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History of Rosary Beads

Rosary beads are a physical method of keeping count of the number of Hail Marys said. The fingers are moved along the beads as the prayers are recited. By not having to keep track of the count mentally, the mind is more able to meditate on the mysteries. The Hail Mary is said on the ten beads within a decade, while the Our Father is said on the large bead before each decade.

There are differing views on the history of rosary beads. According to tradition, the rosary beads were given to Saint Dominic in an apparition by the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year 1214 in the church of Prouille. This Marian apparition received the title of Our Lady of the Rosary. In the 15th century it was promoted by Blessed Alanus de Rupe (aka Alain de la Roche or Saint Alan of the Rock), a learned Dominican priest and theologian, and established the "15 rosary promises" and started many rosary confraternities. However, most scholarly research suggests a more gradual and organic development of the rosary beads.