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Ronald Herdman wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a daily communicant and have a habit of always snapping the links on my Rosary.
I found another set in my drawer and to my surprise it contained seven (7) decades.

  • Would you kindly explain the reason for the extra two decades?

God Bless,


  { What is this seven decade Rosary I found in my drawer? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Ronald —

Thanks for the question.

You found one of two types of rosaries:

The Franciscan Crown (or Seraphic Rosary)

Here's what I found on a Secular Franciscan Fraternity web site:

The Franciscan historian Luke Wadding (1588-1657) dates the origin of the Franciscan Crown to the year 1422. He tells the story of a young novice in the Franciscan Order who, previously accustomed to express his devotion to the Blessed Virgin by adorning her statue with a wreath of fresh flowers; he was prevented from continuing this practice in the novitiate. In distress, he considered leaving the Order, but the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and instructed him to recite a Rosary of seven decades in honor of her seven joys; thus, he might weave a “crown” more pleasing to her than flowers on her statue.

From that time the practice of reciting the “crown of the seven joys“ became a general custom in the order. Thus it became known as the Franciscan Crown —
or the Seraphic Rosary.

Here is New Advent's write-up on it.

Here are the Seven Joys of Mary

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Nativity
  4. The Adoration by the Magi
  5. The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple
  6. The Resurrection
  7. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven and Her Coronation as Queen of Heaven
The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows

This devotion was originated in the thirteenth century. It recalls the Sorrows the Virgin Mother of God endured in compassion for the suffering and death of her Divine Son. The Seven Sorrows Rosary consists of seven Hail Mary's, one for each of the seven Sorrows. One Our Father is said before each group of seven Hail Mary's: which is separated by a medal. On the three beads of the rosary, at the end, three Hail Mary's are said in honor of the Tears of Our Sorrowful Mother. While reciting the prayers one meditates on the Seven Sorrows of Mary:

  1. The prophecy of
  2. The flight into Egypt
  3. The loss of the Holy Child, Jesus, at Jerusalem
  4. The meeting of Jesus on his way to Calvary
  5. The standing at the foot of the Cross
  6. Jesus being taken from the Cross
  7. The burial of Christ
Here is New Advent's write-up on it.

Hope this helps,


Ron replied:

Dear Mike,

I am eternally grateful.

God Bless you!

— Ron

Bob replied:


This is an answer already explained on Catholic Answers.


The Franciscan Crown is a special Rosary consisting of seven decades. It is also known as the Seraphic Rosary. In the early fifteenth century, a young man with a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary used to weave a crown of wildflowers to place on a beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother. When this young man decided to enter the Franciscan Order, he was saddened that, as a novice, he no longer would be able to go out and gather the flowers required for his personal devotion. He even thought about leaving the order. One evening, while he was having these thoughts, the Blessed Mother appeared to him in a vision. She encouraged him to remain in his new vocation, and reminded him of the joyfulness of the Franciscan spirit.

She explained to him that he could still weave a crown for her, only it would be a crown of prayers, instead of flowers. This would be even more pleasing to her than a crown of wildflowers. She told him that he should meditate on seven joyful events in her life, and that this would be a new form of Rosary. The young novice began to pray in this manner, other Franciscans followed him, and in 1422, the Crown Rosary was established as an official prayer of the Franciscan Order. It is used by all three of the Franciscan Orders (first order, second order, and third order regular and secular).


Bob Kirby

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