Limited Edition Basilica Rosary

Created in the honor of the historic naming of Saint Mary as a Minor Basilica on January 14, 2018, this beautiful, limited-edition Basilica Rosary will be yours for a donation of $70.00 or more to the Basilica Foundation. To order a rosary, click the button below.

Specially crafted by the renowned firm Ghirelli of Rome, this initial offering of the Basilica Rosary replicates the architectural appointments that distinguish the first parish of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Limited in production, proceeds from the Basilica Rosary will benefit the Basilica Foundation, which will undertake improvements and preservation of the church.

About the Basilica Foundation

The Basilica Foundation aims at preserving, restoring, and beautifying the Basilica of Saint Mary as a historical center of worship in Old Town, Alexandria and in our nation. To make a donation to the foundation,

The Crucifix

The Basilica Rosary Crucifix of Our Lord Jesus Christ is a reproduction of the ornately painted and life-size crucifix mounted in the Basilica above the Tabernacle and the Altar of Reservation. Under the pastorate of Monsignor Edward L. Stephens (1943 – 1959), the Crucifix was added to the Sanctuary in 1948 as part of the renovations occurring in the wake of the Sesquicentennial of the parish.   This crucifix replaced the oil painting of the Crucifixion of the Lord that had been installed above the Tabernacle, shown in archival photos from the 1880s.  In 1995, the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Court Kavanaugh No. 54 funded the decorative painting and restoration of this life-size Crucifix for the parish Bicentennial.   In the summer of 2011, bricks from the parapet above the Sanctuary skylight fell onto the Crucifix during the Louisa County Virginia earthquake, destroying the right arm of the corpus of Our Blessed Lord.   Reverend Father Dennis W. Kleinmann, then Pastor (2005 – 2015), arranged for the full restoration of the corpus as it exists to this day.

The Centerpiece

A nickel-silver and blue enamel Miraculous Medal, one of the greatest sacramentals of the Catholic Church, has been chosen as the centerpiece of the Basilica Rosary. The historic casting of the medal in France corresponds to the historical period during which the Basilica was erected at the current South Royal Street location.

Beginning in July 1830, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three separate times at Rue de Bac in Paris, the mother house of the Daughters of Charity. St. Catherine Labouré recorded that Our Lady appeared as if standing on a globe, with rays of light emitted from her fingers. She said these were symbols of the graces to be given to all who asked for them. Around the figure appeared an oval frame with the golden words: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”  On the back appeared the letter “M,” surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it. Under it appears the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. After careful and extensive investigation, the Archbishop of Paris granted permission for these medals to be struck.

On June 30, 1832, the first prototype medals were offered in Paris.  Since that time, devotion and use of the Miraculous Medal spread rapidly among Catholics and even among non-Catholics. On that same day in 1856, the Most Reverend Francis Patrick Kendrick, D.D., Sixth Archbishop of Baltimore, consecrated the current Tabernacle and Main Altar of the Basilica of Saint Mary, installing religiously significant relics where Masses have been offered in the Basilica ever since.  The statue of Our Lady in the Sanctuary of the Basilica (dating from 1895) bears similarities to her image depicted on the Miraculous Medal.  Devotion to the Miraculous Medal continues in the Basilica with the Monday recitation of the Miraculous Medal Novena prayers.

The Special Our Father

The Italian white marble Statue of “Our Lady of Sorrows” (installed in 1895) has a special place in the hearts of the faithful.  A parishioner donated this statue to mark the Centenary of the founding of the parish, when the Basilica was completed and rededicated by the Most Reverend Augustine Van der Vyver, Sixth Bishop of Richmond.  Originally placed above a marble altar on the South Side of the Sanctuary, this statue of Our Lady has occupied other locations throughout the years, before being returned to its original location during the 2010 renovations of the basilica.  The noted international artist, Reed Armstrong designed a pewter and brass floral crown which graces the statue during Ordinary Time.

Each of the Pater Medals of the Basilica Rosary features the image of this iconic statue of Our Patroness on the obverse, along with one of the titles from The Litany of Loreto on the reverse.  This particular Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary may be traced back to the end of the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth centuries in Italy.  For this Rosary, six of the titles have been used to represent the unfailing protection of Our Lady upon the faithful of this parish and diocese.

  • Queen of Confessors: Among the oldest titles given to Our Lady, this reminds the faithful of the many dedicated priests and bishops who have served at the Basilica of Saint Mary throughout her history. The Most Reverend John Carroll, SJ, first Bishop of Baltimore and his successors presided over the founding of the parish. Their over two hundred year legacy for Christ continues to inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Arlington and the “eldest daughter” of the Church in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Queen of Families: As exemplified by the Holy Family, Our Lady reigns as the Queen of all families.  In recalling this title from the litany, we recall the memory of the many families who have come from various countries and cultures to build this parish in the heart of the Port City.  We remember with particular devotion all those deceased parishioners in our historic cemetery.
  • Queen of Martyrs: With this title, we remember those from the parish who have sacrificed themselves for God and country. In addition to those who fought in the many wars of the past two centuries, we also remember the “white martyrs” who defended the faith when it was not welcome in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Queen of Peace: Ordered by Pope Benedict XV in 1917, this is the newest addition to the Litany of Loreto recalls our desire for peace in our hearts, peace in our families, peace in our Church, and throughout the whole world.
  • Queen of Prophets: Our Lady is the “Desire of the Prophets” and the light in times of controversy.  Even in our day, the Blessed Virgin Mary inspires those who would be prophets in our own time, calling the culture to conversion through the Rosary.
  • Queen of the Rosary: Recalling the title of Our Lady from Lourdes and Fatima, this title recalls the messages of those apparitions and the importance of daily devotion to praying the Rosary to combat the evils of our times.

About Ghirelli

Every Rosary from Ghirelli, now a quarter century-old, is conceived and created entirely in Italy — thus preserving our independence and philosophy — and remaining true to our native Italian style and elegance.

Ghirelli has been blessed to design the gift rosaries donated by our last three Holy Fathers during their apostolic journeys and audiences. In addition, we have designed the Rosary Collections of the Vatican Museums, the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and the International Shrine of Fatima, just to mention a few of our collaborations.

We have also received prestigious recognition from such commercially-renowned names as Swarovski®, who put the Ghirelli Collections on display at their Swarovski Creative Center in Milan, and so honoring us for innovative design. These Collections are now made entirely — for the first time — with their matchless crystal. You will find them in our catalog in the section “Ghirelli Precious Collection.”

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