St. Rose Venerini

MAY 07

                   (Italian, Founded Sodality of Women [later known as Venerini Sisters]                     
Memorial : 7 May

Rosa was born in Viterbo, Italy in the year 1656, of a very religious family. She received from her parents a good Christian formation and a good education.
From childhood she made a vow to become a nun, but during her youth she was deeply moved by the poverty and ignorance of the young girls of her town, and she began to think that perhaps it would be better to do something for them than to be in a convent.

She invited into her house the young girls and women of her neighborhood to pray the rosary together, and she realized that none of them knew how to pray.

She began to question them about catechism, and all of them remained silent in surprise. Rosa understood that the woman of her time was a slave of ignorance and poverty, destined to the heaviest work, and that no one worried about her well-being. So she prayed intensely to understand the Will of God, and with two friends, decided to open a school for poor girls. It was the month of August 1685. Each day a little girl passed by the streets of Viterbo ringing a bell and calling all the girls and young women of the city. Lessons began with prayer, followed by Catechesis, female manual work, and learning to read and write well. In a short time, Rosa’s school changed appearance and she received petitions from bishops and cardinals to found other schools. The Teachers (“Maestras”) were not religious sisters, but they lived as such and were called Pious Teachers (“Maestras Pias”), and in Rome they were even called “Holy Teachers”.

In the year 1713 Rosa opened a school in Rome and Pope Clement XI paid her the honor of a visit. The Pope stayed the whole morning in the school, along with eight cardinals, listening to the class of catechism and asking the students questions. At the end of the visit, he called Rosa and her companions, he thanked her for their precious work, he gave her a silver medal and said to them: “I desire that these schools spread to all of our cities.” Within a short time the schools opened up everywhere.

Rosa knew that the woman is carrier of a plan of love, but if her heart is enslaved by fear, ignorance, and sin, this plan would never be visible. For this reason, her charism today is proclaimed as “Educate to Liberate”.

On October 15 2006 His Holiness Benedict XVI declared her a Saint. The miracle that brought her to the altars happened in Ebolowa, Cameroon: Serge, a boy in a leprosarium of ‘Ngalan was miraculously cured through the intercession of Saint Rosa, the saint that always loved the little ones, dedicated her life to them, and continues to protect them.

(Courtesy of Sr. Mariateresa Crescini – Maestra Pia of Rosa Venerini


Whatever state of life God calls us to, we bring with us an assortment of experiences, interests and gifts—however small they seem to us. Rose’s life stands as a reminder that all we are is meant to be put to service wherever we find ourselves.

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