Rhoda Wise -American Mystic-Stigmatic-Visionary-Catholic convert

Rhoda Wise –Wife, Mother, Mystic, Stigmatic, Catholic convert (1888-1948)
Primary source for this article is the excellent book “Her Name Means Rose –The Rhoda Wise Story” by Karen Sigler S.F.O. availible by clicking here.

Rhoda Wise was born on February 22, 1888 and was the sixth child of Eli and Anna Greer (nee Anna Poulson). They eventually had eight children, five boys and three girls. She was born in Cadiz, Ohio, however when she was two they moved to Wheeling, West Virginia. Her father Eli worked in the family trade of bricklaying. Her mother was very patriotic and became involved with the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization which supported the veterans of the Civil War, even serving as a state and a national president for a time.

Her parents were staunchly Protestant and Rhoda grew up in the First Christian Church. There was a definite anti-Catholic bias in the family and among their friends. Rhoda often heard unkind remarks about Catholics and the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, she did have a few Catholic friends.

Incidentally, when she was sixteen, Rhoda had a small encounter with Catholicism. While she was in Wheeling Hospital for an appendicitis operation, she received a visit from a Catholic Sister who gave her a St. Benedict medal. Rhoda explained to Sister that because of her parents dislike for the Catholic Church she would never be allowed to wear it, so Sister put the small medal in Rhoda's locket. Deeply touched by the Sisters kindness, Rhoda kept that hidden medal for the rest of her life.

Rhoda married Ernest Wissmar, a young widower from Canton, Ohio, in November of 1915 and moved to Canton, Ohio Their marriage was not a happy one and ended tragically six months after it began. Ernest suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died at a home where he was doing plaster work on May 16, 1916, leaving Rhoda a widow at twenty eight. She met George Wise soon after Ernest's death and she married him on January 27, 1917. Although she loved him dearly, George was a drinking man and the next twenty-three years of her life were plagued by countless struggles, embarrassment and financial difficulties that kind of life can cause.

Shortly after their marriage, George and Rhoda adopted a baby girl and named her Ruth. This little one lit up their lives for nearly a year until the Spanish flu epidemic that plagued the world at that time snuffed out her young life just eight days before her first birthday. When the pain of Ruth's death eased, in 1922 George and Rhoda adopted a lovely child named Anna Mae, whom they loved dearly. Anna Mae would be their loving daughter and consolation for the rest of their lives.

Rhoda Wise
In the early years after Anna Mae was adopted, George and Rhoda moved seven times, presumably because of Georges’s drinking problem which we can surmise caused him to change jobs frequently. In the end, 2337 25th St. NE in Canton, Ohio (the location of the present day Shrine) was the only home their daughter Anna Mae would remember.

Nine years after Anna Mae was adopted (1931), Rhoda developed a huge, 39 pound ovarian cyst. The cyst was so large in fact, there wasn't a doctor in Canton willing to attempt its removal. Rhoda eventually found a doctor in Wheeling who would perform the surgery, but even he was not sure if she would live through it. She survived, but the cyst and the surgery negatively affected her gall bladder, which soon needed to be removed, and then later another surgery was needed for an obstruction in the bowel, which had become painfully impacted.

In December of 1936, she accidentally stepped into a sewer drain, which severely damaged her right leg, causing an infection and turning her foot inward. Thus began a long series of hospital visits, necessitating many leg casts in an effort to repair the damaged leg. Additionally, it was discovered that the earlier incision in her abdomen had reopened, causing a severe infection surrounding the incision. This would soon become a major problem. But for now, because of her damaged leg, she was mainly confined to bed from this point on, and returned every few months to the hospital for either a new cast or another operation in an effort to straighten the leg or to be fitted a new cast.

Her First Mystical Vision
It was at this this time that she was given the first of many visions. One day while she was confined to bed, Rhoda called George and Anna Mae into her room and said, "George, do you see Our Lord in the window? He is dressed as a shepherd and holding a lamb. George, Our Lord is handing you the lamb. Please take it"

George walked away muttering under his breath. Anna Mae just stood there; she didn't see a thing. Then Rhoda said to Anna Mae, "Our Lord is handing you the lamb. Please, take the lamb." Anna Mae still saw nothing but held out her arms in a gesture to receive the lamb. Her mother smiled and turned her head toward the window. No doubt George walked away thinking his wife was headed for a breakdown, but Anna Mae was left with an entirely different impression, and in her later years recounted this incident often and with great emotion. At the time, however, no one paid any further attention to it.

Rhoda Wise
Her Conversion to the Catholic Church
Rhoda's sufferings grew worse by the day, but the nursing sisters at Mercy Hospital were a great consolation for her in the midst of it. She spent so much time at the hospital that she knew most of them by name. Dressed in their long white habits and veils, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine looked like angels of mercy to her. She became especially close to one named Sister Clement. Sister Clement was greatly devoted to Saint Therese of Lisieux, and she gave Rhoda a little shrine to St. Therese, “the Little Flower”, enclosed in a glass ball, and she told Rhoda a little about her.

Rhoda didn't pay much attention, but kept the shrine at her bedside. Sister Clement also gave her a prayer to Jesus and the Little Flower which Rhoda said only because she thought so much of Sister. When Sister Clement explained that St. Therese could help her in many ways, Rhoda told Sister flat out she didn't believe it, even laughed at the idea -but it didn't harm their friendship in the least.

Rhoda dearly loved the Sisters who took care of her at Mercy. In September, Rhoda was attracted to the crucifix on one of the Sister's rosary. When Sister came over to her bed Rhoda took the crucifix and held it in her hands. Heat radiated from the crucifix as she held it. "Sister, will you teach me how to pray the rosary?" Rhoda asked. The Sister initially said no, as perhaps she had heard about Rhoda's reaction to St Therese. But Rhoda kept asking, and Sister eventually taught her. This Sister also gave Rhoda her first rosary, prayer book, and Sacred Heart Badge. From that time on, Rhoda prayed a rosary for the nursing Sisters every morning and night.

As Rhoda continued to pray the rosary, she began to have questions about the Catholic faith. When they came to mind she would write them down and ask Sister Clement the next time she saw her. One time Sister Clement explained about nine days of prayer called novenas that could be made to Jesus, Our Lady, or the saints for a special intention. She suggested a novena to St Therese- the Little Flower, but Rhoda wasn't yet ready for that.

As month progressed and she remained in the hospital, Rhoda's spirits fell. As each day passed, she was getting worse, not better. In early December, Sister Clement found Rhoda crying and when she asked what was wrong, Rhoda answered, "Sister, can we make that novena to the Little Flower now?" They began the Novena to St Therese that night. And, from that night on, Rhoda grew closer and closer to the Little Flower and prayed to her constantly. She was in such discomfort that often she could not sleep and would spend her days and much of her nights in prayer.

This is the Novena to Jesus through St Therese that Rhoda and Sr. Clement would pray together:
"O beautiful Rose of Carmel, Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus, deign according to
your promise to descend from Heaven to visit those who implore you. Pour down upon us in profusion those Celestial Graces that are symbolized by the shower of roses that Jesus, your Spouse, had put at your disposal.
Your power is great with his Heart. He can only listen and hear your prayer. I have recourse to you then, O Saint Therese of the Child Jesus; assist me in this need. Speak for me to Jesus and to Mary and obtain for me the grace to live a holy life and die a happy death. Amen"

And now, Rhoda’s thoughts were centered on becoming Catholic. The Protestant patients in her ward tried to discourage her from continuing the Catholic practices that were absorbing her time and attention. Some of them even sent their ministers over to dissuade her. But her heart and will were steadfast.

Sister Clement told Rhoda that she needed to talk to a priest to become a Catholic, and she immediately knew which one she wanted to talk to, although she did not know his name. She had seen him visiting other patients in her ward. When she described him, they told her he was Monsignor Habig of St. Peter's Church.

The nurses called Monsignor Habig and he quickly responded. He questioned Rhoda regarding her faith, her reasons for converting, and her family. Satisfied with her answers, he asked if she was willing to take some instruction on the Catholic faith. Rhoda responded yes. Because she was so ill, Monsignor Habig gave her a small catechism and instructed her himself during the seven days between Christmas and New Years.

On January 1, 1939, Rhoda Wise was brought into the Catholic Church. She received her First Holy Communion on January 2, the anniversary of the Little Flower's birth. The new year also brought Rhoda another abdominal surgery on January 4. It would be her last. The surgeon could not close her abdomen properly because there was no longer enough tissue there to hold together and suture. It was to be her last surgery. She was left with an open hole in her abdomen.

By January 10, her bowel was protruding through the hole, and on February 8, secretions from the bowel began to drain out and burn her skin. There was no salve available at that time strong enough to protect her skin or to ease the burning. Eventually, all the skin on her abdomen was burnt raw from this drainage. Through all of this, Rhoda and Sister Clement kept their novena to the Little Flower every evening. And soon St. Therese the “Little Flower” would play a remarkable and unexpected role in her life.

To give her some hope, the doctor told Rhoda he would operate again, but her repeatedly put it off from day to day. He called the family aside and told them she had cancer. No one men¬tioned "cancer" directly to Rhoda, however. As day followed day and nothing more was being done, Rhoda asked if she could go home. She was told she would not be going home for a very long time.
On February 12th her doctor walked in.
"Rhoda, are you making out your will?"
"No, I am starting a diary. Doctor, when are you going to operate on me?"
"I'm not going to operate, Rhoda. I'm afraid I have done all I can do."
"Are you saying I'm not going to get well? Am I going to die?"
"Rhoda, I've done all that can be done. You may live a long time yet, or just a little while. I have no way of knowing. All I know for certain is that I've done as much as I can. I'm sorry."

A chair that Jesus sat in when He came to visit Rose while in ecstasy
Although it was a blow, Rhoda took the news well. She had suffered for so long that she understandably did not care to live longer.
Her diary gives us and idea of her thoughts during this time:
February 19, 1939: "Last night my incision bled quite a bit and scared me. I seem to have a feeling I may get better. Probably St.Therese is hearing Sister Clement's and my prayers. I have started a novena of my rosary that I may get well. My rosary has meant everything to me since the first day I received it from Sister. Little did I dream then there would be such a change in my life .... "
February 23: " ... A lot of who I thought were my best friends I have lost because of my religion. Then this trouble of my own and all the other things I have to trouble me just seems too much. They say suffering and trouble only bring us nearer to God and I know I am close to Him, but I want to be closer still."
February 24: "Today is cold and like winter. My stomach hurts me quite a bit and I am all nervous. A woman down the hall is screaming awful because she does not want to die. Why does one fear death so much -unless they have not lived right and served Him must be the reason. I don't seem to be afraid because when we think of all He promises us over there and we are living close to Him as we can, there is nothing to fear. As far as I am concerned if I must go, I wish it would be soon so I don't have to lie here and be a burden to anyone. It has to be His Will, not ours be done, and I must be content and do as He wills. I try to be brave, but sometimes I cannot ... George has forgotten me today, but I don't let it get to me anymore than I can help .... "

February 25: " ... I am saying my rosary, and how I love my rosary .... "

February 28: "I had Communion this morning and it is wonderful to be able to receive it. .. Little Flower, help Sister Clement in all her work. Teach me to pray the way I should. Sister Clement doesn't realize how hard I am praying to you and she is the one who taught me how .... "

By March, Rhoda's suffering was intense. Her bowel drained constantly and required frequent changes of dressing. The odor, the mess -it does not take much imag¬ination to understand why Rhoda was not a favorite patient among the nurses. Still, Sister Clement was a faithful friend and kept the evening novena to the Little Flower with Rhoda as often as possible. Sister even went out of her way to take Rhoda to the Chapel to show and teach her the Stations of the Cross.

March 1, 1939: "It sure came in like a lion, and how. I don't feel so good and the poor nurses are having to do my dressings so much and they are awful. I am having an awful time. 0 God, hear my prayer and if I cannot get well, please don't let me have to be here long like this. I know it is Thy Will not ours be done, and oh, may it be I don't have to be like this very long .... "
March 8: "…I am so miserable. I don't know what to do "
March 10: " I am so mean. I just cannot help it. I had company but I wished they would go home. I just wonder how long I must be like this. Msgr. Habig says God must love me a lot to make me suffer the way I do .... "
March 11: "…I was anointed tonight and Sister Clement was here with Msgr. Habig .... "[Editor’s note: She was given the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, normally given to those nearing death. It is commonly known as the “Last Rites.”]

Bright light that the crowds outside of Rose's home saw when Jesus appeared to her on one occasion
March 15: "Today my incision is worse than ever. I really don't know what to do. They have to do my dressings so much they are making me dizzy. It seems they could do something for that burning. . . They do my dressing about every half hour .... "
March 25: "…I feel tonight as if even God has forgotten me. I just cannot bear anymore. I know I am going to be in terrible misery if I go home and do not have someone to do my dressings all the time. I know I cannot get the care I need for it takes money to do that and there isn't any ... Oh God, I wonder what the outcome will be. You have never failed me yet, dear Jesus, and I know you won't now. When the clouds were darkest and I was in despair you always showed me a way out, so I'll just trust you to take me out of this .... "
In April her intense suffering continued, mixed with deep faith and prayer.
April 20: "…I am praying so hard to St. Therese and she is going to help me. She seems so close to me. I am not laughing now, Little Flower, but trusting and praying I may be helped. I could look at your beautiful picture all day. All I do is look at your picture and whisper a prayer for help. I know you are listening to me. Won't you please help me?"

April 21: " ... How I love my rosary! I repeat it many times a day .... "

On April 28th her Doctor told her that after a thorough research amongst his colleagues both near and abroad, there was nothing that could be done for her and that he was sending her home to die.

In her diary on May 16 she writes: “…It is awful to be like this. God, if I am not to get well, let me die right now. Each day I wish there would be no tomorrow. I did not think it possible for anyone to suffer so much. This drainage about sets me crazy. If I could go to sleep for just one night it would be heaven for me. Little Flower and Jesus, I am praying so hard for you to make me well, and if that is not to be, let me die at once. These dressings are terrible. No one wants to do them. I can hardly do them anymore either."
May 22, 1939: " ... My stomach is so raw from that irritation. I don't know what to do. God, how much longer must I suffer like this? Little Flower, why won't you hear me? I cannot pray any harder than I am. Please hear me."
May 27, 1939: " ... All I want to do is cry. I just don't seem to be able to stop. Oh Little Flower, I will never stop praying for you to help me. You suffered so much when you were on earth, and do you think I am a baby and cannot take it?. ... "
On this day, May 27th, it truly seemed the end had come. But who could have ever guessed the extraordinary ending?

Rhoda Wise
Her Miraculous Cure
May 28, 1939: "What is last night or early this morning going to mean in my life? Some people say I was dreaming and some say I was delirious. I was neither. I was wide awake and saw Jesus sitting right by my bed . . . I tried to make George get up and he said I was dreaming or seeing things in my sleep. He (Jesus) was gloriously beautiful. I never saw a picture as beautiful as He is. His robe was beautiful. It was gold with every color in it. I just wanted to touch it and see what it was like. I could see the marks on his forehead where the Crown of Thorns had pierced His brow. Just as I tried to touch His robe He said He would return in thirty-one days. As I tried to touch Him He vanished. I would not let George have any rest until He got up and brought me the clock. It was 2:50AM. I told George all about what I saw, and he said I must have been dreaming. The next morning I told him again. He still would not believe it. It was no dream. He says he heard me talking and thought I was talking in my sleep. My bedroom was as light as it could be from Him. When I saw Jesus by my bed I really thought my time had come, but I was not one bit afraid. I said, 'Have you come for me?' and He said, 'No, your time has not come yet.' He said He would return in thirty-one days. I am wondering if He will. If He says He will, I am sure that He will. Everyone I told said I was dreaming, but I know that I was not and saw Him as plain as I see anyone. I cannot seem to explain it. It is so wonderful to me. I don't care what anyone else says. They cannot tell me I did not see Jesus and talk to Him. I wish Sister Clement was here so I could tell her about it."
May 29, 1939: "I am still no better and all I can think of is what I saw. I wonder if He means He is coming in thirty-one days for me. I hope He does, but I wonder how I am ever going to suffer that much longer .... "

Rhoda passed out shortly after this last diary entry and lapsed in and out of consciousness for the next two weeks. She awoke in Mercy Hospital where she had been admitted on June 9th and treated for a bowel impaction. She stayed in the hospital for a few days and then was sent back home, suffering all the while. And then came the 31st day from Jesus’ first appearance.

June 28, 1939: "I guess everyone will say I am dreaming again or seeing things. What happened to me was done by no dream. I saw Jesus again last night standing in my bedroom door. While I looked at Him, He said, 'Here I am as I said.' St. Therese, the Little Flower, was right by Him. She came to my bedside. She wanted the cover off me. I pushed it off She wanted the dressings off so I pushed them off. She put her hand on my stomach and said, 'You doubted me before. You have been tried in the fire and not found wanting. Faith cures all things.' She walked back to Jesus and when I looked at Him He said, 'I will come again. There is work yet to be done.' They vanished. I looked at my stomach. I was entirely healed. Not one drop of anything had even run on my stomach. That awful irritation and everything was gone. What my feelings were I can never tell…."
Rhoda tried to tell George the next morning what had happened, but he wouldn't listen, so she let him go off to work without showing him anything. She tried to reach Msgr. Habig, but he was out of town. She couldn't reach Sister Clement either, so she wrote her a letter describing everything that had happened. Rhoda told Sister she wanted to jump out of bed but her foot wouldn't let her. She hadn't thought about asking St. Therese to cure her foot, but the instantaneous cure of her abdomen was an absolute miracle which filled her heart and soul with unimaginable joy!

She kept the incredible secret for two days until she could tell Monsignor Habig, however soon the remarkable story was out, and no one could believe their eyes. The horrible abdomen wound will all its accompanying bowel leakage was completely healed. Out of thanksgiving to God, Rhoda happily repeated her story over and over again to everyone who asked.

Her diary entry that night stated:
June 30, 1939: " .. .I was lying here writing to Sister Clement when who should come in but Monsignor Habig. I told him at once what had happened and he seemed as happy about it as I am. He took my letter over to Sister Clement and she (and Sister Florence) came right out. They were very happy over this. I feel my knowing Sister Clement had a lot to do with this. If I had not known Sister Clement, I probably would not know about the Little Flower. It's as much a mystery to me as anyone. "

"In fact, many things are a mystery to me. My turning to the Catholic faith and everything connected with it. One thing I know -I have had many worries and troubles but through it all I have trusted and had faith that I might get well. Of course, I never dreamed that I would get well in this way that I have. All I can say is that when I thought there was no help and I was at the end, Jesus saved me, and I feel sure that the Little Flower asked Him too. No one who has not been through what I have would ever know the misery and pain I was in. For six months I laid here in a wet mess all the time and that irritation was more than I could stand. I never missed praying every day. Every time I saw my doctor I would ask him if I was going to get well. He always told me no."

Everyone around me says they will never doubt God again. I never have. I knew He would do what He thought best. He did, and I will devote my whole life to working for Him in any way He wants to use me."

July 1, 1939: " ... So many people came today. Many praised God and cried for joy over what has happened ....And thus began her apostolate of leading souls to God.

Rhoda Wise plaster cast after miraculous cure
The Miraculous Cure of Her Leg –The Second Miracle
Aug. 10, 1939: " ... Tomorrow I go in the hospital again. God, may this be the last cast, and if it is Thy Will, may my foot be straight and may I walk."The cast they applied to Rhoda's foot was to be on until November 10. Rhoda's doctor told her there would be a person ready who would fit her with a brace as soon as the cast came off, and that she would be wearing the brace for the rest of her life. He and everyone else was about to see for a second time that Jesus and St Therese had other plans.

Aug. 15, 1939:[Feast of the Assumption on the Blessed Virgin Mary] "Oh, what a day! I was so happy to begin with because the Little Flower came to me and cured my foot. I was sitting up in bed and crying because my foot hurt me so much. The Little Flower came and said, 'That is a little thing. Stand up and walk.' I stood right on my feet and the cast broke and I stepped right out of it. She said, 'Go to church now' .... "
Another miracle! Who can imagine the joy of Rhoda, her family and all who knew her! George nearly fainted when he walked into the room and saw her standing on her own, the cast shattered all over the floor. Needless to say this second miracle drew a flood of persons wanting to see and talk to the woman of the miracle. Her apostolate of leading souls to God was now well underway.

Crowds that came to see Rhoda Wise
The Third Miracle –The Conversion of Souls
Later in the month of August another extraodinary miracle occurred in the Wise home, and though it received no attention whatsoever, Rhoda considered it the greatest miracle Our Lord worked for her--Her husband George stopped drinking “cold turkey”. He had come home one night and went to bed only to find Our Lord standing in front of him. George didn't want to see Jesus, so he turned over. Our Lord was there too. Every way George turned, Jesus was there. When Geroge told Rhoda this extraordinary story, she immediately called Monsignor Habig who came to speak to George.

"Well, did He say anything to you, George?" Monsignor asked.
"No, He didn't have to," was George's reply and all he had to say about the subject.
On August 21, George, his brother, sister-in-law, and Rhoda joined Monsignor Habig for instructions in the Catholic Faith at St. Peter's. Before the year was out George would receive Holy Communion beside his wife. In another year, Anna Mae would join them. Six others from both George and Rhoda's families converted as well. And then there were the countless souls who thronged to her house each day to see and speak with “the woman who was miraculously cured.” God alone knows how many souls returned to Him after witnessing His love and mercy revealed in the life of Rhoda.

Rhoda Wise (2nd from right) and Mother Angelica (far right) prior to her becoming a nun 
The Miraculous Cure of Rita Rizzo [Mother Angelica of EWTN]
Along with the many pilgrims came more cures. Surely the most well known healing was that of Rita Antoinette Rizzo, now known as Mother Angelica, the Foundress of Eternal Word Television Network [EWTN]. In January of 1943 when Mother Angelica was nineteen she suffered from a painful condition known as "dropped" stomach. The story of her healing is recounted in the book "Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles” by Raymond Arroyo.

To summarise the story, the young Rita Rizzo [Mother Angelica] was at her wits end because of the pain in her stomach. She was brought to Rhoda on January 8, 1943. Rhoda gave her a Novena prayer to St Therese to recite, asking the intercession of St. Therese. On the last day of the Novena to St Therese, Sunday January 17, Rita Rizzo woke up in the middle of the night with a strong, sharp pains in her stomach -"It seemed that something was pulling my stomach out", she later claimed. When she woke up later that Sunday morning, she immediatly thought of putting on the corset around her waist, which helped to avert the pain, but she "heard" and inner voice telling her to get up and she then realised that she was miraculously cured. She looked into the mirror and indeed the bluish color around her waist and also the bulging lump on her lower abdomen was gone. Over the many passing decades the stomach problem has never returned.

The Crown of Thorns and the Stigmata
On Good Friday, April 3, 1942 Rhoda was given the Crown of Thorns and her forehead bled for the first time. Every Friday afterwards, the red marks on her forehead opened, and she would bled from 12:00 noon to 3:00pm. Blood would also come forth from her eyes. On June 2, 1942 Jesus appeared to her in a vision and told her “..to save souls, one must suffer.” Her apostolate was now clearly that of a victim soul.
On the first Friday of November, wounds appeared on her feet. On this day, blood issued from her forehead, her eyes and also from the wound in her left foot. The outward manifestation of the bleeding stigmata would contine and later in 1944 she began also to have the stigmata in her hands.

Her Holy Death
After a heroic life of sacrifice and suffering for the conversion of souls, Rhoda Wise went to be with God at 10:55pm on July 7, 1948. At her funeral eulogy her longtime spirtual director and friend Monsignor Habig said to the 14,000 people who had come to say good bye to their beloved spiritual friend:

“…Rhoda Wise was a holy soul. Few knew her as well as I and I can testify that Our Savior filled her heart with a great love for God so that she was willing to endure the greatest suffering for His sake.
"I submit my poor judgement to that of the Church, but it is my personal conviction that all she stated about the many apparitions of Our Lord and the Little Flower are true and that she was highly favored by Our Lord.”
"The true vocation of Mrs. Wise was to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart and Little Flower and her personal sufferings were associated with Our Lord in atoning for the sins of the world. It is through prayer and penance that the world will be saved and that is up to each one of us…..

The stigmata and crown of thorns given to Rhoda Wise
“This place is to be a Shrine”
On April 3, 1940 at 2:40am our Lord appeared to Rhoda and told her among other things:
“…This place is to be a Shrine and cures more wonderful than your own will take place on this spot.”
Soon afterwards in honor of our Lords request a small altar room within the home was created for pilgrims to pray. After Rhoda’s death, her daughter Anna Mae continued to keep the house open for pilgrims for 47 years, until her death in 1995. She left the home to Mother Angelica and Eternal Word Television Network, and in October 2001, the home of Rhoda Wise became the property of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, which is the Monastery that Mother Angelica founded.

The Rhoda Wise House and Grotto is open daily to visitors. Graces and favors from the Sacred Heart, the Little Flower, and Rhoda are being reported. In 2001, a Grotto in honor of the Sacred Heart was built on the site. Rhoda's home/grotto is located at 2337 25th St. NE, Canton, Ohio.

For more information on Rhoda Wise, visit the official website at RhodaWise.com

Additionally, for those interested there have been some recent local news stories (Fox News 8, Cleveland, Ohio) about Rhoda Wise here:
Part 1: http://fox8.com/2014/02/10/inside-ohios-miracle-house/

Part 2:http://fox8.com/2014/02/12/ohios-miracle-house-claims-of-healing-revealed/

~Rhoda Wise, pray for us!

****UPDATES: After an informal investigation, Bishop George. V. Murry S. J. gave the Nihil Obstat to the work of Rhoda Wise Shrine, Incon June 9, 2015.

The Cause for Beatification of Rhoda Wise officially opened on Oct. 7, 2016.  She is now officially considered a Servant of God. There is more updated information at www.rhodawise.com

Primary source for this article is the excellent book “Her Name Means Rose –The Rhoda Wise Story” by Karen Sigler S.F.O. availible by clicking here.

Marie Rose Ferron American Mystic-Visionary-Stigmatic

Marie Rose Ferron "Little Rose" with her mother
Marie Rose Ferron –American Mystic, Stigmatic and Visionary (1902-1936)

Sources: “Crucified with Christ” by Herbert George Kramer S.M., P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1949 and also the excellent book “She Wears a Crown of Thorns”, by Rev O.A. Boyer S.T.L Benzinger Brothers, 1949.

Early Years
Marie Rose Ferron, affectionately known as “Little Rose”, was born on May 24th, 1902 in St Germain de Grantham, Quebec, and was the tenth child of a family of fifteen children. In 1906 when Rose was 4 ½ years old, her family moved to Fall River, Massachusetts. Then, on May 25, 1925 they moved once again to Woonsocket, Rhode Island where she remained the rest of her life.

At the age of six, Rose had already had a vision of the Child Jesus. "I saw Him with a cross," she said, "and He was looking at me with sadness in His eyes."

When she was seven, Jesus taught her a French prayer which she recited daily until her death. It reads:
"Lord Jesus, when I reflect upon the words You have uttered, 'Many are called, but few are chosen,' I begin to tremble for those I love, and I beg You to look upon them with mercy: and behold, with infinite tenderness, You place their salvation in my hands, as it were; for everything is promised to him who knows how to suffer with You and for You.
"My heart bleeds under the weight of affliction, but my will remains united to Yours, and I cry out to You: 'Lord, it is for them that I want to suffer!' I want to mingle my tears with Your Blood for the salvation of those I love! You will not turn a deaf ear to my cry of sorrow and You will save them."

Even at a young age, Marie-Rose showed an unusual piety, devotion and a grasp of heavenly and spiritual things. It was not at all difficult for her for example, to listen to and follow a sermon just as a grown¬up does. And when Mass was over, she did not rush out to play, but preferred to remain at her place to prolong her thanksgiving.

When Marie Rose reached thirteen, she became seriously ill as a result of carrying dinner to her father on a slushy early-spring day. Her right hand and her left foot now seemed paralyzed. Remarkably however, her hand was cured when she took holy water one morning after Mass two years later. In an instant it opened and once again she could freely move her fingers. But her foot never healed, and for twelve years she was unable to walk without crutches.

Understandably, Rose saw herself destined to be handicapped for life, and thus a air of sadness and loneliness held sway over her girlhood. One summer morning, when she was seventeen, she felt her misery more acutely than usual. Writing about the occasion years later she recalled how she felt. It was a Sunday, and from her window she could see her sisters and their friends chattering and laughing as they left for church. "The life that overflowed from these girls, seemed to be the best that the world could give, and I contrasted myself with them. I felt crushed. I saw myself miserable, destitute and abandoned by God; I thought of my infirmity, of my crutches, I was heart-broken and I melted into tears."

Another affliction that affected Rose deeply was her inability to attend school. "I felt as if I were blind, groping in the dark," she said. "I had nothing to look forward to, no hope of bettering my condition. I beheld my ignorance ever before my eyes, and that discouraged me more than my infirmities. Time, that softens everything, even sufferings, increased my own: they broke my heart."

The “La Sentinelliste” affair
In 1922, the Bishop of Providence R.I., Reverend William Hickey, launched a million dollar campaign for the construction of several new high schools in his diocese. It was at a period that favored the raising of funds for such a worthy cause. But, although the bishop did not expect any collection to be endorsed in all quarters, he never surmised that this drive would meet a wave of bitter opposition from the ranks of the French-speaking Catholics, so traditionally loyal to the Church. They did not debate the validity of the drive. They questioned his right to assess their parishes, which already supported their own elementary French schools, even though the drive was for high schools.

By 1924, a leader had arisen to crystallize the movement around a weekly newspaper called “La Sentinelle”. The paper spared no words in attacking the bishop, and its circulation grew. By 1927, its followers had become so obstinate that they refused all financial support to the Church. The bishop was now obliged to resort to drastic action. He ordered his priests to refuse the sacraments to all who persisted in their opposition and he was obliged to excommunicate the fifty-six leaders.

At the height of the unhappy episode, the broken-hearted shepherd of the Providence diocese looked for someone to give him supernatural assistance. He knew he needed a victim soul to suffer for the division that was separating the flock entrusted to him. Knowing of her extraordinary piety and devotion, he chose Marie-Rose to make reparation for the dissenters and to spiritually assist him in bringing them back to the fold of Christ’s Church.

And a victim soul was indeed Marie Rose mission. Marie Rose’s mother, Delima Mathieu Ferron, was of a rare virtue. From her first pregnancy she had dedicated each of her newly-born children to a mystery of the Rosary and having fifteen children she had thus completed all fifteen decades. Marie-Rose, or simply Rose, as she was often called, was destined to be the child dedicated to the tenth mystery, the Crucifixion, and it was she whom Bishop Hickey called upon in his distress.

A few years before, Rose met a priest who taught her how to suffer and sacrifice out of love for God, so that by the time Bishop Hickey called on her, when she was twenty-five, she had completely accepted the mystery of suffering for herself, and could even say that she hungered and thirsted after it, and that suffering was to be her state of life. And, by this time she had been bed-ridden for five years.

And so, the bishop called on the Ferron home because he knew he would meet there a victim who would be willing to offer herself as a living holocaust for his diocese. On her part, Rose recognized "a good heart" in the bishop. He felt so much at ease in her presence that all resistance broke down and he wept bitterly. "My child," he pleaded, "will you suffer for the Diocese of Providence, for its priests, and for those I was obliged to punish?"

"I will do whatever you ask," answered Rose without hesitation. "I am willing to suffer as you wish and for the return of those you have excommunicated. I accept at once. It will be my mission to pray for their return."

The bishop thought that Rose should reflect some time before complying with what might become a veritable martyrdom. He accordingly left the room for a few minutes, in order that she might consider the full import of her acceptance. When he came back, Rose reiterated her consent.

Calm began to settle slowly over the Sentinelliste battlefield. Many thought it was the calm before a fresh storm. A lone victim was however obtaining graces for an entire diocese through unusual, mystical suffering. Once in ecstasy, she was heard to plead: "Take away my speech, if that will help. Take my eyes! Take my mind!" And with her eyes glistening with tears, she added: "Take everything I have and cherish. I am ready to suffer until the last one is converted, even one hundred years if You so wish it!" And later she said- "This affair will bear good fruit for both sides, and with Jesus I rejoice because of it."

Remarkably, one by one, all fifty-six rebel children of the Church bowed in submission and obedience to their Bishop.

One day, when Rose was twenty-two, the house was filled with the odor of freshly baked bread. Her younger sister, who was munching a crumb, invited her to have some: "Oh, Rose, it is delicious!"
"I can't,"
answered Rose, who already knew the exigencies of her stomach. "If I do, I may die."
"To die from eating or from hunger-what's the difference? Try at least."
Rose tried and suffered as if she were actually to die.
When all was over, her left hand was deformed. It was to remain crippled until her death.

What is even more remarkable is that thereafter she partook of no more solid food. Rose herself attested to this fact, as did also her mother. For eleven years, until her death, Rose took only liquid food and even this she was at times unable to keep. Realizing that she could receive Holy Communion, a priest once gave her some tiny unconsecrated particles. They promptly made her ill. Moreover, four years before her death, she did not even drink water during a period of three months. But Rose felt hunger and thirst, as all who dwelt in contact with her very well knew. It was at the price of long and protracted craving for food that she was able to subsist on a diet that would have been insufficient for an ordinary person.

"Little Rose," had begun her role of victim without foreseeing what type of suffering was in store for her, nor what unusual signs God was to work in her martyred body. Her abstinence from food and drink was only the beginning of many extraordinary mystical phenomena and of deep suffering. Throughout it all, she remained docile to authority, both medical and spiritual, and with delicate discretion tried ever to avoid publicity.

A detailed biography is not the object of this brief sketch of the life of Marie Rose Ferron. Her trials, her love for suffering, her stigmata and the content of her ecstasies and visions will be treated somewhat in detail, because they alone bring into relief her intimacy with Christ crucified. Other phenomena of her mystic life can be found in the excellent biography "She Wears a Crown of Thorns" by the Reverend O. A. Boyer. Suffice it to state here in passing that while in ecstasy she could not be lifted, even by 4 grown men, although she weighed not more than seventy-five pounds. Moreover, her body remained rigid, except when she spoke or wanted to use her hands while in conversation with Christ.

Her Devotion to the Eucharist
Bishop Hickey authorized a private oratory next to Rose's room. When Mass was said there, especially on the feasts of the Blessed Virgin, Rose would drop into ecstasy at the opening prayers but she always revived at the moment of Communion. Generally, the instant she received the Sacred Host, her head fell back and she again drifted into ecstasy. Not the slightest movement of her throat muscles indicated that she was swallowing the Host, although It disappeared instantaneously. Many priests noted this fact, even one who did not to believe in the mystical authenticity of Rose's experiences.

In fact, Rose's love for the Eucharist was intense. She had been accustomed to the daily reception of Communion, when suddenly it became impossible for her to communicate more than once a week. Rose suffered acutely from this isolation from her Eucharistic Lord. Once the priest was absent for two weeks. She was counting the days one by one until the Saturday when he was again to bring her the Blessed Sacrament, only to be told that morning that he was not coming. "When later she spoke of the incident," writes her biographer, "her eyes filled with tears and as they ran down her cheeks, the intense pain that they betrayed was revealed in her words. The words were simple and few, but they could move a dead man's bones. I am not sensitive, but this time I felt an acute pain all through me. . . . I shall never need a greater proof of the martyrdom that girl suffered when deprived of the Blessed Sacrament."

When the priest learned that Rose lay constantly on a board to which she was tied, he was so profoundly impressed that he made arrangements for bringing her Holy Communion twice a week. During this same period, Rose became completely separated from the three priests from whom she had sought spiritual direction. Her isolation from them and the infrequency of the Eucharistic visits of her Spouse lasted several years. They were years of living by pure faith, amid deep sufferings, both physical and mental. For the remainder of her life, she was to wonder how she had been able to survive without having lost her mind. But she clung to the anchor of Faith and the Providence of God and found security in utter docility to her confessor's authority.

Her Stigmata and wounds of the Scourging
Rose Ferron was one of the most completely stigmatized persons on record. Whereas perhaps only thirty or so have borne the five wounds and the crowning of thorns, Rose had all of these, as well as the shoulder wound and the bleeding from the eyes.

The wounds of Christ's scourging had appeared now and then during the latter part of 1926. But it was during Lent of 1927, a few months before Bishop Hickey sought in Rose a victim for his diocese, that these wounds began to appear regularly every Friday. The red and purple stripes were clearly visible on her arm, which seemed to have been lashed with whips. The wounds swelled and hurt like burns.

Two days later, before the eyes of her biographer and another priest, the wounds of the nails appeared in her hands. Her feet too bore the marks of the nails. Rose had the sensation that her blood did not circulate beyond the stigmata in her feet, but the blood "streamed forth" from them. In describing the piercing of the muscles of her hands, Rose explained: "I feel them tearing apart; they seem to separate into shreds and to be drawn aside."

A priest who examined these wounds in 1930 wrote:
"The blood gave a sweet-smelling odor unknown to me, somewhat like a perfume; my hands became saturated with it....It was not a transitory smell, since the odor persisted till the following morning."

The stigmata of the heart began during the Lenten season of 1929. They brought such sharp pains to Rose that she sometimes fainted into unconsciousness. She said that the interior pain was "frightful." At times the pain was felt intensely in her back, "where the lance seems to have stopped.", she said.

The wounds of the crown of thorns resembled, in the mother's words, "two heavy cords that encircle her head." The holes made by the thorns themselves made Rose feel "as if her head were breaking open." These thorn stigmata never disappeared completely. They were still visible after her death, as shown in the photograph to the left

Finally Rose suffered from the shoulder wound, which likewise brought her acute pain.
The five wounds and the crown "came to stay," but the others appeared every Friday and disappeared on Saturday as rapidly as they had come, without leaving a trace. On Fridays, when the bleeding would begin, Mrs. Ferron would lock the doors of the house and would admit only a few visitors who had obtained special permission.

Rose was embarrassed at feeling herself an object of study and would keep the stigmata under cover. Some of the visitors fainted upon seeing Rose in agony. Such incidents caused great annoyance to the bereaved mother. "It is hard to keep the people out," she once remarked, "but when they faint, it's far worse to nurse them back."

The capacity for victim-suffering in this poor little Rose, crushed under foot as it were by her divine Gardener, was not yet filled. Like Him she had suffered from a scourging, from being pierced as if by nails, wounded in her heart, crowned with the piercing of thorns, and bruised on her shoulder. Yet had she to shed still more blood in order to fulfill her mission as victim in union with Him. But then, He had preceded her. Meek as a lamb, He Himself had been led to slaughter. In Him therefore Rose found strength. She found even love for the passion He was completing in her reduced body. As the story of pain unfolded with the months and the years, the realization that she was a victim grew more vivid. She knew that she was being tortured in the place of others and she accepted her vocation of bearing in her own body the physical pain spared them. In that, too, she resembled her Master, whose love prompted Him to bear mankind's punishment in its stead.

"Dear Rose," a priest once asked her in a lapse during her Friday ecstasy, "you suffer so much! How is it that Jesus whom you love so much, as you told me yesterday, treats you in such a severe way?""

"The caresses of Heaven are not like those of earth," she said simply, and then fell back into ecstasy and "in indescribable suffering."

And on another occasion Little Rose exclaimed "Oh Jesus, the happiness I have in loving You far outweighs the martyrdom that I endure". And in a letter to a friend Marie Rose wrote: "I will pray hard and my suffering will always be for souls," she vowed to a close friend. "I give myself to our dear Jesus to do with me Just as He pleases... I must ask you to pray for a very important intention. It is for souls, and at any price I must have these. They are so dear to God. Pray, pray, pray!" and again another time she said: "To save souls one should do anything. So together let us help Him, the One that we love, to give Him many souls!"

The flow of blood from her eyes and mouth- her conformity to the Holy Face
"Tell Father Boyer that the night before last, for the first time, Rose's eyes bled and the blood dropped like tears." Thus spoke Rose's sister to a friend to whom she telephoned one day in August, 1929, referring to the most impressive, the most heart-rending, sufferings of Little Rose.

In the same month, the physician attending Rose was overwhelmed with emotion at this sight and exclaimed to all present: "It is terrible! Believe all you see! She is a wonder." Rose was also bleeding profusely from her mouth at the time.

Rose once asked of her mother and a couple of visitors near the bed: "How is it that I lose so much blood, when I have so little?"
Hardly had she uttered this question when she lapsed into ecstasy and began to speak: "Oh! It is Your Blood that gushes from me! As for me, I am nothing, nothing, my Jesus!"

At the end of this month of August, a friend wrote in testimony of these unnatural hemorrhages: "After seeing my dear little Rose this morning, my heart is oppressed and I am thinking only of her. Oh, if you were to see her! This morning at seven o'clock, her mother called me and asked if I could come over. I arrived at 7:45 A.M .... , and I heard her say to me: 'Don't fear, Madame.' She was simply one blot of blood; her poor eyes were bleeding; her entire face was unrecognisable ... ; she suffered so much that she could not keep her head still. It is the assistant who brings her Communion. He is so affected that he cannot speak and leaves right away. . . . Recognizing the doctor who substituted for the regular physician, I told him before he entered: 'You will be surprised at seeing her this morning; she is all covered with blood.'

How surprised he was! He could not speak and Rose told him: 'Don't talk about it, Doctor, please.'
'No, certainly, don't fear,' he answered, and she removed her headdress to show him her head. . . He could not and did not want to speak to her. It was all he could do to tell me a few words.... This evening I returned at eight o'clock.
. . . She was worse than this morning. . .. Rose represents the Holy Face-it is the same thing!"

A few days later, a gentleman who had visited Rose put his experience into writing: "I have never been so surprised in my life. It was truly Christ's face, such as it is seen in the pictures of the Holy Face. Her face was covered with blood; a person could not see anything more pitiful. One feels like dropping on one's knees when seeing her."

In June, 1930, the same man wrote again: "I was there last Saturday. She was in a frightening state; she had been like that since Friday. . .. I had never seen her like this before. There was so much blood on her face that one could not see the cavity of her eyes. All she could say was: 'My Jesus!' ... I cannot write about it without weeping. . .. I wanted my wife to see her in that state. So Sunday at about three o'clock, we went to see her. ... When we arrived, she was as beautiful as she could be, but very weak."

There are various descriptions of Rose's sufferings on Fridays, during which the progress of the crucifixion could be followed. She would repeatedly ask the time, clearly awaiting the hour of deliverance. As three o'clock approached, she would begin to tremble and ask all to leave the room in order that she might be alone with her dying Savior.

Father Boyer has described Rose's agony on a Friday of November, 1929: "At 11:00 A.M., the cavities of both eyes were filled to the brim .... The night before, I asked her why she did not wipe it away. She answered, 'By wiping it off, the skin is often taken along with it; but, if I leave it, the blood dries and scales off the following day.' And still by leaving it, she felt the blood burning, as though it were an acid."

"The right eyebrow was split open while I was there, and as the wound enlarged, the surroundings of the eye became blue, yellow and black .... I have seen many bruised eyes; but that one was the worst I have ever seen. The very sight of it was painful. The right side of the lower lip, also, was split open, and as the swelling increased, new wounds were formed on the chin ....

"After dinner time, she entered into ecstacy, her right arm straightened out; if her left arm, which was tied to her body, had stretched out in the same way, she would have been in the form of a cross. Shortly afterward, she writhed with pain, her lips clenched and trembled and I could hear the muscles snap, as the arms seemed to be pulled out of their sockets .... Suddenly the movements stopped, her head jerked backward and while she was gasping for breath, I heard the sound, "krish, kroosh,...krish, kroosh," at short intervals .... Was it the tearing of the muscles that made that sound, as if the limbs were pulled out of their joints? As I heard them, they seemed to me as though the pains of Christ echoed from Calvary .... Rose felt as though her bones were out of their sockets, but still touching one another on ends. To avoid the pain, she did not dare move. . . . At times, Rose would clench her teeth to overcome the torture. The chill of death made her shiver, and cold sweat would appear. At that moment, she said: 'I thirst.' They gave her water to drink .... Rose repeated a second time: 'I thirst,' and the third time she added: 'I thirst for souls.'
"Finally ... her chin dropped, her mouth remained open and the pallor of death suggested a corpse."

A physician from Massachusetts assisted Rose at a number of these crucifixion sufferings. After the ecstasy, he helped her bring the dislocated arm back into its natural position, for the joints were out of their sockets. Explaining the situation in his own words he stated:
"This sometimes took half an hour to perform and was accompanied with excruciating pains. Two weeks before her death I did this three times the same afternoon. . . . I never could understand how that girl could suffer so much!"

The inevitable question of official medical observation finally arose. We have Rose's own description of her acceptance of this proposal in August, 1931:
"In July, I bled every day as on Friday. It was terrible! I felt that if the authorities were to do something, it was the time. I had no repugnance to being examined at the time and was willing to submit to the ordeal. But on the first of the month, the Friday on which I bled so regularly and for so long a time, on that very day, there was no trace of blood and even the wounds could hardly be seen. That day, Father called to tell me that I would be examined in two weeks. On seeing me, he said, 'What! Today, Friday, and there is nothing?' It's strange, but since then my wounds have not bled."

Rose was pleased at the temporary relief afforded her parents, for their helplessness over their daughter's torments allowed them little peace of mind. She had even asked her director if it were wrong for her to pray for the removal of all exterior signs of the stigmata. During an ecstasy she had prayed: "Oh my Jesus, I wish to suffer more and more, but spare my parents. Increase my sufferings, if You will, but allow no one to see them. Put a smile on my lips and a ray of Your glory in my eyes and show them that I am happy."

Her sincere and humble prayer was answered. During her last five years on earth, she bore no stigmata, except those of the head. But her sufferings did not cease. Every Friday, the blood rushed to the members that had borne the wounds and caused even greater pain "than before. Rose wondered if she should not ask for the wounds to reappear, to which a priest replied, "God has brought them about and God has taken them away. If God wants their return, He can do so without being asked."
The official medical investigation was never made.

But Providence has seen fit to leave ample medical pronouncements on Rose Ferron's case to convince persons of open mind. A truly valuable testimony is that of one physician who died before Rose:
"I have had all kinds of doctors examine Rose," he averred, "and none of them can explain her case on natural grounds. To me her case is supernatural, because no one could have lost so much blood during the years and live." Referring to the very small quantities of liquid food which were her sole nourishment, he added, "She is sustained by God alone. I am thoroughly convinced the manifestations are supernatural."

Equally valuable is the statement of one of Rose's physicians seven years after her death. Having in the meantime made a thorough study of Bremond, Tanquerey and other masters of mystical science, he stated in a letter composed at his own initiative, "Would that I had had the preparation when I treated Rose Ferron. However, I feel honored when I think of the many phenomena I witnessed, and it is with pleasure that I now can affirm that Rose was a genuine mystic. I can see the stages she went through to the ultimate spiritual marriage and complete union with her Jesus. I now admire her complete abandonment to God and her simple humility. Her stigmata are ever fresh in my memory, as well as her great thirst for souls."

The little victim of the diocese of Providence knew no more repose here below. Not only was her body and mind racked with pain, but she seems not to have slept for years, except perhaps when she would swoon into unconsciousness from sheer pain. From midnight until one o'clock, Rose kept her "Hour of Reparation." Then for three hours she busied herself as well as she could with her little crafts. She had learned to make book marks, to braid, and to repair rosaries. "I cannot remain idle," she once remarked. "My little Jesus wants me to work."

And when someone questioned how she performed her tasks with but two fingers and her mouth, she replied, "My little Jesus comes and helps me." After four o'clock, she "dozed" for two hours. But Rose insisted that she did not sleep. In fact, she was aware of all that happened in the room.

Such a life of hunger, pain, and helplessness, with no promise of early relief in sight, was a supreme test of patience. The most providential of witnesses to Rose's spirit of long-suffering was perhaps a Protestant friend who attended her faithfully to the end. Two days before Rose's death, she wrote as follows:
"Little Rose was truly a martyr; she always wore a smile, however great the pain and agony she suffered. I have cared for her day after day, week after week, year
after year . . . ; I have seen the wounds she carried, the wounds which resembled the wounds of the crucified body of Christ.

"On Friday, the wounds were more prominent and would always bleed. During the Lenten season, as Holy Week and Good Friday approached, her sufferings were much greater and the agony which she suffered at times was beyond human endurance and the bleeding during this period was much greater.
"... I can say that she never complained, she always smiled, although in agony.... I have been blessed beyond expression by her friendship."

Her humility
Such patience is hardly conceivable in a stigmatist without deep-rooted humility. Rose's humility shone forth not only in her constant effort to avoid popularity and exhibition, but in many details of her life, as for example in her simple acceptance of complete poverty during the Depression, when her aging father had no work, when doctor bills could not be paid, and when she depended entirely upon public charity. Even in her ecstasies, she remained a little Rose. In one of them, our Lord seems to have proposed that He raise her to the honors of the altar, for she responded: "Be on the altars? I am too little for that!"

Rose's humility, her reserve, her smile amid agony, "a smile full of frankness, a childlike smile which ravished one's heart," were so many tones vibrating into an ensemble of noble charm that was not unlike the attractiveness of Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. In fact, a priest, who had lived in Lisieux and as a boy had known the Carmelite saint, testified that "Rose has not only the physical resemblance of the Little Flower, but she has also her power of attraction; when we are with Rose, we don't know when to leave and when we are gone our hearts irresistibly cling to her memory. That is why the Little Flower influenced me and all the children of my age who visited the Carmel. Her personality impressed us so that she seemed to follow us wherever we went.... During and after my visits with Rose, I went through the same experience as I did years ago when I visited the Little Flower. She inspired me with the same confidence and I really have the same veneration for both of them."
Many visitors to Rose's home shared this priest's impression. If some came out of mere curiosity to see her sufferings, still more came to meet "a soul of crystal" in which they perceived the most beaming reflections of the supernatural they had ever encountered. They loved hearing her speak because of the mingled serenity and abundance of heart that filtered through her words. While she was in ecstasy, her prayers aroused in the bystanders deep emotions of contact with the supernatural. This crippled girl, who had formerly felt herself an outcast because she had no education, expressed her thoughts with a careful apropos that astonished visitors. Her constant and intimate union with God had supplied whatever human education had failed to furnish her.

However as with all mystics, her lot was not without its brunt of calumny, gossip, and ridicule. But she was too generous of heart to retaliate. "Even were I to try to hate and blame those who work against me, I could not do it," she explained. "It seems that I love them still more; and I have a desire to pray for them."

The true explanation of Rose's tenderness towards others, even those who slandered her, was her tremendous love of God. "0h Jesus, the happiness I have in loving You outweighs the martyrdom that I endure," she once exclaimed.

Her ecstasies
Little Rose was joyful amidst her sufferings, and she was radiant in the intimacy with her Divine Spouse. "How sweet it is to rest at Your side, 0 my Jesus!" she repeated during an ecstasy in 1934. "You know that I love You!"

At times during her ecstasies, often in the middle of the night, Rose sang hymns in French to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They were not hymns that others knew. She composed the melody and words in rhythmic prose as the emotions of her soul progressed. Several of these hymns were copied by her friends. In 1929, a priest from Montreal recorded the following in French:
"Oh Jesus, yes, I love You,
and I want without a cloud to love You more than myself.
Oh! It is for You, my Jesus, that I wish to suffer.
O Jesus, it is for You alone,
for that would be my heavenly Father's will."

This lifelong love for Christ in suffering led Rose instinctively to prefer devotions that honored His Passion. The month of the Precious Blood was for her, who had bled so much in her own victimized body, replete with inspiration. "It would take so many lives like mine and others," she said admiringly, "to make up for just one precious drop of His Blood."

Rose's preference among pictures and statues of Christ was definitely for those that depicted Him in suffering. She loved above all a statue of the Scourging, because it held graphically before her eyes the price of wounds and blood that the Man of Sorrows had paid to redeem mankind. Blessed Brother Andre Besette, the Brother of the Congregation of the Holy Cross who radiated sanctity far and wide from his porter's room at Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Canada, was likewise impressed by this statue on a visit he paid to Rose in 1931. For twenty minutes he studied it thoughtfully. That evening he expressed to a friend his desire to have a statue just like it. When Rose heard of it, she reflected in prayer over Brother Andre's wishes. "If giving my statue to Frere Andre would give Jesus more souls, why should His Little Rose not make the big sacrifice?" she concluded. On the Brother's next visit, Rose made "the big sacrifice."

While in ecstasy on April 13, 1929, in the presence of six visitors, Rose asked her Saviour how long she had still to suffer, and then she repeated aloud the answer, "Seven years!" She began to count the age she would have after seven more years, and stopped at thirty-three. Christ seemed to ask her if that were too long, for she said with great eagerness: "Oh, no! Come and get me whenever You want. I am ready to suffer one hundred years, if You want it. It is my sacrifice to stay."

As was revealed to her previously, Marie-Rose Ferron died in 1936 at the age of thirty-three. Death alone released her from the suffering that pursued her day after day. "God and the victims are the only ones who know what is meant by the word 'Cross,' " she had remarked, and her last two weeks were filled with the overwhelming realization of the truth of this statement. Rose could no longer see. She suffered such pains in her head that the least sound was like a blow, and any noise caused her to faint. On the last day of April, 1936, she lost her hearing and speech completely. There was no way of knowing what she wanted.

On May 6, Father Boyer called at one o'clock in the morning. "I walked into the room," he wrote in his biography, "and when I saw the condition in which she was, I was moved with pity. I could not recognize her, she was so changed; her face was not only disfigured, but wrenched out of shape. Her eyes were half-closed and in their corners thick blood was gathering; her complexion was copper red and her skin appeared coarse and swollen; her breathing was painful; her mouth was open and twisted with a heart-rending expression. She was like a dying crucifix, waiting for the consummation of her martyrdom."

Rose lived five more days. In death she still had "the expression of anguish embedded in her face." But as the women, whom she herself had appointed for preparing her body for the coffin, were washing her face, its frightful distortions disappeared. A change came over her features at each stroke of the towel. Her countenance emerged wreathed with a charming smile. She was so natural that a doctor was called specifically to ascertain her death.

In fact, Little Rose's beauty had long impressed her visitors. In their testimonials of her phenomena, they repeatedly commented upon it. When they saw her writhing and bleeding in the atrocious sufferings of the Passion, they failed to note the beauty of her features. "Yesterday she was so beautiful," wrote one priest, "today she is covered with blood."
Surely it was the inner beauty of her virtues that radiated in her external countenance.

After an intense period of suffering in union with Jesus for the conversion of sinners, Marie Rose Ferron took flight to heaven on May 11, 1936, at age 33, just as she was told by Jesus in ecstasy some seven years before. She was clothed in the habit of the religious congregation she had founded after her Lord's directions, although she died without seeing it progress beyond the approbation of Bishop Hickey under the name of the Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Wounds of Jesus. "Jesus will need this community before long," she had said. As the thousands now filed past her body, nearly fifteen thousand signed the guest book, they broke out in admiration at her chaste beauty. The editorial writer of a newspaper wrote:
"There are things one can never forget; for us it is the radiant face of Rose Ferron. She was beautiful, but hers was not a natural beauty, but rather a mystifying one: a slight luminous emanation seemed to escape continually from that angelic face."

Let us let Rose herself in her own words close this little biography:
“I offer myself as a victim, a holocaust that I may live in constant charity, begging Thee, O my Jesus, to consume me without ceasing, that I may become a victim of Thy love…”

This author joins the many others worldwide who fervently hope and pray that "Little Rose" may soon be canonized by the Catholic church.
~Marie Rose Ferron, pray for us!

For more information about Marie-Rose Ferron, see the excellent two part article: "Marie Rose Ferron -An American Mystic and Stigmatic" and for more photos see Marie Rose Ferron -A Photo Documentary"

Also, for those interested, I have just republished a booklet that was originally published by "Little Rose Friends" back exactly 50 years ago (1964). The booklet is entitled "MY HEART SPEAKS TO THEE -The life of Marie Rose Ferron"   

The booklet has both an NIHIL OBSTAT and also an IMPRIMATUR from the first edition in 1964. This new 2nd edition contains 7 additional photographs of Little Rose and included with each booklet is a free Little Rose holy prayer card with a photo of Little Rose on the front, and some sayings of hers on the back. -Both for only $5.99, plus $2.99 shipping.

Those interested can read more about the booklet offer and other items on the "Mystics of the Church" website gift store here:
"Oh Jesus, yes, I love You, and I would like without a shadow to love You more than myself. Oh! It is for You, my Jesus, that I wish to suffer. O Jesus, it is for You alone, for that would be my heavenly Father's will." -Marie Rose Ferron

Lucia Dos Santos of Fatima -Sister Lucia of Jesus

LUCIA DOS SANTOS OF FATIMA (Sister Lucia of Jesus, Mar 22, 1907 – Feb 13, 2005)
By Jim Dunning

(This article was originally published in "Irelands Own" magazine. The webmaster would like to gratefully thank the author, Jim Dunning, for his kind permission in reprinting it here.)

Lucia was born on 22nd March, 1907. In his very readable book, ‘The Message of Fatima’ the Jesuit priest, Father Martindale, describes her as ‘a small child all of quick-silver, always wriggling out of her mother’s arms and then running back to be cuddled.’ Though not attractive to look at , Lucia had a lively and engaging personality. She loved playing games and dancing and was both popular and looked up to by other children to whom she would tell stories, Her memory was prodigious, a faculty which would come in useful in later years.

When Lucia was ten, she and her two younger cousins were minding their sheep in a hollow near their homes called Cova da Iria, when Our Lady made her first appearance. It was 13th May, 1917. What is not generally known is that the children were ‘prepared’ to receive the Apparitions by the visitation of an angel the previous year. In the spring of 1916 they had taken their sheep to a different area where they took shelter from the rain under a rock. While there they saw an angel who described himself as the Angel of Peace. He taught them the prayer: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee’.
In the summer the Angel appeared again while they were playing, saying: ‘What are you doing? Pray! Pray much! The hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy upon you. Constantly offer prayers and in every way you can, offer a sacrifice to the Lord as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and for the conversion of sinners. Thus you will draw down peace for the fatherland. I am the Angel of Portugal. Accept and bear with submission the suffering the Lord is sending you.’
Francisco never heard any of the Angel’s words and had to rely on what Lucia and Jacinta told him. The Angel reappeared in the autumn, holding a chalice with a Host above it from which drops of blood fell into the cup. He left these suspended in the air and prostrated himself on the ground to pray, after which he rose and gave the Host to Lucia and the chalice to the other two, saying: ‘Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.’

The children never told anyone of the Angel’s visits and they were not revealed until Lucia wrote an account of them some years later. It was Lucia who played the major role during the subsequent Apparitions involving Our Lady. It was specifically to her that the Lady’s messages were delivered. When in June, 1917, Our Lady promised to take Francisco and Jacinta to heaven soon, she told Lucia: ‘But you must wait here still for some time. Jesus wishes to use you to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart.’ Plaintively, the child asked: ‘Must I stay here alone?’ to which Our Lady replied: ‘No, my child; do not be sad because of this. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.’
Whenever Our Lady appeared to the children Lucia always asked her: ‘What do you want of me?’ Although she listened to her two cousins and frequently depended on them for moral support, she clearly understood that she herself was responsible for receiving Our Lady’s requests and taking any action that was called for. After Jacinta had given the game away by telling her family of their experience, it was Lucia who had to bear the brunt of the whole district’s interest. Maria Rosa, her own mother, refused to believe her and administered thrashings with a broomstick. The local children mocked her, to such an extent that she begged Our Lady to perform a miracle to prove to the people that she had appeared. She was greatly relieved to be told that her request would be granted in October. When the time drew near she was totally confident, even though she had no idea what form the miracle would take.

Surrounded by a crowd of 70,000, she spoke with the vision and afterwards, without knowing why, called out: ‘Look at the sun!’ Almost the whole crowd, including many who had turned up cynically expecting a complete fiasco, witnessed the extraordinary movements of the sun, which appeared to dance in the sky, and at one stage to fall towards the earth. People wept openly and fell to their knees in prayer.

Sr Lucia of Fatima
After such a momentous event it was natural that the children were besieged by crowds seeking favours, spiritual and otherwise. They often had to hide to avoid their unwelcome attentions. What they could not avoid were the interrogations by the Church authorities. Since Lucia had said there would be other visions on 18th October a Canon Formigao interviewed her that same evening after the crowds had gone home. Part of the record of this interview as quoted by Father Martindale reads:-
‘Did Our Lady appear again today?’
Did St. Joseph and the Holy Child appear?’
‘Did anyone else appear?’
‘Our Lord appeared and blessed the people.’
After establishing exactly what the children had seen, the Canon continued:-
‘Did the Lady say who she was?’
‘She said she was the Lady of the Rosary.’
‘Did you ask her what she wanted?’
‘Yes – she said we must amend ourselves and not offend Our Lord who was too much offended, and must say the rosary and beg pardon for our sins.’
‘Did she say anything else?’
‘She said a chapel must be built at the Cova da Iria.’

In later years Lucia must have been astounded at the size of the Basilica erected on the very site of the Apparitions and by the numbers of pilgrims who flocked there to do honour to her ‘Lady’. Although there were no more Apparitions at the Cova, Lucia was privileged to see Our Lady at least three more times after she became an adult. In 1925 she joined The Sisters of St. Dorothy in Spain and in 1948 transferred to the cloistered convent of the Carmelites at Coimbra in Portugal, where Sister Lucia just disappeared from view. Her role as a messenger was over.

If one follows the history of Fatima and its Apparitions closely Lucia emerges as the major figure. Her two cousins excite great sympathy over a comparatively short period of time. They had the benefit of affectionate parents. Lucia’s father was over fond of the bottle and his wife, though very devout, believed that good behaviour could only be guaranteed by the liberal use of a broomstick. Nevertheless, Lucia was loyal to her when chided with not making an effort to learn to read after being advised to do so by the Lady. She remained quiet when she could have pointed out that her mother had dismissed the proposal as unnecessary.

Lucia showed great strength of character in resisting all efforts to make her reveal the ‘Secret’. [Click here for more info on the Secrets of Fatima]She displayed humility when she might have taken pride over her part in bringing about the miracle of the sun. She gave Francisco and Jacinta continual support when they were ill, and showed selfless generosity in describing their virtues to others. When asked to write her Memoirs she was conscientious to a fault, displaying courage when the Devil seemed determined to interfere. She was dogged in trying to persuade the Church authorities to publish the Third Secret, but accepted the authority of her superiors, just as she accepted the role given her by the Mother of God.

Sister Lucia died, appropriately, on the 13th February, 2005, just a month short of what would have been her 98th birthday. The following day, thousands filed past her simple coffin in Coimbra’s cathedral. Portugal’s Prime Minister declared a national day of mourning. A fitting tribute to one who had patiently lived the life of a saint. No doubt she herself was already celebrating a joyful reunion with her two little cousins in heaven. A meeting presided over, surely, by Our Lady of the Rosary.

-Sister Lucia of Jesus, pray for us!

For more information on the visionary children of Fatima, see Blessed Francisco Marto and also Sister Lucia dos Santos. For more information on the events of Fatima, see The Miracle of the Sun
-Jim Dunning lives in the United Kingdom. His hobbies include watching rugby and writing short stories and religious articles.

Follow by Email