St. Rose of Viterbo (1233–1251)
The precise years of Rose of Viterbo’s life and death are uncertain. Most scholars agree she was probably born around the year 1233. It was the season when roses were beginning to bloom and the fourth Sunday of Lent, the Sunday of the Rose. For her parents, the name Rose signified the beauty of the virtues and the love of God in their hearts.
Rose had a great love for the poor and possessed a profound simplicity. When she could obtain from her mother a piece of bread to give to the poor, she was overjoyed. Giving bread to the less fortunate was a sign of Rose’s conversion and a symbol of the suffering Christ’s presence in the lives of the poor.
In 1250 when Rose was 17 years old, she clothed herself in the dress of a Franciscan, wearing a simple garb with a cord around her waist. While walking the streets with a crucifix in her hand, she exhorted others to be faithful to the church.
St. Rose of Viterbo, Virgin of the Third Order of St. Francis, rendered her city famous by her holiness of life, a great number of miracles, and the wonderful integrity of her incorrupt body. Today her memory is held in great honor.