Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mama Rosa!

Bl. Eurosia Fabris
Today is the birthday (or "belly button birthday") of Eurosia Fabris or "Mama Rosa" as she is called with affection. She was born in 1866 in Italy and had deep religious aspirations. However, her life would change in 1885 as her biography tells us:

A young married woman near her home died, leaving three very young daughters. The first of them died shortly after her mother. The other two girls, Chiara Angela and Italia, were only 20 months and 2 months old, respectively. The father of these girls was away, living with his uncle and a grandfather who suffered from a chronic disease. They were three very different men, always quarreling among themselves. For six months, every morning, Rosina would go to care for the children and take care of their home. Later, following the advice of people close to her and after praying about it, she decided to marry. Rosina married Carlo Barban, well aware of the sacrifices that married life would hold for her in the future. The marriage occurred in May 1886 and, in addition to the two orphaned babies, she had nine other children. Her home was always opened to other children as well.

This is how she became Mama Rosa! The story continues:

Like the strong woman in Scripture, she became a treasure to her family. She knew how to balance the family budget and at the same time exercised great charity toward the poor, sharing her daily bread also with them. She cared for the sick and gave them continuous assistance, showing heroic strength during the final illness of her husband Carlo, who died in 1930. Mamma Rosa became a member of the Franciscan Third Order, known today as the Secular Franciscans. She faithfully attended all their meetings, but above all tried to live the true Franciscan spirit of poverty and joy in her home, in the midst of her daily work and prayer. Mamma Rosa’s family home was an ideal Christian community where her children were taught to pray and love God’s will as they practiced Christian virtues. In her vocation as a Christian mother, Mamma Rosa sacrificed herself day by day. She died on Jan. 8, 1932, and was buried in the church of Marola. 

The Church is continuing the process toward declaring her a saint. Of course, her saint's day will be January 8 as it is the day of her death thus the first day of her birth in eternal life. Much like the saint of today, Vincent de Paul, Mama Rosa had a desire to care for others, the least ones. With such a love for them, she was preparing herself for eternal life. However, there are some modern concerns about her holiness:

Mama Rosa, pray for us.
Bishop Cesare Nosiglia of Vicenza, who co-presided with Cardinal Saraiva Martins at her Beatification said in his homily that "Mother Rosa represents a model of sanctity accessible to everyone...." Some outside sources say that the Catholic Church wishes to use Eurosia Fabris as a role model in order to encourage them and all people in the world to have more children. The Associated Press reported: "The average number of children per woman in the European Union is 1.5, according to EU statistics, but in some countries, including heavily Roman Catholic Italy and Spain, the average is 1.3.  Pope Benedict has described large families as useful witnesses to 'faith, courage and optimism' in society."
Some controversy surrounds this ideology, with some citing world overpopulation and the eventual depletion of essential natural resources. However, the notion of overpopulation as a threat is itself a matter of dispute.

Responsibility and care never overburdens our resources. But that's a discussion for another day, and we just don't have the bandwidth for it!

Pray for those who take care of the needy and especially those families who welcome children into their lives and homes. It's not overpopulation, it's adding to the Kingdom of God. (Mk 9:36-37)