04 September 2009

Bringing Back the Erring to the Paths of Salvation

Saint Rose of Viterbo had supernatural gifts. At only age three she raised her aunt to life. Rose devoted herself to the penitential life at a very young age. At age seven she was already living the life of a recluse.

Our Blessed Lady miraculously healed Rose of consumption just as she was nearing death. Afterwards, the Holy Mother of God told Rose to join the Third Order of Saint Francis. Our Blessed Mother spoke to Rose: “Reprove, convince, exhort and bring back the erring to the paths of salvation. If your endeavors bring upon you sarcasm and mockery, persecution and labor, you must bear them patiently. Those who assist you will be enriched with all the graces of the Lord.” Rose spent about two years preaching penance to the city of Viterbo, and her success got her banished by the orders of the prefect of the city.

She eventually ended up in the city of Vitorchiano, whose residents lived under the influence of a sorceress. But Rose had the power of God on her side and she managed to convert the entire city, including the sorceress. She did this by standing on a burning pyre, completely enveloped in flames and coming out of it unharmed after three hours.

When papal power was restored to the city of Viterbo, Rose returned there and desired to enter Saint Mary of the Roses monastery but was turned away because of her poverty. She spent her remaining short life in a cell in her father’s house. She died at the age of seventeen, and seven years later her body was transferred to Saint Mary of the Roses which Saint Rose predicted would happen to her body after death.

Saint Rose of Viterbo was gifted with the graces of love for neighbor, the spirit of prayer and a great zeal for the faith.

On 3 September, the eve of her Feast Day, a massive tower is paraded through the city of Viterbo in honor of Saint Rose. The tower is illuminated and is marched through the city whose lights are turned off during this procession.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to the city of Viterbo this Sunday, 6 September.

Heavenly Father,
in the youthful Saint Rose, Your servant,
You combined wonderful courage of soul
and unsullied innocence.
As we celebrate her merits
may we imitate the example of her virtues.