Saint Rosalia, born in 1130 at Palermo in Sicily, was the daughter of a noble family descended from Charlemagne. While still very young she despised worldly vanities. When her remarkable beauty caused her to be sought in marriage by several lords of Sicily, the Blessed Virgin appeared to her and advised her to leave the world. She obeyed, taking with her only a crucifix and her instruments of penance; and guided by Angels, she made her first dwelling in a nearby grotto, which the snows of winter concealed. Then, when she began to be the object of searches instigated all over Sicily by her desolate family, she was advised by Angels to move to a low cave on Mount Pellegrino, three miles from Palermo.
There, during sixteen years’ time, she completed the sacrifice of her heart to God by austere penance and manual labor, sanctified by assiduous prayer and the constant union of her soul with God. She died in 1160.
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 10