Saint of the Day for 23 August: Saint Rose of Lima
The Rose of Lima and South American Devotion
Isabel Flores de Oliva
20 April 1586, Lima
24 August 1617, Lima
15 April 1668, Rome, Pope Clement IX
12 April 1671, Rome, Pope Clement X
Admirable Saint Rose, chosen by God to illustrate with holiness the most sublime new Christianity of America or especially the capital of immense Peru, you who, as soon as you read the life of St. Catherine of Siena, set out to walk in her footsteps, or at the tenderest age of five years you obliged yourself by an irrevocable vow to perpetual virginity, and spontaneously shaved off all your hair. Catherine of Siena, you who, as soon as you had read the life of St. Catherine of Siena, set yourselves to walk in her footsteps, or at the tender age of five years you obliged yourselves with an irrevocable vow to perpetual virginity, and spontaneously shaving off all your hair, you refused with the most eloquent language the most advantageous parties that were offered to you as soon as you reached youth, impart to us all the grace to keep such a conduct of always edifying our neighbour, especially with a joyful custody of the virtue of purity, which is the dearest to the Lord and the most advantageous for us.
Patron saint of
Saint Rose, virgin, who, distinguished from her childhood for her austere sobriety of life, took the habit of the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Preachers in Lima, Peru. Dedicated to penance and prayer and burning with zeal for the salvation of sinners and indigenous peoples, she aspired to give her life for them, going so far as to impose great sacrifices on herself to obtain for them the salvation of faith in Christ. His death occurred the day after this.
The Saint and Mission
Isabel Flores de Oliva, better known as Saint Rose of Lima, is an iconic figure in the South American spiritual landscape. Her life was a testament of devotion, sacrifice and love for God. Born into a colonial society, Rosa went beyond the traditional expectations for women of her time and chose a path of profound ascetic practices and service to the poor and the sick. Her mission was not so much about great journeys or proclamations, but the ability to see and serve Christ in each person, demonstrating that true mission can begin in one’s own backyard. Rose of Lima teaches us that each of us can respond to God’s call, regardless of circumstances or social status, and that holiness and mission are accessible to all who open their hearts to God’s love.
The Saint and Mercy
Isabel Flores de Oliva, known to the world as Saint Rose of Lima, is a symbol of mercy in the heart of Latin America. Her life was marked by a deep compassion for the marginalised, the sick and the needy. At a time when poverty and suffering were the order of the day, Rosa did not turn her back, but welcomed Christ’s call to be an instrument of his mercy. Her devotion was not limited to prayer and penance, but manifested itself concretely in tangible help to those in need. Rose of Lima reminds us that mercy is not just a feeling, but an action. Her dedication teaches us that, through simple gestures of love and charity, we can reflect God’s merciful love in the world.
It was the first flower of South America. She was born of rich parents towards the end of the 16th century. She was truly a ‘rose’ that grew among thorns; her life is a perfume of heavenly virtues amid heroic penances. Even as a young girl, she distinguished herself for her piety and docility to her parents. At the age of five, she made a vow of perpetual virginity, electing Jesus Christ as her husband. As soon as she knew how to read, she first read the life of St Catherine of Siena, whom she chose as her protector and…