mercredi 7 mai 2014

Sainte ROSE (R)SA) VENERINI, religieuse et fondatrice


« Je suis tellement plongée dans la volonté divine, qu’il ne m’importe ni de la mort, ni de la vie :
 je veux vivre quand il le veut, et je veux le servir lorsque cela lui plaît et rien de plus ».
 (Biographie Andreucci, p. 515)


ROSA VENERINI (1656 – 1728)  

Les origines

ROSA VENERINI naquit à Viterbo, le 09 février 1656.

Son Père Godefroi, originaire de Castelleone de Suasa (Ancône), après avoir obtenu à Rome sa maîtrise en médecine, se transféra à Viterbe où il exerçât brillamment la profession de médecin à l’hôpital alors dénommé «Grand». De son mariage avec Marzia Zampichetti, fille d’une antique famille de Viterbe, naquirent quatre enfants: Dominique, Marie Madeleine, Rosa, Horace.

Rosa fut douée d’une intelligence naturelle et d’une sensibilité humaine pas communes. L’éducation reçue en famille lui permit de développer les nombreux talents dont débordaient son coeur et son esprit. Son éducation enracina aussi en elle de fermes principes chrétiens. A l’âge de sept ans, d’après son premier biographe, le Père Girolamo Andreucci (S.I.), elle fit voeu de consacrer sa vie à Dieu.

Pendant sa première jeunesse, elle connut le conflit intérieur entre les attractions du monde et la promesse faite à Dieu. Elle dépassa la crise grâce à la prière confiante et la mortification.

A 20 ans, Rosa s’interrogeait sur son propre avenir. En cette époque, il n’y avait pour la femme que deux orientations de vie: le mariage ou la clôture. Rosa estimait l’une et l’autre voie. Cependant, elle se sentait appelée à réaliser un autre projet au service de l’Eglise et de la société de son temps. Après une assez longue période de recherche marquée par bien des souffrances, elle finit par trouver une solution toute innovatrice, fruit de son attention et de sa fidélité aux appels intérieurs que le Seigneur lui adressait.

En automne 1676, en syntonie avec son père, Rosa initia sa formation au monastère dominicain de S. Catherine à Viterbe avec la prospective de réaliser son voeu. Près de la tante Anne Cécile, elle apprit à écouter Dieu dans le silence et dans la méditation. Elle resta très peu de mois dans le monastère, car la mort prématurée de son père l’obligea à rester près de la maman souffrante.

Les années suivantes, Rosa eut à faire face à des événements pénibles pour sa famille: son frère Dominique mourut, âgé de 27 ans seulement et peu de mois après, ce fut la mort de sa mère qui ne résista pas à la grande douleur de décès. Entre temps, Marie Madeleine s’était mariée.

A la maison, il ne restait que Horace et Rose qui avait déjà 24 ans. Animée par le profond désir de faire quelque chose de grand pour Dieu, en mai 1684, elle commença à rassembler les enfants dans sa propre habitation pour la récitation du Rosaire. La manière dont les jeunes et les mamans priaient et surtout les dialogues qui précédaient ou suivaient la prière ouvrirent l’esprit et le coeur de Rosa à cette triste réalité: la femme du peuple était esclave de la pauvreté culturelle, morale et spirituelle. Elle comprit alors que le Seigneur l’appelait à une mission plus grande, qu’elle découvrit progressivement dans l’urgence de se dédier à l’instruction et à la formation chrétienne des jeunes, pas seulement à travers des rencontres sporadiques, mais par le moyen d’une école au vrai sens du mot.

Le 30 août 1685, avec l’approbation de l’Évêque de Viterbe, le Cardinal Urbano Sacchetti, et avec la collaboration de deux compagnes, Gerolama Coluzzelli et Porzia Bacci, Rosa laissa la maison paternelle pour fonder une première école, projetée selon le plan original qu’elle avait mûri dans la prière et dans la recherche de la volonté de Dieu. Le premier objectif de la fondatrice était de donner une complète formation chrétienne aux filles du peuple et de les préparer à la vie civile.

Sans grandes prétentions, Rosa avait ouvert la «première école publique féminine en Italie ». Les débuts étaient modestes et humbles, mais la portée était prophétique: la promotion humaine et l’élévation spirituelle des femmes étaient une réalité qui ne devait pas tarder à avoir l’approbation des Autorités religieuses et civiles.

L’expansion de l’oeuvre

Les débuts ne furent pas faciles. Les maîtresses eurent à affronter les résistances de la part du clergé qui se voyait privé de l’enseignement de la catéchèse fait exclusivement par lui. Cependant, la   souffrance la plus cruelle venait des savants qui étaient scandalisés de l’audace de cette femme de la grande bourgeoisie de Viterbe et qui prenait à coeur l’éducation des jeunes filles impolies.

Rosa affronta tout par amour pour Dieu et avec la force qu’elle trouvait auprès du Seigneur. Courageusement, elle continua sur le chemin qu’elle avait pris, convaincue que cela correspondait au vrai Projet de Dieu sur elle.

Les fruits lui donnèrent raison: les mêmes curés se rendirent compte de l’assainissement moral que l’oeuvre éducative générait au sein des jeunes filles et des mamans. La validité de l’initiative fut reconnue et la renommée de Rosa dépassa les frontières du Diocèse.

Le cardinal Marc Antoine Barbarigo, Évêque de Montefiascone, comprit le caractère génial du projet de Viterbe et appela la Sainte dans son Diocèse. La fondatrice, toujours prête à se sacrifier pour la gloire de Dieu, répondit positivement à l’invitation: de 1692 à 1694, elle ouvrit une dizaine d’écoles à Montefiascone et dans les zones qui sont aux alentours du lac de Bolsena. Le cardinal fournissait les moyens matériels et Rosa conscientisait les familles, formait les maîtresses et organisait les écoles.

Au moment de retourner à Viterbe pour la consolidation de sa première oeuvre, Rosa confia la direction des écoles et la formation des maîtresses à une jeune fille en qui elle avait perçu de grandes capacités intellectuelles et spirituelles, Sainte Lucie Filippini.

Après l’ouverture des écoles de Viterbe et de Montefiascone, d’autres écoles furent créées dans la province du Lazium. Rosa rejoignit Rome en 1706, mais la première expérience romaine fut pour elle une vraie faillite qui la marqua profondément et l’obligea à attendre six longues années avant d’avoir à nouveau la confiance des autorités. Le 08 décembre 1713, avec l’aide de l’Abbé des Atti, grand ami de la famille Venerini, Rosa ouvrit une école au centre de Rome, aux flancs du Capitole.

Le 24 octobre 1716, elle eut la visite du Pape Clément XI qui, accompagné par huit cardinaux, voulut assister aux leçons. Emerveillé et satisfait, il s’adressa en fin de matinée à la fondatrice avec ces mots: «Madame Rosa, vous faites ce que nous n’arrivons pas à faire, nous vous remercions, car avec ces écoles, vous sanctifierez Rome».

Dès lors, les gouverneurs et les cardinaux demandèrent des écoles pour leurs territoires. L’engagement de la fondatrice devint intense, faite de pérégrination et de fatigues pour la formation des nouvelles communautés. Ce fut une merveilleuse expérience faite de joies et de sacrifices. Là où naissait une nouvelle école, on notait un net assainissement moral de la jeunesse.

Au soir du 07 mai 1728, Rosa Venerini mourut saintement dans la maison de Saint Marc à Rome. Elle avait ouvert plus de 40 écoles. Sa dépouille mortelle fut enterrée dans l’Eglise de Jésus, très aimée par elle. En 1952, à l’occasion de la Béatification, les reliques furent transférées dans la chapelle de la Maison Générale à Rome.

La spiritualité

Tout au long de sa vie, Rosa est restée comme plongée dans l’océan de la volonté de Dieu. Elle disait: « je me sens bien immergée dans la volonté de Dieu si bien que la mort et la vie ne m’importe pas, je désire seulement ce q’Il veut, je veux le servir comme il lui plait et rien de plus ».

Après les premiers contacts avec les Pères dominicains du Sanctuaire de Notre-Dame du Chêne, dans les environs de Viterbe, elle suivit définitivement la spiritualité austère et équilibrée de Saint Ignace de Lojola, en raison de la direction spirituelle qu’elle recevait des Jésuites et particulièrement du Père Ignace Martinelli.

Les crises de l’adolescence, la perplexité de la jeunesse, la recherche de sa nouvelle voie, l’intuition des écoles et des communautés, les relations avec l’Eglise et avec le monde: tout était orienté vers la Divine volonté. La prière était le souffle de sa journée.

Rosa ne se soumettait pas à de longues oraisons, elle ne l’exigeait pas non plus de ses filles. Elle recommandait plutôt que la vie des   maîtresses, dans l’exercice de leur ministère éducatif, soit une manière continuelle de parler avec Dieu, de Dieu et pour Dieu.

La communion intime avec le Seigneur était alimentée par l’oraison mentale que la Sainte considérait comme l’« aliment essentiel de l’âme ». Dans la méditation, Rosa écoutait le Maître qui enseignait tout au long des routes de la Palestine et de manière particulière sur la croix.

Avec le regard tourné vers le crucifix, Rosa sentait toujours plus forte en elle la passion pour le salut des âmes. Pour cela, elle vivait chaque jour l’Eucharistie de manière mystique: dans son imagination, la Sainte voyait le monde comme un grand cercle; elle se mettait au centre et contemplait Jésus, victime immolée, qui dans tous les coins de la terre s’offrait au Père à travers le Sacrifice Eucharistique.

Elle appelait cette manière de s’élever à Dieu, Cercle maximum.

Par une vie d’incessante prière, elle participait spirituellement à toutes les messes qui se célébraient dans tous les coins de la terre; avec amour, elle unissait les douleurs et les joies de sa propre vie, aux souffrances de Jésus Christ, en se préoccupant que Son Précieux Sang ne soit versé en vain.

Le Charisme

Nous pouvons résumer le charisme de Rosa Venerini en peu de mots. Elle vécut toute sa vie, captivée par deux grandes passions: la passion pour Dieu et la passion pour le salut des âmes.

Lorsqu’elle comprit que les jeunes filles et les femmes de son temps avaient besoin d’être éduquées et instruites sur les vérités de la foi et de la morale, elle n’épargna ni temps, ni fatigue, ni luttes, ni difficultés de tout genre, afin de répondre à cet appel de Dieu.

Elle était consciente que l’annonce de la bonne nouvelle pouvait être accueillie seulement si les personnes étaient avant tout, libérées des ténèbres de l’ignorance et de l’erreur. Elle avait en plus compris   que la formation professionnelle pouvait permettre une promotion humaine et une affirmation de la femme dans la société. Ce projet demandait une communauté d’éducation et sans prétention, avec beaucoup d’avance sur l’histoire, Rosa offrit à l’Eglise le style d’une communauté religieuse apostolique.

Rosa n’exerça pas uniquement sa mission éducative à l’école, mais elle saisissait chaque occasion pour annoncer l’amour de Dieu: elle réconfortait et soignait les malades, revivifiait les découragés, consolait les affligés, ramenait les pécheurs à la nouvelle vie, exhortait les âmes consacrées attiédies à la fidélité, aidait les pauvres, libérait de toutes les formes d’esclavage moral.

Éduquer pour libérer: c’est le mot d’ordre, la devise par laquelle les soeurs Maestre Pie Venerini s’efforcent de continuer l’oeuvre que le Seigneur avait voulu commencer par leur Fondatrice et à répandre le Charisme de la Sainte Mère dans le monde: libérer de l’ignorance et du mal afin que le projet de Dieu dont toute personne est porteuse, soit visible.

C’est cet héritage magnifique que Rosa Venerini a laissé à ses filles. Partout, en Italie tout comme dans les autres pays, les Soeurs Venerini cherchent de vivre et de transmettre l’anxiété apostolique de leur mère, privilégiant les plus pauvres.

La Congrégation, après avoir donné son soutien aux italiens immigrés aux Etats Unis d’Amérique en 1909, en Suisse de 1971 à 1985, a étendu son service apostolique dans d’autres pays: en Inde, au Brésil, au Cameroun, en Roumanie, en Albanie, au Chili, au Venezuela et au Nigeria.




Sainte ROSE VENERINI

Nom: VENERINI
Prénom: Rose
Nom de religion: Rose
Pays: Italie
Naissance: 09.02.1656  à Viterbe
Mort: 07.05.1728  à Rome

Etat: Fondatrice
Note: Conseillée par des jésuites, elle fonde des écoles pour l’éducation humaine et chrétienne des filles pauvres. D’abord à Viterbe (1685), puis dans le diocèse de Montefiascone, enfin à Rome où elle se fixe en 1713. Elle rédige des constitutions. A sa mort, sa congrégation, les "Maestre pie Venerini" (Maîtresses Pies) compte 40 écoles.

Béatification: 04.05.1952  à Rome  par Pie XII
Canonisation: 15.10.2006  à Rome  par Benoît XVI

Fête: 7 mai

Réf. dans l’Osservatore Romano: 2006 n.42 p.1-4
Réf. dans la Documentation Catholique: 1952 col.1333-1336
Notice brève

La sainte religieuse italienne Rose Venerini (1656-1728) ouvrit une école à Viterbe en 1685 sur les conseils d'un jésuite, puis d’autres écoles dans le diocèse de Montefiascone. Elle se fixa à Rome en 1713 et rédigea des constitutions en 1718. A sa mort, sa congrégation, les « Maestre pie Venerini » - les Pieuses Maîtresses - dirigeait 40 écoles. Elle a été béatifiée en 1952 à Rome par Pie XII et canonisée par Benoît XVI en 2006.

Notice développée

Rosa (Rose) Venerini naît en 1656 à Viterbe dans le Latium (Italie) au sein d’une famille aisée qui compte quatre enfants. (Elle doit sans doute son prénom à sainte Rose de Viterbe, morte en 1252.) Son père est un brillant médecin. Rose reçoit une éducation assez stricte et une bonne formation religieuse. À l’âge de sept ans, elle fait vœu de consacrer sa vie à Dieu. Cependant, à 18 ans, elle s’éprend d’un jeune homme, mais la mort prématurée de celui-ci achève de la détacher totalement du monde. Son père ne s’oppose pas à son désir de consécration, mais l’envoie dans un couvent de dominicaines pour y étudier sa vocation. Là-dessus, il meurt. Peu attirée par la vie des moniales, elle sort du couvent pour s’occuper de sa mère malade. Guidée par un jésuite, le Père Ventura Bandinelli (que lui a indiqué …un dominicain, lors d’un pèlerinage à “Notre Dame du Chêne”, près de Viterbe), elle mène une vie très réglée et charitable. Elle recueille une pauvre femme qu’elle soigne jusqu’à sa mort pendant dix ans. En 1680, sa propre mère meurt et Rose reste seule dans la maison avec un frère, Horace, qui l’encourage dans ses pieux projets. Elle rassemble des enfants avec leurs mamans pour réciter le rosaire. Elle prend alors conscience de cette triste réalité: la femme du peuple est esclave d’une pauvreté culturelle, morale et spirituelle. Elle se met à leur faire du catéchisme. Elle hésite encore sur sa vocation ; il faut dire qu’à l’époque les deux seules voies qui, pratiquement, s’ouvraient pour les jeunes filles étaient le mariage ou le cloître. Son nouveau confesseur, toujours jésuite, le Père Balestra, lui déconseille la vie de moniale, qui ne correspondait d’ailleurs pas à ses goûts, mais il lui conseille d’ouvrir une école pour les jeunes filles pauvres. Ce sera une école gratuite, décide-t-elle d’emblée. Elle est ouverte en 1685. Œuvre de pionnier, car cette école gratuite pour filles est la première du genre. Le premier objectif de la fondatrice est de donner une complète formation chrétienne aux filles du peuple et de les préparer à la vie civile.
Le pape Benoît XVI fait ainsi l’éloge de la sainte et de la formation qu’elle dispense : « Sainte Rosa aime répéter : "Je suis tellement plongée dans la volonté divine, que peu m’importe la vie ou la mort : je veux vivre aussi longtemps qu'il le veut, et je veux le servir autant qu'il lui plaît et rien de plus". De là, de son abandon à Dieu, naît l'activité clairvoyante qu'elle accomplit avec courage en faveur de l'élévation spirituelle et de l'authentique émancipation des jeunes femmes de son temps.»
Des disciples se groupent autour d’elle et après sa première école, Rose peut en ouvrir d’autres dans le diocèse. Non sans difficultés. Psychologiques d’abord, de la part des prêtres qui jusqu’ici ont le monopole du catéchisme, et de la part des savants et des nobles qui dédaignent ces écoles gratuites pour filles frustes et sont choqués de voir une femme de la haute bourgeoisie se livrer à une telle tâche; mais quand le succès s’affermit, les curés changent d’avis en constatant l’amélioration du niveau paroissial, là où existent des écoles, et les nobles demandent d’y envoyer leurs filles. Du coup, c’est Rose qui hésite car elle veut s’attacher en priorité aux pauvres, mais après avoir pris conseil, elle accepte. Le cardinal Marc Antoine Barbarigo, évêque de Montefiascone, entend parler de ces merveilleuses écoles et il en demande pour son diocèse. Rose s’y établit pour quelques années et y implante dix écoles. Sur place, son bras droit est une certaine Lucie Filippini, (canonisée en 1930). Quand elle revient à Viterbe, c’est le tour des difficultés matérielles et financières. Presque toutes ses collaboratrices se sont évanouies ; il n’en reste qu’une. Et les écoles sont grevées de dettes. Elle compte sur sa fortune pour les renflouer ainsi que sur des héritages auxquels elle a droit, mais on lui fait des difficultés. Rose essaie de défendre ses droits. Il y a des procès, mais on fait traîner exprès les affaires en longueur, alors qu’elle aurait un besoin urgent de fonds. Tout aurait périclité sans l’intervention de son frère Horace, le seul resté à la maison paternelle, et qui lui est d’un puissant secours. Elle peut donc essaimer à nouveau et se rend en 1707 à Rome où Lucie Filippini a ouvert une école, six mois plus tôt. Elle vient pour la remplacer momentanément, mais les élèves réclament leur première maîtresse et Rose doit partir dans un autre quartier. Après quelques années d’épreuves, elle crée une nouvelle école en plein centre de la ville éternelle, ville où elle se fixe définitivement en 1713. Désormais, elle est à la tête de dix-neuf écoles dans sept diocèses ; c’est le succès. Le pape Clément XI veut en être témoin par lui-même. Il vient en grande pompe assister aux leçons le 24 octobre 1716. Il est émerveillé et déclare : «Madame Rosa, vous faites ce que nous n’arrivons pas à faire, nous vous remercions, car avec ces écoles, vous sanctifierez Rome».
Elle et ses compagnes ne sont pas des religieuses proprement dites, mais Rose, qui a opté pour la spiritualité ignatienne, leur assure un cadre de vie porteur au point de vue spirituel. Elles ne font pas de vœux publics, mais elles mènent une vie quasi religieuse. Rose finit par rédiger des constitutions en 1714, remaniées en 1718. On les appelle les “Maestre pie Venerini” ou Maîtresses Pies. La sainte meurt à Rome en 1728. Sa congrégation existe encore de nos jours en plusieurs pays, et depuis 1941, les sœurs émettent des vœux religieux publics. Notons que les écoles du diocèse de Montefiascone ont formé une seconde congrégation, les “Maestre pie Filippini” … plus nombreuses que celles de sainte Rose.


ROSA VENERINI (1656 – 1728) 

Origins

ROSA VENERINI was born in Viterbo, on February 9, 1656. Her father, Goffredo, originally from Castelleone di Suasa (Ancona), after having completed his doctorate in medicine at Rome, moved to Viterbo where he practiced the medical profession brilliantly in the Grand Hospital. From his marriage to Marzia Zampichetti, of an ancient family of Viterbo, four children were born: Domenico, Maria Maddalena, Rosa and Orazio.

Rosa was naturally gifted with intelligence and an uncommon human sensibility. The education that she received in her family allowed her to develop her many talents of mind and heart, forming her in steadfast Christian principles. According to her first biographer, Father Girolamo Andreucci, S.I., she made a vow to consecrate her life to God at the age of seven. During the early years of her youth, she lived through a conflict between the attractions of the world and the promise made to God. Rosa overcame this crisis with trusting prayer and mortification.

At age twenty, Rosa raised questions about her own future. The women of her time could choose only two orientations for their live: marriage or the cloister. Rosa esteemed both, but she felt called to realize another project for the good of the Church and the society of her time. Urged on by prophetic interior occurrences, she committed much time in suffering and searching before reaching a resolution that was completely innovative.

In the autumn of 1676, on the advice of her father, Rosa entered the Dominican Monastery of St. Catherine, with the prospect of fulfilling her vow. With her Aunt Anna Cecilia beside her, she learned to listen to God in silence and in meditation. She remained in the monastery for only a few months because the sudden death of her father forced her to return to her suffering mother.

In the years immediately following, Rosa had to bear the burden of serious events for her family: her brother Domenico died at only twenty-seven years of age; a few months later her mother died, unable to bear the sorrow.

In the meantime, Maria Maddalena married. There remained at home only Orazio and Rosa, by now twenty-four years old. Challenged by the desire to do something great for God, in May of 1684, the Saint began to gather the girls and women of the area in her own home to recite the rosary. The way in which the girls and women prayed, and above all, their conversation before and after the prayer, opened the mind and heart of Rosa to a sad reality: the woman of the common people was a slave of cultural, moral and spiritual poverty. She then understood that the Lord was calling her to a higher mission which she gradually identified in the urgent need to dedicate herself to the instruction and Christian formation of young women, not with sporadic encounters, but with a school understood in the real and true sense of the word.

On August 30, 1685, with the approval of the Bishop of Viterbo, Cardinal Urbano Sacchetti and the collaboration of two friends, Gerolama Coluzzelli and Porzia Bacci, Rosa left her father’s home to begin her first school, according to an innovative plan that had matured in prayer and her search for the will of God. The first objective of the Foundress was to give the girls of the common people a complete Christian formation and prepare them for life in society. Without great pretense, Rosa opened the first “Public School for Girls in Italy”. The origins were humble but the significance was prophetic: the human promotion and spiritual uplifting of woman was a reality that did not take long to receive the recognition of the religious and civil authorities.

Expansion of the Work

The initial stages were not easy. The three Maestre (teachers) had to face the resistance of clergy who considered the teaching of the catechism as their private office. But the harshest suspicion came from conformists who were scandalized by the boldness of this woman of the upper middle class of Viterbo who had taken to heart the education of ignorant girls. Rosa faced everything for the love of God and with her characteristic strength, continuing on the path that she had undertaken, by now sure that she was truly following the plan of God. The fruits proved her to be right. The same pastors recognized the moral improvement that the work of education generated among the girls and mothers.

The validity of this initiative was acknowledged and its fame went beyond the confines of the Diocese. Cardinal Mark Antonio Barbarigo, Bishop of Montefiascone, understood the genius of the Viterbo project and he called the Saint to his diocese. The Foundress, always ready to sacrifice herself for the glory of God, responded to the invitation. From 1692 to 1694, she opened ten schools in Montefiascone and the villages surrounding Lake Bolsena. The cardinal provided the material means and Rosa made the families aware, trained the teachers, and organized the schools. When she had to return to Viterbo to attend to the strengthening of her first school, Rosa entrusted the schools and the teachers to the direction of a young woman, St. Lucia Filippini, in whom she has seen particular gifts of mind, heart and spirit.

After the openings in Viterbo and Montefiascone, other schools were started in Lazio. Rosa reached Rome in 1706, but the first experience in Rome was a real failure which marked her deeply and caused her to wait six long years before regaining the trust of the authorities. On December 8, 1713, with the help of Abate Degli Atti, a great friend of the Venerini family, Rosa was able to open one of her schools in the center of Rome at the foot of the Campidoglio.

On October 24, 1716, they received a visit from Pope Clement XI, accompanied by eight Cardinals, who wanted to attend the lessons. Amazed and pleased, at the end of the morning he addressed these words to the Foundress: “Signora Rosa, you are doing that which we cannot do. We thank you very much because with these schools you will sanctify Rome ”.

From that moment on, Governors and Cardinals asked for schools for their areas. The duties of the Foundress became intense, consisting of travels and hard work interwoven with joys and sacrifices for the formation of new communities. Wherever a new school sprang up, in a short time a moral improvement could be noted in the youth.
Rosa Venerini died a saintly death in the community of St. Mark’s in Rome on the evening of May 7, 1728. She had opened more than forty schools. Her remains were entombed in the nearby Church of the Gesù, so loved by her. In 1952, on the occasion of her Beatification, they were transferred to the chapel of the Generalate in Rome.

Her Spirituality

During her entire life, Rosa moved in the ocean of the Will of God. She said, “I feel so nailed to the Will of God that nothing else matters, neither death nor life. I want what He wants; I want to serve Him as much as pleases Him and no more”.

After her first contacts with the Dominican Fathers at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Oak Tree, near Viterbo, she definitely followed the austere and balanced spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola under the direction of the Jesuits, especially Father Ignatius Martinelli.

The crises of adolescence, the perplexity of youth, the search for a new way, the institution of the schools and the communities, the rapport with the Church and the world—all were oriented to the Divine Will.

Prayer was the breath of her day. Rosa did not impose on herself or her Daughters long vocal prayers, but recommended that the life of the Maestre, in the practice of the precious education ministry, be a continuous speaking with God, of God and for God.

Intimate communion with the Lord was nourished by mental prayer, which the Saint considered “essential nourishment of the soul”. In meditation, Rosa listened to the Teacher who taught along the roads of Palestine and in a particular way from the height of the Cross. With her gaze upon the crucifix, Rosa always felt more strongly her passion for the salvation of souls. For this reason, she celebrated and lived daily the Eucharist in a mystical way. In her imagination, the Saint saw the world as a great circle; she placed herself in the center of it and contemplated Jesus, the immaculate victim, who offered Himself from every part of the world to the Father through the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

She called this means of elevating herself to God “The Greatest Circle”. With incessant prayer, she participated spiritually in all the Masses being celebrated in every part of the world. She united with love the sufferings, hard work and joys of her own life to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, concerned that His Precious Blood would not be shed in vain.

The Charism

We can summarize the charism of Rosa Venerini in a few words. She lived consumed by two great passions: passion for God and passion for the salvation of souls. When she understood that the girls and women of her time needed to be educated and instructed in the truths of the faith and of morality, she spared nothing of time, hard work, struggle, and difficulties of every kind, as long as it responded to the call of God. She knew that the proclamation of the Good News could be received if people were first liberated from the darkness of ignorance and error. Moreover, she intuited that professional training could give woman a human promotion and affirmation in society. This project required an educating Community and Rosa, without pretense and well before its time in history, offered to the Church the model of the Apostolic Religious Community.

Rosa did not practice her educational mission only in the school but took every occasion to announce the love of God. She comforted and cured the sick, raised the spirits of the discouraged, consoled the afflicted, called sinners back to a new life, exhorted to fidelity consecrated souls not observing their call, helped the poor and freed people from every form of moral slavery.

Educate to save” became the motto that urged the Maestre Pie Venerini to continue the Work of the Lord intended by their Foundress and radiate the charism of Rosa to the world: to free from ignorance and evil so that the project of God which every person carries within can be visible.

This is the magnificent inheritance that Rosa Venerini left her Daughters. Wherever the Maestre Pie Venerini strive to live and transmit the apostolic concern of their Mother, in Italy as in other lands, they give preference to the poor.

After having made its contribution to the Italian immigrants to the USA from 1909 and in Switzerland from 1971 to 1985, the Congregation extended its apostolic activity to other lands: India, Brazil, Cameroon, Romania, Albania, Chile, Venezuela and Nigeria.





Rosa was born in Viterbo, Italy in the year 1656, of a very religious family. She received from her parents a good Christian formation and a good education.


From childhood she made a vow to become a nun, but during her youth she was deeply moved by the poverty and ignorance of the young girls of her town, and she began to think that perhaps it would be better to do something for them than to be in a convent.

She invited into her house the young girls and women of her neighborhood to pray the rosary together, and she realized that none of them knew how to pray. 

She began to question them about catechism, and all of them remained silent in surprise. Rosa understood that the woman of her time was a slave of ignorance and poverty, destined to the heaviest work, and that no one worried about her well-being. So she prayed intensely to understand the Will of God, and with two friends, decided to open a school for poor girls. It was the month of August 1685. Each day a little girl passed by the streets of Viterbo ringing a bell and calling all the girls and young women of the city. Lessons began with prayer, followed by Catechesis, female manual work, and learning to read and write well. In a short time, Rosa’s school changed appearance and she received petitions from bishops and cardinals to found other schools. The Teachers (“Maestras”) were not religious sisters, but they lived as such and were called Pious Teachers (“Maestras Pias”), and in Rome they were even called “Holy Teachers”.

In the year 1713 Rosa opened a school in Rome and Pope Clement XI paid her the honor of a visit. The Pope stayed the whole morning in the school, along with eight cardinals, listening to the class of catechism and asking the students questions. At the end of the visit, he called Rosa and her companions, he thanked her for their precious work, he gave her a silver medal and said to them: “I desire that these schools spread to all of our cities.” Within a short time the schools opened up everywhere.

Rosa knew that the woman is carrier of a plan of love, but if her heart is enslaved by fear, ignorance, and sin, this plan would never be visible. For this reason, her charism today is proclaimed as “Educate to Liberate”.

On October 15 2006 His Holiness Benedict XVI declared her a Saint. The miracle that brought her to the altars happened in Ebolowa, Cameroon: Serge, a boy in a leprosarium of ‘Ngalan was miraculously cured through the intercession of Saint Rosa, the saint that always loved the little ones, dedicated her life to them, and continues to protect them.

(Courtesy of Sr. Mariateresa Crescini – Maestra Pia of Rosa Venerini)

For more detailed information on St. Rosa Venerini, go here. 

Papal Quote on St. Rose Venerini : 

"Saint Rose Venerini is another example of a faithful disciple of Christ, ready to give up all in order to do the will of God. She loved to say: “I find myself so bound to the divine will that neither death nor life is important: I want to live as he wishes and I want to serve him as he likes, and nothing more” (Biografia Andreucci, p. 515). From here, from this surrender to God, sprang the long-admired work that she courageously developed in favor of the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time. Saint Rose 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 own apostolic style continues to characterize the life of the Congregation of the Religious Teachers Venerini which she founded. And how timely and important for today’s society is this service, which puts them in the field of education and especially of the formation of women."

~Pope Benedict XVI, from the canonization homily of Saint Rose


Also known as
  • Rosa
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Daughter of Godfrey Venerini, physician in Viterbo, Italy. Following the death of her fiance, she entered a convent; following the death of her father, she returned home to care for her mother.

She invited neighbourhood women to pray the rosary in her home, and formed a sort of sodality. As these friends had little religious education, she began to teach them. Jesuit Father Ignatius Martinelli, her spiritual director, convinced her that she was called to be a teacher instead of a contemplative nun.

With two friends, Rose opened a free pre-school for girls in 1685, which was well received. In 1692, Cardinal Barbarigo asked her to oversee training of teachers and the administration of schools in his diocese of Montefiascone, Italy. She organized schools in many parts of Italy, including Rome, and by the time of her death there were 40 schools under her direction. Friend and co-worker with Saint Lucia Filippini.

Rose often met opposition, some fierce, and some actually violent – her teachers were shot at with bows, and their houses burned. She was never deterred, teaching, and finding people who were willing to face the danger in order to do good. The sodality, or group of women she had invited to prayer, were ultimately given the rank of a religious congregation. Today, the so-called Venerini Sisters work with Italian immigrants in the United States and elsewhere.

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Saint Rose Venerini is another example of a faithful disciple of Christ, ready to give up all in order to do the will of God. She loved to say: “I find myself so bound to the divine will that neither death nor life is important: I want to live as he wishes and I want to serve him as he likes, and nothing more”. From here, from this surrender to God, sprang the long-admired work that she courageously developed in favor of the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time. Saint Rose 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 own apostolic style continues to characterize the life of the Congregation of the Religious Teachers Venerini which she founded. And how timely and important for today’s society is this service, which puts them in the field of education and especially of the formation of women. - Pope Benedict XVI, from the canonization homily of Saint Rose

MLA Citation
  • “Saint Rose Venerini“. Saints.SQPN.com. 6 May 2014. Web. 7 May 2014. < http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-rose-venerini/>

Saint Rose Venerini

  Century: 17th & 18th Century

    Feast Day: May 7th

Rose Venerini was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1656, then a part of the Papal States.  She was one of four children, and her father was a famous Doctor in Italy.  She made a vow to consecrate her life to God at the age of seven.  At the age of twenty, Rosa had questions about her own future and chose to accept an offer of marriage, but her fiancé died shortly after his proposal.  In the autumn of that year, she entered the Dominican Monastery of St. Catherine, with the prospect of fulfilling her vow.  With her aunt, Sister Anna Cecilia, who was already a member of the Monastery, she learned to listen to God in silence and in meditation.  She only remained in the Monastery for a few months, due to the sudden death of her father.  She went back home to care for her mother.  Her brother Domenico soon died at the age of 27.  Two months later, due to grief, her mother died.  

In the meantime, her sister married, leaving at home only Rosa and her brother.  Rosa began to invite girls and women into her home to recite the Rosary.  This showed Rosa a sad reality, the average woman of the town was a slave to culture, moral and spiritual poverty.  Under the guidance of her Spiritual Director, she began to see a higher mission for herself, the urgent need to dedicate herself to the instruction and Christian formation of young women, not with occasional encounters, but with formal education.  On August 30, 1685, with the approval of her Bishop, she left her father’s home to begin her first school.  She had matured in her prayer life, and seen this as the will of God.  The first objective of this foundress was to give poor girls a complete Christian formation and to prepare them for life in society.  Without great pretense, she opened the first public school for girls in Italy.  The origins were humble, but the significance was prophetic.  The human development and spiritual uplifting of woman was a reality that did not take long to receive the recognition of the Religious and Civil authorities.  

She received resistance at the beginning, mostly from Clergy.  They felt that the teaching of the catechism was their responsibility, not hers.  Also, she faced public scrutiny from her boldness, especially being a woman.  She faced all her resistance for the love of God, and with her characteristic strength, continuing on the path that she had undertaken.  The fruits proved her to be right, that she was doing the will of God.  These same clergy recognized the moral improvement that the work of education among the girls and their mothers had on the community, and their families.  Eventually her fame went beyond the confines of the Diocese.  

From 1692 to 1694, she opened ten schools in Montefiascone, and the villages surrounding Lake Bolsena.  The Cardinal provided the material means and Rosa made the families aware of the value of education for their daughters, trained the teachers, and organized the schools.  Eventually she entrusted those schools and teachers to the direction of a young woman, St. Lucia Filippini, with the approval of the Cardinal.  St. Lucia organized the teachers of that diocese as a separate religious congregation known as the Religious Teachers of Filippini.  There were failures, especially when she went to Rome to open a school.  It didn’t work out, and she lost the respect and trust of the authorities.  Six years later, with the help of an Abbott, she was able to open a school in the center of Rome.  

On October 24, 1716, the Sisters received a visit by Pope Clement XI, accompanied by 8 Cardinals who wanted to observe her lessons.  The Pope addressed the Sisters, “Signora Rosa, you are doing that which we cannot do.  We thank you very much, because with these schools you will sanctify Rome”.  Wherever a new school was opened, in a short time a moral improvement could be noted in the youth.  Rosa Venerini died a saintly death in the community at the Basilica of San Marco in Rome, on May 7, 1728.  At that time she had opened more than forty schools.  In 1952, she was beatified and her remains were transferred to the General Motherhouse in Rome.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized her, on October 15, 2006.  

The Sisters came to the Untied States in 1909, to help the Italian immigrants to the country, establishing the first day care centers in many cities of the Northeastern United States.  They serve in Switzerland, India, Brazil, Cameroon, Romanian, Albania, Chile, Venezuela and Nigeria.  

Practical Take Away

Rose Venerini was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1656, then a part of the Papal States.  She was one of four children.  She made a vow to consecrate her life to God at the age of seven.  At the age of twenty, Rosa had questions about her own future and chose to accept an offer of marriage, but her fiancé died shortly after his proposal.  She entered the Dominican Monastery of St. Catherine, with the prospect of fulfilling her vow, but she only remained in the Monastery for a few months, due to the sudden death of her father.  She went back home to care for her mother.  Her brother Domenico soon died at the age of 27.  Two months later, due to grief, her mother died.  She felt God calling her to open a school to catechize and form young women in the faith.  With the guidance of her Spiritual Director, she opened more than forty schools, gaining the support of Pope Clement XI, and many Bishops.  Her work was felt throughout all the areas that she opened her schools, as the young women were well catechized in the faith, and their lives reflected it.    


St. Rose Venerini

St. Rose was born at Viterbo in Italy, the daughter of a doctor. Following the death of her fiancé she entered a convent, but soon returned home to care for her newly widowed mother. Meanwhile, Rose invited the women of the neighborhood to recite the rosary in her home, forming a sort of sodality with them.

As she looked to her future, Rose, under the spiritual guidance of a Jesuit priest, became convinced that she was called to become a teacher in the world rather than a contemplative nun in a convent. Clearly, she made the right choice: She was a born teacher, and the free school for girls she opened in 1685 was well received.

Soon the cardinal invited her to oversee the training of teachers and the administration of schools in his Diocese of Montefiascone. As Rose’s reputation grew, she was called upon to organize schools in many parts of Italy, including Rome. Her disposition was right for the task as well, for Rose often met considerable opposition but was never deterred.

She died in Rome in 1728, where a number of miracles were attributed to her. She was beatified in 1952 and canonized in 2006. The sodality, or group of women she had invited to prayer, was ultimately given the rank of a religious congregation. Today, the so-called Venerini Sisters can be found in the United States and elsewhere, working among Italian immigrants.

She was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 15, 2006.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/saint-rose-venerini/

Blessed Rosa Venerini V (AC)

Born at Viterbo, Italy, 1656; died at Rome, 1728; beatified 1952. Rosa Venerini, daughter of a physician, devoted her life to educating school mistresses. She was joined in this work by Saint Lucy Filippini at the request of Cardinal Barbarigo. She organized schools in many parts of Italy, and recruited and trained teachers who, after Rose's death, were formed into a religious congregation (Attwater2).

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0507.shtml

On May 7, we celebrate a recently canonized saint, Saint Rosa Venerini (1656-1728), who Pope Benedict XVI referred to as an “example of a faithful disciple of Christ, ready to give up all in order to do the will of God.” Saint Rosa is a model of obedience and service, dedicating her life to the education, care, and Christian formation of young women in service of Our Lord.

Rosa was born in Viterbo, Italy, the daughter of a talented and prestigious doctor. At age seven, she declared her intentions to consecrate her life to God. Her desire was nourished by her family faith life, and she matured into an educated and sensible young woman with a heart of service and deeply felt spirituality. At age 20, with her father’s encouragement, Rosa entered the Dominican Monastery of Saint Catherine but remained only a few months. Upon the sudden death of her father, Rosa returned home to care for her mother. Tragedy did not stray from the family, with first her brother dying, followed by her mother succumbing to grief and eventual death.

While Rosa nursed her mother, she established a small community of local women whom she invited over each day to recite the Holy Rosary to Our Blessed Mother. In the conversations that took place before and after prayer, Rosa realized that the vast majority of women at that time had little education or knowledge, especially in regards to the formative teachings of the Church. Rosa began instructing these women, under the spiritual direction of a Jesuit priest, Father Ignatius Martinelli.

Upon her mother’s death, Rosa felt called to remain “in the world,” teaching and forming young Christian women, rather than returning to a contemplative monastic life. Her spiritual director encouraged her vocation, understanding it to be the will of the Lord, and with permission from the Bishop of Viterbo, Saint Rosa opened her first school for girls. With her typical grace and sensibility, there was little fanfare—only a small humble sign which read “Public School for Girls in Italy.” Saint Rosa structured her school according to an innovative plan that had matured in prayer and her search for the will of God. Her primary objective was to provide the “girls of the common people” a complete Christian formation and prepare them for life in society.

Over the course of the next decade, Saint Rosa opened a dozen more schools across the area, meeting great resistance each time. Not only did the public regard her work with suspicion and disdain, oftentimes vocally opposed to the brashness of a woman opening a school, the local clergy in each town also resisted her mission, stating their beliefs that only priests could effectively teach the Catechism. Over time, Rosa’s strength, steadfastness, charity, and grace made her mission impossible to resist. In 1716, Rosa received a visit from Pope Clement XI, accompanied by eight Cardinals, who wanted to attend the lessons provided by her teachers. Amazed and pleased, at the end of the morning he addressed these words to the Foundress: “Signora Rosa, you are doing that which we cannot do. We thank you very much because with these schools you will sanctify Rome.”
Following the papal visit, Rosa’s schools were in high demand, requested across the country, and the communities she taught in became her biggest supporters and advocates. From her devotion to the Blessed Mother, Rosa understood herself, as a woman, to be the carrier of a plan of love, like Mary. She never strayed from her obedient love of the Lord, and her focus on fulfilling His mission for her on earth. “Educate to save” became the motto that urged the Venerini Teachers (Maestre Pie Venerini) to continue the Work of the Lord intended by their Foundress and radiate the charism of Rosa to the world: to free from ignorance and evil so that the project of God which every person carries within can be visible.

In addition to her difficult labors in creating schools and converting communities, Rosa ministered to the sick and discouraged, oftentimes healing through prayer. She spent countless hours in mental prayer and communion with the Lord, which she referred to as “essential nourishment for the soul.” Saint Rosa stated, “I feel so nailed to the Will of God that nothing else matters, neither death nor life. I want what He wants; I want to serve Him as much as pleases Him and no more.” She united with love the sufferings, hard work and joys of her own life to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, concerned that His Precious Blood would not be shed in vain.

Saint Rosa died a saintly death in the community of St. Mark’s in Rome on the evening of May 7, 1728. She had opened more than forty schools over her lifetime. Her remains were entombed in the nearby Church of the Gesù, so loved by her. In 1952, on the occasion of her Beatification, they were transferred to the chapel of the Generalate in Rome. In 2006, she was formally canonized by Pope Benedict XVI. During his homily, he stated:

“Saint Rose Venerini is another example of a faithful disciple of Christ, ready to give up all in order to do the will of God. She loved to say: "I find myself so bound to the divine will that neither death nor life is important: I want to live as he wishes and I want to serve him as he likes, and nothing more."

From here, from this surrender to God, sprang the long-admired work that she courageously developed in favor of the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time.

Saint Rose 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 own apostolic style continues to characterize the life of the Congregation of the Religious Teachers Venerini which she founded. And how timely and important for today's society is this service, which puts them in the field of education and especially of the formation of women.”

Today, the Maestre Pie Venerini continue to serve and transmit the apostolic concern and charism of their founder, Saint Rosa. The community can be found in Italy, as well as the United States, Switzerland, India, Brazil, Cameroon, Romania, Albania, Chile, Venezuela and Nigeria. In each location, preference is always given to the poor, with both their educational and spiritual needs attended to.

The life of Saint Rosa demonstrates to each of us the call that the Lord gives and our need to be willing to listen and obey. Rosa’s life changed dramatically, and she accomplished great works for the glory of the Lord, because she was willing to listen to Him, to persevere through hardship and opposition, and remain steadfast to her mission and His will. Saint Rosa’s life touched countless souls, and her community continues to do so today. What could each of us accomplish if we courageously submitted to the plan of the Almighty? What radical change in the world are we preventing by failing to do so?

Inspired by the origins and
spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.  Today's psalm reminds us that even in our bleakest moments, the Lord is never far from us. 

Today’s Psalm: Psalm 13: Prayer of One in Sorrow
1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.



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