In many languages, countries when people pray rosary they insert the mysteries in the Hail Mary after saying "Jesus". It is used officially in public places by everyone.

For example:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus "who was scourged at the pillar," Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Why wasn't this custom adopted in English-speaking countries? This makes praying the rosary to go faster and easier to forget the mystery you are currently praying, or it can even turn the prayer into vain repetition.

Some asked for an example of the phrases commonly used (provided here via Google Translate):

  1. Joyful mysteries:

    Jesus, whom you conceived by the Holy Spirit
    Jesus, with whom you visited Elizabeth
    Jesus, whom you bore in Bethlehem
    Jesus, whom you presented in the temple
    Jesus, whom you found in the temple

  2. Sorrowful Mysteries

    Jesus, who sweated blood for us
    Jesus, who was flogged for us
    Jesus, who was crowned with thorns for us
    Jesus, who carried a heavy cross for us
    Jesus, who was crucified for us

  3. Glorious Mysteries

    Jesus, who rose from the dead
    Jesus, who ascended to heaven
    Jesus, who sent the Holy Spirit
    Jesus, who took you to heaven, O Virgin
    Jesus, who crowned you in heaven

  4. Luminous Mysteries

    Jesus, who was baptized in the Jordan
    Jesus, who revealed his divine power in Cana
    Jesus, who proclaimed the kingdom of God and called for repentance
    Jesus, who revealed his glory on the Mount of Transfiguration
    Jesus, who instituted the Eucharist

[List of resources edited in by @GratefulDisciple]

  • Common English names of the 20 mysteries from the USCCB website: How to Pray the Rosary]
  • [thanks, @njuffa] lightly edited Google Translate of the seemingly official German phrases, since it is published in katholisch.de (a news and information portal for the Catholic Church in Germany, operated by a non-profit company in cooperation with 27 German dioceses) in the article Das Rosenkranzgebet, so wird es gebetet ("The Rosary, how it is prayed"):

    The Joyful mysteries: 1 ... Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, conceived of the Holy Spirit 2 ... Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, carried to Elizabeth 3 ... Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, gave birth to in Bethlehem 4 ... Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, presented in the temple 5 ... Jesus, whom you, O Virgin, found again in the temple

    The Luminous mysteries: 1 ... Jesus, who was baptized by John 2 ... Jesus, who revealed himself at the wedding in Cana 3 ... Jesus, who announced the kingdom of God to us 4 ... Jesus, who was transfigured on the mountain 5 ... Jesus, who gave us the Eucharist

    The Sorrowful Mysteries: 1 ... Jesus, who sweated blood for us 2 ... Jesus, who was scourged for us 3 ... Jesus, who was crowned with thorns for us 4 ... Jesus, who bore the heavy cross for us 5 ... Jesus, who was crucified for us

    The Glorious Mysteries: 1 ... Jesus who rose from the dead 2 ... Jesus who ascended into heaven 3 ... Jesus who sent us the Holy Spirit 4 ... Jesus who has taken you, O Virgin, into heaven 5 ... Jesus, who has crowned you, O Virgin, in heaven

  • 1
    You will not really find an answer. It simple never caught on.
    – Ken Graham
    May 4, 2021 at 14:18
  • 1
    oh, that's a pretty good idea for a scriptural rosary, do you have a list of the common things to insert?
    – Peter Turner
    May 4, 2021 at 15:09
  • 2
    @PeterTurner, I added the list but it might need some grammar correction.
    – Grasper
    May 4, 2021 at 15:21
  • 2
    Is this usually done in the Latin version of the rosary? I've never heard this said in Latin, either. Perhaps the better question is why these other languages developed the custom of inserting the mystery into the prayer.
    – jaredad7
    Mar 9, 2023 at 15:18
  • @Grasper I could only find this practice explicitly in German. Not in French, Italian, Spanish or Dutch. Are there examples you could link to?
    – elemtilas
    Jun 6, 2023 at 9:04

2 Answers 2


Best I have been able to establish, the Catholic Church has traditionally strongly discouraged unauthorized modifications to set prayers. By 1917 at the latest this was codified in Canon Law, specifically Canon 934, §2 (my bolding):

Si peculiaris oratio assignata fuerit, indulgentiae acquiri possunt quocunque idiomate oratio recitetur, dummodo de fidelitate versionis constet ex declaratione vel Sacrae Poenitentiariae vel unius ex Ordinariis loci ubi vulgaris est lingua in quam vertitur oratio; sed indulgentiae penitus cessant ob quamlibet additionem, detractionem, vel interpolationem.

The specified penalty here is that "indulgences cease completely for any addition, subtraction, or interpolation" to a set prayer. The 1917 Code of Canon Law was in effect until 1983; I have not been able to identify an equivalent of the old Canon 934 in the current Code of Canon Law.

How in view of this stance of the Church a custom became established in German-speaking regions of inserting the mysteries into the rosary I have not been able to find out. Various sources claim that this custom goes back some four hundred years. German literature I perused further suggests that initially there was wide variety in the mysteries that were inserted into the rosary.

For example, P. Heinrich Bödeker, S.J., Altare Aureum Incensi. Cologne: Arnold Metternich 1686, pp. 83-84, even recommends insertions unrelated to the mysteries for the first three Ave Maria. For example, for the joyful rosary:

Ad tria prima minora grana post Crucem posita dicitur salutatio Angelica cui pronuntiato nomine Jesus, addes salutationi. Primæ, qui nobis fidem adaugeat. Secundæ, qui nos spe corroboret. Tertiæ, qui nos Charitate accendat.

"... who increase our faith," "... who strengthen us with hope," "... who inflame us with charity."

By the middle of the 19th century the insertions appear to have been largely standardized to the specific five mysteries for each of the classical three rosaries (joyful, sorrowful, and glorious; the luminous mysteries are a recent addition pursuant to the apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae by John Paul II in 2002) that are used in Germany today.

This can be seen from the mystery insertions listed in Wilhelm Nakatenus, Palmengarten für fromme katholische Christen. Würzburg: C. Etlinger'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 1846, p. 184 and pp. 288-289. I note, however, that Nakatenus lists some alternative mystery insertions on p. 184, so the matter apparently had not been completely settled yet.

The following summarizes nicely how multiple popes gave their approval to the old German custom of inserting the mysteries into the rosary, allowing the retention of indulgences despite the alterations to the prayer:

"Announcing the Mysteries of Rosary in each Hail Mary", The Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 52, May 1930, pp. 508-509:

In the recitation of the rosary a custom had arisen in certain places announcing after the word "Jesus" in the Hail Mary the respective mystery. Authorities recognized that the interpolation is contrary to the conditions laid down by the Holy See and entailed a loss of the indulgences attached to the recitation of the rosary. Therefore the Bishop of Breslau sought and obtained from Pius IX, 9 August, 1859 an indult permitting the gaining of the indulgences by such recitation. Recently the doubt was raised whether this indult retained its force in view of Canon 934 §2 which forbids any "addition, omission or interpolation" (quamlibet additionem, detractionem, vel interpolationem) under penalty of loss of the indulgences. The question was proposed to the Sacred Penitentiary which answered 27 July, 1920 in a manner that might be construed as implying that the above mentioned indult had been revoked by that canon.

Some bishops of Switzerland and Germany then urged "that from a remote time the said custom had been deeply rooted in their dioceses so that it could not be changed without scandal and confusion of the faithful," and referred to the indult granted by Pius IX. The Sacred Penitentiary in consequence declared that "Canon 934 §2 of the Code of Canon Law contains a general law which does not at all revoke the indult of Pius IX," and decided to request the Holy Father "for an extension of the indult in favor of all who are wont to recite the Holy Rosary according to the above mentioned custom in all places whatsoever". This request Pope Benedict XV deigned to grant on the twenty-first of January 1921.

The decision of 1859, dated to August 8, was reproduced in "Die Einschaltungen in das Ave beim Rosenkranzgebet", Theologisch-praktische Quartal-Schrift, Vol. 53, No. 1, 1900, p. 225:

Stsmus Dnus SSvv: Pius PP. IX Attentis expositis, clementer indulsit, ut in praefata Vratislaviensi Diocesi, nec non in caeteris locis, ubi mos invaluit recitandi Rosarium cum brevi Mysteriorum explicatione in qualibet Salutatione Angelica prout in precibus expositum est, Christifideles hoc modo idem Rosarium recitantes, omnes et singulas Indulgentias pro ejusdem Rosarii recitatione jam elargitas, lucrari possint et valeant, ac etiam si patruo invaluit cujusque idiomate tam publice, quam privatim recitari; dummodo tamen caeteras injunctas conditiones adimpleant. Praesenti in perpetuum valituro absque ulla Brevis expeditione. Non obstantibus in contrarium facientibus quibuscunque. Datum Romae ex Secretaria S. Cong. Indulg. (L. S.) F. Card. Asquinius Praef.

The decision by the Sacred Penitentiary announced on January 22, 1921, is found in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vol. 13, 1921, pp. 163-164.


Why the English version of rosary doesn't insert the mystery in Hail Mary prayer?

The simple reason is that it never has caught on.

There is nothing forbidding the practice that you have outlined. I have seen examples of what you have suggested in both French and Latin. The basic idea you are suggesting has been around for several centuries:

  • St. John Eudes (1601-1680) often did this very thing in French and Latin. However I am unable to find an explicit text in English for you. He also invented various decades or mysteries of the rosary in order to increase his personal devotion to the Mother of God. There is a real possibility that St. John Eudes may one day be a Doctor of the Church.

  • Fr. Emile Neubert, S.M. (1878-1967) also did this in his writings.

The following prayer by St. John Eudes, Salutation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, may be of interest to some:

  • In Latin and English from a volume of a 1945 English edition of his works from the French original (The Selected Works of Saint John Eudes): The Admirable Heart of Mary, page 359 (pdf version here).

  • Another English translation: The Prayer, A Salutation To Mary

  • Canon Law of 1917 is now obsolete!
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 30, 2023 at 10:56

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