The Franciscan Crown /Seraphic Rosary

Franciscan Crown (Seraphic Rosary)

1st Rose  The Annunciation
2nd Rose  The Visitation
3rd Rose  The Nativity
4th Rose  The Adoration of the Magi
5th Rose  The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
6th Rose  The Resurrection of Jesus
7th Rose  The Assumption and Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven

Introduction to the Franciscan Crown

The Franciscan Crown has variously been called the Franciscan Rosary, the Seraphic Rosary or the Rosary of the Seven Joys of Our Lady. The "Seven Joys" is a devotion that recalls seven joyful episodes in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The practice originated among the Franciscans in early 15th-century Italy. The themes resemble the 12th-century Gaudes, Latin praises that ask Mary to rejoice because God has favored her in various ways.

The Franciscan historian, Father Luke Wadding  [1] dates the origin of the Franciscan Crown to the year 1422. In 1422 an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place in Assisi, to a Franciscan novice named James. As a child, he had had the custom of offering daily to the Virgin Mary a hand made crown of roses. When he entered the Friars Minor, he became distressed that he would no longer be able to offer this gift. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him to give him comfort and showed him another daily offering that he might do: to pray every day seven decades of Hail Marys, meditating between each decade on one of the seven joys that she had experienced in her life: the Annunciation, Visitation, Birth of our Lord, Adoration of the Magi, Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, the Resurrection of Our Lord, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and her Coronation into heaven. Friar James began this devotion. One day the Director of Novices saw him praying and an angel was with him who was weaving a crown of roses, placing a lily of gold between each of the ten roses. When the novice had finished praying, the angel placed the crown upon him. The Director asked Friar James what this vision meant. After hearing the explanation, he told the other friars and soon this devotion spread throughout the Franciscan family.

Among the Friars Minor, the promotion of this devotion is attributed to St. Bonaventure, Bl. Cherubin of Spoleto, St. John Capistran, Pelbart of Temesvár, and St. Bernadine of Siena to mention a few. St. Bernadine is also said to have had a vision of the Virgin Mary when he was meditating on the seven joys of Mary.


How to pray the Franciscan Crown
The manner of reciting the Franciscan Rosary is as follows: The Apostles' Creed, the Our Father, and three Hail Marys having been said as usual, the mystery to be meditated upon is introduced after the word Jesus of the first Hail Mary of each decade, thus: "Jesus, whom thou didst joyfully conceive", Jesus, whom thou didst joyfully carry to Elizabeth", and so on for the remaining five decades, which are given in most manuals of Franciscan devotion. Even though it is common practice nowadays to add the Glory Be at the end of each decade, and even the Fatima Prayer, these are not required. It is customary to finish by adding two Hail Marys in honor of the 72 years that Our Lady is said to have lived on earth, and one Our Father and Hail Mary for the intentions of the Pope. [2] 
There are other ways of reciting the Crown but the one given seems to be in more general use. The plenary Indulgence attached to the recitation of the Franciscan Crown, and applicable to the dead, may be gained as often as the crown is recited. A rosary is not required, it is saying the prayers that earns the indulgence.[3] 


The Franciscan Crown:
Begin with the Apostle's Creed, Our Father, and 3 Hail Mary's, Glory Be, Oh My Jesus (the Fatima Prayer).

Annunciation

Our Father
  1. Mary committed herself to a vow of celibacy as part of a “prayer chain” to bring the Messiah. Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, whom thou didst joyfully conceive. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  2. Mary’s private prayer was to be allowed to be the handmaid of the mother of the Messiah. (HM-2)
  3. On Monday Tevet 2, December 9 [4] , the last day of Chanukah, Archangel Gabriel appeared to her saying: “Hail Mary full of grace! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God” (Lk 1:28). (HM-3)
  4. Gabriel said: “You will conceive and bear a son and you will name him Jesus” (Lk 1:31), [Yeshua: ‘Yahweh saves’]. “He will be great and will be called ‘Son of the Most High’, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of David forever, and of his kingship there will be no end” (Lk 1:28-33). (HM-4)
  5. Mary asked: “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” [I am under a vow of celibacy] (Lk 1:34). (HM-5)
  6. Gabriel responded: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Lk 1:35). (HM-6)
  7. Mary replied: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be it done to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her” (Lk 1:38)(HM-7)
  8. With Mary’s “Yes” came the Incarnation: God assumed human nature! God entered his own creation! (HM-8)
  9. Chanukah that year marks a radically new beginning in the relationship between man and God. The Light has come into the world. (HM-9)
  10. God has answered Mary’s prayer, Joseph’s prayer, and of all Israel! What joy she must feel! (HM-10, GB, OMG)

Visitation

Our Father
  1. Gabriel had given Mary a sign: “Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God” (Lk 1:36-37). Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blesssed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, whom thou didst joyfully carry to Elizabeth. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  2. Mary traveled with a caravan leaving Nazareth the next morning for Jerusalem, staying with the caravan until reaching the turn off to Ein Karem on the seventh day.(HM-2)
  3. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leapt in her womb (Lk 1:40), and Elizabeth cried out in a loud voice: “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:42-43). (HM-3)
  4. By following the sign given by Gabriel, Mary was rewarded with a confirmation of the angel’s message. Responding with the Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55), Mary turns everything to God. (HM-4)
  5. Mary and Elizabeth decided it would be presumptuous to say anything to Joseph, since the angel did not mention him. (HM-5)
  6. Joseph joined Mary’s extended family celebration of Passover in Jerusalem and realizes Mary is pregnant. (HM-6)
  7. Elizabeth, under stress because of Mary’s situation, went into labor and gave birth to a son. A son who had the spirit of Elijah (Lk 1:17), just as the Angel had told Zechariah, and who arrived on Passover for the Seder meal fulfilling the expectations of the Jews as to the timing of Elijah’s return. (HM-7)
  8. Joseph retired for the night and begans to pray about Mary’s situation. He decided to take Mary’s guilt on himself to save her life. Then the angel appears to Joseph saying: “Joseph son of David, do not fear to take Mary, your wife, for what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit: she will bear a son and you [will adopt him and] will name him Jesus [‘Yahweh saves’], for He will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:20-21) (HM-8)
  9. Early the following morning Joseph and Mary shared the stories of their respective angelic visits. (HM-9)
  10. They formalized their marriage, celebrating the nisu’in and plan on returning for the fall festivals when they would be relocating to Bethlehem, where they knew the messiah was to be born. (HM-10, GB, OMG)

Nativity

Our Father
  1. Because they were moving to Bethlehem, on August 24th, Elul 24th, Mary and Joseph packed their belongings and joined a caravan traveling from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the Fall Feasts (Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles). Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, who overwhelmed you with joy as you first looked upon Jesus at his birth. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  2. They spent each of the five nights enroute in a caravansary courtyard with the animals and they spend Trumpets and Atonement with Elizabeth and Zechariah. (HM-2)
  3. On September 12, Tishrei 14, they traveled from Ein Karem to Bethlehem to be there for the 8-day Feast of Tabernacles and the birth of their son. When they arrived, they discover the caravansary in Bethlehem is already full of sukkot. (HM-3)
  4. They used, instead of Joseph’s sukkah, an empty stable that was used only during the winter to protect new-born lambs from the weather. (HM-4)
  5. On September 13th, Tishrei 15th, the Feast of Tabernacles (“God with us” or “Emanuel”), Jesus was born. (HM-5)
  6. Four 75’ Menorahs lighted the night sky from the temple, creating a light visible all the way to Bethlehem, while Jesus, the light of the world, was born in a stable, a sukkah. (HM-6)
  7. Angels appeared to Levitical shepherds who were tending the temple flocks (Lk 2:9-14). (HM-7)
  8. The shepherds came to the stable, used to protect new born lambs, to see the new born Messiah (Lk 2:15-16). (HM-8)
  9. Jesus, Mary’s first born, was inspected by the Levitical shepherds, found without blemish, and thus set aside for the Pascal Sacrifice: The Lamb of God. (HM-9)
  10. Jesus, the Light of the World, was conceived (on the last day of Chanukah) and born (on the Feast of Tabernacles): the two celebrations of light. (HM-10, GB, OMG)

Adoration of the Magi

Our Father
  1. We say there were three magi because there were three gifts: gold for a king, frankincense for a priest, and myrrh for his death, which remind us of Isaiah 60:6. Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, who was acknowledged and adored even by Gentiles. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  2. The Magi were from the East: either Seleucia (Babylon was destroyed in 325 BC and a new capital city, Seleucia, was established 27 miles (27 Km) to the North) or possibly Persepolis, the capital of Persia. They were likely disciples of Daniel whose inheritance they were bringing to the Messiah.  (HM-2)
  3. Daniel told them approximately when the sign would happen so they could begin to watch the sky. (HM-3)
  4. The sign they were looking for likely began on Tishri 1 (September 11, 3 BC), the Jewish New Year of 3759 and throughout 2 BC, when there occurred a rare triple conjunction of Jupiter (the king planet, through its retrograde motion) and Regulus (the king star): they intersected on 9/11/3 BC, 2/6/2 BC, and 5/7/2 BC.  (HM-4)
  5. The Magi would have arrived in Jerusalem sometime in November or December of 2 BC saying: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” That they have come to worship the new born king implies that they were worshipers of Yahweh and followers of Daniel. While in Jerusalem seeking direction from the priests and scribes, Simeon likely told the Magi to ask for Mary and Joseph when they got to Bethlehem.  (HM-5)
  6. Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared.  (HM-6)
  7. The star from Jerusalem to the house in Bethlehem was likely angelic in origin.   (HM-7)
  8. The end of Jesus's life is shown from his birth: Jesus is aclaimed King by the Magi and at his death by Pilate; Plans were made in secret by the rulers to kill Jesus at both his birth and his death.  (HM-8)
  9. Artistic contrasts: Light in the sky proclaims Jesus birth and darkness during the day Jesus' death. At his birth, He is worshiped and at Jesus' death, He is mocked.   (HM-9)
  10. God recognized that Mary and Joseph would need money to pay for the trip to and from Egypt as well as to pay for the redemption of Jesus when he was 12. God provides. (HM-10, GB, OMG)

Finding in the Temple

Our Father
  1. The loss and finding of Jesus in the temple was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The events occurred on the same days, on the Gregorian calendar, as his death and resurrection. Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, whom you found in the temple. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  2. To hurt one’s parents is a sin and Jesus didn’t commit a sin! We are missing something! (HM-2)
  3. At Mary’s purification, Simeon, a rabbi and leading Pharisee, had recognized Jesus as the Messiah and saw what he assumed to be Mary presenting Jesus for dedication to temple Service and so Jesus’ dedication to temple service was recorded, by Simeon on behalf of Mary and Joseph. (HM-3)
  4. God, of course, knew this would happen and provided for it in the Torah: “If anyone vows to give himself or one of his family members to the full service of the Lord, and circumstance changes so that he cannot keep his vow, he shall pay a redemption price to be freed from that vow” (Lev 27:2). If they cannot afford the redemption price the person dedicated will be brought to the priest who will place a value based on the man’s ability to pay (Lev 27:8). (HM-4)
  5. Simeon lived until he was 120 years old, dying in 10 AD. He would have looked for Jesus every year at Passover, asking if this was the year he would be staying. The visit with Simeon would have become a routine part of the family Passover. He would have told Jesus that his parents dedicated him for Temple service and that he had to be in residence by the time he turned 13. (HM-5)
  6. When Jesus was 12 after the Passover Festival, Mary and Joseph left for home, assuming Jesus was with the other boys in the caravan. (HM-6)
  7. The devil insured both Mary and Joseph were preoccupied all day. (HM-7)
  8. Mary and Joseph discovered Jesus did not join the caravan and must wait until morning to return to Jerusalem. Not finding Jesus with friends they must again wait until morning to check in the temple. (HM-8)
  9. When Mary finds Jesus, she says: “Son, why have you done this to us?” (Lk 2:48). (HM-9)
  10. Jesus responds: “Why were you looking for me?” [He was doing what the law required.] “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49). There was no sin: Jesus could not leave. What must Mary have thought and felt? Her son was 12 years old and Mary and Joseph had apparently left their son, to spend the rest of his life in the temple, without even saying “Good-by”! What joy to have him back! (HM-10, GB, OMG)

Resurrection

Our Father
  1. The body of Jesus was placed in the tomb on the evening of Good Friday. His soul descended into the realm of the dead, Sheol (limbo), to announce to the just the tidings of their redemption. Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, who came directly to you, after rising from the dead to share with you the completion of his mission. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  2. Jesus’ body was not in the tomb more than 40 hours as the Shroud shows that putrefaction had not set in. Tradition holds that Jesus died at 3pm on Friday and rose at 3am on Sunday (36 hours later). (HM-2)
  3. At the moment of the resurrection, the earth quaked as the angel rolled back the stone. The guards flee. (HM-3)
  4. The priest paid the guards: “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’” (Mt 28:13). (HM-4)
  5. The fact of the resurrection is preserved on the shroud. The researchers that studied the shroud speculated that the image on the shroud was formed by a burst of high frequency light. In 2012 it was finally demonstrated how the image may have been formed on the shroud. (HM-5)
  6. Tradition holds that Jesus first appeared to his mother, Mary, right after the resurrection; sharing first with her the glory of the resurrection as she had shared with him the passion and shame of the cross. (HM-6)
  7. Jesus joined Cleopas and Luke on the road and explained the scriptures to them. (HM-7)
  8. They recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread (Lk 24:31). (HM-8)
  9. He opened the minds of the apostles and disciples to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Lk 24:46) (HM-9)
  10. With his resurrection, Jesus fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits (1Cor 15:20). (HM-10, GB, OMG)

Assumption and Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven

Our Father
  1. On the third day after her burial the apostles went to the tomb and, at the request of St. Thomas, opened the tomb to find only fragrant lilies. Jesus did not permit the sinless body of his Mother to decay in the grave.  Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, who has brought you back to himself, to sit at his right hand as queen of heaven and earth. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  2. It seems impossible to think of Mary, the one who conceived Christ, brought him forth, nursed him with her milk, held him in her arms, and clasped him to her breast, as being apart from him in body, even though not in soul, after this earthly life. (HM-2)
  3. Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, He could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God's law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother. And, since it was within his power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, we must believe that He really acted in this way. (HM-3)
  4. “The Blessed Virgin Mary did not die; she ascended to Heaven with her body and soul" was the message from Our Lady given to five-year-old Gilles Bouhours to be taken and given only to Pope Pius XII during a special private audience May 15th, 1950 exactly three months prior to Pius XII issuing the dogma of the Assumption. (HM-4)
  5. It was the mother of the king who was the most influential female in the king’s life and the mother had a throne at the right hand of the king (1Kng 2:19). She was the Queen. It is fitting then that Mary assumes her place as Queen since she is the mother of Christ the King. (HM-5)
  6. Mary was sinless, the created Immaculate Conception, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, the site of the Incarnation, the Theotokos, the Mother of the Son of God, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Mediatrix of all grace and by her own words to Mirjana Soldo: “The first Tabernacle”. (HM-6)
  7. As Mary entered heaven, the entire court of heaven greeted with joy this masterpiece of God's creation. More than we can ever know the hearts of Jesus and Mary overflow with joy at this reunion. (HM-7)
  8. Mary was crowned by her divine Son as Queen of Heaven and Earth. (HM-8)
  9. In the Book of Revelations, John says he sees the Ark of the Covenant and then describes the great sign in the sky: a woman clothed with the sun with the moon at her feet and on her head a crown of 12 stars [5] (Rev 11:19-12:1). (HM-9)
  10. The angels and saints longed for the coming of her whose heel crushes the head of the serpent. Mary pleads our cause as a most powerful queen and a most merciful and loving mother. (HM-10, GB, OMG)
For the intentions of the Pope: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Historian and theologian, born at Waterford, Ireland, 16 October, 1588; died at St. Isidore's College Rome, 18 November, 1657.

[2] An Our Father and Glory Be for the intentions of the pope along with reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist within one week are required for a plenary indulgence

[3] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04540a.htm

[4] December 9th was also the date Mary chose to begin the apparitions under the name of our Lady of Guadalupe.
[5] The described sign made up of the constellation Virgo, with the moon at her feet, the sun shining through her dress, and crowned with the nine stars in the constellation Leo along with the planets Venus, Mercury, and Mars was in the sky over Jerusalem on 2017/09/23 at from 1 to 4pm.

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