A Hidden Gem: The 54-Day Rosary Novena

I was a high schooler when the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown struck. All of a sudden, there were no more days at the park with my homeschool group, no more choir or guitar lessons, no in-person Mass. By that time, everyone in the world had discovered Zoom. My family decided to put this up-and-coming technology to a special use: we formed a Zoom-based prayer group with our homeschool community and committed to praying a little-known gem, the 54-Day Rosary Novena.

We first heard of the novena from a parish priest shortly before lockdown. My family was going through a difficult time, and the priest suggested the novena to us.

My family used to pray the Rosary every day before falling out of the habit. Somehow, after years of not praying the Rosary regularly, I had started dreading it. Now, during the pandemic, I was committing to 54 days of praying the Rosary, plus extra meditations and prayers? As a family, we’d tried and failed to finish the novena before. Could we do it this time? I wasn’t sure I wanted to.

But I’m so grateful we did.

By the time the pandemic was over, we’d prayed the 54-day novena with our homeschool community not once, but multiple times! Praying the novena opened up the space for grace to flow in our lives.

What is the 54-Day Rosary Novena?

Fortuna Agrelli was a young girl who was mortally ill in 1884, praying for a miracle.

Georgette Bechara tells the story on ChurchPop: “For thirteen months, the young Fortuna endured immense suffering and pain. Her doctors gave up, deeming it a hopeless case. But clinging on to their last ray of hope, the dying girl and her family began a novena of Rosaries, desperately imploring Our Lady’s intersession.”

Then, amazingly, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary appeared to Fortuna, saying, “Whosoever desires to obtain favors from me should make three novenas of the prayers of the Rosary in petition and three novenas in thanksgiving.”

Fortuna recovered from her illness.

Although not in so dramatic a manner, I have personally witnessed miracles that happen when we pray this novena, as Our Lady asked. The 54-Day Rosary Novena is such a rich form of prayer because it involves two types: 27 days of petition and 27 days of thanksgiving. You are both praying for and trusting that God will answer your prayer(s), even if the answer doesn’t come immediately.

During those 54 days, you will be cycling through the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries, with along with special meditations.

To give you a time estimate: once our prayer group got into the groove of saying this special novena, it took no more than 25 minutes to complete each day.

The Power of Community Prayer

As I mentioned, my family had never been able to finish the novena before we decided to do it as a homeschool group. What my family had been unable to accomplish on our own, we accomplished as a community.

My number one recommendation for completing the novena is to do it as a group. Not only did we keep each other accountable, but we grew in our friendships and supported each other in trying times. Getting on the Zoom meeting to pray at 3:00 p.m. every day established a peaceful rhythm to our lives.

For me, I experienced much healing. Gradually, I grew to love praying the Rosary again. Our family bonds grew stronger. The routine of prayer allowed our community to blossom, even over Zoom. Prayers were answered in extraordinary ways. Even if some prayers seem to be left unanswered for now, peace filled our hearts.

I challenge you to gather your family and friends around and pray the 54-Day Rosary Novena together. Hopefully, like me, you will find yourself growing in your faith and friendships and will gain a peace amidst your crazy daily routine.

To Access the 54-Day Rosary Novena Prayers

For those who enjoy using Hallow, they have a version that includes a great intro to the novena along with the prayers (however, the language of the prayers in this version is more difficult, in my opinion). My family and I enjoyed using this PDF version of the novena.

Photo by Tofin Creations on Unsplash

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Emily Chaffins is a fiction writer who has won multiple awards, including a Silver Key Award in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (Humor Category) and First Place for Undergraduate Fiction in the Florida International University Student Literary Awards. She is also a freelancer for the Florida Catholic newspaper and OSV News, and contributes to the Archdiocese of Miami's Let’s Talk Blog and Catholic Exchange. Additionally, she curates and contributes to the Archdiocese of Miami’s “Through the Catholic Lens” blog. Besides writing, Emily enjoys singing at church, cooking and baking with her family, and reading really big books. She can be found on Instagram as @the.smallest_things.

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