A radical for the faith, she knew what was most important and lived like it.

“I die with joy, for I desire to be united to my God. Live so not as to fear death. For those who live well in this world, death is not frightening, but sweet and precious.” ~ St. Rose of Viterbo

St. Rose was born of poor and pious parents around the year of 1233 in Viterbo, Italy. Early on, she was known to have a great devotion to prayer and to aiding the poor.

When she was just 3 years old, one of her aunts had died. The family was gathered around her coffin mourning their loss, when Rose, grieved by her family’s sadness, walked up to her body, raised her eyes towards heaven, and prayed that God would bring her back to life. Placing her hand on her aunt’s body, she called her name and, immediately, her aunt opened her eyes and came back to life.

At the ripe age of 7, she was already known to have been practicing penance and kept a strict guard over her senses. When she was 10, Our Lady was said to have told Rose to join the Franciscan Third Order, which she promptly did, donning a simple habit and cord.

Three years later, reaching the rebellious teenage age, she began rebelling against the world and preaching publicly in the streets of her city about penance and turning to God. The people listened, and she began to gather quite a following. One time, while a great crowd gathered around her listening to her preach, the stone on which she was standing began to rise in the air and stayed elevated, as she continued to preach.

In 1250, having already deeply affected her local city, the nearby town of Vitorchiano was said to be in the grasps of a supposed sorceress, who had the town performing pagan practices. Rose, not allowing such immorality to exist so close to home, traveled to the town and attempted to convert the sorceress. After several failed attempts, she went for all the marbles. She asked the towns people to gather wood and build a pyre and stood in the middle, ordering them to light it ablaze.

And there she stood for 3 hours, singing the praises of God, completely unscathed by the fire. That quickly brought the entire town to the knees, including the sorceress, and they all converted back to Catholicism.

At the age of 18 in 1251, Rose died of a heart condition and her body remained incorrupt. Recent examinations show she died of a condition known as Cantrell’s Syndrome, which is a condition characterized by an enlarged heart.

Like Rose, may we stand for truth and disregard what the world may think, may we stand for God and disregard the flames of ridicule and insults and have total trust in Him, regardless of the consequences. May we love so large that our heart cannot handle it, may we love with the child-like love of St. Rose of Viterbo.