Alan entered the Dominican Order at Dinan in the diocese of Saint- Malo in Brittany when religious life in the region was at a low point. He migrated from there to the Netherlands, where he preached, wrote, and organized. He was extraordinarily devoted to the Blessed Mother and never missed an opportunity to preach the Rosary.
is supposed to have had a vision of the Blessed Mother, who encouraged
him to revive devotion to the Rosary. Thus, he preached on it and Saint
Dominic, especially in Germany. He founded the Confraternity of
the Psalter of Jesus and Mary (now called the
Confraternity of the Rosary) in Douai, France, in 1470. The first
printed manual of the Confraternity of the Rosary, which explained how
to say it and laid out the original 15 mysteries, was published in Cologne
in 1476, after Alan's death.
Dominic appeared to Blessed Alan as well and told him of the great
results of his ministry:
said to Blessed Alan: "See the wonderful results I have had through
preaching the Holy Rosary! You and all those who love Our Lady ought
to do the same so that, by means of this holy practice of the Rosary,
you may draw all people to the real science of the virtues." This
is what inspired Blessed Alan de la Roche to work so hard to restore
the devotion to the Holy Rosary, originally established by Saint Dominic.
Blessed Alan died at Zwolle in Holland, September 8, 1475.
Crown of Roses
Ever since Blessed Alan de la Roche re-established this devotion, the
voice of the people, which is the voice of God, gave it the name of the
Rosary, which means "crown of roses." That is to say that every
time people say the Rosary devoutly they place on the heads of Jesus and
Mary 153 white roses and sixteen red roses. Being heavenly flowers, these
roses will never fade or lose their beauty.
Our Lady has approved and confirmed this name of the Rosary; she has
revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary they are
giving her a beautiful rose, and that each complete Rosary makes her a
crown of roses.
So the complete Rosary is a large crown of roses and each chaplet of five decades is a little wreath of flowers or a little crown of heavenly roses which we place on the heads of Jesus and Mary. The rose is the queen of flowers, and so the Rosary is the rose of devotions and the most important one.