By Tony Morales
Today, we celebrate the feast of Saint Rose of Lima, the secondary patroness of the Philippines.
Saint Rose was born Isabel Flores de Oliva in colonial Spain, today’s Peru, to a middle-class Catholic family. She took the name “Rose” when she was confirmed by Lima’s bishop, the future Saint Turibius of Mongrovejo. “Rose” had been her nickname since infancy after a servant said that she was as beautiful as a rose. Young Rose was indeed beautiful and attracted the attention of various suitors. But she had decided from a young age to give herself to Christ alone, so she actively deterred male interest by cutting off her hair, rubbing pepper into her pure skin to blister her face, and by damaging her feminine hands with the acidic juice of limes.
Her natural affinity for the things of God was not reciprocated by her father, who blocked her desire to enter a Dominican convent as a nun. Instead, Rose became a Third Order Dominican, a lay woman dedicated to living Catholicism in accord with Dominican spiritual ideals outside of the cloister.
Rose died in the perfume of holiness at the age of thirty-one. Her funeral was held in Lima’s Cathedral with all local dignitaries in attendance. She was beatified in 1667 and canonized in 1671. She is interred in the same church as Saint Martin de Porres in central Lima. Her pre-Vatican II feast day of August 30 is a national holiday in Peru and her image graces that country’s highest denomination currency. She is known as a powerful miracle worker credited with numerous physical healings unto today.
Saint Rose of Lima, you were young and holy. You dedicated your body and soul to God while still a child. Through your example and through your heavenly intercession, help all Catholics, especially the young, to dedicate their lives to God from the very start