The Story of Santa Rosalia 2/5

Rosalia Sinibaldi was born around 1130 in an important noble family of Norman origin. If you have already played with the first card dedicated to Santa Rosalia you already know the story of childhood and discovered the house where she was born. The church of the Santissimo Salvatore tells us the next part of the story of Rosalia.


The path you have just walked to reach the church of Santissimo Salvatore, is the same that Rosalia used to walk regularly before choosing the cloister life, from her house to the Norman palace. As you know, back in the days of Rosalia the city looked very different: there was neither the Quattro Canti nor the Via Maqueda. Nevertheless, the street you are standing on, the Cassaro, which today is named Corso Vittorio Emanuele , was already one of the most important streets of Palermo. Even the church in front of  you already existed, even if it had a completely different form.

This papyrus, which can be found inside the church of Santissimo Salvatore, is an important testimony of the first period of Rosalia’s vocation. In fact, after being ordained as a nun, Rosalia spent few years inside the cloister adjacent to church right in front of you. But why did she suddenly decided to dedicate her life to God?

As a young girl Rosalia lived at the court of the Norman king Roger II. At the time, hunting was one of the favorite activities of noblemen and during one of the many hunting trips Roger II was attacked by a fierce beast. One of the knights, Sir Baldwin, promptly saved the king who, as a sign of gratitude, offered to grant any wish to his vassal. Sir Baldwin was bewitched by the beauty of Rosalia, that by the time was only 12-13 years old. Indeed, the valorous knights asked her in marriage. Rosalia was desperate about the destiny that the king had chosen for her. Hence, the day after the proposal, she cut her long blond hair and declared to the court that she wanted to dedicate his life to God and expressed her will to become a nun. At first, Rosalia took refuge in the Basilian monastery adjacent to the church of the Santissimo Salvatore. There, she spent the first years of her vocation, but it couldn’t last long. We know however how insistent a Norman nobleman can be: Rosalia was often visited by Sir Baldwin and by her family, all trying to dissuade her from the monastic life. Indeed, after few years Rosalia abandoned the monastery and decided to begin a hermit life…


If you want to find out how Rosalia became Santa and what great miracle she did for Palermo do not hesitate to play with other Santa Rosalia postcards