Saint Rose of Viterbo Virgin (1235-1252)

Patronage: People in exile; people rejected by religious orders; Franciscan youth; Viterbo, Italy
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Saint Rose was born in the spring of 1235 at Viterbo, capital of the patrimony of Saint Peter. In those days the emperor Frederick II was oppressing the Church, and many were faithless to the Holy See. But this infant at once seemed filled with grace; she never cried; with tottering steps she sought Jesus in His tabernacle; she knelt before sacred images and listened to sermons and pious conversation, retaining all she heard, and this when she was scarcely three years old. One coarse habit covered her flesh; fasts and disciplines were her delight.
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At the age of seven she wished to enter a monastery of nuns; but God had other designs for her, and she resolved to create a solitude in her father’s house, where she would forever spend all her days. Her mortifications there seem incredible to our time of laxity; she gave herself the discipline three times a day until she fainted from fatigue and loss of blood, and she scarcely ate at all. To those who urged her to mitigate her austerities, she explained so perfectly that happiness consists in suffering for God, that no one could doubt this was so for her.
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Nonetheless she fell ill and nearly died of consumption. She was close to the final agony when suddenly she beheld the Mother of God, and said to those attending her: All of you here, why do you not greet the Queen of the world? Do you not see Mary, the August Mother of my God, coming forward? Let us go to meet Her, and prostrate ourselves before Her majesty! Everyone turned toward the door and knelt down, and the Mother of God spoke to Rose, telling her she must enter the Third Order of Saint Francis, then go out to 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.
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To defend the Church’s rights was already Rose’s burning wish. When hardly ten years old, she arose after her reception into the Franciscan habit, went down to the public square at Viterbo, called upon the inhabitants to be faithful to the Sovereign Pontiff, and vehemently denounced all his opponents. She returned to her house only to redouble her flagellations and macerations; she saw her Saviour on the Cross and nothing could arrest her ardor thereafter. So great was the power of her word and of the miracles which accompanied it, that at the end of several months the Imperial party, after threatening her in vain to stop her preaching, in fear and anger drove her from the city.
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Saint Rose and her parents moved to Soriano, a fortified city, where she continued to do as she had been told by the Mother of God. Then Rose went on by herself to Vitorchiano, where she had understood there was need for her, and continued to win souls by her aspect as much as by her words. She went barefoot and wore a poor tunic at all times, until after some eighteen months, when the emperor had died, she and her parents returned to Viterbo. Innocent IV was brought back in triumph to Rome and the cause of God was won.
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A number of young girls came to her for instruction at Viterbo, and she taught them the principles of modest prudence and faithful love of God. Rose fell ill again and recognized that her end was approaching; she prepared, rejoicing, in solitude for her glorious destiny, and died in her eighteenth year. Not long afterward, she appeared in glory to Alexander IV, and bade him to translate her intact body. He found it fragrant and beautiful, as if still in life. For more than 700 years it has remained supple and unchanged, save for its color, darkened after a fire in the chapel where it reposed.
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Reflection: Rose lived but eighteen years, saved the Church’s cause, and died a Saint. We have lived, perhaps, much longer, but with what result? Every minute something can be done for God. Time is the money for eternity; shall we waste it and have nothing to show for it?
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Prayer to Venerate Any Saint
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Saint Rose of Viterbo: Feast Day September 4
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I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-4)
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And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.
(Rev. 8:3-4)
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ETERNAL Father, I wish to honor St. (Name), and I give Thee thanks for all the graces Thou has bestowed upon him (her). I ask Thee to please increase grace in my soul through the merits of this saint, and I commit the end of my life to him (her) by this special prayer, so that by virtue of Thy goodness and promise, St. (Name) might be my advocate and provide whatever is needed at that hour. Amen.
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PROMISE: “When you wish to honor any particular saint and give Me thanks for all the graces I have bestowed on that saint, I increase grace in your soul through the merits of that saint. When you commit the end of your life to any of the saints by special prayers, I appoint those saints to be your advocates and to provide whatever you need at that hour.”-Our Lord to St. Gertrude
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Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich revealed in her Visions that saints are particularly powerful on their feast days and should be invoked then.

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