The feast day of St. Rose of Viterbo is celebrated on September 4. Rose was born in Viterbo, Italy in 1234. The city was in revolt against the pope. Her family was exiled for supporting the Pope. After the Pope won the dispute, Rose returned to the city.
St. Rose was pious from a very young age. She practiced contemplative prayer by age 7. She had the gift of miracles and visions. While still a child she is credited with the healing of her Aunt who was believed to be dead. At the age of ten, Mary instructed her to join the 3rd Order of St. Francis. Shortly after, Our Lord appeared to her on a cross wearing a crown of thorns. When Rose asked him why this had happened he told her his deep love for men was the reason. Rose persisted asking him who had pierced him. He told her:
The sins of men have done it.
This vision inspired young Rose to take to the streets preaching penance. St. Rose tried and failed to join the Order of Poor Clare’s due to lack of a dowry. She tried to found a religious community of her own but it was not approved. She lived a life of prayer and penance in her father’s home. She died in 1251 at the age of 18.
The body of St. Rose was discovered to be incorrupt and lies in the monastery of St. Mary of the Roses which refused her entry. St. Rose was canonized in 1457.
Rose’s dying words to her parents were:
“I die with joy, for I desire to be united to my God. Live so as not to fear death. For those who live well in the world, death is not frightening, but sweet and precious.“
Quote of St. Rose of Viterbo
September is the Month of Our Sorrowful Mother