The Great Novena to Mary The Mother of God
If you look closely at a statue of St. Anthony, you will notice that hanging from his Franciscan cord on his left side is a rosary. As you look at the rosary depicted, you may see that the beads are not the usual five-decade rosary that so many pray daily, but St. Anthony’s beads are seven decades long! Why is that? What is this different kind of rosary? This rosary that St. Anthony and many Franciscan Friars wear is called the Franciscan Crown.
The title comes from the fact that it is a special devotion of the Franciscans, and because the prayers are like a bouquet of roses prayed together to crown our Blessed Mother. It has seven decades which correspond to the Seven Joys of our Lady. This Franciscan devotion is a wonderful way of praying to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, who, as the Mother of Jesus Christ, inspires each of us with the joy of a Mother when we feel sorrow, strength when we feel overwhelmed, and love when we feel lonely. Mary’s faith in God is shown as she immediately accepts God’s request for her to be the Mother of God. The Franciscan Crown contains the lessons of Christ’s life and that of His Blessed Mother.
They teach us, through meditation of the Seven Joys of our Lady, how to apply the Gospel of Jesus into our daily life. Remember, the Mother of God herself is described to us from the Scriptures as someone who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” As we approach the great Feast of The Mother of God, we remember Mary’s commitment to God in saying yes to God’s will to become the mother of Jesus, and we honor this beloved dogma by joining the Franciscan Friars in praying this Great Novena of Masses in Honor of the Mother of God. With the Friars, bring your needs and prayer intentions to the Mother of God. Let her motherly love and care bring you comfort as a mother does to her child.
Through your prayers and the Masses of this Great Novena in honor of Mary, feel the motherly care and attention of Our Lady, the Mother of us all. Join the Franciscan Friars in The Great Novena of the Mother of God and bring Our Lady your prayer needs and intentions. Join the Franciscan Friars in praying the Seven Decades of the Franciscan Crown, and may our reflection on the life of Our Lord and Our Lady bring us the peace and love of the Mother of God, Mary, our mother, and the mother of us all!
May The Mother of God hold you close and comfort you with Her love!
Fr. David Convertino, OFM
Executive Director, St. Anthony’s Guild