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Penitential Perennial Roses

On this page you will find different ways in which you can offer up your daily sacrifices and penances to Jesus through Mary as Roses in your monthly crown.

The Basic Penitential Rose

This is the basic, and most important, of our penitential roses. This rose can be offered once per day only. That is to say – if you don’t complete it one day, begin from scratch the next. However, if you complete it in one day, you can’t offer it again as a Rose until the next.

The method for this rose is very simple: Say the following prayer, taught by Our Lady to the Children of Fatima, five times in a day:

“O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

The prayer should be used at these times to offer up something that pertains to your duties or responsibilities, depending on your state in life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something excessively difficult or laborious, but, e.g. an hour of work (be it study or to earn money); changing a nappy or feeding an infant; making time to intentionally build relationships with a family member; cleaning; being faithful to an horarium; fulfilling a duty out of obedience… etc. Typically, things that will be done on a regular basis daily anyway, so you shouldn’t have to add more ‘doing’ in order to complete the rose – its completion consists simply in the remembering to offer your day to Mary as it unfolds, and doing all things out of love. As a general rule, across the five offerings, what you offer should amount to at two hours’ worth of effort spent on things that otherwise aren’t being counted as roses.

The reason the rose consists in saying the prayer five times is the same reason Our Lord gave Sr. Lucia for stipulating Five First Saturdays – there are five sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary to make reparation for. It may strengthen your focus to learn these and each time you say the prayer offer it in reparation for a different sin – but this is not required for the Rose.

You may, as you develop the habit, count offerings made in hindsight when you remember that you forgot earlier in the day. However the aim should always be to grow in being consistently present to Jesus and Mary. making the offerings promptly and regularly as you begin the task.

Prayer Posture

Here the penance is offering the sacrifice of maintaining the posture for the time specified, so if it happens to coincide with prayer roses, those can also be counted separately. The timeframes given are cumulative – so you don’t have to do it all in one go. Please listen to your body and don’t hurt yourself if any of these prove difficult!

  • Kneeling (upright, not half sitting on a pew) – Outside of Mass and Benediction, but including other times of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as any other time of personal prayer: 2 hours = 1 rose
  • Praying Lying Prostrate (start session over if you fall asleep, but obviously previous times of prayer contributing to total time still count): 90 minutes = 1 rose
  • Praying with arms outstretched (kneeling or standing): 1 hour = 1 rose
    N.B. This means that roughly 9 Divine Mercy Chaplets (prayed reverently but simply) with arms outstretched, should equate to a penitential rose as well as a prayer one. That doesn’t mean you have to be praying this Chaplet for the penitential rose – but it is a suggestion to begin with if this mode of praying is new to you. Please be gentle. Don’t extend your time of praying in this manner beyond about 7 minutes at a time (the length of a DM chaplet) until you have done it for that length of time for 5+ consecutive days, monitoring how your muscles hold up. Ideally, discuss in spiritual direction.
  • Every 14 hours of the breviary, major or minor, prayed standing and sitting etc. as though (or actually) in Choir may be counted as a rose – this ‘posture’ rose being separate from those due to the prayer itself. This means e.g. praying the whole Office like this for two days – or any two given hours for a week – could be counted as a rose above and beyond that the roses that the prayer counts towards.

Corporeal Penances

It’s difficult to ascribe roses here as prudent direction tends to be key in negotiating the fine line between fervour and imprudence – nevertheless, with Marian apparitions repeatedly pointing towards prayer and penance it doesn’t seem right to leave out specific acts of penance from our counting entirely. For this reason, Roses are attributed here with the following proviso:

A MAXIMUM of three of the following penitential roses may be counted for one’s bouquet per week, unless one is under the guidance of a prudent spiritual director. Under said guidance, there is no such limit, so long as EVERY act of corporeal penance is performed with permission.

Here are the general guidelines:

  • A day fasting on bread and water = 1 Rose
  • 3 days of strictly eating one meal and two collations = 1 Rose
  • A night sleeping on the floor = 1 Rose
  • A night vigil – defined here a 24 hour period in which one spends no more than 3 hours sleeping (from midday to midday), spending at least 5 hours praying between 10pm and 8am* = 1 Rose
  • The same amount of sleep in a 24 hour window as described above on account of caring for an infant (or any other dependent), with care including (as possible) sporadic aspirations or at least a decade of the Rosary at some point* = 1 Rose
  • 3 nights (consecutive or not) rising somewhere between midnight and 3:30am to pray Matins, a full Rosary or a Divine Mercy Chaplet* = 1 Rose
  • 3 nights (consecutive or not) being woken to attend to a crying infant (or other dependent), if you pray a decade of the Rosary* before you fall back asleep = 1 Rose

*Here the penitential aspect is the getting and staying out of bed for God, therefore if the prayers themselves are still free to contribute towards any prayer rose to which they may be relevant. The minimum thresholds are just to ensure that there is an express intentionality to give the time to God, and the rose is not offered simply for taking extra time to pursue worldly endeavours…


For one who is suffering from an illness or injury, whether this is something chronic and ongoing or something of shorter duration, once a day this can be offered as a rose. In order to do so, the method is quite simple:

Take any given rose that you complete that day which is harder to complete on account of your sickness OR any given rose that you would like to complete on that day but are unable to because of your sickness.

In the case of the former, offer not only the time of prayer (or study or evangelisation or penance etc.) but your suffering whilst completing it to God. In doing so, unite it to Jesus’ suffering on the Cross. You can make this offering in your own words or using the prayer that is given for the basic penitential rose above. This completed rose can then be counted as two roses – one for the effort, and one for the suffering.

In the case of the latter circumstance, take the time that you would like to spend in completing a rose and offer it to Jesus, uniting yourself to His Passion and offering Him the time spent resting (or as it needs to be spent) when you would otherwise be undertaking to complete a rose. You can then count this offered time as a rose.

Obviously this doesn’t really cover the wide variety of degrees to which people suffer and the range in how difficult it could make efforts in the spiritual life, but as with the counting of all roses on the site, we just provide a framework for establishing numbers – Our Lady sees the roses themselves and the amount of effort put into each one, so whether or not it is adequately reflected on the site, none of your labours in the Lord are wasted!

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