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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 May 25, 2020

“I will take away not the grace but the feeling of grace...

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May 25

 

“I will take away
not the grace but the feeling of grace.
Though I will seem to leave you
I will be closer to you.”

Our Lord to St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi


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

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Pope St. Gregory VII

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cri...

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Pope St. Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII was born Hildebrand in Tuscany, Italy. Little else is known of his early life. Hailed, historically, as one of the greatest of the Church's pontiffs and one of the most remarkable men of all time, his name, Hildebrand, meant “bright flame”. Those who hated him, which were many, interpreted the name as “brand of Hell”.

Hildebrand was a Benedictine monk, for a time living in Cluny, from whence he certainly gleaned the monastery’s ideal of societal reform.

As a cleric, he became chaplain to Pope Gregory VI, and a few years later, under Leo IX was made Cardinal Deacon. A man of outstanding energy and insight, Hildebrand became a power in Rome. It is greatly due to him that the practice of electing popes through a college of cardinals was established.

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cried out for the holy genius who had helped steer the Church for twenty years, “Hildebrand for Pope! Holy Peter wants Hildebrand, the Archdeacon!” Once before the holy monk had eluded the tiara but this time a proper college of cardinals, seconding the popular cry, induced him to accept an honor duly his.

Hildebrand assumed the name Gregory VII, and threw his energy and zeal into a continued reform, especially fighting simony (the sale of ecclesiastical posts) and clerical incontinence.

He confronted Emperor Henry IV head- on about his practice of choosing men for ecclesiastical positions. On meeting with dogged resistance, the pontiff finally had recourse to excommunication which drastically curtailed the proud monarch’s power, ultimately bringing Henry on foot to the Pope at the Castle of Canossa. Because of Henry’s rebellious obstinacy, Pope Gregory saw fit to leave him out in the cold for three days before receiving and reinstating the royal penitent.

But Henry failed to make any true personal reform and alienated his princes who elected another ruler. Still, he later rallied and went as far as electing another Pope, a Clement III, calling down upon himself another sentence of excommunication. He also attacked and entered the Eternal City in 1084, which forced Pope Gregory into exile. Henry had his protégée “pope” crown him Emperor. Ultimately repelled by an army fighting for the true pope, the Emperor Henry left Rome, but complications sent Gregory VII again into exile, this time to die.

His last words before his death were a summary of how he had lived, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

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

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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