Mother Teresa’s Flying Novena

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Countless saints throughout the history of the Church have prayed novenas for special intentions; Novenas are a particularly efficacious form of prayer and God never fails to pour out His graces after saying one. 

However, traditional novenas take time (nine days to be exact!) making it difficult to pray novenas for a very urgent intention. 

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, understood the power of novenas and the immediate need for prayer required by desperate situations especially with her work among the sick and dying. So she came up with a “Flying Novena.”

What is the “Flying Novena?”

Unlike a traditional novena which takes place over nine days, the Flying Novena, also called an Emergency Novena, can be said in one day (or in one sitting). 

Msgr. Leo Maasburg, a friend and spiritual advisor of Mother Teresa, called the Flying Novena “Mother Teresa’s spiritual rapid-fire weapon” because although it’s more accessible and immediate than the traditional novena format it is no less powerful. 

Maasburg writes: “The Quick Novena had one thing in common with nine-day and even nine-month novenas: confident pleading for heavenly assistance, as the apostles did for nine days in the upper room ‘with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the women’ (Acts 1:14) while waiting for the promised help from the Holy Spirit.”

The Flying Novena also differs from the traditional form of a novena in that it consists of ten Memorares rather than nine as one might expect (“Novena” comes from the Latin word novem which means “nine”). 

Mother Teresa always prayed nine Memorares in petition and then offered a 10th in Thanksgiving anticipating the graces God would surely provide. 

It was a prayer that always worked for Mother Teresa, and a quick internet search would yield stories from hundreds of others about the miracles worked through this simple novena. 

To Jesus Through Mary

Why did Mother Teresa choose to pray the Memorare as part of her emergency novena? 

The Memorare is often attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century and is a powerful prayer of supplication to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The prayer was popularized in the 17th Century by Fr. Claude Bernard who believed his miraculous healing came through praying it fervently. 

The Church and her saints have spoken time and again on the important role Mary plays in each of our lives, and in particular on her power as an intercessor; Jesus Himself listened to her request at the Wedding of Cana.

When Jesus entrusted us along with St. John the Apostle to her loving, maternal care during the Crucifixion, He invited us to approach Mary as our Mother with our needs. 

The Memorare does this with an expression of radical confidence in her to bring our needs straight to Christ and to their happy end. 

Mother Teresa implores us to: “Pray especially to Our Blessed Mother Mary, placing all your intentions into her hands. For she loves you as she loves her Son. She will guide you in all your relationships so that peace may fill your life.”

Have a special and urgent intention you need prayers for? Entrust your petition to Jesus through Mary with Mother Teresa’ Flying Novena. 

Leave your intention and comment below so we can pray with you too.

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