Saint Rose of Viterbo
Saint Rose was born around the year 1233 to parents John and Catherine, a devout family that worked for the Poor Clare’s monastery in Viterbo, a commune of the Papal States. As a young child, she had a deep devotion to the poor which manifested itself through prayer and acts of aid. After receiving what was reported to be a visitation from the Blessed Virgin Mary, Rose became a Third Order Franciscan at the age of ten and began preaching against heresies that were being spread in the region of Viterbo. Through her preaching, she attracted many followers. She became what we today would refer to as a community organizer. In her late teenage years, she organized marches and protests in favor of Pope Innocent IV against the secular authorities of led by Fredrick II. Due to this action, the governor of Viterbo banished Rose and her family from their home city of Viterbo. Moving to Soriano, Rose and her family continued to preach in favor of the Church and Pope. Legend has it that in early December of 1250, Saint Rose predicted the death of Fredrick II and the Pope would be victorious in the struggles. Later that month on the 13th Fredrick II died and the pope regained control of the papal states. Her family would move back to Viterbo in 1251 and Saint Rose would attempt to join the Poor Clare’s convent that her parents worked in but because her family did not have the means to support her she was not accepted into the convent. Saint Rose died on March 6th in 1252 and was interred in that convent five years later on September 4th. She was canonized 200 years later by Pope Callixtus III.
There are two stories of miracles that accompany the life of Saint Rose. At a very young age, a favorite aunt of hers took ill and died from the sickness. It was said that, when her aunt was laid in the coffin, the three-year-old Rose knelt down, lifted her hands in prayer and upon praying the name of her aunt she rose from the coffin and from the dead.
The second miraculous story of Saint Rose, came later in her life when her family was exiled from Viterbo. Before returning to Viterbo they had settled in the town of Vitorchiano. A sorceress was gaining renown and Rose would preach against her. Through her preaching, Rose was able to convert the sorceress’ followers but the sorceress remained unrepentant. To convert the sorceress Rose built a wooden pyre in the town square, climbed atop and had it lit. She stood amidst the flames unaffected for three hours. This miraculous event demonstrated the power of God and converted the sorceress.
Miracles surrounding Saint Rose of Viterbo continue to this day. Saint Rose of Viterbo is one of the incorruptibles. Her skin has darkened but remains flexible and her internal organs, having been evaluated in 2010, remain in good condition.
Saint Rose of Viterbo, Pray for us.
|Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI prays at the body of Saint Rose of Viterbo|
2. Cleary, G. (1912). St. Rose of Viterbo. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved March 6, 2017: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13193a.htm
3. Miller, Fr. Don O.F.M, Saint of the Day: Saint Rose of Viterbo. Retrieved March 6, 2017: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-rose-of-viterbo/
4. Swaim, Colleen. Radiate: More Stories of Daring Teen Saints. Liguori Press, Missouri (2012)