Rose of Lima

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Rose of Lima

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
BornIsabel Flores de Oliva
(1586-04-20)April 20, 1586 [1]
Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
DiedAugust 24, 1617(1617-08-24) (aged 31) [1]
Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
Venerated in 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 [1]
Major shrine Basílica of Santo Domingo
Lima, Peru
Feast August 23
August 30 (some Latin American countries and pre-1970 General Roman Calendar)
Attributes rosids, anchor, Infant Jesus
Patronage embroiderers; sewing lace; gardeners; florists; Latin America; people ridiculed or misunderstood for their piety; for the resolution of family quarrels; indigenous peoples of the Americas; Peru; Philippines; India; Villareal; Santa Rosa, California; Santa Rosa, Laguna; Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija; Alcoy, Cebu; Arima, Trinidad and Tobago; [2] against vanity; Lima; Sittard

Rose of Lima (born Isabel Flores de Oliva; 20 April 1586 24 August 1617) was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic 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 declared a saint by the Catholic Church, being the first person born in the Americas to be canonized as such. [1]


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


She was born as Isabel Flores de Oliva in the city of Lima, then in the Viceroyalty of Peru, on 20 April 1586. She was one of the many children of Gaspar Flores, a harquebusier in the Imperial Spanish army, born in Puerto Rico, [3] and his wife, María de Oliva y Herrera, a criolla native of Lima. Her later nickname "Rose" comes from an incident in her infancy: a servant claimed to have seen her face transform into a rose. In 1597 Isabel was confirmed by the Archbishop of Lima, Toribio de Mogrovejo, who was also to be declared a saint. She formally took the name of Rose (Rosa in Spanish) at that time. [4]

As a young girl, in emulation of the noted Dominican tertiary 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 rubbed pepper on her face, upset that men were beginning to take notice of her. [5] 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. [4] Finally, out of frustration, her father gave her a room to herself in the family home.

Stained glass window by Harry Clarke, located in St. Michael's Church, Ballinasloe, Ireland, depicting Saint Rose burning her hands in an act of penance. Ballinasloe St. Michael's Church South Aisle Fifth Window Sts Patrick and Rose of Lima by Harry Clarke Detail St Rose Burning Her Hands 2010 09 15.jpg
Stained glass window by Harry Clarke, located in St. Michael's Church, Ballinasloe, Ireland, depicting Saint Rose burning her hands in an act of penance.

After daily fasting, she took to permanently abstaining 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 that she had built. Otherwise, she became a recluse, leaving her room only for her visits to church. [5]

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. [6] She donned a heavy crown made of silver, with small spikes on the inside, in emulation of the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ. [5]

For eleven years she lived this way, with intervals of ecstasy, and eventually died on 24 August 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. Her feast day is on the 23rd day of August (the 30th day of August in the Traditional calendar).


Monastery of Saint Rose in 17th-century Lima Santa Rosa de Lima, Ermita.JPG
Monastery of Saint Rose in 17th-century Lima

Rose was beatified by Pope Clement IX on 10 May 1667, and canonized on 12 April 1671, by Pope Clement X, and was the first Catholic in the Americas to be declared a saint. [1] Her shrine, alongside those of her friends Martin de Porres and John Macias, is currently located inside of the convent of Saint Dominic in Lima. The Catholic Church says that many miracles followed her death: there were stories that she had cured a leper, and that, at the time of her death, the city of Lima smelled like roses; roses also started falling from the sky. Many places in the New World are named Santa Rosa after her.

Saint Rose of Lima; facial reconstruction Santa Rosa de Lima Ebrafol.jpg
Saint Rose of Lima; facial reconstruction
Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo in Lima, Peru where the remains of St. Rose of Lima rest Convento Santo Domingo - Lima.jpg
Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo in Lima, Peru where the remains of St. Rose of Lima rest

Her liturgical feast was inserted into the General Roman Calendar in 1729 for celebration initially on 30 August, because 24 August, the date of her death, is the feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle and 30 August was the closest date not already allocated to a well-known saint. [7] Pope Paul VI's 1969 revision of the calendar made 23 August 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 30 August is a public holiday in her honor.

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

Early lives of 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. [8] A plot of land at 7th and K streets was given to the 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. [9]

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. [10] 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 20 April 1786, as the Indian Mission of Santa Rosa de Arima, on the foundations of a Capuchin Mission previously established in 1749. [11]

On the Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia there are two flower festivals supported by their Societies. Each society has a patron saint on whose feast day the grande fete is celebrated. For the Roses it is the feast of St. Rose of Lima on 30 August; and for the Marguerites it is that of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, 17 October. [12]

Rose's skull, surmounted with a crown of roses, is on public display at the Basilica in Lima, Peru, along with that of St. 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, [4] the indigenous people of the Americas, and of Peru, especially the city of Lima, Sittard in the Netherlands, and of India and Philippines.


On the last weekend in August, the Fiesta de Santa Rosa is celebrated in Dixon, New Mexico and the Sint Rosa Festival in Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands.

A barony of Saint Rose of Lima was created in the Royal House of Rwanda on 25 July 2016 by the Catholic king in exile, King Kigeli V of Rwanda. [13]

Maywood, California, contains the largest parish dedicated to Saint Rose. [ citation needed ]

Dedicated parishes are located in:




North America

South America

Central America and Caribbean

See also

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Further reading