace, has fallen into disuse along with general prayer and the effects are overwhelming. Church attendance and family values suffer. People commit horrendous atrocities against the people of Bosnia. This age will become known as the “Culture of Death.”

21st Century (2001 ad – 2100 ad)

2001 ad: USA. The Twin Towers of World Trade Center (NYC) are hit on September 11th, along with the Pentagon (DC) in an attempt to take out the financial and governmental communities of the US. The nation comes together in prayer. Pope John Paul II calls for praying the daily rosary for peace during the month of October.

2002 ad. The most notable development has been Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae in October, which added five new mysteries for a new total of twenty.

2002 ad: vatican. Pope John Paul II introduces the fourth Mystery to the prayers of the rosary, the Mystery of Light or the Luminous Mysteries. It embraces the public ministry of Christ: 1. Baptism of Jesus, 2. Wedding at Cana, (first sign of public ministry) 3. Proclamation of the Kingdom (call for our conversion), 4. Transfiguration (glory of the Lord) and 5. Eucharist (becoming one body in Christ).

2003 ad: us goes to war against terrorism. Troops began to receive rosaries called “Ranger Rosaries” created by a group from St. Mary's Parish in Annapolis, MD led by Sgt. Frank V. Ristaino. Ranger Rosary Ministry Mission Statement: The rugged combat rosaries are to be made and sent to our service men and women serving throughout the world. The rosaries are distributed by Chaplains, especially those deployed in combat zones, and to those at stateside bases, and military hospitals. For safety, the rosaries are made from parachute cord, dark beads, and black plastic crucifixes that do not rattle or reflect light.