Thursday, August 23, 2012
August 23 is the feast of St. Rose of Lima, virgin, the first canonized saint of the New World.
Isabella Flores de Oliva was the seventh of eleven children born to Spanish immigrants on the feast of Pentecost 1586 in Lima, Peru. She became known as Rosa when an Indian maid declared her to be as beautiful as a rose. She also took the Confirmation name of Rosa.
She was pious from an early age. At age five, she built a small chapel for herself in the family garden. When she made her first confession, she obtained permission from her confessor to make a vow of virginity.
Rose had a strong devotion for Jesus and His Holy Mother and spent long hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament. With St. Catherine of Siena as her model, Rose fasted three times a week and offered up severe penances. As a result of her exterior mortification, she had interior mystical experiences as well as long periods of darkness and desolation. For fifteen years, she went through the "dark night of the soul."
Rose worked hard to support her poor parents (by embroidering, gardening, and selling flowers from the family garden) and she humbly obeyed them, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. For ten years, she fought them on this issue as she had secretly taken a vow of virginity, which she was determined to keep. She sabotaged her parents' plans to arrange a marriage by making herself physically unattractive. She cut off her beautiful hair and destroyed her complexion by rubbing her face with pepper to bring on blisters and blotches.
At age 20, Rose joined the Third Order of St. Dominic and and thereafter increased her penances as well as her good works. She moved into a small hut in her parents' garden and served the poor and the sick in a makeshift infirmary. Our Lord frequently manifested Himself to her, filling her heart with peace and joy, leaving her in ecstasy for hours. In her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman prayed: "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart." Rose died of a fever and paralysis at age 31. She was canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X and became the first American saint.
St. Rose is the patron of: the Americas; Central America; embroiderers; florists; gardeners; India; Latin America; needle workers; New World; people ridiculed for their piety; Peru; Phillipines; diocese of Santa Rosa, California; South America; vanity; Villareal Samar, Phillipines; West Indies.
“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”
“When we serve the poor and the sick we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.”
“Would that mortal men might know how wonderful is divine grace, how beautiful, how precious; what riches are hidden therein, what treasures, what joys, what delights. If they but knew, surely they would direct their energy with all care and diligence to procuring sufferings and afflictions for themselves. Instead of good fortune all men everywhere would seek out troubles, illness and suffering that they might obtain the inestimable treasure of grace. This is the final profit to be gained from patient endurance. No one would complain about the cross or about hardships coming seemingly by chance upon him, if he realized in what balance they are weighed before being distributed to men.”
Prayers to St. Rose of Lima