Throughout the centuries our understanding, knowledge and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary have been enriched by church fathers, theologians, saints and popes. There is no devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary that has captivated and catechized as many of the faithful as the Rosary has.
In 1214 Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic and asked him to preach and pray her Rosary. It was the Rosary Our Lady indicated to St. Dominic that the Holy Spirit would use as a weapon to “reform the world”. Pope Leo XIII was so convinced of the power of the Rosary as prayer, that he wrote no less than 13 Encyclicals extolling the power and virtues of the Rosary. In his 1974 Apostolic Exhortation, Marialis Cultus, St. Pope Paul VI recommends the Rosary as pious practice indicating that it is a compendium of the Gospels. In 2002 St. Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, added the Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary. The Luminous Mysteries shine a light on Christ’s ministry, culminating in the 5th mystery, the Institution of the Eucharist.