Preaching with Words and Actions: St. Rose of Viterbo

Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care

On September 4th, we celebrate the feast day of St. Rose of Viterbo, a Third Order Franciscan. She lived in Italy in the mid-1200s, following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Rose was bold in her preaching in the streets like the Franciscan Friars, especially in that she preached against the tyrannical rule of Emperor Frederick II, who opposed the Pope. She focused her preaching on the words of Christ and the life of Mary.

Blessed Angela, foundress of the Felician Sisters, lived during a time of occupation of Poland by Russia. She and her Sisters continued their good works for those in need during that time, preaching by their actions. Blessed Angela was focused on the suffering of her nation and how she might work to alleviate that pain. The Sisters helped Polish rebels to escape. They fed the poor who struggled under occupation. Their continual respect for the human dignity and solidarity with the poor was revealed in their compassion. In September of 1864, the Felician Sisters were suppressed by the occupying government of Russia in Poland, who ordered them to remove their habits and disband in Warsaw. But, their growth was invigorated and the Congregation reunited in Cracow where they found more freedom.

At Felician Village, I see people preaching everyday with their kind words and with their caring actions. May we keep in mind the bold models that St. Rose of Viterbo and other Franciscan women and men have offered. St. Rose of Viterbo, pray for us.

Blessed Mary Angela Truskowska: “Desire and endeavor to have all peoples know and love our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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