Saint July 13 : Rosa Mystica - Feast Day of Our Lady the Mystical Rose - A Brief History with Prayer

In antiquity the rose was considered a symbol of mystery. The sprout (virga, bush) is Mary and Christ is its flower (rose). The explicitly Marian interpretation of this symbol dates to the fifth century. Sedulius Caelius is the first known to call Mary a "rose among thorns" (Carmen paschale II, 28-31). Theophanes Graptos (Monk and metropolite of Nikaia, +845) uses the same symbolism to express Mary's purity and the fragrance of her grace (Oktoechos, Friday of the sixth week). 

Biblical Links

Marian references were made to rose and rosebush inspired by Isaiah 11:1 ("...a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse and from his roots a bud shall blossom.") and Sirach 24, 14 ("like a rosebush in Jericho"). Both passages refer to God-graced fertility and growth, which Christians apply to the mysterious generation of Christ from the womb of Mary.

The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary [The Litany of Loreto] has an invocation to the Virgin under the title,  "Rosa Mystica".

A miraculous devotional image enshrined at the Maria Rosenberg Church in Waldfischbach-Burgalben, Germany, contains an 1138 painting of Mary, featuring roses.

Mary Appears as the "Rosa Mystica" In Montichiari

Montichiali with its suburb Fontanelle is a small town in Northern Italy, twenty kilometers from Brescia, the bishop's town. It is situated in front of the Italian Alps in the fertile plain of the river Po. The name means in English, "Bright Mountains." On a hill lies the old castle of St. Mary and the venerable Church of San Pancrazio.


Pierina Gilli was born on August 3, 1911, at Montichiari and worked as a nurse in the hospital there. The first time, the dear Mother of Christ appeared to her in a room of the hospital, in the spring of 1947. Our Lady, a beautiful woman, wore a violet dress and a white veil around her head. She was very sad, her eyes were filled with tears which fell to the floor. Her breast was pierced by three big swords. Our Lady said, "Prayer-Penitence-Expiation" and was silent. The Marian apparitions continued between 1947 and 1966 to Pierina Gilli.


Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Grace, Rosa Mystica, in honor of thy Divine Son, we prostrate ourselves at your feet
to implore God’s mercy.
We beg for help and grace, not relying on any merit of ours,
but on the kindness of your motherly heart,
and confident that you will grant our urgent requests.
Hail Mary…

Rosa Mystica, Mother of Jesus,
Queen of the Holy Rosary and Mother of the Church,
Mystical Body of Christ, we implore the gifts of unity and peace for the world parched by discord,
and the graces to convert the souls of all your erring children. Hail Mary… Amen.

Rosa Mystica, Queen of the Apostles,
let flourish around the Eucharistic Altars
many religious and priestly vocations which,
with the holiness of lives and their burning zeal
for the salvation of the souls,
will spread throughout the world the Kingdom of your Jesus!
Fill us with your heavenly graces!

Hail Holy Queen… Rosa Mystica, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

Church Approval

The approval of the local bishop and was accepted by Ven. Pope Pius XII. Officially the Holy See has not pronounced on the supernatural nature of the apparitions, but has permitted the bishop's approval to stand.

On August 9, 1951 Pope Pius XII granted a private audience to Pierina Gilli, the seer of Montichiari at Castel Gandolfo. She had arrived with a freind and the man who had arranged the audience. At the close of the meeting the Pontiff bent toward the kneeling seer and asked her to pray for him and the Pontiffs, saying: "Please, pray also for Us!"
It was in Montichiari, Italy on July 13th, 1941 that Our Lady said: It is my wish that the 13th of July of each year be celebrated in honour of the Rosa Mystica---I am the Mother of the mystical body of Christ---the Mother of the Church". The Blessed Virgin showed Pierina a medal, which was engraved on the front with her image and title, "Rosa Mystica" and on the back was a church with a dome and the inscription "Mary, Mother of the Church".

In the church of Maria Rosenberg in Germany, there is a miraculous image that is venerated as "Rosa Mystica". Church documents from 1138 attest to this long standing devotion. Under that image are painted a white, a red, and a golden rose. And around the image on the right and on the left are painted thirteen golden roses. This is unmistakably a future indication of Our Lady's express desire at Montichiari that the 13th of July be venerated in honor of the Rosa Mystica.

The writings of Church Fathers also use this title for the Mother of God.

If we look to the origin of the apparitions, we find that Our Lady is most concerned with priests and religious.

During the initial appearance in 1941, she "was dressed in the violet of mourning, shedding abundant tears which fell upon the ground above all, however, she appeared with 3 swords in her breast. She uttered  three words 'Prayer, Penance, Atonement'".  It was later that Mary explained the meaning of the swords:
The 1st sword: loss of priestly and religious vocations. It has happened.
The 2nd sword: Priests and members of religious orders living in a state of mortal sin. We know from the scandals here in the USA that surely this was[ perhaps is] the sad case.
The 3rd sword: Priests and religious who commit the betrayal of Judas. Much heresy and blasphemy from some pulpits and in some religious institutes; at the very least the scandal of the loss of faith and disobedience from the teachings of Christ through His Church.

It is the established theme of Montichiari that Rosa Mystica's primary reason for manifesting herself there was for the sake of priests, religious houses, and all those with dedicated apostolates and who have who have a special place in the Hearts of our Lord and His Mother. And yet, how many of them have thrust these sorrowful swords into Their most holy Hearts!

Author Weigl supplies with the following statistics [1974]:

"In about 10 years some 30,000 priests of the Catholic Church have lost their vocations. Only about half of these have asked for ecclesiastical laicization. The other half have not bothered. In practice this means that many thousands of priests and members of religious orders have not only abandoned their vocation, but also lost their faith. They have contracted civil marriages, and many are divorced. In addition to these priests, there are also four or five times as many brothers and sisters in religious orders, who have given up their vocations. In total this makes more than 100,000 priests and religious."

But there are enough faithful Catholics left so that,it is to these the mournful mother is turning with her request for Prayer, Penance and Atonement.

Citing Weigl again:

"Pope Paul VI gave utterance to a disturbing lament when he said, "There are forces within the Church, and priests and religious are numerous among them, who are doing far more damage to it than its bitterest enemies outside.

 "Many priests and religious are giving the Church the Judas kiss.

"Satan himself has made his way into the temple of God!"

The Holy Father went on to express a profound distress regarding what he called the "Church's auto-destruction."

The Church has always hard times of hardship, storms of oppression and opposition from without, but this time the Immaculata was warning us that the tempest would rage from within. Whenever the Church has found herself in dire straits she has turned to her Mother, the Mother of God, who is the Meditarix of All Graces and the Mother of Last Refuge and Mercy. By humbling ourselves and turning to Mary can we hope to find the help of Heaven. As Fr. Weigl writes:

"Even from a purely biological point of view, the mother is the cradle of life. She receives the living being and brings it to light; she protects and nurtures this life; she fears, cares and suffers for it. When a child is ill, who worries more about the child than its loving mother?

"Today the whole world, the Church [especially, priests and religious], is sick to the heart. For this reason our Lord, in His infinite mercy, sends His Mother, who calls us to prayer, penance and atonement, for these are the most effective medicines.

In this perilous age, in which evil and sacrilegious satanism rage as scarcely ever before in the history of the Church and mankind, the Lord sends
His Mother to help and save.

The honouring of Mary must then again be given a primary position. Mary was, and is, the great treader underfoot of the serpent and the victor in all God's battles.
This honour is most seriously demanded.

"You bishops, priests and members of religious orders, start, not purely in private, but together and with all publicity, to honor Mary afresh, and on a great scale! Above all, do it in churches, seminaries and religious houses. Begin now! The people, including the young, will follow you. Don't be put off by the scoffers! Lead the people to the shrines of Our Lady. See to it that they do not come merely to her, but through her, above all, to the Lord Himself---in Confession and Holy Communion.

"The messages and requests of Our Lady are most appropriate to the deepest wounds and the greatest need of the Church of our time.

"Satan has desired: 'I will strike the shepherd, then will the sheep be scattered.'

"From all that has been related, it should be clear:

1. that it is reasonable to believe that a genuine appearance of Mary occurred at Montichiari, and that her earnest requests should be taken to heart;
2. that anyone is free to believe in the Marian phenomena occurring at Montichiari. But, in any case, every believing Catholic should, in the present serious state of the Church, turn to Our Lady, and seek for himself, for his relatives and for all people, help and salvation. Anyone who has doubts about Montichiari can seek and find Our Lady's help anywhere, but he ought to seek this help. La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima have received ecclesiastical recognition. There, and in Montichiari, Our Lady asked most urgently that people should say the Rosary. "Do penance. Pray for poor sinners. So many are going to Hell for want of people to pray and make sacrifices for them."

As Father Weigl says, "one can find the DSivine help anywhere, but it is specially accessible at the many shrines of Our Lady which the Church has approved, and at which many bodily and spiritual ailments have been cured.
But has not Montichiari something special to say? and especially for 1975, the Holy Year?

"If there is some charisma behind this, it should be a resounding call to all Catholics and to the whole Church. If Our Lady really appeared at Montichiari, we should take these messages seriously.

"What are Mary's special requests?

1. Every 13th day of the month should be kept as a special Marian day. On the 12 preceding days special prayers should be said.
2. The 13th of July should be celebrated in honor of the "Rosa Mystica".
3. Annually at midday (12-1 p.m.) on the 8th of December the Hour of Pardon for the world should be observed. "If anyone cannot visit the church, he should pray at home at midday, He will then receive the same grace through me."
4. On the 13th of October of each year the World-day of Penitential Communion should be observed.
5. Penitential procession to the spring [Fontanelle]: This should be accompanied by prayer, penance and atonement.
"What are Our Lady's promises?

1. More young people will be attracted and there will be an increased striving after holiness among priests and religious. There will be fewer losses and betrayals of vocation.
2. Holy vocations and superabundant graces for the members of religious orders. Return to the original spirit of their holy founders.
3. Innumerable conversions of great and hardened sinners, especially of priests and religious who have fallen away.
4. A sure guide to Heaven, maternal protection and an abundance of graces for all.
5 Special wonder-working curative power for body and soul in the spring at Fontanelle. "The sick should come to this spring, and with them many of my children."
6. "Fontanelle is to be turned into a light-house of faith, prayer and penance."
7. "Montichiari will be a hill from which the mystical light will shed its beams over the whole world. This will indeed happen."
  8. "But the most evident miracle will be the return of the children to the true faith; to the true love of Our Lord. Following this will come the re-unification, the peace of the whole world."


 "Oh beautiful, dear Saint Mary, I thank you! Please bless my homeland Italy, bless the whole world, especially the Holy Father, the priests, the monks and nuns, and the sinners." Our Lady answered, "I have an abundance of graces ready for all those children who hear my voice and take my wishes to heart."


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