Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Saint Rose of Lima

"Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."-Saint Rose of Lima

Saint Rose of Lima

Patroness of:Peru, South and Central America, the Indies, and the Philippines, embroiderers, florists, gardeners, needle workers and people ridiculed for their piety.

The life of this saint is like that of a rose among thorns. She was born into a poor but upper-class family in Peru, soon after the conquest.

Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617), Patroness of the Americas, is the first canonized Saint of the New World. Born on Peruvian soil, Saint Rose was Spanish, her maternal great-grandmother was Incan. She was the tenth of thirteen children.

As a child she was remarkable for a great reverence and a pronounced love for all things relating to God. This so took possession of her that thenceforth her life was given up to prayer and mortification. She had an intense devotion to the Infant Jesus and His Blessed Mother, before whose altar she spent hours. 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.

After reading of St. Catherine she determined to take this Saint as her model. She began by fasting three times a week, adding secret severe penances, and when her vanity was assailed, cutting off her beautiful hair, wearing coarse clothing, and roughening her hands with toil. All this time she had to struggle against the objections of her friends, the ridicule of her family, and the censure of her parents. Many hours were spent before the Blessed Sacrament, which she received daily.

Finally she determined to take a vow of virginity, and inspired by supernatural love, adopted extraordinary means to fulfill it. At the outset she had to combat the opposition of her parents, who wished her to marry. For ten years the struggle continued before she won, by patience and prayer, their consent to continue her mission. At the same time great temptations assailed her purity, faith, and constancy, causing her excruciating agony of mind and desolation of spirit, urging her to more frequent mortifications; but daily also, Our Lord manifested Himself, fortifying her with the knowledge of His presence and consoling her mind with evidence of His Divine love. Fasting daily was soon followed by perpetual abstinence from meat, and that in turn, by use of only the coarsest food and just sufficient to support life.

Her days were filled with acts of charity and industry, her exquisite lace and embroidery helping to support her home, while her nights were devoted to prayer and penance. When her work permitted, she retired to a little grotto that she had built with her brother's aid, in their small garden, and there, passed her nights in solitude and prayer. Overcoming the opposition of her parents, and with the consent of her confessor, she was allowed later to become practically a recluse in this cell, save for her visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

When she was twelve, she received the habit of St. Dominic. 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 drought 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, and thorns. She admitted that the thought of lying down on it made her tremble with dread. Fourteen years this martyrdom of her body continued without relaxation, but not without consolation. Our Lord revealed Himself to her frequently, flooding her soul with such inexpressible peace and joy as to leave her in ecstasy for hours. At these times she offered to Him all her mortifications and penances in expiation for offenses against His Divine Majesty, for the idolatry of her country, for the conversion of sinners, and for the souls in Purgatory. Many miracles followed her death.

Saint Rose was a friend and confidant of Saint Martin de Porres, who lived in the same city. She was confirmed by Saint Toribio Mogrovejo, Archbishop of Lima. Her mystical experiences caused an ecclesiastical inquiry. Her life is a spotless mirror in which we see ourselves, whatever our color, our station, our land and our age, whatever our chosen vocation. Like Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Rose took our Lord by the heart. In taking him, she took his church. Her life is our boast, our crown, our defense, and a challenge to love completely.

Saint Rose is the only American saint whose words appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. One quote: “When we serve the poor and the sick we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.” [CCC, #2449]

The statue of Saint Rose has a crown of roses,the Cross and a rose—symbols associated with Saint Rose. On both sides of this image, the white roses represent the rose given to her by the Child Jesus and the lilies represent purity.

She was beatified by Pope Clement IX, in 1667 and canonized in 1671 by Clement X, the first American to be so honoured. In 1670, Pope Clement X described Rose as the "the New World's first flower of holiness" and proclaimed her the Patroness of the Americas and the Philippines. These newly evangelized territories of the New World were seen by Mother Church as the New Christendom and Rose was its first an finest fruit. Her feast is celebrated August 23rd.

Saint Rose, through prayer and love you developed your true beauty. Help fill my life with the love and beauty that comes from God. Amen.

Writings of Saint Rose Of Lima

"Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart."

"Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."

Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: "Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven." When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: "Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul." "If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men."

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