Fifty-four Day Rosary Novena

– Answered by Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Q: What is the 54 Day Rosary Novena?

A: We are dealing with a combination of several novenas, some of petition, others of thanksgiving. For 27 days (3 x 9 days, or three novenas) the devotee will recite every day five decades of the Rosary to petition from Our Lady the special favor sought. These days are immediately followed by another 27 days of thanksgiving whether or not the request has been granted. The modalities of the prayer may vary. They normally follow the sequence of Jesus and Mary's stations in life as presented in the classical mysteries of the Rosary. This laborious novena wants to be a novena of love and attachment to Our Lady, more so than simply a prayer of petition.

This novena originated at a time of great fervor to pray the Rosary. We are referring to the end of the 19th century which was marked by the Rosary encyclicals of Leo XIII, and on a popular level—by the great influence of Our Lady of Pompeii, by her apparition and the worldwide movement that developed from it. Our Lady of the Rosary showed her special favor to the daughter of Commander Agrelli of Naples. It is to her, according to tradition, that Mary revealed the 54 day rosary novena. The girl had been suffering for a long time of dreadful and tortuous cramps. The girl directed her prayer to Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary. Moved by the girl's prayer and the title given to her, Mary promised her healing if she made three novenas. In a further apparition, so tradition, Mary specified that whoever desired to obtain favors from her should make three novenas of the prayers of the Rosary in petition, and three novenas in thanksgiving. This occurred in 1884 in Naples, Italy. The girl obtained healing.

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