The Catholic Defender: St. ROSA VENERINI
ROSA VENERINI was born in Viterbo, on February 9, 1656
Rose was born at Viterbo in Italy, the daughter of a doctor. Following the death of her fiancé she entered a convent, but soon returned home to care for her newly widowed mother. Meanwhile, Rose invited the women of the neighborhood to recite the rosary in her home, forming a sort of sodality with them.
Only after several years, and one disappointing failed attempt, did Rosa manage to start a school in Rome, during 1713. Three years later, Pope Clement XI paid a visit accompanied by eight cardinals. Witnessing the work of Rosa Venerini’s teachers, the Pope personally thanked her, declaring: “With these schools you will sanctify Rome.”
(9 February 1656 – 7 May 1728) was a pioneer in the education of women and girls in 17th-century Italy and the foundress of the Religious Teachers Venerini
As she looked to her future under the spiritual guidance of a Jesuit priest, Rose became convinced that she was called to become a teacher in the world rather than a contemplative nun in a convent. Clearly, she made the right choice: She was a born teacher, and the free school for girls she opened in 1685 was well received.
Rose use to gather the women and girls of the neighborhood to say the rosary together in the evenings, and when she found how ignorant many of them were of their religion, she began to instruct them.
Soon the cardinal invited her to oversee the training of teachers and the administration of schools in his diocese of Montefiascone. As Rose’s reputation grew, she was called upon to organize schools in many parts of Italy, including Rome. Her disposition was right for the task as well, for Rose often met considerable opposition but was never deterred.
She died in Rome in 1728, where a number of miracles were attributed to her. She was beatified in 1952 and canonized in 2006. The sodality, or group of women she had invited to prayer, was ultimately given the rank of a religious congregation. Today, the so-called Venerini Sisters can be found in the United States and elsewhere, working among Italian immigrants.
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.
Rosa (also known as St. Rose) was declared a saint in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI, who spoke in his canonization homily of her courageous work for “the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time.”
Her work is continued today by the “Venerini Sisters.”
St. Rosa (also known as St. Rose) was declared a saint in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI, who spoke in his canonization homily of her courageous work for “the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time.”