Saint Rose of Lima

Feast Day - August 30

Patroness of The Americas, South America,  Latin America,
Peru, Philippines
and Florists

Saint Rose of LimaThis South American Saint's real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose, and that name remained.  As she grew older, she became more and more beautiful, and one day, her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show off her loveliness to friends. But Rose had no desire to be admired, for her heart had been given to Jesus. So she put a long pin into that wreath and it pierced her so deeply, that she had a hard time getting the wreath off afterward. Another time she became afraid that her beauty might be a temptation to someone, since people could not take their eyes off her. Therefore, she rubbed her face with pepper until it was all red and blistered. St. Rose worked hard to support her poor parents and she humbly obeyed them, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. Her love of Jesus was so great that when she talked about Him, her face glowed and her eyes sparkled. Rose had many temptations from the devil, and there were also many times when she had to suffer a feeling of terrible loneliness and sadness, for God seemed far away. Yet she cheerfully offered all these troubles to Him. In fact, in her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman use to pray: "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart."

Rose was the first canonized saint of the New World. She has one characteristic of all saints—the suffering of opposition—and another characteristic which is more for admiration than for imitation—excessive practice of mortification.

The saints have so great a love of God that what seems bizarre to us, and is indeed sometimes imprudent, is simply a logical carrying out of a conviction that anything that might endanger a loving relationship with God must be rooted out. So, because her beauty was so often admired, Rose used to rub her face with pepper to produce disfiguring blotches. Later, she wore a thick circlet of silver on her head, studded on the inside, like a crown of thorns.

When her parents fell into financial trouble, she worked in the garden all day and sewed at night. Ten years of struggle against her parents began when they tried to make Rose marry. They refused to let her enter a convent, and out of obedience she continued her life of penance and solitude at home as a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. So deep was her desire to live the life of Christ that she spent most of her time at home in solitude.

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.

When she died at 31 (1586-1617), the city turned out for her funeral. Prominent men took turns carrying her coffin. Many miracles followed her death. She was beatified by Clement IX, in 1667, and canonized on 2 April 1671 by Clement X, the first American to be so honored. She is represented wearing a crown of roses.


Help me to remember what is really important:  that I am Your child
You are my Father
You love me for who I am and how I live
Not what I look like or what I own.
Let me praise You who sees into my heart,
who is always with me
and who eases my suffering.



In today's world, where beauty and possessions seem to mean so much, the story of St. Rose is just as relevant as it was when she was canonized in 1671 - particularly to young people who are bombarded with message about what to buy and how to look.  While it is difficult to avoid distractions, most of us don't have to move to a hermitage or isolate ourselves to bring Rose's message of humility and comfort in the Lord into our homes.


"Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."

St. Rose of Lima


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St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base