Fortuna Agrelli, a young girl from Naples, was suffering from an incurable disease. She had been given up by the most physicians in their place. On February 16, 1884, the Fortuna and her relatives commenced a novena of Rosaries. Our Lady, favored her with an apparition on March 3, 1884. Our Lady, was sitting upon a high throne, surrounded by luminous figures, held the divine Child on her lap, and in her hand a Rosary. The Virgin Mother and the holy Infant were in gold-embroidered garments. They were accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. Fortuna marveled at the beauty of Our Lady and she asked her as “Queen of the Rosary,” for her cure. Our Blessed Mother replied that, since she had called her the title that was so pleasing to her, she could not refuse her request; she then told her to make three novenas of the rosary to obtain all she asked for. The child was indeed cured, and soon after Our Lady appeared to her again saying: “Whosoever wants to obtain favors from me must make three novenas of the prayers of the Rosary in petition and three novenas in thanksgiving.” This is how the Rosary Novenas devotion to Mary originated.
In 1883 a sanctuary was built for the image and consecrated in 1891. Many miracles are attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Pompeii. The image of Our Lady of Pompeii represents Our Lady of the Rosary as Queen of Heaven. She and Her Son, Jesus, are handing out Rosaries to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena. The Pompeii portrait is derived from the Eastern icon style of the 6th century.