Most official biographies of Blessed Alan begin with the following statement; All things, even the holiest, are subject to change, especially when they are dependent on man's free will. It is hardly to be wondered at, then, that the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary only retained its first fervor for one century after it was instituted by Saint Dominic in 1218. During the 15th century there was a decline in religious faith. The “roses of Mary”, a name for the Rosary, had fallen into partial obscurity. Therefore, it was like a thing buried and forgotten by society. Following the ministry of St. Dominic, the Confraternity was not well organized and existed in ”guilds” with tenuous connections to the Rosary. It was during this period that Our Lady told Blessed Alan to revive the ancient Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.
Blessed Alan was one of the Dominican Fathers from the monastery at Dinan, in Brittany. He was an eminent theologian and was famous for his sermons. Our Lady chose him because, since the Confraternity had originally been started in this province, Mary wanted to be restarted here. Blessed Alan began this great work in 1460 after a special warning from Our Lord, Who wished to spur him on to preach the Holy Rosary, spoke to him in the Sacred Host: "How can you crucify Me again so soon?" Jesus said. "What did You say, Lord?" asked Blessed Alan, horrified. "You crucified Me once before by your sins," answered Jesus, "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." In 1470 he founded at Douai the first Confraternity of the Rosary.
Our Lady too, spoke to him one day to inspire him to preach the Holy Rosary more and more: "You were a great sinner in your youth," she said, "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."
Pope Alexander VI in 1495, addressed St. Dominic as “the renowned preacher long ago of the Confraternity of the Rosary, and through his merits, the whole world was preserved from universal ruin.” Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) made the formal declaration that St. Dominic first established the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary in the Church of St. Sixtus in Rome. He is considered the founder of the modern rosary devotion and of the Confraternities of the Rosary. Alan gave the Hail Mary, which existed in various forms, the precise form in which it became popular. He divided 150 Ave's into three series of 50, introduced the Our Father before each 10, and treated in accompanying articles or statements the mysteries of the birth, Passion, and glory of Christ. Alan's works on the rosary were printed after his death by J. A. Coppenstein, OP. Although called blessed, Alan was never officially beatified.