The Franciscan Crown to Our Lady of Joy has variously been called the Franciscan Rosary, the Seraphic Rosary or the Rosary of the Seven Joys of Our Lady. Also, the “Seven Joys” is a devotion that recalls seven joyful episodes in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The practice originated among the Franciscans in early 15th-century Italy. In it, the themes resemble the 12th-century Gaudes, Latin praises that ask Mary to rejoice because God has favoured her in various ways.
The Franciscan Crown is a rosary consisting of seven decades in commemoration of the Seven Joys of the Virgin. The joys are namely, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity of Jesus, the Adoration of the Magi, the Finding in the Temple, the Resurrection of Jesus, and finally, either or both the Assumption of Mary and the Coronation of the Virgin.
Devotion to the seven joys of Mary is found in a variety of forms and communities. It is especially popular with the Franciscans, Cistercians, and the Annunciades of St. Joan of France. The devotion was granted many indulgences by different Popes, becoming the most heavily indulgenced devotion in the Church. Whereas other rosaries required blessed beads to be used in order for any associated indulgences to be received it was unnecessary for a Franciscan rosary to have been blessed or even to use beads at all in specific instances.
In 1134 three Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem who were prisoners of the Muslims in Egypt, miraculously found or received in their prison, a statue of Our Lady, which they named Our Lady of Joy.
A young Muslim princess named Ismerie took an interest in the Knights in response to their prayers, and through the intercession of Our Lady and the mercy of God, she was converted, arranged the escape of the pious crusaders and joined them on their journey to France. They carried the statue with them and in the region of Laon, about 35 miles northwest of Rheims; they founded a church as a resting place for the image of Our Lady of Joy.