Saint of the Day: St. Rosalia

St. Rosalia, also affectionately nicknamed her La Santuzza, the little saint, was the daughter of a noble family descended from Charlemagne. She was born at Palermo, Sicily in 1130. In her youth, her heart turned from earthly vanities to God. She left her home and took up her abode in a cave, on the walls of which she wrote these words: "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." She remained there entirely hidden from the world.

She practiced great penances and lived in constant communion with God. Afterward she transferred her abode to Mount Pellegrino, about three miles from Palermo, in order to triumph entirely over the instincts of flesh and blood, in sight of her paternal home. She is said to have appeared after death and to have revealed that she spent several years in a little excavation near the grotto. She died alone, in 1160, ending her strange and wonderful life, unknown to the world.

In 1625, during  the outbreak of  the Black Plague, a hermit had a vision of a woman who instructed him to search for her remains. A group of monks, led by the hermit, did as the woman requested and found the cave on Mount Pellegrino where she had died. Her remains were paraded through the streets. The plague ended shortly thereafter, and Rosalia was credited with ending this suffering.

 The traditional celebration of Rosalia lasted for days, involved fireworks and parades, and her feast day was made a holy day of obligation by Pope Pius XI in 1927.  The celebration, called the festino, is still held each year to commemorate her miraculous intervention that saved Palermo from the Black Plague. She is the patroness of Palermo, Sicily, Sicily, and Isola delle Femine.   

Visit this website to read more about the Feast of St. Rosalia.    


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