Isabel Flores de Oliva was born in Lima, Peru in 1586. She was a beautiful little girl who was exceptionally holy and desired to be a nun from a young age. From childhood she was called Rose, said to be because her beauty resembled the flower.
Her parents tried to convince her to marry, but Rose insisted on a vow of chastity. They did not let her enter a convent and out of obedience, Rose instead stayed at home as a Third Order Dominican. She spent most of her time in her room in prayer and penance, mimicking a cloistered life. It is said that she slept only two hours each night so she would have more time for prayer.
St. Rose of Lima is known for practicing harsh penances. She fasted often and gave up meat entirely. She practiced physical mortifications that inflicted constant pain, including wearing a heavy metal crown that pierced her flesh in imitation of Our Lord’s Crown of Thorns.
Despite living a life of seclusion in prayer and penance, her generous spirit shone through. Rose cared for the sick and poor at a room in her parents’ house. This is considered to be the beginning of social services in Peru.
Rose died at the age of 31. At that point, she was well known in Lima and her funeral was attended by much of the city, including public authorities. Pope Clement X canonized St. Rose of Lima in 1671. She was the first person born in the Americas to be canonized by the Catholic Church.
Saint Rose of Lima’s feast day is celebrated on August 23rd. She is the patron saint of Peru, the Philippines, South and Latin America, gardeners, and florists.
Wednesday (August 21, 2019) only, when you make a dollar-a-day ($365) donation to the Relevant Radio Reach Out and Respond Pledge Drive, you will receive a St. Rose of Lima medal that Drew Mariani brought with him on pilgrimage to Peru earlier this year. These medals traveled with Drew to beautiful holy sites in the saint’s home country. In addition to this beautiful medal, you’ll receive the regular giving premium: the book God Incidents: True Stories of God Working in the Lives of Catholics. Make your dollar-a-day donation today to receive these two special gifts, while supplies last. Thank you for your support and prayers!