Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

Franciscan Crown Rosary: A bridge to Mary during Lent

by Renae Bauer
Winter 2021 newsletter

The Franciscan Crown Rosary is a seven-decade rosary dedicated to either the Seven Joys or Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For Lent, we pray the Seven Sorrows, listed below. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, followed by the Apostles Creed, an Our Father, and 3 Hail Marys. As you begin each decade (10 beads) of the rosary, pray a Sorrow in the sequence below.  For more on praying the rosary, visit

  1. Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35) -- As Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus in the temple, Simeon predicts that the child’s greatness will cause Mary great suffering. 
    Reflection: God knew Mary’s suffering and God knows ours. Ask God to help us bear our pain. 
  2. Flight into Egypt (Matt. 2:13-15) -- On an angel’s counsel, Mary, Joseph and infant Jesus flee Judea for safety in Egypt. King Herod of Judea ordered the murder of all male children age 2 or younger, an order aimed at the Messiah.
    Reflection: Do we always have the best interest of others at heart? Let God guide us in fruitfulness, using our words, actions and prayers to draw all to God. 
  3. Child Jesus lost in the temple for three days (Luke 2:41-50) -- After celebrating Passover in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph began their journey home. Jesus did not. He stayed in the temple with other teachers. When his parents realized Jesus was not with them, they returned to Jerusalem and, three days later, found Jesus.
    Reflection: Jesus shows us that obedience to God takes precedence over everything. What should we set aside so that God’s will flows through us?
  4. Mary meets Jesus as he carries the cross (Luke 23:27-29) -- Mary and many women cry for Jesus as he carries the cross through Jerusalem. 
    Reflection: How can we join our suffering to the suffering of others? How can we lift up others, perhaps not relieving their suffering but letting them know they do not walk alone? 
  5. Crucifixion of Jesus (John 19:25-30) -- Mary witnesses the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
    Reflection: So few disciples stayed with Jesus until His death. Did fear, disappointment, or disillusionment drive them away? What keeps us distant from God? How can we overcome it? 
  6. Mary receives Jesus’ body -- The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross and placed in the arms of Mary. For this Sorrow, pray Psalm 130, which begins, “Out of the depths I call to you, Lord; Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.”
    Reflection: The death of a loved one can shatter the heart. When death visits can we sit with the pain as Mary did? Can we thank God for the gift of that person? Can we ask God to welcome that person home? 
  7. Mary watches the burial of Jesus (Luke 23:50-56) -- The body of Jesus is laid in the tomb. Mary and others await the Resurrection.
    Reflection: Death is a goodbye; resurrection is a hello. The two are intertwined. What requires us to say goodbye so we may know the goodness of God’s hello?

reflections by Renae Bauer; images used with permission

Weave her a crown with the flowers of your prayers

by Renae Bauer

Six hundred years ago a young Franciscan friar named James was blessed by Our Lady with a new way of praying the rosary -- a version of which we can pray during Lent. 

The story begins in James’ childhood. Every day, he showed his love and devotion to the Blessed Mother by presenting a crown of roses to a Marian statue.  When James entered the Franciscan Order in Assisi he was distressed that he could not continue with his daily offering. He asked Mary for help and she answered. 

The Blessed Virgin instructed James to weave her a “crown from the flowers of your prayers,” specifically, “one Our Father and ten Hail Mary’s while recalling the seven joys I experienced.” Thus was born the Franciscan Crown Rosary.

The Seven Joys of Our Lady are:

  1. Annunciation 
  2. Visitation 
  3. Birth of Jesus 
  4. Adoration of the Magi 
  5. Finding the child Jesus in the temple 
  6. Appearance of Jesus to Mary after the Resurrection 
  7. Assumption and Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven

During Lent, instead of the Seven Joys, Franciscans pray the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We invite you to this form of prayer which is detailed here.

Stay in touch -- This story originally appeared in the Sisters' newsletter. Subscribe to our FREE printed newsletter (issued five times a year) and our FREE e-spiritual reflections (weekly). We enjoy hearing from you so visit our “Send a Greeting to Sister” page and say hello. Thank you and God bless!

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