september 4. Rosalia, who left the world and lived in seclusion
Patron of Italian fishermen in Monterey, California and evolutionary science
Long ago, a figure appeared to a duke and duchess as they sat admiring the sunset. The figure announced: For the will of God, in the house of a member of your court, a rose without thorns is to be born. The child the figure foretold of was Rosalia. As a child, Rosalia’s heart turned from earthly vanities toward God.
PLAITS LURE PESKY SUITORS
Her long blond hair and blue eyes attracted many suitors. Overwhelmed by her beauty, a brave count asked for her hand in marriage as reward for slaying a murderous lion. 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, and following a vision of the Blessed Virgin, she resolved to leave the world and live in seclusion. Her parents and suitor tried hard to dissuade her, and so thirteen-year-old Rosalia stole off in the night with some books, a crucifix, and “her instruments of penance.”
Led by two angels, devout Rosalia retired to live as a hermit in a series of caves on a mountain, where she lived for 13 years. The first cave was hidden among trees and buried in snowfall. On the wall of the second cave she inscribed: 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. While there entombed, she practiced penitential acts and ate only the Eucharist to commune more closely with God. Though Rosalia remained unfound, her parents never stopped searching for her.
In the third decade of her life, Rosalia died alone, thus ending her “strange and wonderful life unknown to the world.” It was “the end she chose for herself.”
Five hundred years following her death, a plague beset her homeland. During this hardship, Rosalia appeared to a sick woman and later a hunter, to whom she showed where her remains would be found. She ordered the hunter to exhume her bones and parade them through town in a procession. The hunter climbed the mountain and found her remains in the cave, sheathed in rock crystal. After her remains were parade three times, the city was freed of pestilence.
When years later, a renowned geologist and palaeontologist examined her osteological scraps, he said they were those of a goat.
GOTH GIRLS' PATRONESS
One blogger suggests that Rosalia, “as a young beautiful woman bedecked with a crown of roses, reading a book in her solitary lair with only a human skull for company, or clutching a human skull in her black robe,” would make an ideal patroness of goth women.