Saint of the Day – 17 January – Blessed Rosalina of Villeneuve O.Cart. (1263–1329) – Religious Nun of the Carthusaian Order, Mystic, Apostle of Charity – born in 1267 in a castle at Villeneuve, France and died on 17 January 1329. Her body is incorrupt.
Rosalina belonged to the noble Southern French family of the ‘de Villeneuve’, which still exists today. She was born in 1263. When the Bishop of Fréjus gave her the sacrament of confirmation in 1270 in the chapel of the family castle, a supernatural light seemed to envelope the child. At a very young age she made a private vow of virginity.
She loved more than anything else to take care of the poor, distributing generously from the family provisions, which alarmed the servants of the castle. Once, after having filled her skirt with bread, Rosalina was on her way to the poor grouped together at the doors of the castle. She was suddenly stopped by her father who asked her what she was carrying. She answered: “These are the roses I just finished picking.” Extending her skirt, she showed the said roses to the astonished eyes of her father. It is to recall this miracle that Rosalina is often represented in portraits with her skirt full of roses.
When she was sixteen years old she wanted to become a Carthusian nun. She knew their life from the Charterhouse of la Celle-Roubaud close by, where her aunt Jeanne de Villeneuve was Prioress. Since that House had no novitiate, it was at Saint André de Ramires that she entered and then she moved to the chief Charterhouse for women, Bertaud, not far from the city of Gap, in the French Alps. She made profession there in 1280.
Her aunt at Celle Roubaud was getting on in age, so after a few years the Superior General of our Order permitted Rosalina to go to that House to help her aunt. In 1288 she received virginal consecration at the hands of the Bishop of Fréjus. It is told that this grace put her into a state of ecstasy which lasted the whole day. Although she assisted in the choir and followed all the activities of the community, her soul was united with the Lord. She was known for her inclination towards asceticism. For example, she reduced her sleep and lived only on bread the days when she went to communion. Prayer was for her most important in Carthusian life. Each night she used to spend long hours in prayer, thus obtaining special graces for the Order, her family and town and for the entire Church.
Owing to her purity of heart God granted her the gift of reading what is in other people’s heart. At the death of her aunt in 1300 the Superior General appointed Rosaline as Prioress. She held that office for twenty-nine years. It was during this time that her friend, the Bishop of Fréjus, became Pope as John XXII.
She died at the age of sixty-six with a great renown for holiness. Immediately, there were miracles – blind received their sight and sick were cured. Five years after her death, in 1334, Pope John ordered to open her tomb. Her body was found entirely incorrupt and it is still so today. In 1602 it was transferred from the crypt to a newly built chapel. In 1851 Blessed Pius IX authorised her feast for the diocese of Fréjus and in 1857 for the Carthusian Order. Today, the Carthusians celebrate her memory on 6 July and her feast is a solemnity for the nuns of the Order.
Lord God, for love of You, Saint Rosalina trampled underfoot the flattering allurements of the world, that she might adhere only to You. Help us to follow her example and, turning away from things of earth, find our joy in sharing Your heavenly gifts.
Deus, pro cuius amore, beata Rossolina mundi sibi blandientis calcavit illecebras ut tibi unice adhaereret : tribue nobis ex eius imitatione terrena despicere, et caelestium donorum semper participatione gaudere
text from from the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration.