6 July: Saint Rosaline (Carthusian Nun)

[English – Español]

Today we celebrate the Carthusian saint Rosaline de Villeneuve because the last transfer of her relics took place on 6 July 1894. Rosaline belonged to the noble Southern French family of the ‘de Villeneuve’. She was born in 1262. She loved more than anything else to take care of the poor, distributing generously from the family provisions, which alarmed the servants of the castle. Once, after having filled her skirt with bread, Rosaline was on her way to the poor grouped together at the doors of the castle. She was suddenly stopped by her father who asked her what she was carrying. She answered: “These are the roses I just finished picking.” Extending her skirt she showed the said roses to the astonished eyes of her father. It is to recall this miracle that Rosaline is often represented in portraits with her skirt full of roses.

Image of Sainte Roseline in the chapel and abbey church of the former La Celle-Roubaud monastery

When she was sixteen years old she wanted to become a Carthusian nun. She knew their life from the Charterhouse of la Celle-Roubaud close by, where her aunt Jeanne de Villeneuve was Prioress. Since that House had no novitiate, it was at Saint-André-de-Ramières that she entered, and then she moved to the chief Charterhouse for women, Bertaud, not far from the city of Gap, in the French Alps. She made profession there in 1280.

Her aunt at Celle-Roubaud was getting on in age, so after a few years the Superior General of the Carthusian Order permitted Rosaline to go to that House to help her aunt. She was known for her inclination towards asceticism. For example, she reduced her sleep, and lived only on bread the days when she went to communion (at that time, daily communion is not yet a custom). Prayer was for her most important in Carthusian life. Each night she used to spend long hours in prayer, thus obtaining special graces for the Order, her family and town, and for the entire Church.

Owing to her purity of heart God granted her the gift of reading what is in other people’s heart. At the death of her aunt in 1300 the Superior General appointed Rosaline as Prioress. She held that office for twenty-nine years. It was during this time that her friend, the Bishop of Fréjus, became Pope as John XXII.

She died at the age of sixty-six with a great renown for holiness. Immediately there were miracles: blind received their sight and sick were cured. Five years after her death, in 1334, Pope John ordered to open her tomb. Her body was found entirely incorrupt and it is still so today. In 1602 it was transferred from the crypt to a newly built chapel. In 1851 Blessed Pius IX authorized her feast for the diocese of Fréjus, and in 1857 for the Carthusian Order. Today, the Carthusians celebrate her on July 6, and her feast is a solemnity for the nuns of the Order.

Celle-Roubaud Convent (1260-1420)


Lord God, for love of You Saint Rosaline trampled

underfoot the flattering allurements of the world, that

she might adhere only to You. Help us to follow

her example and, turning away from things of earth,

find our joy in sharing Your heavenly gifts.

We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


Carthusian Saints (by a Carthusian Monk)

Cartusia Lover

Sainte Roseline de Villeneuve : une légende fabriquée?

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