The historical root of the Rosary can be traced to 290 AD, when the hermits used stones and sticks to count the prayers.
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Irish Monks required to pray the 150 Psalms from the Hebrew Scripture they also needed a system of counting and tracking their prayer. They divided the Psalms into groups of three with fifty Psalms in each group. They read and prayed the Psalms in Latin, the ordinary people not being able to read or know Latin and desiring to pray with the Church, devised a set of prayers based on the 150 count. Over time this devised form developed into what we know as the Rosary today. The 150 Psalms at one point became 150 Paters (Our Fathers) and then changed to 150 Aves (Hail Marys). Eventually other prayers were added. Basically the development began with the Scripture and the Rosary continues today to be a Scripturally based prayer.
A Meditation on the Mysteries
The Rosary as we know it today developed over centuries. The origin of meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary can be attributed to the Carthusian monks of the fifteenth century. Mental prayer of meditation on proposed themes was always part of the prayer of the monks, which eventually became a practice of the people. The events in the life of Jesus were divided into three major categories, joyful, sorrowful and glorious events. In 2002, Pope John Paul II added a fourth category the Luminous Mysteries,( the Mysteries of Light), thus supplying mysteries from the life of Christ.
By the Medieval times the Aves (Hail Marys) of the people’s prayer of the developing Rosary were substituted for the Paters (Our Fathers), and devotion to Mary which was firmly entrenched at that time, the Hail Marys were associated with a rosarium (rose garden) of prayer beads to Mary. The image of the garden in the Hebrew Scripture (Song of Song 4:7) was thought of as a secret place of immortality where roses never die. The rose garden became a symbol of immortality. In the twelfth century the rose symbolism and its association with Mary took a major place in tradition. The rose garden and a garland of roses became associated with beads. The rosary beads became formally incorporated into the structure of the rose garden. Mary and the related symbolism of the rose garden became firmly established in 1573, when Pope Gregory XIII established the Feast of the Rosary.