One of the most beautiful Franciscan devotions, yet one of the least known, is the daily recitation of the Rosary of the Seven Joys or the Franciscan Crown.
In the late Middle Ages, there was a young man who brought a crown of flowers every day to adorn a statue of Our Lady. During this period of his life, the young man decided that he would become a Franciscan friar and he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to continue this practice in the novitiate. It was at this time of the turbulence that the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him that by saying a Rosary in honor of her joys, he would be weaving a much more beautiful crown than one of mere flowers.
The young man did as Our Lady asked him to and one day, another friar noticed him praying in his cell while an angel wove a crown and placed it on his head. The friar asked the young novice about this and was told about his vision of Our Lady. Thereafter, the Franciscan Crown spread throughout the Franciscan Order as one of its unique devotions.
In order to say the Franciscan Crown, it is not necessary to have a special rosary for this purpose. One can say it on a normal five decade rosary by adding two decades and saying two extra Hail Mary’s at the end of the seventh decade. While the praying the Franciscan Crown, one should meditate on the following mysteries:
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord
4. The Adoration of the Magi
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
6. The Resurrection.
7. The Assumption and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin.
At the end of the seventh decade, as stated above, it is customary to add two Hail Mary’s in honor of the 72 years that Our Lady lived on the earth. In addition, one can recite one Pater, one Ave, and a Gloria for the intentions of Holy Mother Church.
It is not necessary to begin the Franciscan Crown with the Apostle’s Creed and the Three Aves, although many do. One may simply start it with the first Pater.
Also, it is not necessary to meditate on the mysteries in order to receive an indulgence. One may simply recite the Rosary.
Our Lady of the Angels, Queen of the Franciscan Order, pray for us!
St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
Brother Juniper, pray for us