Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30: Feast Of Saint Rose Of Lima

August 30 is the Feast Day of St. Rose of Lima, the first Catholic saint of the Americas. In Spanish, she is known as Santa Rosa de Lima.

She was born Isabel Flores de Oliva on April 20, 1586. Her father, Gaspar Flores, was a Spanish soldier; her mother, Maria de Oliva, had Inca and Spanish blood.

As a child she was possessed with a deep veneration for every aspect of religion and spent hours with her attention fixed upon the image of the Madonna and Child. She gave her entire life to prayer and the most extreme self-mortification. The Catholic Encyclopedia observed, "She was scrupulously obedient and of untiring industry, making rapid progress by earnest attention to her parents' instruction, to her studies, and to her domestic work, especially with her needle."

In emulation of St. Catherine of Siena, she fasted three times a week with secret severe penances, including cutting off her hair against the objections of her friends and her family.

St. Rose began to tell of visions, revelations, visitations and voices as her parents deplored her penitential practices more than ever.

Many hours were spent contemplating the Blessed Sacrament which she received daily. She determined to take a vow of virginity in opposition to her parents who wished her to marry.

Daily fasting turned to perpetual abstinence from meat. Her days were filled with acts of charity and industry. St. Rose helped the sick and hungry around her community. She would bring them home and take care of them. St. Rose sold her fine needlework, grew beautiful flowers and would take them to market to help her family. Her exquisite lace and embroidery helped to support her home, while her nights were devoted to prayer and penance in a little grotto which she had built. She became a recluse leaving the grotto only for her visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

She took the name of Rose at her confirmation in 1597. By the time she was 20, she had attracted the attention of the Dominican Order and was permitted to enter a Dominican convent in 1602 without payment of the usual dowry. She donned the habit and took a vow of perpetual virginity. "Thereafter she redoubled the severity and variety of her penances to a heroic degree, wearing constantly a metal spiked crown, concealed by roses, and an iron chain about her waist. Days passed without food, save a draught of gall mixed with bitter herbs. When she could no longer stand, she sought repose on a bed constructed by herself, of broken glass, stone, potsherds, and thorns. She admitted that the thought of lying down on it made her tremble with dread."

For fourteen years, this self-martyrdom continued without relaxation, with intervals of ecstasy until she died on August 24, 1617 at the age of 31.

Her funeral was attended by all the public authorities of Lima, and the archbishop pronounced her eulogy in the cathedral, August 26, 1617.

She was beatified by Pope Clement IX in 1667, and canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X as the first Catholic saint in the Western Hemisphere. Her shrine, alongside those of her friend St. Martin de Porres, is located inside the convent of Santo Domingo just a few steps from Lima's Plaza de Armas.

Her liturgical feast was initially celebrated on August 30, because 24 August was the feast of the apostle Bartholomew, but the calendar reform of Vatican II moved her feast day closer to the anniversary of her death. She is now remembered liturgically on August 23, except in Peru and other Latin American countries where her feast is kept as a public holiday on the traditional date of August 30.

She is the Patroness of Lima, the Americas, and the Philippines.

Source: Wikipedia

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