We must remember that October is still the month of Mary and her Rosary, despite the fierce and, sometimes, vicious campaign season. The Rosary, perhaps her most famous gift, is not just a meditation on the united lives of Jesus and Mary. No, its power extends far beyond the short time it takes to pray the five decades. The benefits of what Pope St. John Paul II called “an exquisitely contemplative prayer” were enumerated in a special way by a 15th century Dominican friar. According to the tradition, Alanus de Rupe received the following 15 promises to those who pray the Rosary devoutly, from the Blessed Virgin Mary herself, through a private revelation. According to the Dominicans, there are 15 blessings one receives from regularly saying the Rosary.
1. Those who faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell. It will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4. The recitation of the Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish. It will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God. It will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
6. Those who recite my Rosary devoutly, applying themselves to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. In His justice, God will not chastise them; nor shall they perish by an unprovided death, i.e., be unprepared for heaven. Sinners shall convert. The just shall persevere in grace and become worthy of eternal life.
7. Those who have a true devotion to the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who faithfully recite the Rosary shall have, during their life and at their death, the light of God and the plenitude of His graces. At the moment of death, they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.
11. By the recitation of the Rosary you shall obtain all that you ask of me.
12. Those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of their death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my beloved children and the brothers and sisters of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion for my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
According to Le Rosaire, présent du Ciel et chemin de sainteté (The Rosary, Gift from Heaven and Path to Holiness) the devotion of the Rosary, already in use among the Cistercians as early as the 12th century, experienced a great increase in popularity thanks to the influence of the Dominicans, from the 13th to the 15th century. According to tradition, St. Dominic of Guzman, the founder of the Dominican Order, received the Rosary directly from the Virgin Mary in several apparitions, as a gift to help convert sinners. He thus asked his brothers religious to wear a rosary on their belts. The name "Rosary", from the medieval Latin rosarium, refers to a wreath of roses placed on the Virgin Mary as a crown, the rose being a Marian symbol. In the 15th century, the Carthusian Dominic of Prussia invented and taught the faithful a form of Marian psalter with only 50 Hail Marys, each followed by a "clausule". The clausulae are small additions to the Hail Mary prayer, which follow the name of Jesus and help with the meditation of the mystery being contemplated. In this way, the two-fold purpose of the Rosary, which is directed both towards the Virgin Mary and Jesus, is deepened.
The Dominican Alan de la Roche (1428-1478), a true apostle of the Rosary, did a great deal of work to promote the Marian Psalter, through his preaching and through the Rosary confraternities he founded, which were immensely successful as far away as Italy and all of Western Europe. It was at this time that the name "Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary" began to be used. A little later, the Dominican Alberto Castellano (1450-1523) simplified the Rosary: he chose 15 gospel passages for meditation, and added the short prayer at the end of the Hail Mary.
Today, more than ever, we need to access these gifts from our Holy Mother. The Rosary might very well be the instrument God uses to fix our broken world.