Sisters Joan and Marlene release St. Rose of Viterbo's story
Sister Joan Weisenbeck and Sister Marlene Weisenbeck recently released "Manna for a Wintery Earth: The Story of Rose of Viterbo." This new book gives impetus to reflect on the unique call to holiness each person has in their specific milieu. Situating Rose in the historical and cultural context of thirteenth-century Viterbo sheds light on understanding the Viterbo citizens’ devotion for her, and the impact of her Franciscan penitential life. Rose’s story testifies that holiness is a gift of God to be given freely with self-consciousness.
What was your biggest learning about St. Rose while you wrote this book?
Sister Marlene: I reflected on the quality of mercy as found in the stories about Rose. Because she was deeply convinced of God's presence in her life, she was able to help others in their needs. Isn't that what miracles are about?
Sister Joan: Rose was a determined woman, who clearly knew her mission and overcame many obstacles, including war and exile, rejection and illness, to fulfill it.
What will surprise readers?
Sister Marlene: People will be surprised by the prophetic possibilities of an ordinary young woman.
Sister Joan: Rose consistently nudged us to tell her story. Both Marlene and I sensed her guidance through some unexplainable, perhaps even mystical, coincidences and experiences during our research.
Sister Romona Miller offered this in her review, "Situating Rose in the historical and cultural context of thirteenth century Viterbo sheds light on understanding the Viterbo citizens’ devotion for her, and the impact of her Franciscan penitential life." What, in your opinion, is the biggest impact?
Sister Marlene: Franciscan penitential life is about knowing the ground of one's being; that is, being held in the loving goodness of God which prompts others to consider that goodness as available to them too.
Sister Joan: Rose focused her life on what she believed to be God’s call. She was a young woman with deep trust in Christ and prophetic influence who could encourage others to seek the truth of their faith during very confusing times.
Manna for a Wintery Earth: The Story of Rose of Viterbo is available at Franciscan Institute Publications.