The “54-day Rosary Novena” is an uninterrupted series of Rosaries in honor of Our Lady, revealed to the incurably sick Fortuna Agrelli by Our Lady of Pompeii at Naples in 1884. For thirteen months Fortuna Agrelli had endured dreadful sufferings and torturous cramps; she had been given up by the most celebrated physicians. On February 16, 1884, the afflicted girl and her relatives commenced a novena of Rosaries. The Queen of the Holy Rosary favored her with an apparition on March 3rd. Mary, sitting upon a high throne, surrounded by luminous figures, held the divine Child on her lap, and in her hand a Rosary. The Virgin Mother and the holy Infant were clad in gold-embroidered garments. They were accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. The throne was profusely decorated with flowers; the beauty of Our Lady was marvelous. Blessed Virgin said: “Child, thou has invoked me by various titles and hast always obtained favors from me. Now, since thou hast called me by that title so pleasing to me, ‘Queen of the Holy Rosary,’ I can no longer refuse the favor thou dost petition; for this name is most precious and dear to me. Make three novenas, and thou shalt obtain all.”
Once more the Queen of the Holy Rosary appeared to her and said, ” Whoever desires to obtain favors from me should make three novenas of the prayers of the Rosary, and three novenas in thanksgiving.” Obedient to Our Lady’s invitation, Fortuna and her family completed the six novenas whereupon the young girl was restored to perfect health and her family showered with many blessings.
The Novena consists of five decades of the Rosary each day for twenty-seven days in petition; then immediately five decades each day for twenty-seven days in thanksgiving, whether or not the request has been granted.The meditations vary from day to day. Now with the new mysteries the table is changed. On the first day meditate on the Joyful Mysteries; on the second day the Light Mysteries; on the third day the sorrowful Mysteries; on the fourth day meditate again on the glorious Mysteries; and so on throughout the fifty-four days.
A laborious Novena, but a Novena of Love. You who are sincere will not find it too difficult, if you really wish to obtain your request.
HOW IS THE ROSARY NOVENA PRAYED?
The Rosary Novenas require a substantial commitment. The idea is to pray five decades of the Rosary each day for twenty-seven days in petition for a particular request, followed by five decades each day for twenty-seven days in thanksgiving — whether or not the petition was granted. As Charles Lacey (who wrote the Rosary Novenas to Our Lady and first published in 1924) wrote in his original introduction “You will not have prayed in vain. No prayer ever went unheard, and Our Blessed Lady has never been known to fail.”
This is not to say that every request we make will be granted in the exact way we wish. Many times, God’s grace comes to us through people and events we never imagined. Often our prayers are answered, but not as we expected them to be.
The intent of the Rosary Novenas is to enlist Mary’s help in presenting our needs to God. As her son Jesus promised, “Ask and you shall receive.”
The practice of making a novena (which comes from the Latin word for nine) has a long tradition in the Church. In the Rosary Novenas to Our Lady, we are actually asked to make six novenas — three in petition and three in thanksgiving — over fifty-four consecutive days. It does not matter on what day of the week the Rosary Novenas are begun.
Remember we pray the Rosary in this particular sequence:
Day 1 is the Joyful Mysteries
Day 2 is the Luminous Mysteries
Day 3 is the Sorrowful Mysteries
Day 4 is the Glorious Mysteries
We continue in this order until we reach Day 28 and we begin again with the Joyful Mysteries. On Day 28 of the Novena is when we change from petitioning God for our intentions and start praying in thanksgiving to God for answering our prayer, even if in fact we have not received what we have asked for, we are thanking Him and in all things, we are giving Him praise and glory for all that He is doing for us. Also on Day 28 we begin again with the Joyful Mysteries!
Remember, say one set of mysteries (five decades of the Rosary) each day in petition for twenty-seven straight days, then do the same in thanksgiving (whether you feel your request has been answered in the manner you expected or not) for twenty-seven more days in a row. If you miss a day because of an emergency or forgetfulness, make it up by saying an extra five decades the next day.