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, January 8, 2012

January 8 -- Feast of Blessed Eurosia Fabris Barban

Blessed Eurosia
Mamma Rosa, as she was called, was beatified in 2005; canonization is pending.  There is no shortage of full saints for this day, but I was drawn to Mamma Rosa's story for a couple of reasons.  First, every once in a while, we have to return to one of those saints (or beatae) who are just good, hard-working, simple folks.  Second, having just contemplated a warrior-king who was beatified for forcing his whole army to accept baptism in exchange for peace, I like the idea that a simple parish priest could write a biography of his mom and she too could become a beata.  Chalk one up for the little people.

Born in 1866, Rosina had only two years of formal school before dropping out to help her parents on the family farm.  Nonetheless, she taught catechism to children, and also gave sewing instructions to area girls.  Declining several marriage proposals, she would seem to have been on a path to spinsterdom, perhaps even nunliness in her later years, but for the death of a neighbor with three small daughters.  While the little girls' father was away with his paternal family, one child died of illness.  Rosina went to the house to care for the other two.  After six months or so, it became evident that the children were hers.  She discussed marriage with her parish priest, who acknowledged that it was "a true act of heroic charity towards others.”  I've got to say that it was a minor act of heroic humility on Carlo Barban's part to make good on an offer to marry this woman who saw marriage as self-sacrifice and who brought to hungry children into the marriage with her.  Carlo and Eurosia made the best of it, though, having nine children of their own. 
Beatification Ceremony

In addition to those eleven children, the Barban household was always open to children in need, and since this was nineteenth century Italy, there were always needy children.  Thus, she earned the nickname Mamma Rosa.  Three of her sons became priests, one of her daughters was a nun, and one of the waifs she took in for a while join the Friars Minor.  She herself became a Franciscan Tertiary (a secular order) following the death of Carlo, for whom she cared during a fatal illness. 

Blessed Eurosia is another model for holiness in daily life, but if canonized, she may become the patron of large families.  Several of the news stories reporting her beatification mentioned that eleven children (nine births + two adoptions) is far from normal.  In the European Union, the average number of children per woman is 1.5, well below replacement rate.  In Mamma Rosa's Italy, the average woman has 1.3 children. 

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