About St. Rose
ST. ROSE OF LIMA
1586 — 1617
Feast Days August 23 (New) August 30 (Traditional)
Patron Saint of South America, Peru, gardeners, florists, embroiderers, those who suffer ridicule for their piety, and people who suffer from family problems.
Born in 1586 in Lima, Peru to Spanish colonists, and named Isabel Flores de Olivia, she was exceptionally beautiful. Her beauty was so great that she was nicknamed "Rose" and at her confirmation in 1597, she officially took the name of Rose.
From an early age, Rose wanted to become a nun. She often prayed and fasted in secret. She performed secret penances, some of which were painful and severe. She performed daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and took daily communion.
As a young woman, her beauty began to attract suitors. To deter these men, Rose marred her face, rubbing it with pepper to make it blister and she cut her hair short.
Her parents opposed her plan to take a vow of chastity. This resulted in a clash of wills, because her parents wanted her to marry. Her father eventually relented and gave her a room to herself where she spent long periods in prayer. It was said she slept only two hours per night so as to have more time for prayer.
When Rose turned 20, she was permitted to join the Third Order of St. Dominic. She continued a life of extreme prayer, fasting and penance. She was known to wear a heavy silver crown, with spikes that could pierce her flesh. The spikes reminded her of the Crown of Thorns. At one point, one of the spikes became so lodged in her skull that the crown was removed with great difficulty.
During the last few years of her life, Rose set up a room in the house where she cared for homeless children, the elderly, and the sick. This was a beginning of social services in Peru. Though secluded in life and activity, she was brought to the attention of Inquisition interrogators, who could only say that she was influenced by grace.
Rose died at the age of 31. Her funeral was a major event attended by all the city's authorities and prominent men took turns carrying her coffin. She is the first canonized saint of the Americas.