St. Theodora had a great devotion to the Rosary. The enlarged Rosary beads hung from her waist for easy access to pray throughout the day, as it does with so many sisters dressed in habits.
The Rosary is a Christocentric devotion, meaning that the prayer form is centered on Christ. We begin the Rosary with our dedication to the Trinity with the Sign of the Cross. We declare the basic truths of Christianity with the Apostles’ Creed. Throughout the Rosary, we meditate upon the greatest mysteries of our Catholic faith. And as we progress through the beads, we pray the Lord ’s Prayer, glorify the Lord with the Glory Be, and remember the magnificent gift of the Incarnation and ask Mary to pray for us now and at the hour of our death with the Hail Mary.
The Rosary has a history of more than a thousand years beginning with a group of Irish monks who prayed 150 Our Fathers on a string of beads in honor of the 150 Psalms. The prayer form soon evolved and in 1571 Pope St. Pius V approved the rosary as we know it today with three sets of Mysteries: The Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious. Pope Saint John Paul II approved an additional set of mysteries, known as the Luminous Mysteries, in 2002.
The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared numerous times requesting us to pray the Rosary. She is believed to have appeared to St. Dominic (1170-1221) and others requesting the Rosary be prayed as a weapon against war and a means to grow closer to her son, Jesus.
The month of October is traditionally known as the month of the Rosary. We celebrate Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7, a title by which Mary referred to herself when she appeared to Saints Lucia, Jacinta, and Francesco in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
A book I’ve written, The Rosary Prayer by Prayer, has more information on the development of the rosary, its significance, and additional prayers that may be said. With this book the Rosary may be prayed by following page-by-page. Each Mystery includes a diagram to show on which beads we pray these prayers, original artwork by my son, Joseph Cannella, corresponding Scripture verses, and a reflection.
Why not begin the practice of praying the Rosary every day in this month of the Rosary? In doing so, you will be greatly surprised at the graces that come your way. It’s a very relaxing and inspiring devotion that will increase your love for Jesus and his mother, Mary and promote peace in your heart.
(Artwork: The Annunciation by Joseph Cannella, graphite)
©Mary K. Doyle