St. Rose of Lima
This South American saint was born in Lima, Peru, in 1586. Her real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose. She received the sacrament of Confirmation from St. Turibius, archbishop of Lima. We celebrate his feast on March 23. As Rose grew older, she became more and more beautiful. One day her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show off her loveliness to friends. But Rose was not impressed. She only wanted Jesus to notice her and love her.
Rose did not think she was special because of her own beauty. She realized that beauty is a gift from God. She even became afraid that her beauty might be a temptation to someone. She noticed people staring at her with approval. She heard them say that her complexion was smooth and beautiful. So she did an unusual thing: she rubbed her face with pepper until her skin became all red and blistered. She certainly did not have to worry about receiving compliments for a while.
St. Rose worked hard to support her parents who were very poor. She humbly obeyed them, too, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. Her love for Jesus was so great that when she talked about him, her face glowed. Rose prayed that her parents would be more accepting of her way of life. She wanted to live for Jesus alone. She had many temptations from the devil. There also were times when she had to suffer terrible loneliness and sadness. During those times, God seemed far away. Yet she cheerfully offered all these troubles to him. She kept praying for her trust to grow stronger. In her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman used to pray: "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase your love in my heart." She was just thirty-one when she died on August 24, 1617, in Lima.
St. Rose of Lima was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement X in 1671. He also named her patroness of the Americas, Philippines and West Indies.
"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.. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven."-St. Rose