During the late spring and summer of 1624, Palermo was under siege from a plague that cursed more than 10,000 inhabitants. Things were looking pretty bleak until in early July, when a lost hunter had a vision: Santa Rosalia appeared to him and promised to help him and the city of Palermo once he followed her instructions. She explained in detail where her remains could be found, and ordered him, once they were unearthed, to carry her bones through the city streets.
The hunter honored the saint’s words. He located her bones, which were buried deep in a cave on Mount Pellegrino, and on July 15, 1624, Santa Rosalia’s relics were solemnly paraded throughout the city. Within three days residents began to recover. By July 15, 1625, the plague was eradicated.
Normally on July 14 and 15 Palermitani fill the streets to celebrate La Santuzza–Santa Rosalia–and her purifying spirit. This year, they have postponed Il Festino, the big party, until September because once again, we are experiencing a health emergency. Consulting with friends in Palermo, they say their devotion to Rosalia is very strong right now, for obvious reasons.
Viva Santa Rosalia!