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Crown, Franciscan


A seven-decade rosary, each decade consisting of an Our Father and 10 Hail Marys, with two additional Hail Marys at the end of the seventh decade followed by an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the pope. The seven decades honor the Seven Joys of Mary: the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, Finding of Jesus in the Temple, Resurrection and Appearance to Mary, and Assumption. Although probably of Cistercian origin (cf. Wilmart, Auteurs spirituels et textes dévotes au moyen âge latin [Paris 1932] 339352), devotion to the Joys of Mary flourished in crowns of many forms among the Friars Minor. L. Bracaloni describes: (1) a crown of Five Joys attributed to St. Bonaventure; (2) a crown of six decades propagated by Bl. Cherubin of Spoleto (d. 1484); and (3) a crown proposed by St. John Capistran with seven meditations. Another seven-decade crown appeared c. 1500, according to B. Bughetti, but with different meditations. D. Van Wely mentions that Pelbart of Temesvár (d. 1504), author of Stellarum coroenae B. Virginis (c. 1483), knew a crown of Seven Joys corresponding to the present form, and Mariano of Florence, whose unpublished treatise on the crowns (1503) is described and excerpted by C. Cannarozzi, also knew the same crown, but without the two additional Hail Marys. The crown of St. Joan of France (d. 1515) and another propagated by her Annunciades, was widely used in France but was not connected with the Seven Joys. The two traditions, the one known to Pelbart and that of the Annunciades, seem to have merged to form the crown now in use. There is a legend that Our Lady appeared to a Franciscan novice and taught him the crown. Mariano of Florence refers to a similar vision of a Cistercian novice. The confused history of the crown makes it difficult to determine the indulgences that have been attached to it. The present surety of indulgences attached to the crown goes back to St. Pius X.

Bibliography: c. cannarozzi, "La Corona B. Mariae Virginis e la Corona Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, in due opere inedite di Fr. Mariano da Firenze," Studi Francescani 28 (1931) 1432. l. bracaloni, "Origine, evoluzione ed affermazione della Corona Francescana Mariana," ibid. 29 (1932) 257295. b. bughetti, "Descriptio rarissimae editionis quae tractatus continet de Corona septem B.V.M. Gaudiorum," Archivum Franciscanum historicum 4 (1911) 366371. j. capistran, "Letter to Puchelbach," Analecta Franciscana 2 (1886) 342. d. van wely, Het kransje der twaalf sterren in de Geschiedenis van de rozenkrans (Collectanea franciscana neerlandica 6; Boisle-duc 1941). j. cambell, De indulgentiis Seraphici Ordinis hodie vigentibus (Compostella 1958) 192, 305308. r. huser, "How to Recite the Franciscan Crown," Provincial Chronicle 35 (196263) 3334; "The Franciscan Crown Recited in Common," ibid. 444445.

[m. f. laughlin]

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