The First Saint of the Americas

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Rose of Lima, who dedicated her life to prayer and severe mortifications. Not surprisingly considering her beloved model of faith was Catherine of Siena, Rose became a Third Order Dominican and took a vow of celibacy, despite her parent’s urgent wish that she marry.

According to her biography found here: 

For many years Rose lived virtually as a recluse. There was a little hut in the family garden, and this she used as an oratory. She often wore on her head a circlet of silver studded on the inside with sharp points, in memory of the Lord’s crown of thorns. Other forms of penitence which she inflicted on her body were floggings, administered three times daily, the wearing of a hair shirt, and the dragging of a heavy, wooden cross about the garden. She rubbed her lips with gall and often chewed bitter herbs to deaden the sense of taste. Both eating and sleeping were reduced to a minimum. Naturally her health was affected, but the physical disorders which resulted from this regime-stomach ailments, asthma, rheumatism, and fevers-were suffered uncomplainingly. This manner of life offended her family, who preferred their daughter to follow the more conventional and accepted ways of holiness. Finally, when Rose began to tell of visions, revelations, visitations, and voices they deplored her penitential practices more than ever. She endured their disapproval and grew in spiritual fortitude.

Rose died at the age of 31.

As patroness of America, St. Rose of Lima is a special intercessor for us. By her intercession, may the people of the Americas grow in love and devotion of our Lord and increase in the virtues that were so beloved of St. Rose.

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