The Catholic Defender: St. Rose Of Lima


Act's 2:17-19 states, "'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth..."

The Church honors those who through their life of piety, courage, faithfulness to the Lord, made a difference within their families, communities, and even the world. Some of them exhibited great personal sacrifice serving the call of Christ.

2 Timothy 2:22 states, "So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart." St. Rose of Lima lived by this light all through her life of piety and chastity. Born Isabel Flores de Olivia, despite her extraordinary beauty, she followed what St. Peter wrote, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul."

Born in 1586 in Lima Peru, St. Rose was raised with a strong Spanish Catholic setting as she developed great simple faith. Because of her beautiful appearance, she lived a life of penance. She was given the nickname Rose and that stuck with her all her life. This was the name she took at her confirmation in 1597 at age 11 years old. I commonly remind people that their confirmation is not graduation, but rather their "Pentecost", this is how St. Rose lived her life.

St. Rose took Jesus words, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able" to heart, her love for Jesus and Mary was first in her life. This relation became intimate as St. Rose was given special visions, the rose was a theme because of the fragrance and beauty of the rose which is common when Our Lady appears anywhere.

Even before her confirmation, in her faith formation, her interest in becoming a nun intensified as she grew offering many prayers and fasting with sacrifices and penances.

We here at Deepertruth promote Eucharistic Adoration and St. Rose lived with great devotion to the Eucharistic Lord Jesus. This was a daily devotion for her. St. Rose much preferred Eucharistic Adoration for example over dances and festivals where young men continued to seek her hand. She even tried to disguise her beauty cutting her hair and blistering her face with pepper.

To this extent, St. Rose's parents were not all that keen to all her religious fervor, her parents wanted her to marry because they felt that was proper for her. They also wanted grandchildren. This would perhaps be a normal response by parents, especially fathers who seek to want the best for their daughters.

But St. Rose had a strong will and her persistence finally won out. Her father respected the will of St. Rose. Love does a lot of things between people, especially when they see the love of God central in the hearts of those involved.

As St. Rose spent nights in meditation and prayer, the men began to dwindle as they came to know her hand was given to another, the King of kings. Of her life, St. Rose followed Jesus words, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well." Matthew 6:33

She was very dedicated to prayer, it was not uncommon for her to get a couple of hours of sleep because her prayer was lived. She had a hunger for Jesus and Mary whom she loved. I am reminded of what Jesus said in the Beatitude of Jesus, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

At some point in time she gave up eating meat as she became a vegetarian as a dietary restriction. At age 20 St.Rose joined the Third Order of St. Dominic and the Rosary played a greater part in her devotion. St. Paul wrote St. Timothy, "Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7-9). This was St. Lima's life of prayer and discipline. She continued acts of penance through fasting and other sacrifices.

St. Rose would wear a spiked crown that would cause bleeding around the crown of her head. This reminded her of the crown of thorns given our Lord (John 19:2).

Her whole life was filled with the aroma of the rose because her life was all about Jesus and Mary. She lived the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession keeping her clean.

St. Rose set up a house to take care of the homeless children, the sick and elderly which became the foundation for the social services in Peru. One thing about St. Rose, she was not so heavenly minded that she was no earthly good!

Despite her work and religiosity, she was also focused on the political nature going on in Peru at the time. Along with the suffering of the people whom she cared and helped, she was vocal in her opposition to the Spanish overlords because their taking advantage of the people. Gold fever spread in the region enriching Spain and the privileged. The corruption that lead to the exploitation of the people drew St. Rose out into the public square.

St. Paul warns, "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." St. Rose took that to heart as she exposed the oppression of the people.

At age 31, St. Rose herself became ill and on August 25, 1617, this great simple handmaid of the Lord recognizing her end was near said, "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Thy love in my heart." She joined in with the choir and host of Heaven. "If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men." After her death was seen the great love people had for her and what she lived for in the community. Many miracles were reported and in 1667, Pope Clement IX beatified the Rose of Lima and canonized her Saint Rose in 1671.

There are times when I feel tired, just want to relax and then St. Rose comes to mind and I can hear her encouraging me, "Hey, don't be a wimp, finish your devotion, or get you one"! Come on, life is worth living and this strengthens me." St. Rose is the patroness of embroiderers, gardeners, florists, those who suffer ridicule for their piety, and people who suffer family problems.

Then I am reminded in what the bible tells us about running the race:

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." Hebrews 12:1-3

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