EUROSIA FABRIS (1866-1932)
Eurosia Fabris was born in Quinto Vicentino, an agricultural area, some kilometers from Vicenza in Italy, on the 27th of September, 1866. Her parents, Luigi and Maria Fabris, were farmers.
In 1870, at the age of four, Eurosia moved with her family to Marola, a village in the municipality of Torri di Quartesolo (Vicenza). She lived there for the rest of her life. She attended only the first two years of elementary school between 1872 and 1874 because even at such a young age, she was forced to help her parents with farm work and her mother in particular with the household chores. It was enough, however, for her to learn to read and write with the help of the Holy Scriptures or religious books such as the Catechism, Church history, the Philothea, and the Eternal Maxims of St. Alfonso Liguori.
Besides her domestic tasks, she helped her mother in her work as a dressmaker, a practice which Eurosia would also take on later. Even as a child, she was rich in virtue and spirituality, always very careful in providing for the needs of her family.
She was twelve years old when she made her First Holy Communion. From then on, she received Holy Eucharist on all religious feasts, since at that time daily communion was not the practice. It was not until 1905 that daily communion was permitted by a Decree of Pope St. Pius X.
Eurosia joined the Association of the Daughters of Mary in the parish church of Marola, and was faithful in participating in their devotions. She diligently observed the practices of the group which helped increase in her a love for Mary. In Marola, she lived within sight of the shrine of the Madonna of Monte Berico.
Her favorite devotions were to the Holy Spirit, the infant Jesus, the Cross of Christ, the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary, and the souls in the Purgatory. She was an apostle 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.
At the age of eighteen, Eurosia was a dedicated, pious and hardworking young lady. These virtues, along with her pleasant personality, did not go unobserved and several young men proposed marriage to her, though she did not feel called to accept.
In 1885, Rosina, as she was called by her family, was affected by a tragic event. A young married woman near her home died leaving three very young daughters. The first of them died shortly after her mother. The other two girls, Chiara Angela and Italia were only 20 months old, and 2 months old, respectively. The father of these girls was away, living with his uncle and a grandfather who suffered from a chronic disease. They were three very different men, always quarrelling among themselves.
For six months, every morning, Rosina would go to care for the children and take care of their home. Later, following the advice of her relatives and that of the parish priest, and after praying about this turn of events, she decided to marry. Rosina was joined in marriage to a man named Carlo Barban, well aware of the sacrifices that married life would hold for her in the future. She accepted this fact as the will of God who she now felt was calling her through these two babies to embrace a new mission. The parish priest would often comment: “This was a true act of heroic charity towards others.”
The marriage was celebrated on the fifth of May 1886 and, in addition to the two orphaned babies, was blessed with nine other children. Her home was always opened to other children as well. Among them were Mansueto Mazzuco, who became a member of the Order of Friars Minor, taking the name, Brother Giorgio. To all these children, “Mamma Rosa”, as she was called since her marriage, offered affection and care, sacrificing her own needs to provide for them a solid Christian formation. Between 1918-1921, three of her sons were ordained priests, two for the Diocesan clergy and one as a Franciscan (Fr. Bernardino), who would become her first biographer.
Once married, she embraced her marital obligations, always showing the greatest love and respect for her husband and becoming his confidant and adviser. She had a tender love for all her children. She was a hard worker and a person who could be counted on to fulfill her duties.
Mamma Rosa lived an intense life of prayer, which was evident by her great devotion to God love’s, to the Holy Eucharist and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like the strong woman in Sacred Scripture, she became a real treasure to her family. She knew how to balance the family budget and at the same time exercised great charity towards the poor, sharing her daily bread also with them. She cared for the sick and gave them continuous assistance, showing heroic strength during the final illness of her husband Carlo, who died in 1930.
Mamma Rosa became a member of the Franciscan Third Order, known today as the Secular Franciscans. She faithfully attended all their meetings, but above all tried to live the true Franciscan spirit of poverty and joy in her home, in the midst of her daily work and prayer. She had a gentle manner with everyone and praised God as the Creator and source of all good and the giver of all hope.
Mama Rosa’s family home was an ideal Christian community where her children were taught to pray, to obey, to respect the will of God, and to practice Christian virtues. In her vocation as a Christian mother, Mamma Rosa sacrificed and consumed herself day by day like a lamp burning brightly on the altar of charity. She died on the 8th of January 1932 and was buried, with the hope of final resurrection, in the church of Marola.
The canonical process of beatification and canonization was initiated on the 3rd of February 2005 at the Diocesan curia of Padova, after getting passed several difficulties and misunderstandings among the different juridical persons trying to promote the Cause.
Mamma Rosa was a model of holiness in what should be the daily life of a Catholic family. Her three sons who became priests were encouraged in their vocation by her example of holiness. She was proclaimed Venerable on the 7th of July, 2003, by Pope John Paul II who recognized the testimony of her heroic and singular virtues. It was the wish of Pope Pius XII that the life of this marvelous woman be known among all Christian families of our day.