PRAYERS TO SAINTS The Church knows little about St. Rosalia‘s life. It is believed she was born c.1130 at Palermo, Sicily and was a member of a wealthy and noble family who were descended from Charlemagne. It is also believed that Rosalia left her life in Palermo to live alone in the mountains practicing penitential acts so as to live in closer communion with God. She died in the cave around 1160 AD. Her story begins for us 500 years after her death. In 1625, the city of Palermo suffered a terrible plague. She appeared to a hunter, telling him to find her remains in a cave. Based on the vision the hunter went into the cave and discovered her remains.
The following inscription was carved into the wall:
"I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses,
and Quisquina, have taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ."
She asked the hunter to bring her remains into the city. Her relics were paraded through the streets of the city and three days later the plague miraculously ended. Her intercession was credited with saving the city and she was declared the Patroness of Palermo.
O God, our Father, mercifully look upon Your people who come to You and grant through the intercession of St. Rosalia, who turned away from earthly delights to the joys of contemplation, that we may be delivered from all harm here on earth and one day be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen
While plagues have been documented heavily throughout much of human history, none has ever been more catastrophic than the strain of bubonic plague that gripped Europe in the fourteenth century. In many cities and villages where medical knowledge was severely limited prior to the Renaissance and modern era, much of the care of the sick was left to the religious in the Catholic Church. In fact, cities and villages often adopted a “plague saint” to protect them from pestilence in addition to a patron saint. Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance and cultural hub of Europe, relied on Saint Sebastian’s intercession after the city’s bishop constructed an altar in Sebastian’s honour as a last resort to stopping the Black Death. Shortly thereafter, the plague ceased, and the bishop built a church dedicated to Saint Sebastian in thanksgiving for his intercession.
Saint Sebastian and martyr, You survived your arrows of death
to defend the truths of Christ.
The piercing wounds inflicted for your faith only proved to strengthen your belief.
May you intercede for those who are weakened
from the effects of disease. May their bodies be miraculously strengthened
physically and spiritually., as was yours, through the grace and mercy of Christ. Amen.