St. Rose of Lima

St. Rose of Lima was the first flower of signal holiness to blossom in South America. She was named “Rose” because, when but a few months old, her face was miraculously transfigured like that of a most lovely rose, in sign of her angelic purity and ardent charity.

When she reached the age of reason and was already endowed with heavenly blessings, she dreaded to become vain of the name given her, thinking herself unworthy of bearing it. But our blessed Lady appeared to her, assuring her that this name was most dear to her Divine Son; and moreover, in token for her own affection, she bade Rose be called henceforth “Rose of St. Mary.”

As she was not able to leave her home, she joined the Third or Secular Order of St. Dominic in order to render herself ever more conformed to her Divine Spouse. She made herself a little cell in a comer of her father’s garden and there she passed her days in continual prayer, uninterrupted by any distraction.

Such union with God merited signal favors, such as that of hearing from our blessed Lord Himself these words: “Rose, beloved of My Heart, thou shalt be My Spouse.” To which she replied: “O Lord, I am but Thy servant. The brands of my servitude will not allow me to be raised to the dignity of Thy Spouse.” But the Blessed Virgin appeared to her with her Son, assuring her that truly, because of the charity that reigned in her heart, she was worthy of being called the Spouse of Jesus.

She died a holy death in the year 1617.

Illustration from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922). Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).

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