Tradition tells us that the Blessed Virgin Mary made 15 promises to St. Dominic which she extends to anyone who prays the rosary. Here are her promises along with a brief explanation for both adults and children.
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
Explanation: What are “signal graces”? They are little signs that God will give you that you are headed in the right direction so you can make good decisions.
For children: If you pray the Rosary, God will help you make good choices when you’re not sure what to do.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
Explanation: Mary is a channel of God’s graces to us. She has a special place in her heart for those who pray the Rosary. They receive her special attention and protection.
For children: When you pray the Rosary, Mary promises to make an extra effort to protect you and send you special blessings.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
Explanation: Praying the Rosary will not take away your will. You still have the power to make your own choices, but praying the Rosary will naturally make it easier to make virtuous choices because the hold of sinful habits decreases as habits of faith increase.
For children: When you pray the Rosary, it helps you to be good. If you struggle with a certain bad habit, like lying or hitting your siblings, praying the Rosary will help you overcome these habits. Praying the Rosary is like riding around in a tank! You’ll have super strong protection against the devil!
4. The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
Explanation: The last promise was about helping us to resist sin. This promise is about helping us to grow in virtue. We won’t just “not be bad”; we will become more holy as we increase in virtue.
For children: Praying the Rosary will help you grow in holiness, because it helps you grow in the virtues like love, honesty, wisdom, faithfulness, and courage. Which virtues do you need to grow in? Pray the Rosary! Our Lady will help you!
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
Explanation: You won’t go to hell if you pray the Rosary. That doesn’t mean you won’t go to purgatory.
For children: If you trust in Mary by praying the Rosary, she promises you won’t go to hell. (If you are not comfortable telling your child about hell yet, you can say something like “Mary promises to help you get to heaven if you pray the Rosary and trust in her.”)
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice; he shall not perish by an unprovided death. If he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God and become worthy of eternal life.
Explanation: When we meditate on the Mysteries while praying the Rosary, Mary ensures that we will never fall into despair about any misfortunes we experience, because she will send us the graces we need to handle them. We will all suffer on earth, but through a devotion to the Rosary, our suffering will be more bearable.
For children: If you make a habit of praying the Rosary, Mary will wrap her mantle around you like a good mother! She will help you when you are sad or having a hard time. What kind of hard times are you having right now? Are you sad about a problem with a friend? Disappointed or angry about something? Mary will make sure it’s not too much for you to handle!
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
Explanation: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you have a true devotion so the rosary, then Mary will ensure you receive last rites before you die. The graces of this sacrament help you endure suffering without losing hope and faith; this sacrament also absolves you of any unconfessed sins.
For children: If you make a habit of praying the Rosary, Mary will make sure a priest anoints you with special oil to help you if ever get really sick. This is called the Anointing of the Sick. This sacrament sends you special graces that help you endure your illness and even grow in holiness through it.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces. At the moment of death, they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
Explanation: This is one of the most amazing promises. Mary is promising that if we pray the rosary faithfully, we will participate in the treasures of heaven like the saints do. This makes sense. When we make a habit of praying the rosary, our actions and our hearts become purified so that we are able to experience the light of God. Of course, that we are able to attain these merits comes only through grace and the superabundance of merits earned by Christ on the cross.
For children: Mary promises that if you pray the Rosary faithfully, you will have the light of God shining upon you and you will have many rewards in heaven like the saints.
9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
Explanation: AH! Remember, Mary promised in #5 that you won’t go to hell if you pray the Rosary, but you may experience purgatory either here on earth or after death. Some of us will still need some cleansing before we enter heaven even if we have generally led holy lives. However, Mary promises to “get us out” of purgatory quickly! She is our greatest Advocate.
For children: Mary promises that if you pray the Rosary, she will help you become pure and holy so that you go to heaven. People who are pretty good but who occasionally like to do bad things are not quite ready for heaven. They are ALMOST ready, but God wants all of us to be brilliantly clean so that we can enjoy heaven together. So we experience something called “Purgatory” before we go to Heaven. It’s like a washing machine getting nice clothes really clean. Mary promises that you will be washed clean really fast!
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
Explanation: This promise makes sense in light of the Church’s teaching that “spiritual progress tends toward ever more union with Christ” (Catechism, paragraph 2014). The more holy you are, the higher will be your place in Heaven. Praying the Rosary merits us a higher place in Heaven because we will become more holy.
For children: If you pray the Rosary faithfully, you will sit very close to Jesus and his Mother in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
Explanation: This isn’t like making a wish while rubbing a genie bottle, then POOF, you get your wish. Mary is our advocate and she mediates between her Son and us. She will ask Jesus for all that we ask, provided it’s good for our salvation and doesn’t violate God’s perfect will for us.
For children: When you pray the Rosary, you can ask Mary for what you need, and she will talk to her son about it. Jesus loves his mom so much that he pays attention to what she says!
12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
Explanation: This means that when you tell others about the Rosary, including teaching your children to pray it, Mary will take special care to ensure you have what you need both spiritually and physically.
For children: When you share what you know about the Rosary with other people, Mary loves it! When you do this, she promises that you will have what you need to become more holy. She even promises that you will have enough food, clothing, and a home to live in. It doesn’t mean you will get all the toys you want or live in a mansion, but she will take good care of you like a loving mother.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
Explanation: The entire celestial court! Mary promises that if we encourage others to pray the Rosary, the angels in heaven will be interceding for us not only during our lives, but when we die.
For children: When you encourage other people to pray the Rosary, Mary promises that all the angels in heaven will be praying for you!
14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
Explanation: When we recite the Rosary, we are the children of Mary, and Jesus is our brother. We are part of the Holy Family.
Children: When you pray the Rosary, Mary treats you like her very own child and Jesus becomes like your big brother. You are part of her own family!
15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
Explanation: Praying the Rosary is a SIGN that you are on you way to heaven, but of course it’s not a guarantee. You have to respond to God’s invitation and grace. Praying the rosary is a sign that you love Mary, and you are precious to her. She will ensure you have the graces you need to obtain salvation, but it’s still up to you to respond and to act in love and obedience.