Saint Rose of Lima Parish Patroness
Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617), Patroness of the Americas, Peru, Philippines and India, is the first canonized saint of the New World. She was born in Lima, Peru on April 20, 1586. The tenth of thirteen children, she was baptized Isabel De Flores Y Del Oliva. Because she had lovely rose-colored cheeks, everyone called her “Rose.” In 1597 she chose Rose as her confirmation name. As a child, she was remarkable for her great reverence and pronounced love for all things relating to God.
Though exquisitely beautiful, she refused to marry, and while helping support her family by needlework and growing flowers, she practiced heroic charity. At the age of twenty she became a Dominican Tertiary and continued to live in her parent’s home. Rose tenderly cared for the sick, even those with repulsive wounds, and she often obtained miraculous cures for people from the Child Jesus. On other occasions, she worked miracles in order to feed the members ofher family, and became known as “Mother of the Poor.” Rose continually prayed, fasted and offered her sufferings for the conversion of the Incas. In 1615, through her prayers, the Blessed Sacrament and the people of Lima were spared being attacked by a fleet of Dutch Pirates.
Rose was a friend and confidant of Saint Martin de Porres, who lived in the same city. Martin, also a Dominican, was a great support and comfort to her. Her love for Jesus was so great that when she talked about Him her face glowed. Her mystical experiences caused an ecclesiastical inquiry. Rose, like many saints, had a special relationship with nature. She also had a natural talent for singing and composed a song in praise of God. She sang this song many times during the last three years of her life while experiencing a very painful illness. Legend tells us that at sunset a small bird came to her window and accompanied her as she sang the verses of her song-prayer.
Though she died in 1617 at the early age of 31, Rose’s love of God was so intense that she was recognized as a saint in her own lifetime. Many miracles and conversions attributed to her intercession soon followed her death. She was canonized by the Church just fifty-four years later in 1671. Saint Rose of Lima has captured the imagination of the world and stands as one of the most popular saints in the history of the Church. The Feast of Saint Rose is celebrated on August 23rd.