Creative Ways to Pray the Rosary

In preparing to give a workshop on the Rosary in October, I’ve been thinking about this time-honored devotion. We Notre Dames pray the Rosary every day. Some people find it boring because it is so repetitious. Our Blessed Mother obviously doesn’t find it boring. To her it’s like hearing “I love you” over and over. The rosary has been likened to a bouquet of roses that we offer to Mary.

The art here is by Dan Paulos, who has a deep devotion to Mary. The picture presents key events related to the Rosary. At the top is the legend of Mary handing the Rosary to St. Dominic. In the center is Bernadette. Mary appeared to her at Lourdes holding a rosary, which they prayed together. At the bottom are the three Fatima children. Mary urged them to pray the Rosary for peace and as penance.

You might wish to vary the ways you pray the Rosary. Here are some suggestions that are taken from my book Leading Young People to Mary:

•  When you have a hard time falling asleep, pray the Rosary.

    Its rhythm may lull you to sleep.

•  Pray the Rosary while walking, running, or exercising.

•  Pray the Rosary while traveling by car, bus, train, or plane.

•  Pray the Rosary as a family. Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., known as the rosary priest, coined the expression “The family that prays together stays together.”

•  Pray a scriptural rosary that presents the verses related to each mystery. These can be found on the Internet and in booklets such as Scriptural Rosaries in Verse by Mary Doreen Strahler, SND.

•  Think of five original mysteries of the Rosary related to Mary. These may be her titles or roles she has. Then pray a Rosary using your new mysteries.

•  Pray along with a Rosary prayed on a CD, an app, or a video on youTube. One site is

•  When no rosary is available, pray on your ten fingers, maybe while driving.

•  Pray the Rosary using a one-decade strand, bracelet, finger ring, keychain, or card with holes.

•  Pray in a different language like Latin, Spanish, French, or American Sign Language.

•  Create mysteries based on your experiences, for example, gifts God gave you.

Different ways to Pray the Decades

   •  Offer each decade for an intention or a person.

   •  After each decade pray the Fatima prayer that Mary gave to the children in her third apparition:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.”

    •  Stay mindful of the mystery by inserting in the Hail Marys words that refer to it. For example, for the first joyful mystery, the Annunciation, you might pray, “Hail Mary, full of grace, to whom the Angel Gabriel came, the Lord . . .”

 •  Visualize each mystery before praying its decade.

 •  Sing some of the prayers.

 •  Reflect on a fruit (virtue) related to the mystery: Annunciation (humility), Visitation (charity), Nativity (love of God), Presentation (obedience), Finding in the Temple (zeal for God.

• When do you pray the Rosary?


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