Javascript is currently disabled. This site requires Javascript to function correctly. Please enable Javascript in your browser!

Saint Rosalia

Saint Rosalia
  • Century: 12th Century
  • Patronage: Evolutionary Studies, Palermo
  • Feast Day: September 4th

Rosalia was born of a Norman noble family that claimed descent from Charlemagne.  Rosalia was known for piety, and was devoutly religious, even at an early age.  She retired to a life as a hermit, in a cave on Mount Pellegrino, where she died alone, in 1166 at the age of 36.  She was said to be a beautiful woman.  Tradition tells us that she was led there, to that cave, by two angels.  On that cave wall, where she spent her life as a hermit, she wrote on it’s wall the following, “I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses, have taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ”. 

In 1624, 458 years after Rosalia’s death, a horrible plague struck Palermo.  During this hardship, Rosalia appeared to a sick woman and healed her.  She then appeared to a hunter, in which she indicated where her remains were to be found.  She ordered him to bring her bones to Palermo, and have them carried in procession through the City.  

The hunter climbed the mountain and found her bones in the cave, as she had described.  He did what she had asked of him in the apparition, and after the procession the plague ceased immediately.  After this great miracle, St. Rosalia would be venerated as the patron saint of Palermo, and a sanctuary was built in the cave where her remains were discovered.  

This celebration called the “Festino” is still held each year in Palermo.  It is one of the largest social and religious events in Palermo.   Also an event related to the Festino and St. Rosalia; a tradition of walking barefoot from Palermo up to Mount Pellegrino is held annually to honor and venerate St. Rosalia.  Also, in the United States, this September feast day, beginning in August, brings large numbers of visitors annually to the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, in New York City, to honor St. Rosalia, and participate in the “Festino” in America. 

Practical Take Away

St. Rosalia heard the voice of God at a very young age, and followed that call.  Two angels led her to a cave, where she would live in “Honor of Jesus” for the rest of her life as a hermit.  Nearly 500 years later, she appeared to a sick lady in Palermo, and then to a hunter – instructing him as to where her bones where.  He was to gather those bones and then to parade through town.  Immediately after that procession, the town’s plague ceased.  St. Rosalia chose to spend her life on this earth, in complete communion with God.  She chose to do that by becoming a hermit and living in solitude in a cave, just as the two angels had instructed her to do.  There, she could clearly hear the voice of God, and become one with His Will for her.  How many times do we stop in our daily lives, to hear the voice of God?  Are we in any form of communion with God?  Her life shows us that we must find ways in our life, to be in communion with God, and that means more than just going to Mass on Sunday.  We would benefit greatly, to call upon St. Rosalia, to intercede for us and help us find that same communion with God that she had.  It is worth the effort, and will bring us too, to Sainthood.