Saint Rose was born in Viterbo, Italy. Her father, Godfrey Venerini was a doctor. St. Rose grew up, and was engaged to get married, when suddenly her fiancé died. She decided to dedicate her life to Jesus instead and entered the convent. But a few months later, her father died, so she returned home to care for her widowed mother.
St. Rose, who knew she could be a leader gathered the young women in her neighborhood. They prayed the Rosary together in the evenings. As they all got to know each other, St. Rose became aware of how little the young people knew about their faith.
Fr. Ignatius Martinelli, her spiritual director, told St. Rose that God really wanted her to be a teacher and not a nun. So St.Rose and two helpers opened a free school for girls in 1685. The parents who sent their daughters there were very pleased with the quality of education and the atmosphere.
St. Rose was a gifted educator who was able to teach others to teach. In 1692, Cardinal Barbarigo invited Rose to his diocese of Montefiascone, requesting her to organize his schools and train his teachers. It was in his diocese that she became a friend and teacher of Lucy Filippini. Lucy then started a religious order and years later, was declared a saint.
St.Rose organized schools in various places. Some people disliked her work and attacked her and her teachers. But the teachers did not let that stop them. St. Rose even opened a school in Rome in 1713. Pope Clement XI congratulated Rose for starting such a wonderful school.
When St. Rose finally died in Rome on May 7, 1728, at the age of seventy-two, she was directing forty schools in many parts of Italy. After her death, Saint Rose’s lay teachers became religious sisters. The Venerini sisters continue to perform their teaching ministry the way Saint Rose would in USA and other places.
Reflection: Today, let us pray for all teachers that they may be good examples to their students.
Prayer: O God, who raised up blessed Rose Venerini in your Church to show others the way of salvation, grant us, by her example, so to follow Christ the master, that we may come with our neighbor into your presence. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.