Saint Rose of Lima

St. Rose (1586-1617) was born in Lima, Peru, one of ten children belonging to a Spanish immigrant and his wife, a descendant of the Incas. Rose was beautiful and very pious. She was so sensitive to compliments on her physical appearance that, to combat vanity, she disfigured her face with pepper and lime. When her father's finances deteriorated, Rose used her skill at needlework to help support her family. Her parents desired that she marry, but she refused, and lived as a recluse in a hut in her parent's garden. Inspired by the example of St. Catherine of Siena, Rose joined the Third Order Dominicans, dedicated her life to chastity and assisting the sick and poor, and inflicted severe penances on herself daily. For this extreme behavior she endured disapproval and persecution from her family, especially when she began to have visions and other mystical experiences. An evaluation by priests and physicians proved Rose's experiences to be authentically supernatural. She also spoke out against the corruption of her day, as the Spanish grew rich from Peru's natural resources while Peruvians became impoverished. She was greatly revered by the people, and at the time of her death, at the age of 31, her body could not be buried for several days due to the large crowds. After her death many miracles were attributed to her intercession. Rose of Lima was the first native-born saint from the Americas to be canonized. She is the patroness of the Americas, the Philippines, India, Peru, and of gardeners, florists, needle-workers, and against vanity. Her feast day is August 23rd.
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