The rosary has been nearly ubiquitous among Roman Catholics since its first appearance in Europe five centuries ago. Why has this particular devotional object been so resilient, especially in the face of Catholicism s reinvention in the Early Modern, or Counter-Reformation, Era? Nathan D. Mitchell argues in lyric prose that to understand the rosary s adaptability, it is essential to consider the changes Catholicism itself began to experience in the aftermath of the Reformation. Unlike many other scholars of this period, Mitchell argues that after the Reformation Catholicism actually became less retrenched and more open to change. This innovation was especially evident in the sometimes subversive visual representations of sacred subjects and in new ways of perceiving the relation between Catholic devotion and the liturgy s ritual symbols. The rosary played a crucial role not only in how Catholics gave flesh to their faith, but in new ways of constructing their personal and collective identity. Ultimately, Mitchell employs the history of the rosary as a lens through which to better understand early modern Catholic history."
The Mystery of the Rosary
New York University Press
Marian Devotion and the Reinvention of Catholicism
Mind, Body & Spirit