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.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17 -- Feast of Saint Rosalina de Villeneuve

Looking good for 700 years old
Way down in the south of France, about forty-five minutes west of Cannes by car, is a chateau with an old, old vineyard making some very pricy wines.  They make some very affordable wines too, but the pricy ones caught my eye (of course).  You can get a Perle de Rosaline - blended from Grenache, Syrah and Carignan grapes -- for about 6.25€ which should be about $8.36. I know some folks who pay more for their cooking wine, but I'm not too spoiled to drink and eight dollar bottle of wine. At the other end of the price list, you can pay 84.00€ for a bottle of La Chapelle de Sainte Rosaline Rouge, which is about $112.
The eyes have it (old pun... old eyes)

So who was this Saint Rosaline, you ask?  She was born to a noble family in the neighborhood around 1267.  Her mom died while she was young, so dad placed her with relatives for a normal childhood.  Normal's relative -- she wound up in an abbey that was run by her aunt, Jeanne de Villeneuve.  The abbey, La Celle-Roubaud, was named for the hermit who had gathered a small group of monks there prior to it's reassignment to nuns.  [Don't worry about the monks; they were transferred to Aix.]  Rosaline found a friend and patron in Jacques Duéze, the Bishop of Fréjus, who later became Pope John XXII.  Five years after her death in 1329, Pope John XXII ordered Elzear de Villeneuve, the Bishop of Digne, to exhume and examine her body.  Not only was it found incorrupt, as befits a saint, but her eyes were bright and lively, as if she had never died.  Elzear immediately ordered her eyes removed from her head and placed in a reliquary so that pilgrims could marvel at the miraculous preservation.  Her body was also displayed in a chapel.  In 1360, it was placed in a glass coffin so that she could be viewed but insects would not disturb her incorruptness with their corrupt little mandibles and their corrupt little larvae. 

See Dad, just rose petals. 
She's got a couple miracles to her credit.  One is often told of religious young ladies who are smuggling food to needy neighbors.  Like the others, she got busted by her cost-conscious father with an apron full of food.  When he demanded to see it, however, a pile of rose petals were in the apron.  Many years later, when her brother was a prisoner of war in the Crusades, a vision of Rosaline appeared to him in a cloud of roses, broke his chains, and led him back across the sea to their family castle.  

These days, the estate is mostly vineyard, but the chapel and shrine are of course part of the tour.  I don't know how many of those Chateau-Saint-Somebodys actually have their saint on the grounds, but if I were doing a wine-tour, a vineyard with a patron and a reliquary would be my first choice.


  1. so your traveling around and you know everything about each place already?

  2. I can travel virtually anywhere. Or rather, I can travel anywhere virtually.

  3. where can i find a Saint Rosalina medal? I have been looking to buy one for years!