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.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 4 -- Feast of La Santuzza

La Santuzza in repose in her cave (statue, obviously) 
Saint Rosalia is affectionately known as La Santuzza, meaning the Little Saint.  She was born to Sicilian aristocracy, or rather to Frankish aristocrats who were governing Sicily, since she was a descendant of Charlemagne. Not much is told of her childhood, but upon maturity (what was that, maybe age thirteen in the 1100s?), she decided to move into a cave up in the hills near the town of Santo Stephano Quisquina.

Venerated in Brooklyn

We know the names of her dad from an inscription she left in the cave where she lived.  I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, have taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.  Later she moved into a cave on Mount Pellegrino, near Palermo.

Hike up Monte Quisquina in her honor
Unlike other hermits, she was not venerated by her neighbors as a living saint.  No royalty came to see her counsel, no pilgrims flocked to collect holy water from her well, and no pupils camped on her doorstep to beg instruction.  In fact, she died in the company of no one but God and her body was interred only by the natural elements over a few centuries.

In the seventeenth century (dates vary), a plague struck Palermo.  La Santuzza appeared to a sick woman, revealing something, but the woman was too ill to act on it.  Then La Santuzza appeared to a hunter, guiding him to her bones and instructing him to recover them as relics.  He did so and the plague was immediately ended.  She is deeply revered as a saint to this day.  Her festival is a big bash, not only in Palermo, but in Bensonhurst (a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York) and other Sicilian communities.  Monterey, California has a three-day fishing tournament and Italian heritage festival in her honor.

Eire go brach!
It is also the feast of Saint Monessa, an Irish virgin who converted to Christianity after hearing Saint Patrick preach.  She died immediately after her baptism.  It must have taken some AAA+ preaching to spin that bad omen back to the credit column.  I don't imagine he got a whole lot more converts in that little town.  And since her dad was the local chieftain, it was probably a good time to move on to the next county.

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