Monday, March 11, 2019

Saint of the Month: St. Rosina of Wenglingen!

St. Rosina of Wenglingen

Feast Day: March 11.
Really Existed? Really hard to say.

Timeframe: Different sources say she died in the 400s, or in or around 1000.
Place: Venerated in southern Bavaria; it is unclear whether this implies she lived in the region.

Credentials: Accepted from the folk tradition.
Martyrdom: Vaguely indicated to have suffered some kind of martyrdom.

Patron Saint of: Wenglingen.
Symbolism: The image shown here is probably definitive.

March 11 is not the feast day for any particularly well-known saints, as far as I can gather, so my choice of St. Rosina of Wenglingen was more or less at random. She is a fine example of one of Catholicism's many, many local saints, those recognized by the Church as a whole but really only the focus of devotion only in a limited area.  In the case of St. Rosina of Wenglingen, that area is – as you might expect – Wenglingen, which is in the southern part of Bavaria, in Germany.

There is very little about St. Rosina on the English language internet. CathlicSaints.Info says that she was a “Young woman who consecrated herself to God. May have lived as a forest hermit.” It says that she was a martyr, although it doesn’t give details. Her death is listed as falling in the fourth century. My other go-to online saints calendars and lives don’t mention her at all, and she doesn’t appear in my little print library either.

Yet, last year Rosina of Wenglingen was featured as Saint of the Month in no less a forum than the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano.  The article there is a rather twee tale about a girl who passes out while playing the part of St. Rosina in a procession, and everyone is angry when they realize she must be pregnant, but then her boyfriend shows up to announce that their prayers to Rosina have been answered and he has been offered a job in Wenglingen. There is, however, nothing about St. Rosina herself in the story except when the local priest says “There will be a commemoration of St Rosina in our town. She is the patron saint of Wenglingen and there she is celebrated on 11 March.”

Four years ago today, Rosina of Wenglingen was featured on the Portuguese-language Heroines of Christianity site, which noted (via machine translation) that “Although few are the facts about this martyr, Rosina is one of the most popular saints in some parts of Germany.” “Sometimes she is considered a martyr hermit in the woods,” the site adds, and notes that “in historical research Rosina is sometimes confused with a Santa Eufrosina, or with Santa Rufina.” Finally, Heroines notes that St. Rosina has been patron saint of the city of Wenglingen since the 13th century, and that “in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries their worship became ever greater, which resulted in the fact that many girls received their name.”

The German-language Wikipedia site for the Rosinakapelle, Wenglingen's Chapel to St. Rosina, notes that this is “is the only place in the entire Diocese of Augsburg, where the holy Rosina is worshiped.” Like Heroines of Christianity, this article places Rosina’s life and death in the 1000s, instead of the 400s.

So, this all seems quite in order, and in the same way that I was impressed at the continuing local veneration of the Durham Martyrs in that English cathedral city, I thought it was rather touching to find such a robust local tradition of devotion in southern Bavaria. I must confess, however, that I was then a bit surprised to discover the scale of  "the city of Wenglingen," once I finally found it.

Well, I’m a small-town boy myself, and I know that size of population isn't everything. Still, it must take a pretty good turnout of the townsfolk even to fill the little Rosinakapelle, which is at the eastern edge of town. It is very picturesque. Here’s the outside:

The image at the top of this post, which I'd have to think is the definitive image of St. Rosina, is above the alter of this chapel.

Have a wonderful St. Rosina of Wenglingen’s day!

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