Popular devotions are pious practices lived and expressed by the faithful. To learn more, I spoke with Rosalia Jasper from Bloomfield Hills, a devout Catholic, living her faith with her beloved husband and three of her five kids. She talked to me while she was gardening, one of her favorite pastimes.
Rosalia practices a life of devotions rooted in her Catholic family. She grew up in Mexico and remembers her mother used to pray The novena to the Sacred of Jesus, which her mother called lovingly, “the emergency call to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” She recalls the prayer as "super miraculous.” Her mom was also devoted to the rosary which she prayed constantly and had among saints a favorite, St. Anthony, who heard her prayers and interceded for her.
Rosalia says that as newlyweds, she and her husband had very little, so, she called her mom and asked for that miraculous prayer. “I had nothing. The only thing I had was prayer,” she remembers, “I had to take Jesus' words seriously. He did not say anything in vain.” Rosalia often refers to these words of Jesus, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone, who asks, receives and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Mt. 7:7-8).
Rosalia enjoys praying and seeing the results. Her first devotion led to the discovery of the novena of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. This novena was born on December 3, 1925. Father Putigan, a Jesuit, began the novena to St. Therese of Lisieux, asking her for a great favor. He asked St. Therese for a sign that if his novena were being heard, he would receive a rose from someone.” He received from a stranger a beautiful rose on the third day of the novena. Father Putigan, prayed a second novena and received the favors he had asked for, and a rose. He then promised to spread the novena to increase devotion to her.
Rosalia remembers the first time she prayed the novena to St. Therese. They were passing through hardships and thought, "I need to have faith." On the 3rd day, her husband arrived with a bouquet of 24 red roses. They were not celebrating anything, and the circumstances were not to waste money. Their kids were babies, and diapers were a priority. She saw the flowers and hugged her husband excitedly and said, “Thank you!” He explained he was driving, and saw a poor man selling the roses, so he bought them on sale. Rosalia said to him, “St. Therese sent me the flowers through you!” Since then, St. Therese has sent Rosalia flowers and answered many more prayers for her. Rosalia’s devotions increased, including the First Fridays and First Saturdays devotions with her kids as well as a daily rosary, and prayers and novenas to various saints.
A few months ago, Rosalia had serious health problems with a potentially serious diagnosis. She started a novena to St. Rita, overlapping with another one to St. Pío de Pietrelcina, and another to St. Jude. “Some days I would also pray the ‘emergency call to the Sacred Heart of Jesus’ nine times per day, or 81 times a day,’’ she explained, “To me, prayers are like medicine. When the pain is bad, you need a stronger dose.” Rosalia remembers her mom in constant prayer. “The power of novenas is impressive.”
Rosalia spoke about many family stories, where near miracles have happened, and continue to occur in her life, in other people's lives, and her family. She prays a Holy Hour for Priests on Thursdays, and on Saturdays a Holy Hour for one Priest, and every day, she prays in front of the Holy Sacrament. She will often pray several novenas at the same time, for her family, for others, and many different situations. She keeps notes in her devotional book and writes what novena she’s doing, for whom, and the petition. Thanks to her constant prayer, Rosalia left her last medical visit with a big smile and a thankful heart to God's goodness, to her close friends, the saints, and to Mary, Our Mother.