Jaycee Grider: An afternoon with Santa Rosa

di Jaycee Grider*

A few months ago, when I first arrived to Viterbo, I had the honor of witnessing the Macchina di Santa Rosa. I stood on the roof of an apartment in Porta Romana, and it was a spectacular sight it was to see these men lift up la Macchina di Santa Rosa, I had goosebumps! I remember the proud cries, whistles, and screams as they chant, “VIVA SANTA ROSA!!”

Although it took me a small number of months, my curiosity to learn more and see the Saint, never dwindled. Fast forward to this past weekend, I had the chance to visit the holy woman herself at the Monastero di Santa Rosa. It was a sight to see. Her small body, maybe four feet tall, rests peacefully in her lovely glass case. Her urn of sorts is wonderfully adorned by handcrafted framework. There are two angels at the top and they hold such a beautiful crown. I was genuinely wowed beyond belief…all I could think to say at the time was, “Wow,” as my eyes took in all of the beauty. Her body is so small and delicate, yet her power in the room was ever present. I could feel her history and purpose. I could hear the love of all those that worship her. It’s all a mastery of art, I tell you.

I learned that Santa Rosa lived in a humble and devout manner of love for God during the thirteenth century. Although, she was never a nun, she followed the practices and exhortations of St. Frances to worship and spread the word of the Most High and the Virgin Mary. She was described as a delicate and kind young woman, of whom cared for the poor. She is also said to have encouraged the people of Viterbo to reject the Holy Roman Empire. As a consequence of this, she and her parents were driven from the city. After the papacy reclaimed control, Santa Rosa returned to Viterbo. Her physical life was cut short, around the age of 18 or 20, due to complications caused by a congenital agenesis of the sternum. Six years after her body was ordered to be canonized, exhumed and then buried, Pope Alexander IV ordered her body to be exhumed and canonized again. They discovered that her body was found to be completely naturally preserved. So much so in fact that even pores of the skin and roots of the hair were certified to still be intact. This was a strange but highly prodigious phenomena. Her body was transferred by a solemn procession through the streets to her final resting place at the Church of Santa Maria. She is accredited an unquantifiable amount of miracles each of which ring true of her immensely influential role she has even to this day. Viva Santa Rosa!!!


Special thanks and credit to:

Monastero di Santa Rosa

Viterbo Historical Center

Dr. Eleonora Rava

*The author
My name is Jaycee Grider and I am from Reno, Nevada, USA. I study journalism back in the states at my local school: the University of Nevada, Reno. For the next three months, I will be living here in Viterbo as an exchange student and I’ll be traveling around Italy as well as surrounding countries. Thus far my travel abroad experience has been wonderful. Viterbo already has a very special place in my heart.

Mi chiamo Jaycee Grider e vengo da Reno, Nevada, USA. Studio giornalismo negli Stati Uniti presso l’Università del Nevada, Reno. Per i prossimi tre mesi, vivrò qui a Viterbo come studente di scambio e viaggerò in Italia e nei paesi circostanti. Finora la mia esperienza di viaggio all’estero è stata meravigliosa. Viterbo ha già un posto molto speciale nel mio cuore.