Today, 23 Aug 2012, is the feast day of St Rose of Lima, (a.k.a. Rosa de Lima) a young woman of Peru in the 17th century who followed Jesus along the royal way of the Cross and discovered the beauty of suffering for Him and with Him.
St Rose was my patron Saint for the year in 2007, and her prayers and example helped me get through a time of unexpected distress and bewilderment. It is only through perplexing times like that we begin to comprehend the value of suffering.
St Rose of Lima was born in 1586 in Lima, Peru, and christened Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that everyone called her Rose. From her parents she received both Spanish and Inca heritage. She was confirmed by St Turibius, archbishop of Lima. As she grew up she grew more beautiful, and yet she worked willingly to help her family when they fell on hard times, growing flowers, doing needlework and embroidery. She greatly admired St Catherine of Siena. In life she only wanted Jesus to notice her, and wanted to love Jesus only, and after several years of trying finally persuaded her parents to let her live a life of virginity as a Dominican Tertiary.
Because she didn’t want her beauty to become a cause of sin to anyone, sometimes she would do things to make herself look blotchy and ugly. When she talked about Jesus, her face would glow with love. She retired to a little house in the family garden, here she prayed and did much penance. To modern eyes her penances might seem extreme, but Rose was experiencing many mystical graces and ardently desired to co-operate in the salvation of souls. So fasting three times a week, wearing a circlet around her head which had sharp inner points, hair shirts and other bodily penances were part of her regular spiritual life together with frequent Holy Communion. Often these penances and prayers were offered for the archbishop and for the conversion of souls. Her friends and others caused her suffering when they made fun of her.
Rose understood the value of suffering in the Christian life when it is united to the suffering of Jesus. At some point she wrote ‘Listen, all you people! At Christ’s bidding and in His very words, I warn you: We cannot win grace if we do not suffer affliction; toil upon toil must be ours if we are to attain an intimate share in the divine nature, the glory of God’s children, and perfect happiness. If only men knew how beautiful, noble, and priceless a thing God’s grace is!’
This is one of her prayers, simple and poignant :
“Help me to remember what is really important: that I am Your child You are my Father
You love me for who I am and how I live not what I look like or what I own. Let me praise You, Who sees into my heart, Who is always with me and Who eases my suffering.”
Rose also overcame many temptations and cared for those who were sick and suffering, often in her own dwelling. Eventually she herself became very ill, with a very long painful sickness. But even in her sickness she prayed, ‘Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart’. She died aged 31, on 24 August 1671 and was mourned by everyone, with her body remaining incorrupt for a considerable time.
For more information on St Rose of Lima, refer to http://www.catholickingdom.com/AAA_load_in_pages/Monastery/Lives%20of%20the%20Saints/Female/Rose%20of%20Lima.html
Novena to St. Rose of Lima
God our Father, for love of you St. Rose gave up everything to devote herself to a life of penance. By the help of her prayers may we imitate her selfless way of life on earth and enjoy the fullness of Your blessings in heaven. Almighty God, the beginning and giver of all good things, Who willed that Blessed Rose should be prepared by the dew of grace from Heaven, and should bloom as a most beautiful flower of virginity and patience, grant us to be drawn by the perfume of her virtue, that we may deserve to become a sweet fragrance of Christ. You filled St. Rose with love for You and enabled her to leave the world and be free for You through the austerity of penance. Through her prayers, help us to follow her footsteps on earth and enjoy the torrent of Your delights in heaven. Amen.
Glorious St. Rose of Lima, you knew what it was to love Jesus with such a fine a generous heart. Since infancy you despised the world’s vanities in order to embrace His Cross. You loved with unfailing devotion our Heavenly Mother and professed a great tender dedication to the destitute, serving them the same way Jesus did. Teach us to imitate your greatest virtues, so that we, following your example, will enjoy your glorious protection in Heaven. We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns world without end. Amen.
St Rose of Lima, pray for us always. Amen.
Our Father…..Hail Mary….Glory Be….