Franciscan Crown Rosary

Bead Spacing and Prayers

There are several ways of saying the Crown and several spacings of the first few beads and even a possibility of a difference in the number of the first beads (4 or 5).

Different Franciscan Orders (OFM, OFM Cap, TOR, PC) and even different Provinces within the same orders may have different ways of saying the Crown and different spacing in the first 4 or 5 beads.

What I was told was that my spacing is more correct but the "older" (and not used now) number was 4 not five beads.

Today, the spacing that I use is pretty universally found on all hand held Crowns.

While less correct, the spacing of five beads like the Dominican rosary is fairly common on habit Crown rosaries.

A Little History on The Franciscan Crown Rosary

The spacing arose years and years ago either by accident or design depending of which explanation you believe.

1) One of the missionary provinces, or more probably a vice-province, had their habit rosaries made by cloistered nuns of a different order.
One tradition says cloistered Dominican nuns made them as gifts, another says Benedictine nuns but that is probably incorrect and arose to parallel the interchange of gifts/rent of oil and fish between the friars in Assisi at Our Lady of the Angels and the Benedictines of Assisi.
And the nuns who made the Crowns assumed that they were making a traditional regular rosary that had two additional decades.

2) Now this goes way back, but since it was common practice for the friars and nuns to say both the Crown and the 5 decade rosary, some provinces opted for the 5 decade spacing of the first five beads on the 7 decade Crown habit rosary for purposes of gaining indulgences.

There were no special requirements regarding the number of beads or even holding a blessed Crown for gaining indulgences granted for praying the Franciscan Crown of the Seven Joys of Our Lady. Not in effect now, there were, however, many special restrictions and requirements for gaining some of the various indulgences associated with praying the Rosary -- various blessings.
(Apostolic, Brigittine, Crozier, and Dominican. etc.) attached different indulgences and not all priests had faculties to impart the blessings. And these various indulgences often required using (or at least one in a group if several were praying together) the traditional rosary.

The reasoning behind the spacing was that it made the one set of beads both the Crown and the Dominican Rosary.

Now, there are several variations in saying the Crown, here are a few:
1) Start as you would the Dominican rosary:
Apostles Creed, OF, 3 HM, Glory Be, and then the 7 decades (OF and 10 HM) and end with 2 extra HM (no beads) to make 72 HM in total for the years of Mary's life.

2) Start as you would the Dominican rosary:
Say the 7 decades, and end on the first 5 beads but moving toward the crucifix with 2 HM to make the total of 72 HM, OF and HM for the pope, and one HM for benefactors;

3) Probably one of the most common today:
Start with Creed, OF, 3 HM as in the Dominican rosary and then the seven decades of OF/10 HM, end with 2 additional HM after seventh decade (but no beads for these 2 HM);

4) Start either as in the Dominican rosary or start directly with the OF of the first of the seven decades and after the seventh decade HMs on the 5th and 4th beads from the crucifix, OF and Glory Be on beads 3 and 2, HM for benefactors on first bead (this is only slightly different than #2 above).

This info was passed on from Brother Michael, OFM

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Last up-date December 2008