Blessed Eurosia Fabris
|Born||27 September 1866|
Quinto Vicentino, near Vicenza, Italy
|Died||8 January 1932 (aged 65)|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||6 November 2005, Vicenza, Italy by Pope Benedict XVI|
Blessed Eurosia Fabris (September 27, 1866 - January 8, 1932), also known as Mamma Rosa, was best known to Catholics as a model of holiness in the daily life of a Catholic family. She gained some attention outside of the Catholic community in 2005 when the Vatican started her on the process of canonization. Some people have quipped that she might even become the "patron saint of large families" because she had eleven children (two were adopted).
What is known about the life of Eurosia Fabris comes from the testimonies given by people she knew, as compiled by the investigation committee for her process of beatification.
In 1870, at the age of four, she and her family moved to the nearby village of Marola, also in the Province of Vicenza, where she lived for the rest of her life. She was able to attend school for only two years, between 1872 and 1874, because she needed to help her parents with farm work and domestic chores. However, she was still able to learn enough to read several religious texts in her youth, most notably the Bible, the Catechism, Church history, the Philothea of Saint Francis de Sales, and the Eternal Maxims of Saint Alphonsus Liguori.
When Fabris was twelve years old she made her first Holy Communion, and received the Eucharist from then on as often as permitted, which was only on religious feast days, since daily communion was only permitted to most Catholics following a decree of Pope Pius X in 1905.
Fabris joined the Association of the Daughters of Mary in the parish church of Marola and was a devoted member. She faithfully observed the practices of the group and, as time went on, she grew to express great love of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Her favorite devotions were to the Holy Spirit, the infant Jesus, the Cross of Christ, the Eucharist, and the Virgin Mary, and praying for the souls in the Purgatory. She was known as an agent of good will in her family, among her friends, and in her parish, where she taught catechism to the children and sewing to the girls who came to her home.
Eighteen-year-old Fabris, commonly known as "Rosina," received several marriage proposals, as she was observed to be a dedicated, pious, and hardworking woman. Fabris declined, however, as she did not at that time consider herself called to marriage. In 1885, a tragic event occurred that would forever change her life. A young married woman near her home died leaving three young daughters. One of them died shortly after her mother. The other two, Chiara Angela and Italia, were only 20 months old and 2 months old, respectively. The children's father, Carlo Barban, was away caring for sick relatives. Fabris traveled to the home of these children every morning for six months, to care for them and maintain their home.
After this act of charity, Fabris contemplated the events through prayer and, following the advice of her relatives and that of the parish priest, she decided to marry their father. Eurosia Fabris and Carlo Barban were married on May 5, 1886. She considered the marriage in terms of the sacrifices she would make and accepted this as the will of God, whom she now felt was calling her, through her experience of caring for the two babies, to embrace a new mission. Fabris was known for the love and respect she apparently displayed towards her new husband, who thence considered her a confidante and adviser.
Fabris adopted the two orphaned girls and had nine more children of her own. She kept her home open to other children as well, who knew her as "Mamma Rosa." She dedicated her life to her family, teaching her children to pray, to obey, to respect the "will of God," and to practice Christian virtues, reputedly sacrificing her own needs to do so. Her success in this regards is attested by the ordination of three of her sons as Catholic priests, including Franciscan friar Fr. Bernardino, who would become her first biographer.
Mamma Rosa reputedly lived an intense life of prayer. She emulated the strong women of the Bible and aimed to become a treasure to her family. It is reported in her biographies that, even in times of crisis, she managed to balance the family budget, while exercising great charity towards the poor, especially towards orphans of World War I. She cared for the sick and gave them continuous assistance, especially during the final illness and death of her husband Carlo, in 1930.
Mamma Rosa became a Secular Franciscan (Third Order founded by St. Francis of Assisi), faithfully attending all their meetings, but above all tried to live the Franciscan rules of "poverty and self-denying labor in the cause of Christ." This she did by attempting to maintain a spirit of poverty and joy in her home, in the midst of her daily work and prayer. She was known for her gentle manner with everyone, and praised God as the "Creator and source of all good and the giver of all hope." Eurosia Fabris Barban died on January 8, 1932, and was buried in the church of Marola.
Pope Pius XII wished that Mamma Rosa's life were better known among all Christian families, and she was proclaimed Venerable on July 7, 2003, by Pope John Paul II. In 2004, a miracle was officially recognized by the Catholic Church as having come through her intervention; she is said to have healed a sick woman thought by doctors to be beyond recovery. On February 7, 2005, the process of canonization was initiated at the Diocesan curia of Padova, after some initial difficulties promoting the cause. She was promoted in November 2005 to the status of Blessed, the next step on the path to Sainthood.
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 XVI 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.