Saint of the Day – 23 August – St Rose of Lima T.O.S.D. (1586-1617) Virgin and Penitent, Mystic, Visionary, Stigmatist (invisible), Apostle of the Poor – born on 20 April 1586 at Lima, Peru as Isabel Flores de Oliva and died on 24 August 1617 at Lima, Peru of natural causes. Patronages – against vanity, embroiderers, florists, gardeners, needle workers, people ridiculed for their piety, Peru, Lima, Peru, Americas, Central America, Latin America, New World, South America, India, Philippines, West Indies, diocese of Santa Rosa, California, Villareal Samar, Philippines, World Youth Day 2011. St Rose was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic in Lima, Peru, who became known for both her life of severe asceticism and her care of the needy of the city through her own private efforts. She was the first person born in the Americas to be canonised as a saint. She is the primary patroness of Peru and of the indigenous natives of Latin America. Her image is featured on the highest denomination banknote of Peru.
This lovely flower of sanctity, was born at Lima in 1586. She was christened Isabel but the beauty of her infant face earned for her the title of Rose, which she ever after bore.
As a child, while still in the cradle, her silence under a painful surgical operation proved the thirst for suffering already consuming her heart. At an early age she took service to support her impoverished parents and worked for them day and night. In spite of hardships and austerities her beauty ripened with increasing age and she was much and openly admired. From fear of vanity she cut off her hair, blistered her face with pepper and her hands with lime.
For further security she enrolled herself in the Third Order of St Dominic, took St Catherine of Siena as her model and redoubled her penance. Her cell was a garden hut, her couch a box of broken tiles. Under her habit Rose wore a hair-shirt studded with iron nails, while, concealed by her veil, a silver crown armed with ninety points encircled her head. More than once, when she shuddered at the prospect of a night of torture, a voice said, “My cross was yet more painful.”
The Blessed Sacrament seemed almost her only food. Her love for it was intense. When the Dutch fleet prepared to attack the town, Rose took her place before the tabernacle, and wept that she was not worthy to die in its defence. All her sufferings were offered for the conversion of sinners and the thought of the multitudes in hell was ever before her soul.
She died in 1617, at the age of thirty-one on the date she had predicted.
Rose was beatified by Pope Clement IX on 10 May 1667 and Canonised on 12 April 1671, by Pope Clement X, the first in the Americas to be declared a saint. Her shrine, alongside those of her friends St Martin de Porres (1585-1645) and St John Macias (also 1585-1645)), is located inside the convent of St Dominic in Lima. Many miracles followed her death: there were stories that she had cured a leper and that, at the time of her death, the city of Lima smelled like roses, roses also started falling from the sky. Many places in the New World are named Santa Rosa after her.