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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Rosalia of Palermo

b. circa 1130, Italy; d. circa 1166, near Palermo, Italy

Born into a noble family, Rosalia lived as a recluse in a cave outside Palermo until her death. Little else is known about her beyond the fact that she became the patron saint of Palermo because of a legend that dates to 1624. In that year, during a plague that swept through Palermo, the ghost of Rosalia appeared to a hunter and instructed him to retrieve her bones from her former abode and carry them in a procession through the town. The hunter did as he was told and the plague ended.