THIS IS THE right time to say a little about Indulgences which have been granted to Rosary Confraternity members so that you may gain as many as possible.
Briefly, an Indulgence is a remission or relaxation of temporal punishment due to actual sins, by the application of the superabundant satisfactions of Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Saints----which are contained in the Treasury of the Church.
A Plenary Indulgence is a remission of the whole punishment due to sin; a partial indulgence of, for instance, one hundred or one thousand years [in Montfort's time-----the Web Master] can be explained as the remission of as much punishment as could have been expiated during one hundred or one thousand years, if one had been given a corresponding number of the penances prescribed by the Church's ancient Canons.
Now these Canons exacted seven and sometimes ten or fifteen years' penance for one single mortal sin, so that a person who was guilty of twenty mortal sins would probably have had to perform a seven year penance at least twenty times, and so on.
Rosary Confraternity members who want to gain the Indulgences must:
1. be truly repentant and must go to Confession and Holy Communion, as the Bull of Indulgences teaches;
2. they must be entirely free from affection for venial sin, because if affection for sin is left the guilt is left too, and since the guilt is there, the punishment cannot be lifted;
3. they must say the prayers and carry out the good works designated by the Bull. If, in accordance with what the Popes have said, one can gain a partial Indulgence (for instance, of one hundred years) without gaining a Plenary Indulgence, it is not always necessary to go to Confession and Holy Communion in order to gain it. Such partial Indulgences are many of those attached to the Rosary (either of five or of fifteen decades) to processions, blessed Rosaries, etc.
Be sure not to neglect these Indulgences. Flammin and a great number of other writers tell the story of a young girl of noble station by the name of Alexandre, who had been miraculously converted and enrolled by Saint Dominic in the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. After her death she appeared to him and said that she had been condemned to seven hundred years of Purgatory, because of her own sins and those that she had made others commit by her worldly ways. So she implored him to ease her pains by his prayers and to ask the Confraternity members to pray for the same end. Saint Dominic did as she had asked.
Two weeks later she appeared to him, more radiant than the sun, having been quickly delivered from Purgatory through the prayers that the Confraternity members had said for her. She also told Saint Dominic that the Holy Souls in Purgatory had given her a message to beg him to go on preaching the Holy Rosary and to beg their relations to offer their Rosaries for them, and that they would reward them abundantly when they came into their glory.
Note: The following is taken from pages 124, 125 and 126 and are included here since both deal with Indulgences:
An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned.
Indulgences are granted by God through the Catholic Church which, as minister of the Redemption, dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the Saints.
Though the guilt of sin and the eternal punishment it may have merited are remitted by sacramental absolution, measurable punishment before or after death is still required in order to satisfy God's justice, even for sins already forgiven. To the extent we fail to atone sufficiently for our sins during our lifetimes on earth, we will suffer for a given "time" in Purgatory. An indulgence cancels or lessens this non-eternal punishment.
In order to gain an Indulgence, one must be Baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the completion of the prescribed work. In order to gain Indulgences, one must have at least a general intention of gaining them. If at the beginning of the day we make an intention to gain all the Indulgences we can that day, we do not have to make this intention each time we perform a work to which an Indulgence is attached. An Indulgence may be gained for oneself or may be offered for Souls in Purgatory, but may not be applied to another living person.
A plenary indulgence remits all the punishment due for sin and makes possible immediate entrance into Heaven after death.
The New Norms
To gain a plenary indulgence, it is necessary to perform the work to which the Indulgence is attached and to fulfill three conditions: sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope. (The recitation of one Our Father and one Hail Mary fully suffices, though we are free to say any other prayer we desire.) It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent. If the latter disposition is in any way less than complete or if the three prescribed conditions are not fulfilled, the Indulgence will be only partial.
The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or several days after performing the prescribed work; nevertheless, it is fitting that Communion be received and prayer for the Pope's intentions be said the same day the work is performed.
A single Confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences. However, one must receive Holy Communion and pray for the Pope's intentions for each plenary Indulgence. To be able to gain a daily plenary Indulgence, one should go to Confession at least every two weeks.
Only one plenary indulgence can be acquired each day, unless a person is at the point of death. In that event, even after gaining a plenary Indulgence that day, one can gain the plenary Indulgence for the moment of death.
A partial Indulgence remits only part of the punishment due for sin and is now granted without designation of a specific number of "days" or "years." The faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, perform an action or recite a prayer to which a partial Indulgence is attached, obtain, in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church. The amount remitted depends on the person's fervor, on the greatness of the sacrifice, and on how perfectly the act is performed. Any number of partial Indulgences can be acquired per day, unless otherwise indicated.
Indulgences for Praying the Rosary
A plenary indulgence is granted for reciting five decades of the Rosary in a church or public oratory or in a family group, religious community or pious association. A partial indulgence is granted in other circumstances. The five decades must be recited continuously. The vocal recitation must be accompanied by pious meditation on the mysteries. In public recitation the mysteries must be announced in the manner customary in the place; for private recitation, however, it suffices if the vocal recitation is accompanied by meditation on the mysteries.
From page 108 and 109
Nihil Obstat, Gulielmus F. Hughes, S.T.L., Censor Librorium
Imprimatur, Thomas Edmundus Molloy, S.T.D., Archiepiscopus-Episcopus Brooklyniensis, 1954 For more, see The Holy Rosary
St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort's The Secret of the Rosary