More than a thousand pilgrims packed St. Peter Catholic Church on Friday, October 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary. Young and old, curious and committed, they came from down the street, throughout the county and neighboring states, to witness an historic event, the opening Mass for the cause of canonization of Rhoda Wise.
Escorted by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, Msgr Robert Siffrin, Vicar General of the Diocese of Youngstown was the main celebrant. The sanctuary was filled with eighteen priests, deacons and servers in white garments. Addressing the standing room only congregation, Msgr. Siffrin,explained that we are at the beginning of an exciting journey. Noting that it was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, he said, “just like the beginning mysteries of the rosary we begin this process with hope and joy…We trust in God’s will that he shows us if she (Rhoda) is to be raised to the altar,” he added. “May the journey that lies ahead find us all in fervent prayer, walking with the Lord and his saints.”
Rhoda Wise was a wife, a mother, a mystic, a stigmatist and a victim soul. In 1939, at the age of 44 she had a 39 pound tumor removed from her stomach. After a series of complications she was sent home to die. Soon after she experienced a vision of Jesus Christ. And was later miraculously and completely healed.
From 1939 to 1948, Wise experienced apparitions of Jesus and Saint Therese of Lisieux. Rhoda suffered the visible stigmata every First Friday. She bled profusely from her hands, feet and forehead. Many conversions and miraculous cures occurred during her lifetime and after her death. The most famous cure was the healing of a teenage girl named Rita Rizzo, the future Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN.
With this official opening Mass for her cause Rhoda Wise is now given the title “Servant of God.” #