Thursday, August 23, 2012

St. Rose of Lima

Today is also the memorial of St. Rose of Lima, virgin and first saint of the Americas.

Born in Lima (obviously), she was from a large family, and her baptismal name was Isabel (in English Elizabeth), and her nickname was Rose because, while an infant, a servant claimed to see her face transform into a rose. She officially took the name Rose at her confirmation in 1597.

From young on, she fasted three times a week performed severe penances such as burning her hands. When she was admired for her beauty, she cut her hair, as she wanted to ward off any suitors as she had taken a vow of virginity.

Her fasting turned to abstinence from meat daily, and she was known to perform charitable acts, feeding and caring for the sick and those in poverty. Her nights were filled with prayer and she only left her room to go to the local church. Her holiness spread so that the Dominican friars caught her attention and she sought to become a nun. Her father refused, and, out of obedience, entered the Third Order of St. Dominic, and took the perpetual vow of virginity which she had waited since childhood to take.

She lived 11 more years that were filled with self-martyrdom, caring for others, and ecstasy. She died on August 24, 1617, at the age of 31. She was canonized by Pope Clement X on April 12, 1671.

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