She invited neighbourhood women to pray the rosary in her home, and formed a sort of sodality. As these friends had little religious education, she began to teach them. Jesuit Father Ignatius Martinelli, her spiritual director, convinced her that she was called to be a teacher instead of a contemplative nun.
With two friends, Rose opened a free pre-school for girls in 1685, which was well received. In 1692, Cardinal Barbarigo asked her to oversee training of teachers and the administration of schools in his diocese of Montefiascone, Italy. She organized schools in many parts of Italy, including Rome, and by the time of her death there were 40 schools under her direction. Friend and co-worker with Saint Lucia Filippini.
Rose often met opposition, some fierce, and some actually violent – her teachers were shot at with bows, and their houses burned. She was never deterred, teaching, and finding people who were willing to face the danger in order to do good. The sodality, or group of women she had invited to prayer, were ultimately given the rank of a religious congregation. Today, the so-called Venerini Sisters work with Italian immigrants in the United States and elsewhere.
Saint Rose Venerini is another example of a faithful disciple of Christ, ready to give up all in order to do the will of God. She loved to say: “I find myself so bound to the divine will that neither death nor life is important: I want to live as he wishes and I want to serve him as he likes, and nothing more”. From here, from this surrender to God, sprang the long-admired work that she courageously developed in favor of the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time. Saint Rose did not content herself with providing the girls an adequate education, but she was concerned with assuring their complete formation, with sound references to the Church’s doctrinal teaching. Her own apostolic style continues to characterize the life of the Congregation of the Religious Teachers Venerini which she founded. And how timely and important for today’s society is this service, which puts them in the field of education and especially of the formation of women. – Pope Benedict XVI, from the canonization homily of Saint Rose
- “Saint Rose Venerini“. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 May 2015. Web. 3 September 2015. <>