Lady praying a rosary in front of some candles
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Hello Rosary Lovers! In this post, we will ask: What is a Rosary?

A Rosary is …

Two things.

  1. A set of Rosary beads
  2. One of the greatest prayers in the Catholic Church

The word ‘rosary’ can refer to either of these. Ideally, both belong together. Someone who chooses to pray the Rosary prayers will try to do it with a set of blessed Rosary beads.

Rosary beads

Many of us are familiar with a set of rosary beads. Most of us know what one looks like.

But for those who don’t, which is still probably a lot of you out there, here is a set of rosary beads:

Franciscan rosary

I bought a set of rosary beads very similar to these from this amazing company (affiliate link). If you’re interested in buying something similar, then get 10% off with this code: 1ROB6245

Catholics often place a set of rosary beads around the mirror in the centre of their car.

Many Catholics wear a set of rosary beads round their necks.

Others carry them in their pocket (as I do).

Some Catholics go to sleep holding a set of rosary beads.

Plenty of Catholics have more than one set of rosary beads. They use them for different things. Perhaps they may have one set next to their bed and another in the car.

It is vital to get a set of rosary beads blessed by a Catholic priest. This ensures that they are transformed into a truly blessed item, permanently set aside for God.

It is immoral to mistreat a blessed item, and therefore a blessed set of rosary beads cannot be tossed into the garbage bin when they are broken or no longer in use.

To discard of a blessed item, Catholics have two options:

  1. Bury it
  2. Burn it

To pray the Rosary most effectively, you’ll need a set of Rosary beads. The Rosary prayers and the beads belong together, and have been handed down together by the Church.

You can pray the Rosary without rosary beads, but this is not to be recommended as the best way.

The Rosary is one of the greatest prayers in the Church

It has been said that the Rosary is one of the greatest gifts given to the Church by God through the blessed ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Here are some quotes from some great saints on the rosary.

‘The rosary is the scourge of the devil.’ – Pope Adrian VI

‘Pray ardently to our most merciful mother Mary by saying the Rosary … This prayer is … most pleasing to the Mother of God and most effective in gaining heaven’s blessings.’ – St Pope Paul VI

‘One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.’ – St Dominic

‘The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin … Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.’ – Pope Pius XI

‘Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.’ – Blessed Pope Pius IX

As you can see, the saints and Popes have placed tremendous confidence in the power of the Rosary. It is truly an amazing weapon given to the Church.

We strongly encourage the daily recital of the most holy Rosary here at Rosary Lovers. If you do this, your life will be changed.

If you do it faithfully everyday for the rest of your life, you WILL get to heaven and become a saint. See this post as proof!

The Rosary involves the whole person

‘The Rosary is the best therapy for these distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls, precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual, and in that order.’ – Venerable Fulton Sheen

One of the really cool things about the Rosary is that it involves the entire person.

This is what Catholicism is all about really, the involvement of the entire person, in union with all individuals all over the world, in the worship of God.

This is Catholicism: all of humanity, holistically worshipping God with every aspect of their beings.

When it comes to the Rosary:

  • We use our minds to meditate on the mysteries
  • We use our bodies to hold the rosary beads and do the sign of the cross
  • We use our vocal chords to pray the mysteries (even if we only whisper or mime the words)

(It is worth pointing out that many Catholics pray the Rosary in their minds alone, without using their voices or vocal chords. This is definitely an acceptable way to recite the Rosary.)

The wholistic nature of the Rosary is part of the reason for its success at fulfilling many Catholics in their lives.

I personally feel like I’ve been looking for the Rosary my entire life. Next to attending Mass, there is very little that my soul requires besides the daily recitation of the Rosary.

The Rosary is so infinitely precious to me that if I went a single day without praying it my heart would yearn as if I missed a very dear companion.

The Rosary prayers

We have many posts on the prayers of the Rosary here at Rosary Lovers, check out this link.

For those of you who need a quick answer, in short the prayers of the Rosary involve the meditation on the 15 mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ by the recital of 15 Our Fathers, 150 Hail Marys and 15 Glory Bes.

In a nutshell, that’s it.

So for instance, you choose one of the 15 mysteries of the life of Christ (for e.g. his ascension into heaven), and you meditate on this mystery by praying one Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and 1 Glory Be.

You do this with each of the 15 mysteries of the Rosary.

When you have meditated on all 15 mysteries, you have prayed the entire Rosary. This will take about 45 minutes, and you can split it up throughout the day.

For many Catholics, this is too much to do in one day. Therefore the Church in her wisdom has divided the 15 mysteries up into three sets of 5. These are called:

  1. The 5 Joyful mysteries
  2. The 5 Sorrowful mysteries
  3. The 5 Glorious mysteries

The Church recommends that Catholics pray just one of these sets daily.

This should take about 15-20 minutes and it doesn’t have to be prayed all in one go.

You can split the prayers up throughout the day, doing a mystery here and a mystery there.

A Rosary is MUCH more manageable when prayed throughout the day this way.

So a Catholic can easily pray all 15 mysteries in 3 days.

Do feel free, however, to pray ALL 15 mysteries every single day, if you think you can do this. It WILL change your life, as many saints can testify. Many have reported incredible changes and miracles through doing this.

Pope Francis does this daily and has done for many years.

St Padre Pio prayed all 15 mysteries 15 times a day!!! None of us are capable of this, but it goes to show why God used this saint so spectacularly. He lived and breathed the holy Rosary.

If you would like to get in touch or ask a question, please do so either by email or in the comments below and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Every blessing, through Mary, Queen of the most holy Rosary

20 Replies to “What is a Rosary?”

  1. This is a very helpful post on what a rosary is. I always thought a rosary was just the beads that one often see Catholics wearing, but never realized that it actually also a prayer. I find it very interesting that the rosary beads have to be blessed by a Catholic priest and that it has to be buried or burnt when it is broken. Can it be fixed instead? 

    Thank you for clarifying that the rosary prayer, is meditating on the 15 mysteries of the life of Christ. Can non-Catholics also use the rosary prayer for meditation? Or is it purely for Catholics? Thank you. 

    1. Hello there

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes a rosary can be fixed, if possible.

      Yes non-Catholics can use the rosary as much as they wish! The rosary beads can be used for doing any prayers, so non-Catholics can pray the Jesus prayer on it if they wish: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.’ 

      Or any prayer of their choice.

      So no, the rosary absolutely isn’t only for Catholics. In fact, it is one of the greatest converting instruments in the world. Many have been converted to the Catholic faith by beginning to pray the rosary.

      All the best

  2. Hello thanks for introducing me to the Rosary. I’ve been struggling with addiction for a long time and I’m looking for some strength to get me through the hard days. Most the time i if i’m at home i can just watch a calming video or something to take my mind of it. Would the rosary help to get to keep me on track

    1. Hey there! You’re more than welcome.

      I’m saddened to hear of your situation and very much appreciate your honesty and boldness to tell me. May God bless you greatly through Mary full of grace, and Jesus Christ her Son.

      For you, let me pray: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the our of our death. Amen.’

      The Rosary may well be a tremendous help for you. I cannot say what will happen in your situation if you start praying it, but for many of us the Rosary has been a very significant turning point. I’ve read a testimony of someone who managed to conquer a powerful addiction through praying it.

      I recommend in your case a full-blown ‘let’s see what God can do approach.’ In other words: try praying 3 rosaries a day. That is, try praying all 15 mysteries everyday for a week. See what starts to happen. You can split your prayers throughout the day. You don’t have to pray a rosary all in one go.

      Do you know how to pray the rosary?

      Feel free to email me or send me a PM on WA.

      God bless you buddy.

  3. Thank you for this beautiful and informative post on the Rosary. The only thing I knew at first was that it was a part of Catholicism. I never knew how it was tied into the 15 mysteries of the Rosary and that Catholics are encouraged to say these prayers on a regular basis. I feel like I probably should have known this, but it was still interesting to find that the Rosary needs to be disposed of in a specific way. But again, that is makes a lot of sense since a Rosary is a sacred and holy item. 

    I also found it so reassuring that those who are not Catholic are still allowed and encouraged to recite the prayer with their Rosary beads. Thanks for this thorough and interesting article!

    1. Many thanks! Yes by all means whether you’re Catholic or not, our Lady Mary invites ALL to her most holy Rosary and to its benefits

  4. Hi Matthew, incredible post my friend, I never knew that this was a big thing for catholicism, nor did I even know that Rosary’s existed! This post is definitely a wake up call that I really need to do more research on catholic, which I now intend to do in order to gain a better understanding of catholic’s in general!

    1. Hi David! Many thanks for your words.

      O yes, the Rosary is HUGE in Catholicism. If you go to a Catholic country you’ll see rosaries everywhere. Even in non-Catholic countries they seem to be in lots of places. I see a car with a rosary hanging from the mirror every few weeks. And recently a lady came into the shop where I work wearing a rosary.

      The Rosary is perhaps the most popular religious devotional object in the world.

      Ah yes, my friend, I would strongly encourage/recommend you research into the holy Catholic faith. It’s an incredible faith and religion, and all the teachings hang together absolutely perfectly. It is the most self-consistent belief-system I have ever encountered, by a very long way.

      If I can be of any further help as you explore, feel free to PM me on WA, or send me an email (see my About Me page).

      Kind regards

  5. Hello!

    I have a lot of appreciation for this post. I am not familiar with Catholic prayer, and before this post didn’t even know what a Rosary was. I can tell they are very special to those that hold them and bring a lot of energy and faith with them. 

    I noticed some were different colors. Do the colors and crosses on them all mean something different, or does someone choose a Rosary based on which one they like the most?

    Thanks for this post 🙂

    1. Hello there! Thank you for your feedback!

      I’m glad the post has showed you something of the holy Rosary of our Catholic faith.

      No the colours and crosses don’t really mean anything different, people just choose rosaries based on what they like 🙂

      Take care!

  6. Mathew, Very well written explanation of the Rosary and its importance. You mention St. Padre Pio. My Father-in-Law, the late Vincent Gallagher, of Waldwick, New Jersey, was instrumental in bringing the story of then Padre Pio to the US years ago. He spent many, many hours on assorted crusades for the telling of the story of this amazing Saint. Thank you.

    1. Hi Phil
      Many thanks for your feedback.
      Wow what an honour to have had such a father-in-law!
      I read a biography on St Padre Pio recently and it absolutely blew my mind. It was spectacular. One of the best things I’ve ever read. The witnesses and stories of his miracles are astounding. So awesome to have had such an incredible Saint living just last century.
      God bless

  7. Hello Matthew,

    I found your post very enlightening. I was not raised religious and therefore only knew what I have seen on television and in movies. And we all know how factual that is lol. 

    As I age, I find myself doing more and more research into different religions out of curiosity and the knowledge that we simply cannot be the only presence.

    In your post, you stated that the Rosary beads need to be blessed by a Catholic Priest, how would that work if you are not Catholic? Or would that be forbidden?

    1. Hello there! Thank you for your feedback and I’m thrilled you benefitted from the post.

      Lol yeh, religion isn’t portrayed well in the media. I had to discover it all myself through personal experience and reading what the religions actually believe, not what people say they believe.

      I too have studied other religions. I love religion. I enjoy studying Islam, Judaism, Hinduism. I’ve looked deeply into Orthodox Christianity and used to be an Evangelical Protestant. I’m familiar with Jehovah’s Witnesses and their beliefs, and have met with Mormons on a number of occasions. I’ve also looked into Paganism/Druidism. 

      I’ve tried to study all the major ones, or the ones I should know about. I find lots of truth and goodness in most of them. For instance, I love the emphasis on love for Mother Earth in Paganism.

      So I have a fairly decent grasp on religion and love talking with people about it.

      I think human beings are essentially religious. Is there any particular religion you find yourself more drawn to than the others, that you keep coming back to again and again and could even imagine yourself joining? I’d be very interested to know 🙂

      If you aren’t Catholic yes of course you can buy a Rosary and get it blessed by a Catholic priest. Just ask a Catholic priest.

      The only thing a non-Catholic cannot do is receive the Holy Eucharist. A non-Catholic can participate in almost everything else that a Catholic participates in. I’ve seen non-Catholics even reading Scripture regularly at the front of Catholic Churches. We have a non-Catholic at our Church who does all the music for Mass.

      Also, if you ever need help or guidance, you are free to approach a Catholic priest for counsel.

      The Catholic Church is surprisingly inclusive and wants all to come into her arms and the arms of Mary.

      God bless you!

  8. I enjoyed your article on the Rosary, it was very enlightening. I have had some heartache in my life and a Catholic friend gave me Rosary Beads and a little booklet on how to say The Holy Rosary. She said that there is no problem that can’t be resolved by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. 

    1. Thank you for your feedback and I’m pleased to hear you benefitted from reading the post.

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had ‘some heartache in your life’. Have you looked at that little booklet yet on how to say the Rosary? To say the Rosary is, in essence, extremely simple once you know just a few things:

      1. How to say the Lord’s Prayer (I take it you know this?)

      2. How to say the Hail Mary

      3. How to say the Glory be

      4. The mysteries of the Rosary, of which there are 15. A simple list can easily be found online, you’re looking for the Joyful mysteries, the Sorrowful mysteries and the Glorious mysteries. Many lists also contain the Luminous mysteries. These are wonderful and to be recommended, but they are not as important as the other mysteries – yet anyway. The Luminous mysteries are optional.

      Once you know these 4 things, you can pray the Rosary wherever and whenever.

      Have you tried praying it yet?

      You may want to check out this post which contains all the promises given to those who pray the Rosary. One of them is that you will have all you ask for when you dedicate yourself to the Rosary

      Take care, in Christ. I’ll try to remember to say a Hail Mary for you.

  9. Wow, thanks for this easy-to-follow explanation of the rosary. One of my parents is Catholic, but I never saw much evidence of their religion in practice, so the Catholic rosary was always a part of the religion that remained a mystery to me. This explains a lot.

    I can’t recall ever seeing anyone wear one though – in fact, I had heard that it was sacrilegious to wear them as jewelry. Is this not the case?

    1. I’m glad to hear you benefitted from the post. 

      Your question stumped me for a moment! I’d never heard that rosaries shouldn’t be worn. Some catholics take this view but the Church actually teaches that you can wear a rosary around your neck as an aid to prayer and as a statement of faith. If someone is wearing one just because they are treating it like any other piece of jewellery then this wouldn’t be right because a blessed rosary is a very sacred object. 

  10. Hello Matthew,

    I have studied a bit of Christianity, Catholocism, Buddism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormonism among others. I think I would have to say that Buddhism really intrigues me.

    1. Yeh that doesn’t surprise me. I don’t know where you’re from but Buddhism attracts a lot of ppl in the west. You think you may join someday?

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