The Rosary and the Hour of Death

The connection between Mary and the hour of death is also made explicit through the rosary. The last line of the rosary prayer is, “Holy Virgin Mary, Pray for us sinners, now and at the Hour of our deaths.” This section of the rosary was added later to the original, Scriptural portion of prayer. This change probably occurred during the eleventh century, a time when infant mortality was high and lives were shorter. Death was an ever-present reality, and the need to incorporate petitions related to that unavoidable reality would have been great.

Even in our day, when death seems more far off, these words allow a person who prays the rosary to retain a continual attitude of prayer and to remember that life can end at any moment. As this awareness grows, so does one's sense of needing mercy. The Virgin Mary has been closely associated with mercy through the ages, and this association is particularly clear at the hour of death.

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