"Within me burns the holy radiance of the Emperor made manifest, while your soul festers with the meagre filth of Chaos. I am the light to your darkness, heretic. As sudden dawn scatters the shadows of night, so I and my sisters shall purge all trace of you from this holy place and make it as though you never were."
- — Sister Superior Cheandra Lassemer, Order of the Sacred Rose
The Order of the Sacred Rose is one of the major Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, or the Sisters of Battle, founded in honour of Saint Arabella by the Ecclesiarch Deacis VI in the middle of the 38th Millennium at the same time as the Order of the Bloody Rose was founded. The order is based on Terra in the Convent Prioris.
In the wake of the mad High Lord Goge Vandire's downfall in the 36th Millennium, which ended his tyrannical Reign of Blood, Sebastian Thor was declared Ecclesiarch, and instituted sweeping reforms to the Ecclesiarchy. The High Lords of Terra were fearful of a repetition of the Reign of Blood. And so the "Decree Passive" was passed, forbidding the Ecclesiarchy from maintaining "men under arms."
Alicia Dominica, leader of the Daughters of the Emperor, at Thor's order, formally founded the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, which adhered to the letter if not the spirit of the decree in that all its warriors were female.
Both of these convents are massive fortresses housing tens of thousands of sisters. Those sisters still residing at San Leor were transported to the new convents, and the foundations of the non-militant orders were laid.
In time, the Orders Militant grew into larger and more powerful organisations and Sebastian Thor's successor, the Ecclesiarch Alexis XXII, decreed that the two convents each be divided into two Orders Militant.
Though Arabella was only canonised posthumously, she performed countless miracles during her lifetime. She travelled the Imperium serving as a commander and beacon of faith for many solar decades. The circumstances surrounding her martyrdom are not recorded in any Ecclesiarchal text, but in the 38th Millennium the Order of the Sacred Rose was founded in her name.
Ecclesiarch Deacis VI formed the order from the sisters of the Convent Prioris, and from the outset the Sacred Rose proved themselves worthy of their Matriarch. Through their Wars of Faith they brought the light of the Emperor to regions long thought lost to the darkness -- Imperial planets were freed from the yoke of heretical tyrants, cabals of xenos mystics were hunted down and butchered, and sanctuaries were established to serve as outposts of divinity in the most remote corners of the Imperium.
The Sacred Rose forged a sizeable parish in the Ultima Segmentum, but like Arabella they brought their faith to bear across the galaxy.
Like the Order of the Bloody Rose, the Order of the Sacred Rose was not established during the existence of its patron saint -- Arabella. In her lifetime, Arabella earned the honorific of "Liberator" and many battle-sisters, especially Retributors, are known to pray to her spirit for liberation from doubt and rash action when a cool, logical head is required.
Of all Dominica's bodyguards, Arabella was known as a particularly disciplined, even-tempered sister. However, behind her serenity lay the determination of a resolute warrior, and her symbol was thus a white rose, held aloft in a mailed gauntlet.
The order's ability to draw others to their cause has been of crucial value since the Great Rift tore open at the start of the Era Indomitus. The occluding mass of Warp Storms has plunged hundreds of thousands of worlds into perpetual darkness. Astropathic lines of communication have been severed by the psychic upheaval. Billions of distress calls have been lost in the screaming void.
Cut off from the light of the Astronomican, Navigators are unable to guide voidships between distant stars, and so even those cries for help that are received can rarely be answered with action. The majority of the Sacred Rose's sanctuaries lie deep within the Imperium Nihilus, but few have succumbed to the nightmares unleashed across that half of the galaxy.
The sisters of the Sacred Rose have remained a steadfast beacon of hope, and have fought the enemies of the faith with the same resoluteness of spirit that they have always possessed. Where many worlds were consumed by panic and fear, even before the servants of the Dark Gods fell upon them, those under the care of the order have become bastions of defiance.
Sororitas patrols execute anyone who expresses doubt in the security of the Imperium. At the same time, Astra Militarum regiments are commandeered by the order, and soldiers showing the slightest hints of mutation are expunged.
On each planet, the Sororitas lead defences against legions of daemons and Heretic Astartes. Yet it is not only their own worlds that they fight to protect. The Sisters of the Sacred Rose have miraculously appeared in multiple war zones across the Imperium Nihilus.
Few question how the Sororitas were able to hear their calls for reinforcement, or how they managed to navigate amidst the darkness and horror. Those that do are told by the sisters that Saint Arabella always provides guidance, even when the Emperor's will is not clear.
- The War for Piety (835.M41) - The Shrine World of Piety rematerialised in realspace in 835.M41 after being swallowed by a massive Warp Storm two standard centuries earlier. The planet was, however, almost unrecognisable, having been transformed during its time in the Immaterium into a hideous Daemon World. Canoness Sariah of the Order of the Sacred Rose immediately led a force of battle-sisters to the planet to retrieve artefacts from the Reliquary of Hope, one of the few Imperial sites on Piety to have withstood the corruption of Chaos. As the rest of her force established a perimeter around the reliquary, Sariah led several squads of sisters into the labyrinthine corridors beneath. For three solar days Canoness Sariah and her battle-sisters fought their way through daemon and mutant-haunted passageways; bolters cut down scores of blood-hungry daemon-hounds and the sisters' Flamers purged vast swathes of bloated Plague Beasts. Only Sariah and two Celestians survived the horror to rejoin their order's battle-sisters on the surface, having recovered the left thighbone of Saint Dolan and three pages from an original copy of the Lexicon of Falsehoods from a stasis vault in the reliquary. The surviving battle-sisters withdrew to orbit with their prizes just as a fleet of Grey Knights starships arrived and laid waste to the planet with Cyclonic Torpedoes, performing the merciful Exterminatus which put the world's tortured inhabitants out of their misery and offered them the Emperor's peace.
- Fires of Faith (Unknown Date.M41) - A swarm of Ork Roks crashed down on the scorched world of Typhas I, where the Order of the Sacred Rose maintained an isolated sanctuary outpost. The greenskins quickly overwhelmed the planet's defenders, but a score of battle-sisters managed to barricade themselves deep within the sanctuary's crypts. Their prayers to the Emperor appeared to be answered when a massive solar flare enveloped Typhas I. Every last Ork was incinerated, while the entombed sisters remained unharmed.
- Second Halo Schism (Unknown Date.M41) - When the Arch Confessor Cornelius preached the War of Faith that saw the Demagogues of the Second Halo Schism burned on pyres twenty metres high, it was the female warriors of the Order of the Sacred Rose that broke the back of the heretical cult's fanatical defence of the Palace of Radiance.
- War of Faith - Kaurava System (Unknown Date.M41) - Led by their Canoness Selena Agna, the order helped lead an Imperial Crusade against xenos, Heretics and the forces of Chaos within the Kaurava System. This crusade brought them into brief conflict with other Imperial forces, including the Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter and the Imperial Guard's 252nd Conservator Regiment. The battle-sisters of the Order of the Sacred Rose were supported by the Living Saint Anais in the defence of the order's primary bastion in the Sama District, on the planet of Kaurava I.
- Defence of Valedor (997.M41) - The Tyranid Hive Fleet Leviathan overruns the Ecclesiarchy world of Valedor in a matter of solar hours, slaughtering the entire population of pilgrims and Ministorum Adepts, as well as overwhelming a Battle Barge of the Iron Lords Chapter. A small force of battle-sisters from the Order of the Sacred Rose represents the only Humans to bear witness to the event, having barely fought their way clear of the carnage.
- Cryptus Campaign (998.M41) - Canoness Magda Grace led a force of battle-sisters from the Order of the Sacred Rose to aid the Blood Angels in the defence of the Cryptus System from Hive Fleet Leviathan.
- The Greater Faith (Unknown Date.M42) - On several worlds in the Chalnath Expanse, the Imperial Creed is replaced by the aberrant philosophies propagated by the T'au Empire. Sisters of the Sacred Rose respond to this crisis of faith, saving those who have remained true to the Emperor and purging those who have been led into damnation. Warriors of the T'au Fire Caste present formidable resistance to the Sororitas, but the true threat comes from the T'au leadership caste known as the Ethereals, whose false preachings of the "Greater Good" claim countless Human souls.
Order Combat Doctrine
When the sisters of the Sacred Rose march to war, they do so in a state of holy grace. Scores of Sororitas advance in perfect tactical harmony, adapting fluidly to the shifting tides of battle. Squads unleash the firepower of the holy trinity with measured discipline. As they do so, they lift their voices, singing lilting hymns in praise of the Emperor.
This symphony of choral worship and roaring weaponry quickly drowns out the screams of dying mutants and the wet tearing of heretical flesh. The sisters press the attack wherever their enemy shows weakness, sending Frag Grenades sailing into gaps in formations and blasting the exposed flanks of artillery with superheated melta beams.
Where the foe shows strength, the Sororitas stand firm, locking ranks against assaults and cutting down onrushing attackers with deliberate and devastating salvoes. Yet it is their seamless pairing of faith with physical prowess that makes them a truly indomitable force.
Miraculous bursts of speed are factored into redeployment manoeuvres, whilst the spontaneous combustion of nearby foes is relied upon as much as any Chainsword or Bolt Pistol. Assured of the Emperor's providence, the sisters of the Sacred Rose maintain their ineffable serenity as they slaughter all before them.
The Order of the Sacred Rose are often accompanied to war by an inordinate number of Ecclesiarchal followers. Adeptus Ministorum Priests and their fanatical conclaves flock to the Sororitas, eager to witness the miracles that will unfold. As such, even small missions are rarely short of soldiers.
A core of Sororitas may be supported by many devotees of the Imperial Cult, their prayers and cries of penance intermingling with the battle hymn of the Sacred Rose. Canonesses of the order welcome these faithful auxiliaries, and teach the sisters in their charge that the Emperor has the power to act through the least of His servants.
Saint Arabella herself was known to gather the unwashed rabble to her banner in times of battle, and it is said that the power of her conviction transformed them into armies of indomitable warriors.
More so than any other order, the Sacred Rose avow that they are not only devout servants of the God-Emperor -- they are the conduits of His divine will. Through them is His glory made manifest in the galaxy, for their words and actions are guided by His infallible wisdom.
The order teaches that victory comes from faith and faith alone. If a warrior has enough faith, she can command the stars to consume her enemies, and the Emperor will make it so. The Sisters act on this belief in every battle, war and crusade they wage, trusting that the triumphal slaughter of their foes has been preordained.
Even when one of their number falls, they know that this too is part of the Emperor's plan. A single martyr can spark a fire in a thousand souls, giving rise to an inferno of faith that can never be extinguished.
These beliefs give the sisters of the Sacred Rose an air of devout serenity that approaches that held by their Matriarch, Arabella. She was renowned for her calm nature in the face of horror, and was known among Alicia Dominica's guard as being the most even-tempered.
It is widely told that Arabella was instrumental in the negotiations between Dominica and the Custodian who led the Matriarchs before the Golden Throne. Arabella subsequently earned the honorific of "Liberator," for she sought to break the shackles of fear and doubt that bound the faithful, and strove to free Humanity from the evils of the faithless.
Though a formidable combatant, her true strength sprang from the abundance of miracles that are said to have happened in her presence. There are stories of Heretics imploding into lumps of smouldering flesh as her gaze fell upon them, crushed by the weight of their own wickedness, or having their eyes melt from their face as they beheld her glory.
Notable Sisters of the Sacred Rose
- Saint Arabella - Saint Arabella is the patron of the Order of the Sacred Rose. Although this long-dead martyr never led her Order in battle, it was founded in her name. She was one of five companions of Alicia Dominica the patron and founder of the Adepta Sororitas. She was the last of the surviving six Sisters to enter the Emperor's Throne Room when they were brought before him for a personal audience during the Reign of Blood in M36 by the Custodians. Arabella disappeared in late M36 shortly after the death of Sister Mina - her ultimate fate is unknown.
- Canoness Magda Grace - Magda Grace was a canoness of the Order of the Sacred Rose who had fought against the uncaring tides of the universe for eighty-three long years. From childhood she has held fast to the belief that the righteous have an inner strength, a core of iron within them that stands untarnished by the twisting tides of fate. Those near her find themselves unconsciously holding the same beliefs as Magda herself -- that the Emperor protects, and whatever terrors the universe visits upon them, the faithful will die content. During the Cryptus Campaign against Hive Fleet Leviathan in 998.M41, upon the night world of Dessecran, Canoness Grace battled ceaselessly to contain the vanguard swarms that had infested the planet. She rallied the Planetary Defence Force time and time again as they engaged in a series of desperate battles beneath the planet's capital city, hunting down the Genestealers infesting the sewers even as the beasts hunted them in turn. When Magda eventually emerged triumphant from the undercity, she bore a livid gash across her eye and down her cheek -- a parting gift from a Lictor that had hunted her night and day until she finally put a mass-reactive bolt into its bulbous head. Her order was next stationed on Lysios to hunt down and exterminate the pagan giant-worshippers of the crawler hulks. When the Tyranids invaded, however, they quickly turned from persecutors to saviours. Under the leadership of Canoness Grace, they gave their lives freely to ensure the citizens of the algae-slicked planet had a chance to escape. During the battle on Lysios, Magda Grace herself was cut down on the threshold of salvation by the Lictor that had hounded her since her first encounter with the Tyranids upon Desseran.
- Canoness Selena Agna - Selena Agna was a Canoness of the Order of the Sacred Rose. She personally led her order in the defence of the Kaurava System during the large incursion of xenos and Heretic forces that assaulted that system's worlds. Canoness Agna and her sisters also fought against various Imperial forces during that unfortunate conflict, including the Blood Ravens Space Marines Chapter and the 252nd Conservator Regiment of the IAstra Militarum, deeming the Imperial Guard regiment as a threat for refusing to cede to her authority over all Imperial forces, and the Blood Ravens as corrupted, somehow responsible for the massive Warp Storms that engulfed the entire system. The order's forces under Agna's command attempted to purge the system of all xenos threats as well as those deemed Heretics.
Relics of the Order
- Light of Saint Agnaetha - Emanating from within an adamantium brazier inscribed with the deeds of the Matriarch of the Sacred Rose, Arabella, the Light of Saint Agnaetha is a blinding illumination against the shadows of the Great Rift. Laying bare the truth of evil, those who embody the foulness of the daemon are cowed. The touch of its actinic glare, when lifted high with serene grace, causes impure flesh to char and combust in a conflagration of holy fire.
The colours of the sisters of the Sacred Rose's vestments and power armour is white with contrasting black vestments.
The linings of their cloaks are red, as are their weapons.
The badge of the Order of the Sacred Rose is a simple white rose.
- Codex: Adepta Sororitas (8th Edition), pp. 28-29, 38-39, 109
- Codex: Adepta Sororitas (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 13, 15, 17
- Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition), pp. 19, 35
- Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pp. 6-7
- Imperial Armour Volume Two (Second Edition) - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 22
- The Inquisition (Sourcebook), pg. 65
- Shield of Baal: Leviathan (Campaign Supplement), pp. 37, 52, 55, 57, 61-62, 67, 107, 212, 215, 224
- White Dwarf Magazine 293 (UK), "Liber Sororitas - Matriarchs of the Sisterhood," by Andy Hoare, pg. 56
- Dawn of War - Soulstorm (PC Game)
|Adepta Sororitas Orders Militant|
|Orders Majoris||Order of the Argent Shroud • Order of the Bloody Rose • Order of the Ebon Chalice • Order of Our Martyred Lady • Order of the Sacred Rose • Order of the Valorous Heart|
|Orders Minoris||Order of the Black Sepulchre • Order of the Blue Robe • Order of the Crimson Oath • Order of the Bleeding Heart • Order of the Fiery Tear • Order of the Glowing Chalice • Order of the Thorn • Order of the Iron Veil • Order of the Ashen Shrine • Order of the Wounded Heart • Order of the Golden Light|