May 7, 2017

Saint Rose Venerini, Educator and Foundress

Saint Rose Venerini

(In 2017, this feast is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.)

May 7th, the Church celebrates the optional memorial of Saint Rose Venerini (or Rosa), the 18th century Italian educator and foundress who greatly advanced the education and catechesis of girls and women, despite tremendous opposition.

Sometimes it turns out that the things we think we are called to do in life are not precisely what God has in mind for us. As St. Rose Venerini discovered, it was an innate talent, given to her by the grace of God and pointed out to her by another, that ultimately guided her toward the vocation she was meant to live.

Rose, the daughter of a doctor, was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1636. As a young woman, she was engaged to be married, but her fiancé died before the wedding could take place. Shortly afterward, thinking that she was instead called to the contemplative life, she entered a convent, only to be recalled home a few months later following the death of her father.

She formed a kind of sodality with some of the women in her neighborhood and, when she discovered that they were also in need of religious instruction, she began to teach them as well. It was a Jesuit priest who convinced her that her true vocation was in the world, not a convent, and that she was to be a teacher and an organizer of schools in Italy. Though she sometimes met with violent opposition, she continued this work undeterred until her death in 1728.

Saint Rose Venerini was canonized on October 15, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI. During her canonization Mass, His Holiness spoke of her efforts for “the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time.” He noted that St. Venerini, “did not content herself with providing the girls an adequate education, but she was concerned with assuring their complete formation, with sound references to the Church's doctrinal teaching.” Her community maintains a global ministry, including in the United States. St. Rose Venerin, intercede for us.

No comments :