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September 4

St Rosalia - September 4

Saint Rosalia
La Santuzza
(“The Little Saint”)
Virgin, Hermitess
(Around 1130 – Around 1160)

“I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, the lord of Roses, and Quisquina, for the love of my Lord Jesus Christ left the world to live in this cave.”

Saint Rosalia – Inscription found on the wall of her cave

ofHer Life

Rosalia was born around 1130 in Palermo, Sicily. She was born to the Sicilian nobility, the daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses, and Quisquina. Her mother was related to Roger, the King of Sicily, and she was a descendent of Charlemagne. Her name chosen by her parents is a contraction of the Latin words rosa and lilia – rose and lilies –, flowers that symbolize royalty and purity respectively. Although she was surrounded by luxury, worldliness and the comforts of the court, Rosalia was inspired from a young age with an ardent and exclusive love for Our Lord Jesus Christ and the desire to belong entirely to Him. Rosalia was known for piety, and was devoutly religious. While still very young, Rosalia despised worldly vanities.

Left Her Suitor to Be With The Lord

Her remarkable beauty with her long blonde hair and blue eyes attracted many suitors. Overwhelmed by her beauty, a brave count, Baldwin, asked for her hand in marriage as reward for slaying a murderous lion that endangered King Roger. In response, Rosalia appeared with her gold plaits lopped off and announced her vocation to God. She came to realize that her physical appearance was endangering her soul.

So, following a vision of the Blessed Virgin, Rosalia resolved to leave the world and live in seclusion. Her parents and suitor tried hard to dissuade her. She wanted no company except that of the Lord. Instead, the thirteen-year-old Rosalia left with a wooden crucifix, a silver Greek cross, another of terracotta, a string of one large and 12 small prayer beads (a early form of the Rosary) – and retired to a cave on Mount Coschina (near Bivona, Sicily) near her parents home. She ate herbs, roots and wild fruit collected in the nearby woods and bore the rigors of exposure to inclement weather.

Unable to find the solitude, Rosalia desired because of the number of petitioners who came to her, she wanted to move on to a more secluded area. Tradition says that Rosalia was led by two angels to a grotto on Monte Pellegrino, three miles from Palermo. So, Rosalia lived atop a high and nearly inaccessible mountain in a tiny hollow with hardly big enough for her little body. Here, Rosalia lived an austere life praying in solitude, practicing great penances, living in constant communion with the Lord where she remained entirely hidden from the world.

Legend states with her prayer beads in her hand, Rosalia died alone around 1160 in Mount Pellegrino, Italy. Her Vita was written by the Bollandist J. Saintlting, and was compiled from local traditions, paintings, and inscriptions.

In art, Saint Rosalia is portrayed as a young girl with a wreath of roses. She may be shown receiving the wreath from the Blessed Virgin and Christ Child as angels bring roses and with a skull near her. Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck, who was trapped in Palermo, Italy during the 1624–1625 quarantine, produced five paintings of Rosalia.

Her Intercession Saves Palermo, Italy From Plague

In 1625, during a period of plague, she appeared in a vision to a hunter near her cave. Her relics were discovered, brought to Palermo, and paraded through the street. Three days later the plague ended, intercession to Rosalia was credited with saving the city, and she was proclaimed its patroness. Pope Urban VIII entered her name in the Roman Martyrology. The traditional celebration of Rosalia lasted for days, involved fireworks and parades, and her feast day was made a holy day of obligation by Pope Pius XI in 1927.

Born :                 Around 1130 in Palermo, Sicily

Died:                   Around 1160 in Mount Pellegrino, Italy

Beatified:           Unknown

Canonized:        Unknown

Feast Day:         September 4, July 15 (in Sicily)

Patron Saint:    Against Plagues; Anzoátegui, Venezuela; Archdiocese of Palermo, Italy; Bivona, Italy; Camargo, Mexico; El Hatillo, Venezuela; Italian Fishermen Of Monterey, California, USA; Palermo, Italy; Sicily, Italy



Saint Rosalia chose to spend her life on this earth, in complete communion with God. She chose to do that by becoming a hermit and living in solitude in a cave, just as the two angels had instructed her to do. There, she could clearly hear the voice of God, and become one with His Will for her. Her life shows us that we must find ways in our life, to be in communion with God more than just a weekly Sunday Mass.

Are you in daily communion with God? Take some time today to stop in your daily lives to pray and hear the voice of God.


Saint Rosalia,

You were a faithful servant of God and patroness of Palermo, withdrewing to the solitude of Mount Pellegrino, while seeking union with God in prayer and penance.

Through your intercession, may we follow your example of devotion and holiness.

Help us to find refuge in solitude today in prayer and to seek God’s will in all things.

May we live lives of faith, hope, and love, shining bright as the light of God’s peace in the dark places of this world.

Saint Rosalia, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

A Dictionary Of Saintly Women, Volume 2 by Agnes B. C. Dunbar – St. Rosalia

Aleteia – When Saint Rosalia helped Palermo fight the plague

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 4 September – Saint Rosalia (c 1130-c 1160)

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. September 4 St. Rosalia, Virgin

Catholic Culture – Saint Rosalia

Catholic Online – St. Rosalia

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Rosalia of Palermo – by Katherine I Rabenstein

CatholicSaints.Info – Book of Saints – Rosalia – by Monks of Ramsgate

Christian Iconography – Saint Rosalia of Palermo: The Iconography

Daily Prayers – Rosalia or La Santuzza – The Little Saint

Heralds of the Gospel – St. Rosalia of Palermo – Princess and Companion of Angels

Lives of the Lady Saints – September 4. Rosalia, Who Left The World And Lived In Seclusion

National Catholic Register – St. Rosalia of Palermo, Patroness of Pandemics

New Advent – Mershman, F. (1912). St. Rosalia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Rosalia

Our Sunday Visitor Encyclopedia of Saints

Saints, Feast, Family – The Story of St. Rosalia

Saints for Sinners – Saint Rosalia

Sicilian God Mother – The Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia on Monte Pellegrino, Palermo

uCatholic – Saint Rosalia

University of Notre Dame – St. Rosalia

Video Link

Saint of the Day — Rosalia of Palermo — September 4th – YouTube Video (St Michael’s Media / Church Militant)