May Crownings and the Rosary

18 May

Mary, Queen of Heaven

May is the month of special tribute to Mary, the Mother of God. Churches and schools hold May Processions in which children and adults process to a statue of Mary. At the end of the procession, a girl chosen as May Queen places a crown of flowers on the statue. May Processions became popular in the United States prior to Vatican II (1962-1965) but the 1970s and 1980s saw many parishes discontinue the practice. There has been a recent revival with many returning to traditional May Processions.
Rosary with a Queen of Heaven Center Medal

It is common to find rosary center medals that honor Mary’s role as Queen of Heaven. These center medals often show Mary encircled by stars.




Many rosaries have a center medal with the letter A overlapping the letter M. This design is a symbol for Mary, Mother of God. The letters A and M represent the Latin phrase, Auspice Maria, which translates to ” Under the protection of Mary”.

A Miraculous Medal is often found at the center of a rosary.

The sterling silver rosary shown below was purchased in Gerlach’s Jewelry Store in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania in 1949. It has a Miraculous Medal Center Medal and each Pater Bead ( Our Father Bead) is also a Miraculous Medal. Every Miraculous Medal, regardless of when it was made, is marked with the date 1830, the year in which Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure’ and asked her to have a medal made. Often people purchase a rosary with a Miraculous Medal center and believe that it was made in 1830 but that is often not the case.

Rosaries often have center medals that show Mary with the Child Jesus.


The rosary shown below has a center medal with a famous painting of Mary and Jesus known as Madonna of the Streets. It shows Mary’s understanding of the needs of the poor.

Madonna of the Streets Center Medal.

Madonna of the Streets Center Medal.

Children and adults participating in May Processions often carry rosaries with a center medal bearing Mary’s image. These rosaries are highly collectible.
To learn more about rosaries and their center medals, read The Rosary Collector’s Guide by Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner. This 152 page hardcover reference book has 240 pictures of rosaries, center medals, crosses, and crucifixes. It helps antique dealers, historians, and collectors identify unique religious articles. The Rosary Collector’s Guide is available on, Barnes and, and the Catholic Faith Store Online.
The authors are often able to show their rosary collection to school groups, church groups, and community organizations. If you would like the authors to visit your group or if you have questions about rosaries, contact Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner at


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