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Born in 1235 at Viterbo in the domains of the Papal States, Rose was gifted with a profound spirituality even as a young child. Endowed by God with the gift of miracles, at the age of three she raised her maternal aunt to life. Her great love for the poor compelled her to assist them in every possible way.

From her earliest years she gave herself over to prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners and at seven she retired to a little cell within her parents’ home. Rose’s health succumbed under the severe penances she imposed upon herself and the following year she fell gravely ill.

During her illness Our Lady appeared to her in a dream and cured her. She was instructed by the Mother of God to be clothed in the habit of St. Francis as a tertiary, but to remain at home and be an example to her neighbors.

At this particular time, the city of Viterbo was occupied by the twice-excommunicated Emperor Frederick II. Frederick was at war with the Papacy and had sworn to conquer all of the Papal States. Inspired by Divine Providence, Rose would issue forth from her seclusion and preach in the streets and public squares of her city.

With a crucifix in her hand, the young missionary would describe for the growing crowds the sufferings of Our Lord during His Passion, thereby showing them the heinousness of sin. With deep concern she exhorted them to repent of their sins and to convert.

Urging them to be faithful to the authority of the Pope, Rose likewise admonished those who yielded to the Emperor. Before long, crowds began to gather in the vicinity of her home, hoping for a glimpse of her. When her father, frightened by all the attention his daughter attracted, forbade her to even leave the house to preach under pain of physical punishment, the local parish priest intervened and convinced him to withdraw his prohibition.

For two years the child Franciscan preached conversion to her fellow citizens. Her ardent words were often accompanied by prodigies that stunned the crowds. The stone on which she stood to speak, for example, was seen to rise up off the ground and sustain her in midair during her preaching.

While the general population was moved to conversion and penance by her words and example, the partisans of the Emperor were incensed against the young preacher and actively clamored for her death. The civil authorities, however, while they were alarmed by her public exhortations, they would not go so far as to condemn a mere child to death and instead exiled her and her parents from Viterbo.

In January, 1250 they took refuge first in Soriano, where, on December 5 of the same year Rose prophesied the imminent death of the emperor. Her prediction came to pass on December 13 and soon after, Pope Innocent IV regained control of the Papal States through a stipulation in the emperor’s own will which directed that all lands he had taken from the Church be returned.

Soon afterwards, Rose and her parents went to Vitorchiano. A sorceress there had greatly influenced the citizens of this hillside town and the young apostle set about her public preaching once more. Her exhortations moved the people but failed with the sorceress herself. Undaunted, Rose had an immense wooden pyre built in the public square and climbing to the top, she had it set on fire. For three hours she stood unscathed in the midst of the devouring flames singing the praises of God. Sincerely moved by the miracle, the repentant sorceress fell to her knees.

With the restoration of the papal authority in Viterbo in 1251, Rose and her parents returned to their native city. She sought admittance to the Poor Clares at the Monastery of St. Mary of the Roses but was turned away for lack of a dowry. Humbly submitting to this decision, she foretold her admission to the convent after her death. A mere fifteen years of age, her subsequent attempts to establish a religious community near the monastery with the help of her parish priest proved equally disappointing. She therefore retired once more to a cell in her family home where she died two years later on March 6, 1252. She was first buried in the Church of Santa Maria in Podio and later in the church of the Monastery where she had once requested admission.

Her last prophesy was fulfilled on September 4, 1258 but the many miracles attributed to her intercession continue to this day. Not least among the numerous favors granted to St. Rose of Viterbo by Almighty God is the ongoing incorrupt preservation of her body.

As recently as 2010, scientific research on her incorrupt body revealed that she had died of a rare heart condition known as Cantrell’s Syndrome and not of tuberculosis as had been previously thought.

 


 

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 9, 2020

If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your...

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July 9

 

If you persevere until death
in true devotion to Mary,
your salvation is certain.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

“Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!” exclaimed Fr...

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St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Augustine Zhao Rong, is one of a group of 120 Catholics, among many more who were martyred between the years 1648 and 1930 in China.

Having come to China through Syria in the seventh century, down through the centuries Christianity has in turn thrived or gone into hiding, contingent upon the relations of China with the outside world.

Of the 120 martyrs mentioned above, eighty-seven were Chinese, ranging in age from nine to seventy-two, and four of them were priests. Thirty-three were foreign-born, mostly priests or women religious. Though the missionaries and religious tried to distance themselves from foreign policies, the Chinese government did not differentiate and saw them all as westerners.

The martyrdoms of China are most moving, each person having died heroically though many of them suffered torture and cruel deaths. Fr. Francis Li, grandson of a Chinese martyr, describes his grandfather going to his death joyfully saying to his brother and son, “Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!”

Zhao Rong was a bailiff of a county jail. During the persecution of 1772, he was moved by the words of Fr. Martinus Moye to his fellow Catholic prisoners, and, ultimately converted. He later became a priest, and when in 1815 another persecution broke out, he was arrested and tortured, and being aged, died of the ill treatment.

The group of 120 martyrs celebrate today headed by St. Augustine Zhao Rong was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. N...

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A Young Man and His Lady Love

In twelfth century England, a group of young men had gathered and were bragging of their various feats, as young men have done since the beginning of time.

The lively conversation went from archery to sword fighting to horsemanship, each trying to outdo the accomplishments of the others.

Finally, the young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

Thomas of Canterbury meant the most holy Virgin as the object of his affection, but afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast. He did not want to offend his beloved Lady in any way.

Seeing all from her throne in heaven, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: "Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you."

The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, blood-red in color. Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England.

Many years later, he would indeed be persecuted by the king, and Thomas fled to the Cistercian monastery at Pontignac, in France.

Far from kith and kin, but never far from his Lady Love, he was attempting to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore and had ripped. Not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with special kindness, took the haircloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done.

After this, at the age of 50, he returned to Canterbury and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

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