Marie Rose Ferron was born to devout Catholic parents on May 24, 1902 in the countryside near Quebec. Rose's mother was seized by labor pains as she toiled the fields, and sought refuge in a nearby dwelling and like her Jesus, Rose was born in a stable. Although she never discussed it openly, Mrs. Ferron had dedicated each of her 15 children to the Mysteries of the Rosary. As the tenth child, Marie Rose honored the Crucifixion. These extraordinary circumstances surrounding Rose's birth seemed to foreshadow her destiny as a victim soul.
Rose's mystical life began at the age of four, when she experienced a vision of the Child Jesus carrying a cross. His sorrowful expression touched her deeply, and the image remained seared in her memory. One might consider it uncommon for such a young child to have mystical experiences, but history proves otherwise. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus wrote: "The good God blessed me by opening my intelligence at a very early age." And so it was with Rose.
In childhood, Rose communed with Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Gerard Magella and St. Anthony of Padua. Profoundly humble, she always referred to these ecstasies as "dreams" and was reluctant to discuss them. "To suffer in silence! was her motto, and vanity was her greatest fear. A true victim like her Jesus, Rose endured the slanderous remarks of those who considered her a fraud, and never defended herself.
At the age of seven, Rose had already begun to plead on behalf of souls. Jesus taught her the following prayer, which she recited every day for the rest of her life. This same prayer, the "Supplication for Sinners," was discovered by the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Montreal, who found it quite mysteriously one morning, lying on a table in the convent parlor:
"Oh Lord Jesus, when I reflect upon the words which Thou hast uttered: 'Many are called, but few are chosen,' I fear and tremble for those I love, and I beg Thee to look upon them with mercy; and behold, with an infinite tenderness, Thou dost place their salvation in my hands, for everything is assured to him who knows how to suffer with Thee and for Thee. "My heart bleeds under the weight of affliction, but my will remains united to Thine, and I cry out to Thee: 'Lord, it is for them that I want to suffer...I wish to mingle my tears with Thy Precious Blood for the salvation of those I love! Thou wilt not turn a deaf ear to my sorrowful cry...And Thou will save them."
Though Rose bore the wounds of the stigmata, this mystical quality, in and of itself, is not absolute proof of sanctity. Rather, the true evidence of Rose's saintliness is to be found in the virtues she embodied.
Those who knew Rose marveled at her childlike simplicity and profound humility. She was at all times charming and sincere. Despite suffering intensely for her Jesus, Rose never sacrificed her radiant smile. Throughout her life, she practiced the virtues of charity, patience, hope and trust, and never abandoned her faith in God and His Divine Will.
For Rose, submission to the will of Jesus and saving souls were all that mattered. "I will pray hard and my suffering will always be for souls," she vowed to a close friend. I give myself to our dear Jesus to do with me Just as He pleases... I must ask you to pray for a very important intention. It is for souls, and at any price I must have these. They are so dear to God. Pray, pray, pray!"
In 1923, Our Lord appeared to Sr. Josefa Menendez of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and revealed the overwhelming importance of victim souls: "I will shower My mercies on the world to wipe out its ingratitude. To make reparation for its crimes, I will choose victims who will obtain pardon..for there are in the world many whose desire is to please Me. And there are, moreover, generous souls who will sacrifice everything they possess that I may use them according to My Will."
As a victim soul, Rose suffered to make reparation for the sins of others. Through her suffering she attained healing-physical, mental and spiritual-for those in need, regardless of their station in life. Despite the pain, alienation, and chastisement she endured, Rose embraced her mission joyfully, without an ounce of bitterness. In her "spiritual recipe" she expressed her philosophy of life, and her ability to endure the afflictions of others: "Grind up all your sufferings in the mill of patience and silence; mix them with the balsam of the Passion of the Savior; make them into a small pill and swallow it with faith and love and the fire of Charity will digest it."
On numerous occasions, Rose endured the pains of childbirth of her sisters and many women she never knew. As one of her sisters was giving birth, she experienced great distress, and cried out to Rose for help. At that moment, Rose appeared in the delivery room and her sister's pain instantly vanished. At home in Woonsocket, confined to her bed, Rose suffered the anguish of labor in silence, with a glad heart. During her life, Rose also bore the suffering of those afflicted with cancer, heart disease, blindness, asthma, paralysis, and countless other maladies.
Rose clearly understood the nature of spiritual suffering, and cherished her mission of winning souls for Christ. On one occasion, a man from Michigan, whom Rose had never met, accompanied his friend to her bedside. As he observed this young woman, imprisoned in her bed and wracked with pain, he began to weep. Rose gazed up at him and admonished: "Don't cry for me; you're sicker than I am. You've been away from Jesus for thirty five years." How could she be aware of this intimate detail of his life? Deeply impressed, he went to confession immediately afterward and began to attend daily Mass. With Rose's intercession, he was reconciled to Jesus and the Church, and died a peaceful Christian death many years later.
Rose had a special love for children, and extended her miraculous powers of healing to them as well. In one instance, a mother had been praying to Marie Rose to heal her daughter's heart ailment. One day, the little girl opened the door of the family car parked in the driveway. The car lurched toward the street, pinning the frightened child underneath. Trapped under the front wheels, she began to turn blue and exclaimed that all was dark. She couldn't see! Her frantic parents rushed their daughter to the emergency room, where the attending physician examined her. He couldn't believe his eyes. Despite the serious nature of the accident, and the tire marks across her chest, the little girl suffered no apparent injuries.
Throughout her life, Rose professed a deep affection for priests, whom she referred to as "other Christs." On one occasion, a pastor asked his friend to appeal to Rose on his behalf. "Ask her prayers for two or three persons of this parish. They are hard cases," he entreated. The friend called Rose and relayed the pastor's request. On his way to say Mass a few days later, the priest was startled to find the very parishioners Rose had prayed for awaiting his arrival on the church steps.
These are but a few of the countless testimonies of Rose's healing intercession. After a lifetime of suffering for souls, she died on May 11, 1936 with a beatific smile on her lips. Her death came as no surprise, since Rose herself foretold it at age 26. "How long will I have to live away from you? she asked Our Lord. "Seven years," He answered. And so Rose died, like her Jesus, at the age of 33.
Marie Rose Ferron lies buried in the Precious Blood Cemetery in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. A cross crowned with thorns is etched on her gravestone; beneath it rests a dove with outstretched wings, surrounded by sprays of roses.
Marie Rose Ferron continues to intercede in the lives of those who seek her help. Favors have been granted and cures have been reported from all over the world. Many have also testified to an exquisite fragrance of roses emanating from objects associated with Rose. Mother Ferron once testified to the divine origin of these fragrance's. "They are perfumes from heaven. You can be sure that when you have a fragrance, Rose is close to you, "she affirmed." In a homily given at the time of Rose's death, Rev. Norman Neunier, a local priest, made an astounding prediction: "You will have a little Saint in Woonsocket." Her devotees continue to pray for this recognition she so deserves.
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