Origin of Irresistible Novena
On March 3, 1884, Our Lady appeared to Fortuna Agrelli as the Virgin of Pompeii. Our Lady looked at Fortuna with motherly tenderness. "Queen of the Holy Rosary," Fortuna said, "be gracious to me; restore me to health. I have already prayed to Thee in a novena, O Mary, but have not yet experienced the aid. I am so anxious to be cured!"
"Child," said the Blessed Virgin, "thou has invoked me by various titles and has always obtained favors from me. Now, since thou has called me by the 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 shall obtain all." Fortuna obeyed, and she was cured.
Soon after that, Our Lady appeared again. This time she said, "Whosoever desires to obtain favors from me should make three novenas of the Rosary in petition and three novenas of the Rosary in thanksgiving."
This was the origin of the devotion of the Rosary Novenas to Our Lady, sometimes called the Irresistible Novena. The devotion calls for five decades of the Rosary each day for 27 days in petition to be followed by five decades a day for 27 days in thanksgiving. (54 days in all) It is a powerful form of prayer; we have Our Lady's word for it.
My Experience With The Novena
First of all, back in March or April 1982, my wife and I had already been approved for a Farmer's Home Loan. Yet, we did not know when we would get into a house (prefab). The Realtor told us it could be 2 or 3 years. We were living in an apartment at the time and we felt like shell-shocked victims of war. The people made so much noise in the apartment above us that it drove us crazy. So my wife and I prayed the 54-day Irresistible novena to get our house sooner.
Our novena was now done but we still said our regular prayers. I used to say some prayers in the morning before I went to work. Yet, on one morning as I was praying the Rosary, contemplating on the Passion of Our Lord, while looking at a religious picture of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I was hit with a sort of ecstasy of which I just didn't want to move. It had a cooling effect but it felt like I was in heaven. It also brought a feeling of great peace. Then, it wasn't in any words but I felt like God was asking me what I wanted the most, to be with Him or to have a house. The only answer I could give was to be with Him, and I would have gladly died and gone with Him but it wasn't His will. I could still feel my senses but they were very dulled so that the experience was like a sixth sense. What I mean is that the experience was the only point of focus. It was like a taste of heaven and after having the experience it seemed as though nothing on Earth could give me any great pleasure.
The next day my wife got a phone call when I was at work and it was the Realtor who said there was a mix up in shipments of prefab houses. A person ordered a 40' house and the factory shipped a 42' house instead. They had already put down the 40' foundation and anyway the people did not want to pay the extra money for the house. So, we were offered the house at a lower price and we took it. I asked the Realtor, when I got home from work, if this mix-up happened yesterday and they answered yes. Then I knew it was from God. For in the Bible it says: "Be not solicitous therefore, saying, what shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6: 31-33. I learned that because I was willing to give myself to God, God gave us our house.
Yet, I also put this experience to the test. I tried all kinds of ways myself to see if I could duplicate the experience but I could not.
Also, because I had such an experience, it does not mean I am better than anybody else. It is an unmerited grace.
I know that some of you have trouble believing some of this and I would like to end this little talk with this saying: "To those who believe in God, there is no explanation necessary. To those who do not believe in God, there is no explanation possible."