Immaculate Conception Novena


Nine days. This was how long it took the Persian angaros (couriers) to deliver a message from one corner of the Empire to another.[1] What was the secret of their lightning-fast speed? The Persian Royal Road. One of the great engineering feats of King Darius I’s reign was the building of the Persian Royal Road. It stretched over roughly 1,5000 miles traversing deserts, mountains, and river valleys.

Starting tomorrow we also have nine days. Nine days to begin our journey towards the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. To prepare our hearts we will also follow a royal road, “the royal road to spiritual maturity and freedom[2], the royal road of the Beatitudes.

Since we are preparing for Mary’s great feast, we will walk this royal road of the Beatitudes with Mary. After Jesus, she lived them most perfectly. Thus, the intention of this novena is to help us live the Beatitudes by following her example.

When he wrote about the Persian couriers traveling the Royal Road, Herodotus said, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor dark of night keeps them from completing their appointed course.”[3] Confident in the Holy Spirit’s help, may the same be said for us, Mary’s children, who tomorrow will set-out to reach our appointed course: a deeper knowledge and love of Jesus through Mary in honor of her Immaculate Conception.

Godspeed in making this novena all Hers!


Fr. Christopher Etheridge, IVE



[1] Cf. Kia, Mehrdad, The Persian Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia. (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2016), p. 127.

[2] St. John Paul II, Homily on the Mount of the Beatitudes, March 24th, 2000

[3] Herodotus, The Histories, 8.98.1