This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6 -- Feast of St. Rose of Viterbo

They don't make them like St. Rose anymore. A precocious child, especially for the thirteenth century, Rose raised her mother's sister from the dead at age three. Yeah, that's how Rose rolls.

By age seven, she was a penitent recluse, penancing (not a real verb) herself into near death over and over, only to be resuscitated by the intervention of the Virgin Mary. Some might call that pushing one's luck or testing the patience of the Holy Mother, but Rose knew she was doing God's will. That's how Rose rolls.

At age thirteen, she was already out, preaching in the streets. This was politically a problem because there was some sort of theological dispute involving Viterbo's occupation by the Holy Roman Emperor, who was almost always neither holy nor Roman. After she raised a ruckus, the Emperor's minions ordered Rose and her family to leave the city. Rose then foretold the imminent death of the Emperor, a prophecy that promptly came true. Again, that's how Rose rolls.

She went to the town of Vitorchiano, which was suffering under the curse of a sorceress. She told them they all needed to repent and rededicate themselves to God. She got some traction, but fear and resistance were strong. The sorceress was apparently a pretty powerful chick too. So Rose had a pyre built in the town square and ordered it lit. Then she herself (thought it was a witch-burning story, right?) stood in the fire for three hours, preaching the Word of God. Even the sorceress was born again after that demonstration, recognizing the power of how Rose rolls.

Okay, here's the part of the story I don't get. She wanted to join the monastery of St. Mary of the Roses, a Poor Clare monastery. The Poor Clares were a Franciscan order of nuns, and we all know how St. Francis was all about the poverty. One source tells that Rose was repeatedly refused admittance to the Poor Clares, but it doesn't say why. Another source says that she was denied admittance to the monastery because of her poverty. The latter seems wrong to me, especially since these visions and trouble-making preachings and miracles would have been far more disruptive to the quiet life of the convent than just another mouth to feed. But Rose didn't mind too much because she prophesied her admittance to the monastery after her death, and even in that, she was right. Pope Alexander IV ordered the monastery to lay her body to rest among the other deceased sisters of the convent. Yeah, Rose rolls like that.

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