Rose of Lima

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Saint Rose of Lima, T.O.S.D.
Sta Rosa de Lima por Claudio Coello.jpg
Saint Rose of Lima
by Claudio Coello (1642–1693),
in the Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain
Virgin and penitent
Born Isabel de Santa Maria de Flores
(1586-04-20)April 20, 1586
Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
Spanish Empire
Died August 24, 1617(1617-08-24) (aged 31)
Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
Spanish Empire
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion
Beatified April 15, 1667 or 1668, Rome, Papal States by Pope Clement IX
Canonized April 12, 1671, Rome, Papal States by Pope Clement X
Major shrine Monastery of St. Dominic
Lima, Peru
Feast August 23
August 30 (some Latin American countries and pre-1970 General Roman Calendar)
Attributes rose, anchor, Infant Jesus
Patronage embroiderers; gardeners; florists; India; Latin America; people ridiculed or misunderstood for their piety; for the resolution of family quarrels; indigenous peoples of the Americas; Peru; Philippines; Santa Rosa, California; against vanity; Lima; Peruvian Police Force

Saint Rose of Lima, T.O.S.D. (April 20, 1586 – August 24, 1617), was a Spanish colonist in Lima, Peru, who became known for both her life of severe asceticism and her care of the needy of the city through her own private efforts. A lay member of the Dominican Order, she was the first person born in the Americas to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

As a saint, Rose of Lima is designated as a co-patroness of the Philippines along with Saint Pudentiana, who were both moved as second-class patronage in September 1942 by Pope Pius XII, but remains the primary patroness of Peru and the indigenous natives of Latin America. Her image is featured on the highest denomination banknote of Peru.


She was born Isabel Flores y de Oliva in the city of Lima, then in the Viceroyalty of Peru, on April 20, 1586. She was one of the many children of Gaspar Flores, a harquebusier in the Imperial Spanish army, born in San Germán on the island of San Juan Bautista (now Puerto Rico), and his wife, María de Oliva, a creole from Lima. Her later nickname "Rose" comes from an incident in her babyhood: a servant claimed to have seen her face transform into a rose. In 1597 she was confirmed by the Archbishop of Lima, Turibius de Mongrovejo, who was also to be declared a saint. She formally took the name of Rose at that time.[1]

As a young girl—in emulation of the noted Dominican tertiary, St. Catherine of Siena—she began to fast three times a week and performed severe penances in secret. When she was admired for her beauty, Rose cut off her hair and smeared pepper on her face,upset that suitors were beginning to take notice of her.[2] She rejected all suitors against the objections of her friends and her family. Despite the censure of her parents, she spent many hours contemplating the Blessed Sacrament, which she received daily, an extremely rare practice in that period. She was determined to take a vow of virginity, which was opposed by her parents, who wished her to marry.[1] Finally, out of frustration, her father gave her a room to herself in the family home.

Stained glass window by Harry Clarke, depicting St. Rose burning her hands in an act of penance, in St. Michael's Church, Ballinasloe, Ireland

After daily fasting, she took to permanently abstain from eating meat. She helped the sick and hungry around her community, bringing them to her room and taking care of them. Rose sold her fine needlework, and took flowers that she grew to market, to help her family. She made and sold lace and embroidery to care for the poor, and she prayed and did penance in a little grotto which she had built. Otherwise, she became a recluse, leaving her room only for her visits to church.[2]

She attracted the attention of the friars of the Dominican Order. She wanted to become a nun, but her father forbade it, so she instead entered the Third Order of St. Dominic while living in her parents' home. In her twentieth year she donned the habit of a tertiary and took a vow of perpetual virginity. She only allowed herself to sleep two hours a night at most, so that she had more hours to devote to prayer.[3] She donned a heavy crown made of silver, with small spikes on the inside, in emulation of the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ.[2]

For eleven years she lived this way, with intervals of ecstasy, and eventually died on August 24, 1617, at the young age of 31. It is said that she prophesied the date of her death. Her funeral was held in the cathedral, attended by all the public authorities of Lima.


Monastery of Saint Rose in 17th-century Lima

Rose was beatified by Pope Clement IX on May 10, 1667, and canonized on April 12, 1671, by Pope Clement X, the first Catholic in the Americas to be declared a saint. Her shrine, alongside those of her friends, St. Martin de Porres and Saint John Macías, is located inside the convent of St. Dominic in Lima. The Roman Catholic Church says that many miracles followed her death; there were stories that she had cured a leper. Many places in the New World are named Santa Rosa after her. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is especially devoted to her[citation needed].

Her liturgical feast was inserted into the General Roman Calendar in 1729 for celebration initially on August 30, because August 24, the date of her death, is the feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle and August 30 was the closest date not already allocated to a well-known saint.[4] Pope Paul VI's 1969 revision of the calendar made August 23 available, the day on which her feast day is now celebrated throughout the world, including Spain, but excluding Peru and some other Latin American countries, where August 30 is a public holiday in her honor.

She is honored together with Martin de Porres and Turibius of Mogrovejo with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on August 23.

Early lives of Santa Rosa were written by the Dominican Father Hansen, "Vita Sanctae Rosae" (2 vols., Rome, 1664–1668), and Vicente Orsini, afterward. Pope Benedict XIII wrote "Concentus Dominicano, Bononiensis ecclesia, in album Sanctorum Ludovici Bertrandi et Rosae de Sancta Maria, ordinero praedicatorum" (Venice, 1674).

There is a park named for her in downtown Sacramento, California.[5] A plot of land at 7th and K streets was given to the Roman Catholic Church by Peter Burnett, first Governor of the State of California. Father Peter Anderson built one of the first of two churches in the diocese to be consecrated under the patronage of St Rose.[6]

In the Caribbean twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago, the Santa Rosa Carib Community, located in Arima, is the largest organization of indigenous peoples on the island.[7] The second oldest parish in the Diocese of Port-of-Spain is also named after this saint. The Santa Rosa Church, which is located in the town of Arima, was established on April 20, 1786, as the Indian Mission of Santa Rosa de Arima on the foundations of a Capuchin Mission previously established in 1749.[8]

St. Rose's skull, surmounted with a crown of roses, is on public display at the Basilica in Lima, Peru, along with that of Saint Martin de Porres. It was customary to keep the torso in the basilica and pass the head around the country.


Saint Rose is the patroness of the Americas,[1] indigenous people of the Americas especially of Lima, Peru; the secondary patroness of the Philippines along with Saint Pudentiana; of gardeners; of florists; of Sittard, the Netherlands; of India.


Parishes dedicated to St. Rose of Lima are located in Rockaway, New York; [9] Safford, Arizona; Paso Robles, California;[10] Simi Valley, California;[11] Buena Vista, Colorado;[12] Newtown, Connecticut;[13] Milton, Florida; Montrose, Illinois;[14] Quincy, Illinois;[15] Cloverport, Kentucky; Jay, Maine;[16] Gaithersburg, Maryland;[17] Chelsea, Massachusetts; Chicopee, Massachusetts;[18] Northborough, Massachusetts;[19] Topsfield, Massachusetts;[20] Hastings, Michigan; Roseville, Minnesota;[21] De Soto, Missouri;[22] Freehold, New Jersey;[23] Forestville, New York; Rockaway Beach, New York; Massapequa, New York;,[24] Cincinnati, Ohio Perrysburg, Ohio;[25] Lima, Ohio;[26] Murfreesboro, Tennessee;[27] Andice, Texas;[28] Houston, Texas;[29] San Antonio, Texas;[30] Rosedale, Victoria, Australia; Cochin, India; and Sittard, the Netherlands.

Maywood, California is known as the Largest Parish Dedicated to Santa Rosa.

On the last weekend in August the Fiesta de Santa Rosa is celebrated in Dixon, New Mexico.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Teodoro Hampe Martínez. "Santa Rosa de Lima y la identidad criolla en el Perú colonial" (essay of interpretation), Revista de Historia de América, No. 121 (January – December, 1996), pp. 7–26


  1. ^ a b c Aymé, Edward. "St. Rose of Lima." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 21 Jun. 2013
  2. ^ a b c "St. Rose of Lima"
  3. ^ Mills, Kenneth & Taylor, William B. Eds. "Colonial Latin America: A Documentary History".(2002) Oxford: SR Books. Page 205.
  4. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 101
  5. ^ Downtown Sacramento Partnership site: St Rose of Lima Park
  6. ^ The History of the Sacramento Diocese, second paragraph
  7. ^ Santa Rosa Carib Community
  8. ^ Santa Rosa R. C. Church, Arima, Trinidad, West Indies
  9. ^ "Saint Rose of Lima Parish Website". Saint Rose of Lima Parish Website. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  10. ^ St. Rose of Lima Church in Paso Robles
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ St. Rose of Lima Parish, Buena Vista, Colorado
  13. ^ St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Newtown, Connecticut
  14. ^ Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, St. Rose of Lima
  15. ^ Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church
  16. ^ St. Rose of Lima, Jay, Maine
  17. ^ St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Gaithersburg, Maryland
  18. ^ St. Rose de Lima, Chicopee, Massachusetts
  19. ^ St. Rose of Lima, Northborough, Massachusetts
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Roseville, Minnesota
  22. ^ St. Rose of Lima, De Soto, Missouri
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ St. Rose of Lima Parish, Massapequa, New York
  25. ^ St. Rose Parish, Perrysburg, Ohio
  26. ^ St. Rose & St. John Catholic Parishes
  27. ^ St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Parish Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  28. ^ Santa Rosa de Lima Church, Andice, Texas
  29. ^ St. Rose of Lima Catholic Community, Houston, Texas
  30. ^ St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, San Antonio, Texas

31. St. Rose of Lima Parish, Cloverport, Kentucky[[Category:Christian female saints of the Early Modern era]