When in dire need, many turn to the consolation of the Rosary, a beautiful meditation on the Mysteries of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It also follows Our Lady’s journey with Jesus and her own Assumption into heaven, followed by her Coronation as Queen of heaven and earth. Others find comfort in praying novenas, those nine-day prayers of petition invoking a particular saint for a specific need. But few invest the commitment into combining both the rosary and a novena in what is known as the 54-day Rosary Novena.
FORTUNA AGRELLI: FIRST RECIPIENT OF THE GRACES OF THIS NOVENA
According to history, a young Italian girl named Fortuna Agrelli became gravely ill in 1883 and continued to decline to the point of almost reaching death. As a result, her family began back-to-back novenas, offered for her recovery. Two weeks later, Our Lady of Pompeii appeared to Fortuna and demonstrated how to pray the 54-day Rosary Novena.
She was holding the Infant Jesus in her lap and holding a rosary in her other hand. On either side of the Blessed Mother was St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena, both themselves devotees of the Rosary. [i] Fortuna was restored to health after pleading with Our Lady for her intercession. At that point, the Blessed Mother imparted the novena prayers to be incorporated into the Mysteries of the Rosary.
Essentially, when one prays the 54-day Rosary Novena, s/he is combining a series of six consecutive nine-day novenas – the first three sets are in petition and the last three sets are in thanksgiving, whether or not a favorable result was achieved.
PRAYERS OF THE ROSARY NOVENA
Unlike the traditional fifteen-decade rosary that includes the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries to be prayed on certain days of the week, the 54-day Rosary Novena alternates among the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries by day. For instance, one begins with the Joyful Mysteries (regardless of the day of the week in which the novena began), followed by the Sorrowful on the second day, and the Glorious on the third day, then returning once again to the Joyful and so on.
There are variations of the novena that state a person can either include the Luminous Mysteries or not. Originally, the Luminous Mysteries were not given by Our Lady to Fortuna. Here is how one begins the 54-day Rosary Novena:
>> Make the Sign of the Cross;
>> Pray 1 Hail Mary;
>> Offer the Novena Prayer: “Hail! Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At your feet I humbly pray and offer you a crown of snow-white roses to remind you of your joys. Each ten bound together, recalling to you a joyful mystery, with my petition for a particular grace;” [ii]
>> You will begin with the prayer for petition. After 27 days conclude, you switch to the prayer of thanksgiving;
>> Move into the typical opening prayers of the Rosary: Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be;
Each Mystery has a specific meditation that includes a place to insert your specific petition before praying the decade of Hail Marys. (See example here.)
MIRACLES ASSOCIATED WITH THE ROSARY NOVENA
The only approved miracle related with the 54-day Rosary Novena was that of Fortuna’s cure. However, many people have modified the novena for specific intentions. Some include prayers for a future spouse and for our nation. Many have written firsthand accounts of favors received.
I stumbled across this powerful prayer providentially a few years ago. My husband had been commuting daily to his job for over a year at that time, and it was a long, tedious, and dangerous route. Because our middle daughter, Sarah, had a growing list of medical specialists that were out of the small, rural town in which we were living, I turned with confidence to Our Lady for help in the matter.
For 54 consecutive days, I diligently and faithfully prayed each opening prayer and novena that corresponded with the Mystery of the day. My petition was for us to sell our home and move to the city in which Ben worked and most of Sarah’s doctors practiced.
Within three months of concluding the rosary novena, we put our house up for sale. It sold the following day – for the listing price – and we were able to secure a new home within our budget from family friends, who hadn’t even listed their home. At the time, it was nearly impossible to purchase a home without placing an offer above listing price; yet we were able to move in to our house within a month of selling our old home.
In my view, this was a minor miracle that I’ve attributed to Our Lady’s intercession. She, no doubt, intercedes for those who turn to her with confidence and faith.
Have you prayed a 54-Day Rosary Novena before? Have you experienced any specific graces or even a miracle? If so, we welcome you to share it our Comment Box below.
[i] Retrieved from http://www.54daynovena.com/54_Day_Novena_-_History.html August 9, 2018.
[ii] This is only an example of the opening prayer for the Joyful Mysteries. There are different prayers that correspond with the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries.