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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 November 18, 2019

Better a few staunch and sincere Catholics, than many compli...

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November 18

 

Better a few staunch and sincere Catholics,
than many compliant with the enemies of the Church
and conformed to the foes of our Faith.

St. Peter Canisius


DEFEND Our Lady's HONOR !

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

During the French Revolution, the Sisters of the Visitation...

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St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Born on August 29, 1769 in the French city of Grenoble, Rose Philippine was baptized in the Church of St. Louis. She was educated at the Convent of the Visitation of Ste. Marie d'en Haut and, against her father’s wishes, became a novice there when she was eighteen years old. However, the French Revolution caused much disruption for the nuns, and when the Sisters of the Visitation were expelled from their convents, Rose returned home.

She cared for the sick and the poor, helped fugitive priests, visited prisons, and taught children. Some time after the Revolution ended, she unsuccessfully tried to reestablish the Visitation community, and ultimately gave the convent to St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and joined the Order. When the Bishop of New Orleans, William Du Bourg, requested nuns for his thriving diocese in Louisiana, Rose and four other nuns made the trip to America in 1818.

Rose and the nuns were sent to Missouri, pioneers of the New World. There, as well in neighboring states, they established multiple schools, built a convent, an orphanage, a mission school for Indian girls, a boarding academy and a novitiate for her Order. However, the strenuous and difficult regime of work for her apostolate took its toll on her body. She died in St. Charles, Missouri in 1852 after spending more than 30 years as a pioneer in the evangelization of the New World. She was canonized in 1988. Rose was truly devoted to God, and prayed in her every spare moment. Because of this, the Indians began to call her “Quah-kah-ka-num-ad,” or "Woman-Who-Prays-Always."

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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