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Rosary: The Hail Mary

Hail, Mary, full of grace,
our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, our Lord Jesus Christ.
O virgin Saint Mary, O Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at all times, and at the hour of our death. 

Amen.

This prayer is often repeated 150 times grouped in tens. A rosary is generally used to "count" the number of times the prayer is attempted. Hence it is often called rosary or rosary prayer. The custom of saying this prayer 150 times is believed to have been originated towards the end of the 16th century. During these prayers, the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection were remembered.

Origin of Hail Mary Prayer
by Cheryl Spooner

Half of this prayer includes direct quotes from the Bible.

The angel of the Annunciation spoke the first part of the prayer to Mary,

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee."

Elizabeth spoke the next part to her,

"Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."

The Catholic Church added the next part to fight against the heresy that Christ was only a man,

"Holy Mary, Mother of God"

Finally, the last part simply asks that the greatest of the saints, the Queen of Heaven, offer her prayers for us,

"Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death."

See Also:

Litany of the Blessed Virgin

Prayer to St. Mary

Annunciation to St. Mary - Orthodox Prayer

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