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Celebrating the Joys of Mary through the Franciscan Crown Rosary
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

EVERY member of the Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) looks forward to the annual Marian Conference. The conference, over the years, has been a rich source of inspiration for the members, particularly because each year, the conference provides a fresh look at Mary, the Mother of the Lord, at her attributes and how women can fully love God by imitating her.

Last August 15, 2015, HOLD leaders and members from Metro Manila and the nearby provinces trooped to the Ynares Sports Center in Kapitolyo, Pasig for the 2015 Marian Conference. Titled The Joys of Mary, this year’s Marian Conference focused on Mary who, despite her sorrows as a mother, was truly a joyful woman. The conference also focused on the devotion called the Franciscan Crown Rosary and how, through the efforts of a young novice, these joys of Mary spread through this devotion.

HOLD Coordinator for Indonesia and Metro Manila Central C Ching Santiago provided a brief introduction on Mary’s seven joys, and the history of the devotion to the Franciscan Rosary.

“Mary’s joy in the midst of pain and suffering, in spite of her sorrows, came from God’s presence in her, from her union with Him”, Santiago explained. She added, “Our Mother wants us to experience the joy that was always in her heart, the joy that flowed from her love. She teaches us through her life that as we shine with all the colors of love, we will also be radiant with joy, just like her.”

The Franciscan Crown Rosary

A story that dates back to the 15th century tells of a pious lad, James, who found joy in picking wild flowers and weaving them into a crown, which he devotedly offered to the Blessed Virgin.

James entered the Franciscan Order as a young man. In the seminary, he lamented that he was not able to do his daily habit of weaving a crown of flowers for the Virgin Mary, and even considered leaving his vocation. In a vision, the Blessed Mother came to James, saying, “Do not be sad and cast down, my son, because you are no longer permitted to place wreaths of flowers on my statue. I will teach you to change this pious practice into one that will be far more pleasing to me and far more meritorious to your soul. In place of the flowers that soon wither, you can weave for me a crown from the flowers of your prayers that will always remain fresh.”

Mary then requested the young friar to say one “Our Father” and ten “Hail Mary’s” in honor of seven joyous occasions in her life:

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Birth of Christ
  4. The Adoration of the Magi
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
  6. The Resurrection of Our Lord, and
  7. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven

And so throughout the entire conference, the HOLD leaders learned how to recite the Franciscan Crown Rosary, with Aileen Serrano of Metro Manila Central A leading the prayers and meditation. After each decade, a sharer testified about her own personal joy in relation to the Blessed Mother’s joy.

Indeed, this year’s Marian Conference message is clear—that Mary wants her children to share in her joys, not only her sorrows. By meditating on her seven joys, Catholics can also take a look at their own lives and see how the Lord has granted each one his or her own joyful experiences in their relationship with her son, Jesus Christ. (Alma Alvarez)


Photos courtesy of Joey Tomas


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