October 7: Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

In Catholic tradition, the entire month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. This month-long observance is largely due to the liturgical feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, celebrated on October 7.

According to legend, Mary entrusted the Rosary to St. Dominic in the 13th century to aid in conflicts with the Albigensians. Later, the Dominican pope St. Pius V extended the popularity of the Rosary by introducing the feast day in 1571. Toward the end of the 19th century Pope Leo XIII promoted the practice of dedicating the entire month of October to the Rosary.

As the Rosary has become embedded in Catholic tradition, Catholic material culture, such as holy cards, helps to document this by providing insight into the history of Catholic customs and visual culture. These holy cards from the Marian Library’s archival collections depict two very different representations of Mary and the Rosary from the mid-20th century:

Paintery holy card

In a more traditional ‘painterly’ style, the Blessed Virgin Mary is depicted sitting on a pedestal with infant Jesus on her knee. Mary is shown offering rosary beads to Saint Catherine of Siena (crowned with thorns, kneeling on the right) as Jesus offers rosary beads to St. Dominic on the left.

Holy Card pop art style

Drawing from the pop-art style that emerged in the 1950s, a graphical illustration shows Mary offering rosary beads to an individual kneeling at her feet and simply reads “Mary promises peace if…"

-Jillian M. Slater, Librarian/Archivist

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