A Rosary for the Dead on All Souls’ Day (Nov 2)

This rosary is typically prayed every day during the octave of the festa dei morti (feast of the dead), known more officially in Italian as the Commemorazione di Tutti i Fideli Defunti (Commemoration of All Deceased Faithful), and among English-speaking countries as All Souls’ Day. In many Catholic countries, All Souls’ Day (November 2) is a time for remembering the dead. It can be celebrated by praying, visiting and cleaning up loved ones’ graves, making offerings of food or flowers, or paying for masses to be said in honor of the departed.

A man eats at a tomb in San Demeterio Corone, Calabria on All Souls’ Day. Via Benedicaria.

The octave lasts from November 2 to November 10. If you wish to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory as is done in Sicilian folk tradition, you can use the words below. Sicilian rosaries can be prayed on standard rosary beads, reciting one posta for each of the large beads, and one grani for each of the small beads. (More official prayers for the dead can be found in the Raccolta, the pre-Vatican II guide to indulgences. A free PDF is available online here.)  I have included an English translation, but the Sicilian is pronounced very similar to Italian if you feel comfortable with that language.

This rosary from Sicilian oral tradition was originally transcribed and published by Sara Favarò in A Cruna: Antologia di Rosari Siciliani. I have chosen to translate “arrifriscati” (lit. “refresh yourselves”) as “be cooled”. “Refreshment” in Southern Italian and Sicilian magico-religious thought is relief from the heat and suffering of Purgatory. Souls grateful for refreshment are disposed to work miracles on behalf of those who pray for them. The concept is similar to the idea of cooling heated spirits in spiritism and African Diasporic Traditions.



Per li setti battitura
chi patì nostru Signuri
pi li chiova arribuccati
Armuzzi Santi, arrifriscati.
Armi Santi, Armi Santi
iò sugnu sula vui siti tanti
pi la nostra orazioni
livatimilla ‘sta cunfusioni.
Quannu vui ‘n celu acchianati
pi nui piccatura priati
arma ‘n celu e corpu ‘n terra
recam eterna.


Armi Santi e santi veri
Armuzzi Santi miserere
e Maria pi so buntati
Armuzzi Santi arrifriscati.



By the seven beatings
that our Lord suffered,
by the twisted nails,
Holy Souls: be cooled.
Holy Souls, Holy Souls,
I am one, you are many.
By our prayer,
take away from me this confusion.
When you ascend to heaven,
pray for us sinners.
Soul in heaven and body in earth,
eternal peace.


Holy Souls and true saints,
merciful Holy Souls,
and Maria by her goodness,
Holy Souls: be cooled.


Sicilian rosary to Saint Joseph

Transcription courtesy of Preghiere Siciliane:


San Giusippuzzu fustivu patri
virgini fustivu comu la Matri
Maria la rosa, Giuseppi lu gigghiu
datini aiutu, riparu e cunsigghiu.

Scura ora e aggiorna dumani
la pruvvidenza nn’aviti a mannari
la pruvvidenza di la casa mia
l’aspettu di Gesu, Giuseppi e Maria.


Ludamu l’eternu Quantu, lu Patri, lu Figghiu e lu Spiritu Santu
Sia lodatu e binidittu sia lu nomu di Gèsu, Giuseppi e Maria.

Pater Noster

Ave Maria 

Sicilian rosaries to Santa Lucia

Rosary to Santa Lucia

In Sicilian:

“Santa Lucia amabile e castusa
partistivu di la vostra Siracusa
tutta amabili e amurusa
china di peni e di fracelli
vi livaru poi li dui belli ucchicelli.
Vui sula ca siti accussì miraculusa
sarvatini di l’occhi miccilusa.
Comu sarvastivu fortimenti l’avanzata greca
a la vostra amata Catana
tinitini forti l’occhi finu all’urtimu jornu
di la nostra esistenza
ca a vui facemu pinitenza.
Senza pani e senza carni si ciberà lu corpu miu
chinu di piccati
e daranno luci a li occhi finu all’urtimu jornu
di la nostra cruci.”

In Italian:

Santa Lucia amabile e casta
partiste dalla vostra Siracusa
tutta amabile e amorosa
colma di pene e flagelli
vi levarono poi i due occhietti belli.
Voi soltanto che siete così miracolosa
salvateci dalle cecità.
Come salvaste con vigore dall’avanzata greca
la vostra amata Catania
preservateci con vigore gli occhi fino all’ultimo giorno
della nostra esistenza
che a voi facciamo penitenza.
Senza pane e senza carne si ciberà il corpo mio
pieno di peccati
e daranno luce agli occhi fino all’ultimo giorno
della nostra croce.

In English:

Saint Lucy lovely and chaste
you left your Syracuse
all lovely and amorous
filled with pains and floggings
there arose then two beautiful eyes
You who are only so miraculous
save us from blindness.
As you with vigor saved from the Greek advance
your beloved Catania
preserve with vigor our eyes until the last day
of our existence
that to you we do penitence.
Without bread and without meat you will eat my body
full of sins
and you will give light to the eyes until the last day
of our cross.”

Recite one Pater Noster, then: 

In Sicilian:

“Santa Cruci biniditta
santa Lucia sempri a la dditta
cu lu calici e la parma duna focu a la nostra arma.
Cu lu mantu russu sia duna luci a li occhi mia.”

In Italian:

“Santa Croce benedetta
santa Lucia sempre all’impiedi
con il calice e la palma incendia la nostra anima.
Con il manto rosso dà luce ai miei occhi.”

In English:
“Blessed holy cross
holy Lucy always at the foot
with the chalice and lit palm of our soul.
With the red cloak give light to my eyes.”

At the end of the rosary, look up into the sky and kiss the earth, and make the sign of the cross.

Another Rosary to Santa Lucia


In Sicilian:

“Santa Lucia ‘n mezzu a lu mari chi ciancia.
A ‘ncontra Santu ‘Lia, chi ha’ Lucia?”

In Italian:

“Santa Lucia in mezzo al mare che piangeva
L’incontra Santo Elia, cosa hai Lucia?”

In English:

“Saint Lucy in the middle of the sea crying
Encounter Saint Elias, what is wrong with Lucy?”


In Sicilian:

“Haiu un duluri nna st’occhiu.
S’è di sangu fallu squagghiari
s’è di purpu jettalu a mari.”

In Italian:

“Ho un dolore in quest’occhio.
Se è di sangue fallo sciogliere
se è di polipo buttalo a mare.”

In English:

“I have a pain in this eye.
If it is from foul blood dissolve
If it is from from octopus throw it in the sea.”

Sara Favarò, A Cruna. Antologia di Rosari Siciliani.