History of the Rosary


The following are a few of the important dates in the development of the rosary.

9th Century

By tradition Ireland is the place of origin for the rosary. At that time 150 Psalms of David were recited or chanted by Monks at the various canonical hours each day. One Irish Monk suggested that the lay people recite 150 Our Fathers in place of the Psalms. Shortly thereafter, prayer combination were developed which were similar to the current form of the rosary.

12th Century

Marian Psalters devoted to 150 praises beginning with ‘Ave’ were introduced.

13th Century

St. Dominic is given The Rosary by The Blessed Virgin Mary.

15th Century

The Rosary reaches definitive form through the preaching of the Dominican Alan de la Roche and his associates. He also founds his first confraternity: ‘The Confraternity of the Psalter of the Glorious Virgin Mary’.

16th Century

Pope Leo X gives the rosary official approbation.  

Our Lady of Guadalupe appears to Saint Juan Diego and her image appears on his garment. She is seen with a rosary draped across her praying hands.

Pope Pius V officially approves the rosary.

17th Century

The Gloria Patri and the Apostles’ Creed are added to the rosary and the prayer sequence is standardized.

St. Louis de Montfort preaches on the rosary and writes the books True Devotion to Mary, The Secret of Mary, and The Secret of the Rosary.

Pope Saint John Paul II states that reading St. Montfort’s True Devotion was a turning point in his life.

19th Century

In Lourdes Saint Bernadette has a vision of ‘a beautiful lady’. She has subsequent visions and The Blessed Virgin Mary identifies herself as The Immaculate Conception. She carried a white rosary with a cross and chain of gold over her right arm.

20th Century

In Fatima three young peasant children see a woman holding a rosary who identifies herself as the Lady of the Rosary. She tells them to pray the rosary every day in order to obtain world peace.

Pope Paul VI recommends the praying of the rosary and issues the Apostolic Letter Marialis Cultus which devotes 14 sections to the use of the Rosary within the Roman Catholic Church.

21st Century

Pope Saint John Paul II introduces the Luminous Mysteries as an option for Roman Catholics in an Apostolic Letter on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

After 911, Pope Saint John Paul II asks that everyone pray the rosary daily for world peace.

© 2020 by Robert Barnett