Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am not Catholic and I am pretty sure the Rosary is mainly a Catholic artifact, and in modern times devout Catholics seem to always have a Rosary (as in, you know they're Catholic because of the Rosary).

My question is what is the purpose of the Rosary?

(And as a non-Catholic Christian, should I get one?)

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers 3

The Rosary is a very old artifact indeed and has evolved in time, the actual form of the Rosary is not what it was in the very beginning.

Rosary is a style of mental prayer that is based on repetition. This has been a tradition for many centuries since the early ages of monasticism. The emphasis upon repetition of brief, monologistic, prayer formulae laid the foundations for later monastic prayer traditions such as the Jesus Prayer and is the background for analogous forms of devotion in Latin Christianity such as the Hail Mary and Rosary. (Columba Stewart OSB)

The modern form of the Rosary may took its form when Domique de Guzman preached in favor of it. This also led to the story that the Virgin Mary delivered the Rosary to Dominique.

In its actual form, the purpose of the rosary is to meditate in its mysteries while repeating Ave Maria etc… Repetition is useful to achieve concentration and focus. The Mysteries of the Rosary are essential facts in the life of Jesus, except for the Assumption of Mary and the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin which are related to very old church traditions. It is not the purpose of the question to explain all of the mysteries, but a full list can be found in wiki. Meditation in the mysteries of the rosary is something that most christians do but in different ways (reading/studying the Bible, public preaching etc).

Probably you should not get a Rosary. If you want one, or you are curious about this type of prayer I recommend you to read the article or Steward (link above) in order to have more insight in this form of prayer. Then you only need to pray the Rosary and get used to it. Maybe you'll notice how the grace sheds a new light upon the mysteries of our faith.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The term "Rosary" refers to a set of prayer beads in a particular configuration, and also to the structured set of prayers which is guided by the beads.

The actual, physical Rosary is a string of beads or knots constructed so as to guide the holder through praying the Rosary prayer. The loop part has 5 sections, separated by larger beads, each containing 10 small beads. Hanging from the loop is a string of 5 beads and a cross.

As the person prays, they start at the Cross and move through the beads up and around the loop. At each bead the appropriate prayer is said. One (of many) online guides to praying the Rosary is here. When moving around the loop, each of the small beads represents a Hail Mary, and the large beads represent a meditation on a particular "mystery" in the life of Jesus or Mary. There are 4 sets of "Mysteries". Some will also use the Rosary structure to pray for other things .. for instance one might pray for one's family on the meditation bead.

Catholics give special significance to the Rosary prayer, for many reasons, including our devotion to Mary. We say it alone, and we say it in groups. Praying a Rosary for the dead is part of our funeral tradition.

We also place strong importance to our actual Rosary beads, which are often among our most prized possessions. I was given a Rosary when I was initiated into the Knights of Columbus. My wife has a Rosary made in the Holy Land that was blessed by the Pope.

I don't think there is anything inappropriate about a non-Catholic having a Rosary or praying the Rosary. If I am wrong I presume I will be corrected!

share|improve this answer
add comment

When praying the rosary it is also considered a petition. A petition to the Holy Mother to pray for us, we pray for peace, pray for the departed, and pray for others (even those we do not know). I see nothing wrong with having a rosary even though one is not catholic.

share|improve this answer
Hi, and welcome to the Christianity.SE! Your answer fails to meet the website's standards for answers. It is highly recommended to cite your sources to official doctrine of the Church, a religious authority, or a religious scholar. The purpose of this website is to answer questions in an academic fashion. If you have any questions, do not be afraid to ask on meta.christianity.stackexchange.com or the Chatroom (also in the menu bar at the top of the browser window). –  Anonymous Mar 9 at 16:02
Welcome to the site! This next is just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites?, and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Mar 9 at 19:15
add comment

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.