The original name of St. Rose of Lima is Isabel Flores de Oliva. Her mother decided that Rose would be her daughter’s name, and later she was given that name at the time of confirmation. From an early age, Rose wanted to become a nun. But her mother wanted her to marry and initially refused to allow her daughter to pursue religious life. To deter suitors, the beautiful Rosa cut off her hair and blistered her skin with hot peppers. The struggle between them lasted 10 years, during which time Rosa made a perpetual vow of virginity. In 1606 her mother relented and allowed Rosa to become a Dominican of the third order. Though her parents did not permit her to live in a convent, Rosa chose strict enclosure and contemplation and withdrew to the seclusion of a hut in the family garden, where she endured a life of severe austerity and asceticism. She regularly wore a heavy silver crown, with spikes that could pierce her flesh. The spikes reminded her of the Crown of Thorns. At one point, one of the spikes become so lodged in her skull that the crown was removed with great difficulty. She practiced fasting and slept only a few hours a night on a bed of potsherds, self-flagellated, and experienced numerous visions, particularly of the Devil. Rosa was devoted to the sick and hungry in her community and often brought them to her hut to care for them. She was skilled in needlework and sold her fine lace and embroidery and the flowers that she grew in her garden to help her family and to raise funds for the poor. Her funeral was an occasion of public honour, and many miracles were said to have occurred after her death.
She was beatified in 1668 by Pope Clement IX and declared patron of Lima. She was canonized in 1971 by Pope Clement X, who proclaimed her patron saint of South America, the Indies, and the Philippines. She is the patron saint of Peru and all of South America as well as of embroiderers, gardeners, and florists.
Admirable St. Rose
Admirable Saint Rose, you were truly a sweet flower blooming on a rugged soil; you were indeed a rose among thorns, bearing with meekness and patience the stings of envious tongues, and preserving perfect purity and modesty amid the alluring blandishments of a deceitful world. To the sufferings inflicted on you by others, you added the voluntary tortures of fasting and watching, of the discipline, of the crown of thorns and of the hair shirt, to subdue the flesh and to make yourself like to your heavenly Spouse. By the merits which you have thus gained with your divine Bridegroom, obtain for me the grace to bear my afflictions with patience, to remain pure and modest, to be meek and humble, to be faithful to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and so to mortify my passions that I may be ever more pleasing and acceptable in the sight of my dear Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth world without end.
Mother’s Prayer to St Rose
Saint Rose, devout Virgin, fragrant rose in the garden of God, sweetly blooming amid the thorns of distressing tribulation and severe mortification, white as snow in the immaculate innocence of your heart, glowing in the love of God that consumed you. Your devotedness to your parents was so great that you laboured night and day to relieve their poverty, and most tenderly cared for them in their sickness.
Most grateful, most humble daughter, have pity on me and my children. Teach me, by conduct truly Christian, to deserve the warmhearted gratitude of my children. Teach my children to appreciate my love and the numerous sacrifices that I cheerfully make for their sake; teach them to repay the same by filial love and obedience, and chiefly by fervent prayers for me. Bless me and my entire family. May our hearts be intimately united even in adversity. Let us not place our happiness in temporal prosperity, but rather in the hope of a future, eternal blessedness. Pray, likewise, O sainted patroness of America, for all Christian mothers in particular, that Christian life and sentiments may everywhere be awakened among them. May these sentiments spread far and wide, uniting all families into the one great family of God, in which Jesus Christ may live and rule with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Prayer to St. Rose as your Patron Saint
Saint Rose, whom I have chosen as my special patron, pray for me that I, too, may one day glorify the Blessed Trinity in heaven. Obtain for me your lively faith, that I may consider all persons, things, and events in the light of almighty God. Pray, that I may be generous in making sacrifices of temporal things to promote my eternal interests, as you so wisely did.
Set me on fire with a love for Jesus, that I may thirst for His sacraments and burn with zeal for the spread of His kingdom. By your powerful intercession, help me in the performance of my duties to God, myself and all the world.
Win for me the virtue of purity and a great confidence in the Blessed Virgin. Protect me this day, and every day of my life. Keep me from mortal sin. Obtain for me the grace of a happy death.