I started praying the Rosary after St. John Paul II added the Luminous mysteries to the Rosary, so I virtually no remembrance of a Rosary being prayed before they came on board. When he writes about them in Rosarium Virginus Mariae he kind of just slides them in and says what he thinks they should be.

Moving on from the infancy and the hidden life in Nazareth to the public life of Jesus, our contemplation brings us to those mysteries which may be called in a special way “mysteries of light”. Certainly the whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the “light of the world” (Jn 8:12). Yet this truth emerges in a special way during the years of his public life, when he proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom. In proposing to the Christian community five significant moments – “luminous” mysteries – during this phase of Christ's life, I think that the following can be fittingly singled out: (1) his Baptism in the Jordan, (2) his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, (3) his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion, (4) his Transfiguration, and finally, (5) his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.

So, does anyone know what prompted him to add more mysteries? He explains why he chooses the individual mysteries in the letter, but he doesn't really say why he thinks that the Rosary needed more stuff.


4 Answers 4


No one knows for sure where Pope St John Paul II the Great got the inspiration to add the Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary.

The history of the Rosary shows a wide variety of styles, due to the unique inspirations of an individual or even a Religious Order. St John Eudes (1601-1680) is a good example of employing different ways of using a rosary in one's life of prayer in his treatise on The Life and the Kingdom of JESUS.

It is obvious that Pope John Paul II desired to make the traditional mysteries of the Rosary to be expanded to include Jesus' public life and more Christological.

I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion. - ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE

The probable origins of the Mysteries of Light and Pope John Pal II's inspiration for them came from Saint George Preca (1880-1962). He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on June 3, 2007.

It is not yet known whether these new mysteries were actually taken from those proposed by Dun Gorg (as the new Blessed is affectionately known in Malta). But it is certainly a curious fact that, apart from some small differences, the five mysteries are identical to those proposed by Fr Preca. Interesting as well is the fact that the Pope has called these mysteries from Christ's public life “the Mysteries of Light”, the same title given originally by Fr Preca when he first proposed them in 1957. - Probable Origin of the Mysteries of Light

Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo may have been Fr. Preca’s inspiration!

The Misteries of Light were proposed and included in the Rosary by Pope John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter of October 10, 2002 The Mysteries of Light are taken from the Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke and St. John written by Father Dolindo Ruotolo (1939).

The Sacred Scripture: The Gospel According to Luke (Don Dolindo Ruotolo) Book 1

The Sacred Scripture: The Gospel According to Luke (Don Dolindo Ruotolo) Book 1

  • Father George Preca had to be inspired. Was he influenced by another priests/human beings or did he experience Mary somehow? That's why we don't know exactly the how the inspiration came to him. It lead to Fr. Preca's canonization.-- Just my thoughts. Who knows... Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 19:25
  • @GandalftheGrey You have the essence of a good question. Ask it!
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 12:21
  • @GandalftheGrey Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo May have been his inspiration!
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 22:47

Clearly, St John Paul II would not have been the first to think of the idea that public life of Jesus had not been adequately represented in the traditional Rosary. I remember to have heard it from a humble Carmelite priest of Kerala, Southern India in 1983, with the exception that the priest had proposed inclusion of the resurrection of Lazarus as one of the mysteries. The fact is that St John Paul II , being the Pope, was in a position to put into practice what he believed, or had been influenced into believing by the loud thoughts of someone else, as a fitting addition to the traditional Rosary.


It came from Blessed Bartolo Longo.

And this practice of Bl. Bartolo inspired St. John Paul II to add the Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary. Regarding the influence of Bl. Bartolo, JPII, in his letter on the Rosary writes:

In the spiritual journey of the Rosary, based on the constant contemplation – in Mary's company – of the face of Christ, this demanding ideal of being conformed to him is pursued through an association which could be described in terms of friendship. We are thereby enabled to enter naturally into Christ's life and as it were to share his deepest feelings. In this regard Blessed Bartolo Longo has written:

“Just as two friends, frequently in each other's company, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding conversation with Jesus and Mary, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary and by living the same life in Holy Communion, (that is, in friendship with them) we can become, to the extent of our openness, similar to them and can learn from these supreme models a life of humility, poverty, hiddenness, patience and perfection”.

Rosarium 15


The direct answer would be from the meaning of Totus Tuus.

Totus Tuus ego sum [Latin for "I am completely Yours" – Totus Tuus: 'Completely Yours'

St. John Paul II thoughts, words and actions are all coming from Our Lady's inspiration.

St.John Paul II embracing the fullness of Totus Tuus, meaning he sits and learn at the School of Mary, and perhaps, he reaches the height of contemplating the life of Christ in its fullness, seeing the light on the mystery that unfolds in His public ministry. This is the source, of St.John Paul II inspiration in adding the Luminous Mystery.He learned it, at the School of Mary.

With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.

Against the background of the words Ave Maria the principal events of the life of Jesus Christ pass before the eyes of the soul. They take shape in the complete series of the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries, and they put us in living communion with Jesus through – we might say – the heart of his Mother. http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/2002/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20021016_rosarium-virginis-mariae.html

It was an inspiration coming from Our Lady of Fatima as it talks about the Robe of Light of the Bishop that was seen at the vision of Sister Lucia, seeing a Bishop Dressed in White or a Robe in Light is the clear connection. Francis in Fatima: "I am the bishop dressed in white."

Now, why add the Mystery of Light?

Our Lady of Fatima apparition, speaks about a war the Children of Light vs. the Children of Darkness. Genesis3:15

If there is a war destined to happen, what would be the weapon of the Children of the Light?

St. Padre Pio said, "The rosary is the weapon in the end times."

The battle would be between forces of Light & forces of darkness, and St.John Paul II like St. Dominic was handed a weapon to fight the evil forces in their days.

St. John Paul II was inspired to add the Mystery of Light as a weapon in these end times.

Sister Agnes Sasagawa said, "the only weapon left to us in the end times , will be the rosary."

The Mystery of Lights was inspired and given by Our Lady to St. John Paul II Totus Tuus.

Light vs. darkness.

"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. "(John1:5)

"In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph." (Our Lady of Fatima)


  • This answer does not give a direct link to any source which links the origins of Pope John Paul II’s influences for the Mysteries of Light in the Rosary. Fine to quote about the Rosary, but your sources do not talk about the Mysteries of Light within the Rosary as a revelation concerning Pope John Paul II. This looks like a personal opinion based answer.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 5:56
  • @KenGraham When one is a Totus Tuus, it directly means, his spirit are docile to the voice of Our Lady, and since the Rosary was handed by Our Lady to St.Dominic, it is with certainty that is it also Our Lady who handed the Luminous Mystery to St.JP2. How? The most common is by "interior locution" or by contemplation. Since, Luminous Mystery is part of the life of Christ, by contemplating the life of Christ, one can see the vision of the actual life of Christ as if they are beside him watching, like most visionaries experience. But for me, interior locution by way of contemplation aided St.JP2 Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 0:20
  • The main problem with your response is that clearly two priests (Father George Preca and Father Dolindo Ruotolo in 1939), wrote in detail about the Luminous Mysteries well before Pope John Paul II showed up on the scene. Being pope, he had knowledge of the beforehand! Thus it is obvious where he got his inspiration.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 20:26
  • And the two Priest was aided by the same Teacher in the School of Mary, but since they have no Keys to bind their contemplation. Our Lady handed it to a Totus Tuus who can bind it to all the faithful by Lumen Gentium25, in the Age of Darkness that needed the Light of Mercy to shines brightly, and ofcourse the Luminous Mystery is weapon to defeat the forces of darkness. John1:5 Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 3:01

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