As often happens, times of crisis become moments of grace. Thus it was in 1629, when the people of Italy were facing the ravages of the plague. Lacking the necessary means of control, the death toll among city dwellers climbed higher and higher. In an attempt to prevent the spread of the fatal disease, many people were confined to their homes. Amidst this climate of death, a certain moral moral malaise ensued among some elements of the general population. Fr. Timothy Ricci, O.P. had been preaching the Rosary throughout Italy for some time already and had seen numerous miracles and favors obtained through the fervent recitation of this prayer. In this society, decimated by plague and moral decay, Fr. Ricci was inspired to organize the perpetual recitation of the Rosary by the people in their homes. Each person would agree to pray one hour. It was not long before Fr. Ricci had a sufficient number of members to assure that the Rosary was being prayed, every hour of every day throughout the year, in the major cities of Italy. Thus, the perpetual Rosary was born. Later on, the Association was formed and approved by the Church. The Dominican Order, in keeping with the Rosary tradition of our holy Father St. Dominic, has been the custodian of this Association from the start.
Through the course of the centuries, due to religious persecution and suppression, the Association experienced decline, yet there was always a moment of revival that followed. Such was the case in France in the late 19th century. Our Founder, Fr. Damien Marie Saintourens, O.P., became a great preacher and organizer of the Perpetual Rosary. In his Journal he wrote: “…the Most Holy Virgin gave me for this work such an attraction that I would like to vow my life to it. It seems to me now that I have found my life.” Some years later, after having preached and organized the Perpetual Rosary throughout France, Fr. Saintourens founded the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary. Following the Dominican tradition, these cloistered, contemplative Nuns are dedicated to praying and propagating the Perpetual Rosary.