The feast day of St. Rose of Lima is celebrated on august 23. She is the first saint of the Americas and known as the First Flower of America and the Patroness of the New World.
St. Rose was born in April 1586 in Lima, Peru to Oliva and Gaspar Flores. She was the 7th of 11 children. Her birth name was Isabel. However, her mother and friends witnessed a mystical rose descend from the air and light on her face while she was just an infant. From then on she was called Rose.
Rose clearly had a religious calling from an early age. After reading about St. Catherine of Siena, she decided to imitate her. She fasted at least 3 times a week. She found ways to do penance and offer her suffering for the good of others. She understood redemptive suffering from an early age. When given praise for her beauty, she cut her hair and disfigured her face by rubbing it with pepper. She was also know for placing thorns under the garland of roses she wore in her hair to remind her of the crown of thorns Jesus wore.
St. Rose wished to enter the convent. However, her parents refused to let her. Finally, after ten years of struggle and refusal to marry she became a Third Order Dominican. She lived in her home just as St. Catherine of Siena did. St. Rose received the Blessed Sacrament daily and lived her life in silence and seclusion, enjoying the family garden.
St. Rose suffered from arthritis and asthma. She was also disturbed by spiritual dreams. Her friend Brother Martin de Porres reassured her that her visions were from God. During the last three years of her life, St. Rose began caring for the elderly and sick. she used a room in the house in which she lived.
During the inquisition, St. Rose faced an examination. They found her to be in God’s favor in the midst of suffering.
At the age of 31 St. Rose came down with a high fever. She died from the fever and paralysis. A multitude of people attended her funeral.
St. Rose was canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671. She is the patron saint of florists and gardeners.
Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. The gift of grace increases as the struggle increases.
Quote of St. Rose of Lima
August is the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary