Today in the Americas, Saint Rose of Lima

saint-rose-of-limaToday, 422 years ago, in 1586, the Saint Rose of Lima was born. She was born Isabel in Lima (but called Rose because she was so beautiful), in the Viceroyalty of Peru and rose to become the first Catholic saint of the Americas.

She was eccentric by our standards, but pious in the eyes of the Church. She was receiving visions, revelations, messages from God as early as childhood. Because of this, she fought her parent’s from the beginning. She spent hours contemplating the Blessed Sacrament and wished to take a vow of virginity – her parent’s wanted her to marry. She would often disfigure herself whenever admired by men, upset with her beauty. Because her heart was given to Jesus, she would place a wreath onto her clothes, piercing the pin deep into her skin. She fasted quite often and, when not devoting herself to charity, stayed in a modest grotto in Lima. She lived, what we would see, as a lonely life – for often, like most saints admit, God seems far away.

She would pray: “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart.”

Her self-martyrdom lasted from her confirmation in 1597 until her death in 1617 at the age of 31, the date which she prophesied from afar. It was not hard to see her future canonization; her death prompted the entire city of Lima to mourn her death and celebrate her life.

Saint Rose was beatified by Pope Clement IX on April 15, 1667, and canonized on April 12, 1671, by Pope Clement X. She became the first Catholic saint of the Americas. She is memorialized on August 23 by Catholics outside Latin America. In Peru, August 30 is public holiday.


~ by Daniel on April 20, 2009.

2 Responses to “Today in the Americas, Saint Rose of Lima”

  1. Ugh, I read a very graphic account of Santa Rosa’s life once and could barely stomach it. The idea that someone starving and mutilating themselves could be held up as an example to follow just blows my mind.

    Clearly I’m not Catholic and have little empathy in this regard…

  2. Actually, she was called Rose because a servant claimed to have once saw her face actually transform into a rose. The nickname just stuck.

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