The Feast of St. Rosalie
I wrote this story about Rosalie, the second-youngest Stubbs child,
after attending the Kenner
Italian Heritage Festival and walking in the St.
Rosalie Procession. Like most Catholic traditions in the New Orleans
area, this procession has its roots in Sicily.
"Y'all can take this chance to venerate the statue of St. Rosalie
if you like," the priest said through the loudspeaker. People began
to approach the statue, touching their rosaries to its base, planting
kisses on their hands and stroking its feet. The bearers held the platform
steady, looking away so that people could make their devotions in semiprivacy.
Rosalie stepped up behind a young man in a black and gold Saints jersey
who was bending to press his forehead to the hem of the statue's robe.
When he moved away, she put her hand on the platform and looked up into
the saint's face. The crown of white flowers had begun to curl and wilt
in the heat. The painted eyes gazed back at her. The imperious nose and
perfectly arched brows seemed to mock her own sweaty face. She wouldn't
have really looked that good, Rosalie thought, not after a few years
in that cave. Her cheeks would have sunk, her lips would have cracked.
She wouldn't have had to worry about all those suitors any more - they
wouldn't have wanted her once she came out. Then she looked away, ashamed
of her thoughts. When had she become so bitter, so cracked and dried