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Saint Rose of Lima

Saint Rose of Lima
  • Century: 16th & 17th Century
  • Patronage: Embroiderers, Gardeners, Florists, People ridiculed for Piety, Native Indians of the America‚Äôs
  • Feast Day: August 23rd

St. Rose of Lima was born in Lima, Peru in 1586.  She received the baptismal name of Isabel (Elizabeth), and was part of a large family.  Later she received the nickname “Rose, and it turned out to be evidence of her holiness.   A servant expressed that she had witnessed her as a baby, and she seen the face of this child transformed into a rose.  In 1597, she was confirmed and took the name of Rose.  

She had a strong devotion to St. Catherine of Siena, and began to fast three times a week, and also performed severe penances in secret.  She was admired for her beauty, so Rose would cut off her hair, as a penance.  Despite her parents, she would spend many hours contemplating the Blessed Sacrament, and would receive Communion daily.  Her parents wished that she would marry, as she was admired for her beauty, but she was determined to take a vow of virginity.  Her father finally gave in, and gave her a room to herself in the family home. 

Her desire to do daily fasting, eventually turned into perpetual abstinence from meat, and her days were filled with acts of charity.  She would help the hungry and sick around her community, often bringing them to her room and caring for them.  To help her family she would sell her needlework at the local market.  She grew beautiful flowers, and would sell them as well.  Sometimes her exquisite lace and embroidery would help to care for the poor.  She also devoted her nights to prayer and penance in a little grotto that she had built.  She seldom would leave her room for any other reason, other than going to Church. 

She became famous for her holiness, and it became so well known with the people of her city, that she attracted the attention of the Dominican Friars.  She wanted to become a Nun, but her father refused it.  Out of obedience to her father, she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic, remaining in her parent’s home, and wore the habit of a tertiary, while taking the vow of perpetual virginity. 

St. Rose continued her self-martyrdom without pause, often with periods of ecstasy, until she died on August 24, 1617 at the age of thirty-one.  She even prophesied the exact date of her death.  With all the towns’ people attending, the Archbishop himself, gave the eulogy at her Funeral Mass in the Cathedral.  She was beatified by Pope Clement IX on April 15, 1667, and canonized on April 12, 1671 by Pope Clement X.  She was the first Catholic in the “America’s” to be declared a saint.  Her Shrine is alongside those of her friends, St. Martin de Porres and St. John Macias, and is located in the Convent of St. Dominic, in Lima, Peru.  Pope Benedict XVI is especially devoted to her.  Many miracles have been reported from her, one being a leper was cured. 

Practical Take Away

St. Rose of Lima passed away at the age of 31, and devoted her life to God.  She was admired for her beauty, and took a vow of virginity as a Third Order Dominican. She spent her life in fasting, penance, and prayer – to ensure her final reward of Heaven.  She spent her time in prayer, helping the sick and hungry, and in contemplating the Blessed Sacrament.  Her life shows us that we too, can procure Heaven as our final destination – if we would take time to pray, fast, and offer penance.  We can also assist the sick and hungry around us – and by asking for the intercession of St. Rose of Lima, we can be assured of her help.