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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Out of Darkness we have Light

Every year on the night of the 3rd of September,
the eve of the Feast of St Rose of Viterbo,
perhaps the biggest portable saint's shrine in the world
is carried through the ancient streets of
the Italian town of Viterbo.

It is around 30 metres tall and weighs around 5 tonnes.

The magnificent tower
is illuminated with hundreds of candles,
and now also electric light,
and crowned with the statue of St Rose.
Her Porters kneel to receive their blessing
before taking their places below the shrine.

The tower is lifted for the first time
as the band strikes up the
Porter's Confraternity hymn to St Rose.
The huge structure is very heavy
and as you can see it takes
some doing before they can set off.

Here the tower is carried through the streets
which are darkened for the occasion.
The porters group changes
and the tower has to be lifted by fresh members.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about this procession
is the fact that this holy little girl of 17 or 18 years of age
was once refused admission
to the Poor Clare Monastery of the town
because she was too poor to gather a dowry.
She died a recluse in her poor father's house
and predicted that the monastery
would admit her after her death.

Today the nuns posses her sacred incorrupt relics.

And now she is carried through the town
with perhaps more splendour
than any other saint in the world.

How wonderful are the judgements of God,
Who brings us light
out of what may appear to be
the greatest darknesses of our lives.

"We see now through
a glass in a dark manner;
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
but then I shall know
even as I am known."
[1 Corinthians 13, 12]


umblepie said...

Thank you for this inspiring post.

Michelle Therese said...

That's just... That's just... I don't even know what to say! "Wow!!" How amazing and awe-some!!

(To poor to enter a ... Poor Clare monastery?????? Now that is ironic!)

Anne B said...

I remember reading, as a child, her life in a little booklet by Fr Daniel Lord SJ. She was pictured crowned with roses.

This presentation is for me a true intellectual thrill.

Can you imagine a story coming from it of the impact of this little virginal saint on the lives of the young men who carry her through the streets?

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