Saint of the Day – 27 August – Feast of the Seven Joys of Our Lady. This Feast is also known as “The Franciscan Crown,” The Seven Joys of the Virgin. Today was kept by the Franciscans as the Feast of the Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary. As an expression of the Seraphic Order’s devotional life, it corresponds to the Feast of the Holy Rosary, which began among the Dominicans and the observance on 15 September of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin,
The devotion to the Seven Joys in and of itself, however,is much older; the story of its origin is told thus in the Manual for Franciscan Tertiaries.
About the year 1420, a young man, deeply devoted to Our Lady, took the habit of St Francis. Before joining the Order, he had, among other practices, been accustomed daily, to make a Chaplet of flowers,and with it, to Crown a Statue of the Blessed Virgin. Having in his novitiate no longer an opportunity of making this Crown for his Most Beloved Queen, he, in his simplicity, thought that she would withdraw her affection from him; this temptation of the devil disturbed his vocation. He resolved to abandon the cloister. The merciful mother appeared to him and gently rebuking him, strengthened him in his vocation by telling him to offer her, instead of the Chaplet of Flowers, a Crown much more pleasing to her, composed of seventy two Ave Marias and a Pater after each decade of Ave Marias. Our Lady instructed him to meditate at each decade upon the seven joys she had experienced, during years of her exile upon the earth.
The novice immediately commenced reciting the new Crown or Chaplet and derived, therefrom, many spiritual and temporal graces.
This pious practice spread quickly through the whole Order, and even throughout the world… St Bernardin of Siena used to say that it was by the Crown of the Seven Joys that he had obtained all the graces which Heaven has heaped upon him.
The Seven Joys listed in the Manual are the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Birth of Christ, the Adoration of the Magi, the Finding of the Christ Child in the Temple, the Resurrection and the Assumption but other version of the list may be found. Two more Aves are added to make the number seventy-two mentioned above and another Pater and Ave for the intentions of the Pope. The recitation concludes with a versicle and response and with the Collect of the Immaculate Conception.
Praying The Franciscan Crown
- Using beads for the Franciscan Crown (seven decades), announce the First Mystery and pray the Our Father on the single bead just before the medallion.
- Pray one Hail Mary for each of the ten beads. (It seems most fitting to proceed around the beads in a clockwise direction.)
- On the single bead between the decades, announce the next Mystery and then pray the Our Father. Continue as in Step 2 for the remaining Mysteries.
- After the last Mystery, pray one Hail Mary each on the fourth and third beads from the Cross to complete 72 years of Mary’s Joy.
- Pray the Our Father and the Glory Be to the Father (Gloria Patri), for the intention of the Holy Father on the 2nd bead from the Cross.
- Pray a Hail Mary on the single bead closest to the Cross.
The recitation concludes with a versicle and response and with the Collect of the Immaculate Conception.
V. In thy Conception, o Virgin, thou wast immaculate.
R. Pray for us to the Father, whose Son thou didst bear.
Let us pray.
O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, prepared a worthy dwelling place for Thy Son; we beseech Thee, that, as by the foreseen death of Thy sam, Son, Thou preserved her from every stain, so Thou may grant us also, through Her intercession, to come to Thee with pure hearts. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.