Saint Dominic's Monastery — Dominican Nuns

Cloistered Contemplative Nuns of the Order of Preachers

Stella Caeli Novena ~ May 15–23

The nuns of St. Dominic’s Monastery are invoking the Blessed Mother’s powerful intercession in a special novena.

Please join us in praying for an end to the pandemic and for all those affected by it.

How do I pray the novena?

1. Pray the Stella Caeli Exstirpavit
2. Recite three Hail Mary’s for an end to the pandemic
3. Recite “A Prayer in Time of a Pandemic”

1. Pray the Stella Caeli Exstirpavit

Stella Caeli Exstirpavit

The Star of Heaven, who nourished the Lord, drove away the plague of death which our first parents brought into the world. May this bright Star now deign to hold in check the constellations whose battles have slain the people with the wound of death.

O glorious Star of the Sea, save us from the plague. Hear us, for your Son honors you by denying you nothing. Save us, O Jesus, on whose behalf the Virgin Mother beseeches You.

The Origin of the Stella Caeli

In 1317 Portugal was ravaged by the plague. The Poor Clares of Coimbra beheld in horror the rapid advances of the disease, which was already widespread in the nearby towns and villages. In great fear, the Mother Abbess decided to allow the nuns to leave the cloister and go elsewhere in order to escape the plague. However, an unknown beggar appeared at the door. He handed the nuns a paper with a prayer, and instructed them that if they prayed it daily, the plague would pass them by unharmed. The prayer was the Stella Caeli Exstirpavit. The nuns prayed it and consequently they were spared. The plague soon vanished from their neighborhood. The prayer quickly spread throughout Europe and was later included in many Medieval prayer books.

2. Recite three Hail Mary’s for an end to the pandemic

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

“…now and at the hour of our death.”

For centuries, the “Hail Mary” consisted only of the Angel Gabriel’s salutation, “Hail, full of grace,” at the Annunciation and Elizabeth’s greeting at the Visitation, “Blessed are you among women.” According to religious historians, it was during the Black Plague that the second part of the prayer was added.

Fulton Sheen wrote: “Since it seizes upon the two decisive moments of life: ‘now’ and ‘at the hour of our death,’ it suggests the spontaneous outcry of people in a great calamity. The Black Plague, which ravaged all Europe and wiped out one-third of its population, prompted the faithful to cry out to the Mother of Our Lord to protect them at a time when the present moment and death were almost one.”

3. Recite “A Prayer in Time of a Pandemic”

“A Prayer in Time of a Pandemic”

Loving Mother of the Redeemer, Gate of Heaven, Star of the Sea, we, your children, come to you in this time of world-wide pandemic, seeking your powerful intercession. We come to you in our weakness and uncertainty. We come to you in our loneliness and fear. We come to you with trust, Mother of Mercy, for you are our life, our sweetness and our hope. We place before you our suffering world, deprived even of the consolation of the Sacraments and the community of the Church and we beg you, dear Mother, to intercede for us with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

May all bishops, priests and civil leaders be given wisdom, as they seek to guide us in this time of crisis. May scientists be granted insight and understanding. May caregivers be endowed with compassion and generosity. May all those who are ill be restored to health. Pray that your Son protect those who are most at risk, especially health care workers, first responders and essential workers who put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others. Beseech your Son, in His Providence, to provide for those who are unemployed or in financial difficulties.

Grant your peace of heart to those who are unable to visit loved ones, especially elderly parents. Give comfort to those who have lost family or friends and were unable to be with them in their last hours. Welcome into the Father’s House those who have died. O Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted, ease all the fear of our hearts and fill us with confidence in your maternal love and protection. Amen.

If you are between the ages of 20 and 35 and think you might have a vocation to Dominican monastic life, please contact us through our website, by phone or by mail for further information.

St. Dominic's Monastery
2636 Monastery Road
Linden, VA 22642
(540) 635-3259