Saint Rose of Lima, model of charity and penance

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.

St Rose of LimaHer 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.

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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.