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Champions of the Rosary
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Champions of the Rosary > History of the Rosary

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Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
The first part in this book deals with the history of the rosary. Add your comments here as you are reading this part.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
Can I be properly proud that I was born in the same country as the "founder" of the Rosary tradition?

I mean St. Dominic of Guzmán.


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John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "Can I be properly proud that I was born in the same country as the "founder" of the Rosary tradition?

I mean St. Dominic of Guzmán."


I think so, as long as one remains humbly aware of accidents of birth. ;-)


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
I was not aware that the second part of the Hail Mary was introduced at the time of the Black Death, around 1350. It is nice to know, and fully understandable.


Bice (bicebeechay) | 111 comments I have barely started the book but I am finding the history fascinating.
Manuel, yes you can be proud.
And may I confess something to all of you? Until I read this book I thought St. Dominic was ITALIAN born!
My mother was greatly devoted to Our Lady of Pompei having received many graces through her intercession. Therefore, I grew up with that image of St, Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena at Our Lady’s feet. Is St. Catherine mentioned in the History part?

I am glad to finally participate in the Book Club.

(Bee-chay)


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
John wrote: "I think so, as long as one remains humbly aware of accidents of birth. ;-)"

That's exactly why I said it, I'm aware it's not a merit of mine :-)


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Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
Bice wrote: "I grew up with that image of St, Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena at Our Lady’s feet. Is St. Catherine mentioned in the History part?"

Yes, she is mentioned all around the book. And the painting of Our Lady of Pompeii is mentioned in reference to Blessed Bartolo Longo, in quotations by Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Bice wrote: "Until I read this book I thought St. Dominic was ITALIAN born!"

Guzmán is a famous Spanish family name. I have used it for the main character in one of my historic novels :-)


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
I think Donald Calloway is a little far-fetched in his deductions about Divine Providence.

For instance, he states that Alan de la Roche, who revived the rosary tradition in 1470, did not call it "the rosary" for certain reasons, and preferred the name "Our Lady's Psalter." Five years later, Jacob Sprenger imitated La Roche in Köln (Cologne), but used the name "the rosary." Sprenger's attempt was more successful than La Roche's, and therefore the name "the rosary" became established. Calloway says that this was an act of Divine Providence, for it made possible that five centuries later John Paul II could extend the rosary from 150 to 200 Hail Marys, with the Luminous mysteries. According to Calloway, if the name Psalter had taken hold, this would have been impossible, for the Psalter contains 150 Psalms, and the number of Hail Marys would have been unchangeable.

I can't believe, if God really had that idea, that the other name would have prevented his action.

Not to mention that Psalm 9 in the Vulgate is now divided in two (although it is essentially the same Psalm), while Psalms 146 and 147 in the Vulgate are now joined in one, so the actual number of Psalms in the Psalter could very well be 149, and the number 150 is obviously a round-off, a convenient historical convention.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
I have been surprised by the little attention this book gives to the Litany of Loreto. In Spain at least, the Litany is usually recited at the end of every rosary, so they are intimately blended. The first reference in the book takes place in the chapter about the seventeenth century.

But there is a much earlier reference which I missed: while speaking about the battle of Lepanto, Calloway does not mention that Pope Pius V, when being informed of the victory, added one petition to the Litany: Auxilium Christianorum - Ora Pro Nobis (Help of the Christians, Pray for us).

He does mention the addition by Leo XIII of the petition Regina Sancti Rosarii - Ora Pro Nobis (Queen of the Saint Rosary), but that was in the nineteenth century.

A small unimportant typo in the book, at least in the edition I have: in the chapter about the sixteenth century, it says: [The Ottoman Sultan] took the island of Cypress in 1570. Of course, it should say Cyprus, not Cypress (:-)


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John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
@Manuel, I agree with your point about Divine Providence, and I have noticed he is not very careful about suppressing his biases. For example, while he is normally free with attributing events to Providence, in one instance in the chapter on the 15th Century, he refers to one Dominican imitating another in promulgating the rosary, yet provides no evidence of copying, as opposed to the idea, which I find more likely in this instance, of the Holy Spirit inspiring two men down the same path.

I find the incessant argument between religious orders to be wearying and somewhat off-putting and his constant insistence that the Dominicans get credit for the rosary seems in that vein.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
John wrote: "I find the incessant argument between religious orders to be wearying and somewhat off-putting and his constant insistence that the Dominicans get credit for the rosary seems in that vein."

Yes, he is a little hard with Jesuits when he suggests that their suppression at the end of the eighteenth century had something to do with the opposition by some Jesuits (Bollandists) to the Pious Tradition that attributed to Saint Dominic the origin of the Rosary.

It looks a little far-fetched that the tremendous evil that came as a consequence of the suppression of Jesuits (such as the destruction of the Paraguayan Reductions, or the closure of the Jesuit Astronomic Observatories all around the world), should be considered as God's "punishment" for doubting that Saint Dominic introduced the prayer of the Rosary.

In my opinion, the suppression of Jesuits is better considered initially as a triumph of Satan, rather than an act of God, although obviously God got something good out of it. He always does.

Anyway, Fr. Calloway is not a Dominican, but a Marian Father of the Immaculate Conception.


Mariangel | 584 comments Manuel wrote: "I have been surprised by the little attention this book gives to the Litany of Loreto. In Spain at least, the Litany is usually recited at the end of every rosary"

When I've been to a Rosary in a church the US, they finish with a Salve Regina after the 5th mystery and that's it.


Kerstin | 108 comments When Fr. Calloway started telling the story of the Carthusian rosary and how it was modified by Dominic of Prussia so that the insertions for the meditation are easier to memorize, I was thinking, I recognize this! Then he confused me when he wrote nobody recites the rosary today like this save a few Carthusians. Well, he is not quite right. In Germany we recited the rosary with these insertions. Look into any German language website on the rosary, and you will find the instructions of how to insert the mystery after the word 'Jesus' in each 'Hail Mary.'


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Mariangel | 584 comments I have a book, recently published in the US (by Montfort Press) where this practice of inserting the mystery after 'Jesus' is explained as recommended by St Louis de Montfort. This is how the book suggests to pray the Rosary.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
Mariangel wrote: "I have a book, recently published in the US (by Montfort Press) where this practice of inserting the mystery after 'Jesus' is explained as recommended by St Louis de Montfort. This is how the book ..."

In the chapter about the eighteenth century in Calloway's book, which deals mostly with St. Louis de Monfort, this is not mentioned.


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Jesús  Erro (jesuserro) | 15 comments Manuel wrote: "...Jacob Sprenger imitated La Roche in Köln (Cologne), but used the name 'the rosary.' Sprenger's attempt was more successful than La Roche's, and therefore the name 'the rosary' became established."

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “An early legend which after travelling all over Europe penetrated even to Abyssinia connected this name - Rosary - with a story of Our Lady, who was seen to take rosebuds from the lips of a young monk when he was reciting Hail Marys and to weave them into a garland which She placed upon her head.”

I wonder if Jacob Sprenger was the young monk mentioned in the legend. It's nice to think so...


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
Jesús wrote: "I wonder if Jacob Sprenger was the young monk mentioned in the legend. It's nice to think so..."

According to Calloway's book, the name "rosary" existed in the 13th century, in the time of St. Dominic. In the section "The name "rosary"" he writes:

it was during the time of St.Dominic that the word came to be associated with the Marian Psalter.

So Jacob Sprenger couldn't be related to the legend, for he just revived the name two centuries later.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
I am not happy with the section about Fr. Herbert Thurston SJ in the chapter about the twentieth century. I can understand that Calloway does not like the fact that Thurston wrote an article about the Rosary for the Catholic Encyclopedia where he doubted the attribution of its origin to St.Dominic. But most of the section is dedicated to what practically amounts to a personal attack on Thurston. He may -or not- have become involved in spiritualism (the evidence in favor seems to come from spiritualists, rather than from himself, and that after his death), but paragraphs like the following seem to me doubtful:

His father developed a deep friendship with a man by the name of J. H. Powell, a famous practitioner of spiritualism and the editor of the spiritualist periodical Spiritual Times. Throughout Fr. Thurston’s youth, J.H. Powell was, Fr. Thurston claims, “a constant visitor at our house.” During these visits, Powell engaged in the spiritualist practices of mesmerism, mind-control, and hypnotism. These early experiences left the young boy with a very sympathetic and favorable attitude toward spiritualism before becoming an ordained Jesuit priest. As a Jesuit priest, Fr. Thurston, in imitation of his father, also formed a very close friendship with a famous medium, Bertha Hirst. When they got together, it wasn’t to pray the rosary or ask for the intercession of the saints.

Since when are mesmerism, mind-control, and hypnotism spiritualist practices? Apart from the fact that mesmerism and hypnotism are essentially the same thing, they have nothing to do with spiritualism and are or have been used for therapeutic reasons.

As to his supposed friendship with a Medium, I think the last sentence I have quoted is totally out of place.

Then Calloway dismisses Thurston because he was skeptic towards certain miracles attributed to saints. For instance:

he is also responsible for re-defining as myth the centuries-old tradition that the Holy House of Loreto — the house of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in Nazareth — had been mystically transported to Italy by angels. Thanks to his Modernist scholarship, this tradition has been downgraded to a myth. Instead of being recognized as a miracle performed through holy angels, the transportation of the house is now thought to have a purely human explanation.

Calloway, as a consequence of this and other examples, declares Thurston was "an extreme skeptic." He qualifies his work on this field in the following way: His skepticism is easily discerned in what became one of his most infamous projects. That project was writing the lives of a certain number of saints, and explaining away some of the miracles attributed to them. I'd have to read this book to make my mind about it, but I am sure that a number of miracles attributed to saints are based on imagination rather than fact. Fr. Calloway, however, seems to give them all full credence.


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John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
Mariangel wrote: "Manuel wrote: "I have been surprised by the little attention this book gives to the Litany of Loreto. In Spain at least, the Litany is usually recited at the end of every rosary"

When I've been to..."


Usually also the "Let us Pray" and several parishes I've been at include the Prayer to St. Michael. But I've never heard the Litany prayed in the US following the Rosary.


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John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "I am not happy with the section about Fr. Herbert Thurston SJ in the chapter about the twentieth century. I can understand that Calloway does not like the fact that Thurston wrote an article about ..."

I haven't gotten to that point yet, but something about that passage made me wonder if Fr. Calloway is aware that Jesus used to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors.

Notwithstanding these legitimate complaints, I am enjoying learning about the way the Rosary grew through the ages of the Church. Prayers being added one or two at a time, even the Hail Mary growing organically through the ages. This has been the part of this portion of the book that I am enjoying the most.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1644 comments Mod
John wrote: "Notwithstanding these legitimate complaints, I am enjoying learning about the way the Rosary grew through the ages of the Church. Prayers being added one or two at a time, even the Hail Mary growing organically through the ages. This has been the part of this portion of the book that I am enjoying the most."

Yes, this is the best in the book. Also, the list of saints and defenders of the Rosary in the twentieth century is very complete and interesting. Many are well-known, others not so much.


Kerstin | 108 comments In the chapter on Lourdes Fr. Calloway talks about a sixth decade, primarily devoted to the souls in purgatory. I am familiar with this through one of the German rosary websites. They say that this used to be common practice, to pray a sixth decade in the (regular) rosary, and that the practice deserves reviving. The phrase to insert after the word "Jesus" is, "durch Dein heiliges Blut erlöse die Armen Seelen aus der Feuersglut" - through your holy blood redeem the poor souls out of purgatory.

Now, I have seen rosaries with six decades before, but I didn't know to what "chaplet" they belonged to. Now I know!


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Bice (bicebeechay) | 111 comments Oh Kirstin that is beautiful! I have a great devotion to the Holy Souls and will definitely add this to my Rosary. . When my mother died I was not practicing my Catholic faith. The day of her funeral I picked up her Italian prayerbook Massime Eterne that had the Cento Requiem rosary. (Using ordinary beads one prays 100 Eternal Rest .... prayers. ) Such a peace washed over me after I prayed the Cento Requiem. This led me to really learn and love my Catholic Faith.


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Bice (bicebeechay) | 111 comments I am a bit behind in my reading. I so enjoy the discussion because when I am reading I look for what has commented on.


Kerstin | 108 comments Now 100 Eternal Rest Prayers is something to remember too, Bice! I could see this as a wonderful devotion to add, especially when one cannot attend a funeral of someone dear.

This is what I love about Catholicism, there are so many great devotions to guide us along the way. Every geographic region has their own variations, and when you put them together there is such a rich tapestry everyone can find something that speaks to their heart.


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Bice (bicebeechay) | 111 comments Well said Kerstin!


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C.D. (skymama) | 58 comments On page 113 it says that Mozart prayed the rosary on a daily basis, which is a far cry from how he's portrayed in the 1984 movie, Amadeus.


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