Isabel de Flores was born in Lima, Peru on April 20th, 1586. She was the tenth child of a Spanish family of modest means. She was a beautiful child and her mother, believing one day that she'd seen a rose blossom on her, called her Rose. The Holy Virgin herself would confirm this name change by appearing to the young girl and asking her to add her own name. The little girl was particularly pious and gentle. Having fragile health, she offered her pains and illnesses as sacrifices from her childhood. Her love for Jesus was so strong that she devoted many mortifications to Him. For example, when her mother adorned her with a crown of flowers, she added a thorn to it in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. At four and a half years old, she asked for the grace to know how to read and was granted it. From then on, she read the life of Saint Catherine of Siena, who became her role model. At five years old, Rose dedicated herself to Jesus.
At 20 years old, the young woman became a Dominican tertiary and took the name given by the Virgin: Rose of Saint Mary. Rose settled in a small hermitage near her parents' garden and lived there in great austerity. Prayer was the heart of her life. Full of love and patience, Rose devoted herself to the people of India, supporting the poor, the sick, and the orphans. She also worked on embroidery to help her parents financially. Rose offered prayers and sacrifices for the souls of the dying everywhere on Earth, especially the Turks, the Chinese, and the Heretics of Europe. In exchange for her life offered to God, Rose received great mystical graces and visions. She attracted the attention of the Inquisition and was interrogated. The inquisitors were impressed by the doctrinal accuracy of her answers.
At the end of her life, Rose only ate bread and water; offering sacrifices continually, she was called back to Heaven on August 24th, 1617, at the age of 31. All the common people of Lima crowded around her tomb, each taking a little bit of soil. Since then, prayers and processions have taken place at her tomb, and numerous miracles have occurred. Rose of Lima was beatified by Clement IX in 1668 and canonized three years later by Clement X. Saint Rose of Lima is celebrated on August 23, and she is the patron saint of Peru and the entire American continent, having been the first saint of America. Today, the relics of Saint Rose of Lima are venerated at the Santo Domingo convent in Lima, alongside those of Saint Martin de Porres and Saint Juan Macias.
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Rose's holiness was already recognized by the people of Lima, and her death only brought her glory to light. As a crowd of people came to meditate at her tomb, exceptional phenomena took place:
"Saint Rose of Lima, shining with the brilliance of miracles, pray for us and help us in all our sorrows and afflictions."
"God, who inspired Saint Rose of Lima with such great love that she left everything to be attached to you alone in austere penance, grant us, through her intercession, to follow the paths of true life here on earth, to taste inexhaustible joys in heaven."
In a letter to the doctor Castillo, Saint Rose of Lima reported these words of Jesus: "Everyone should know that after suffering comes grace; everyone should know that without the weight of afflictions, one cannot reach the summit of grace; everyone should understand that the measure of charisms increases with the growth of sorrows. Men must be careful not to err or be deceived. This is the only true ladder to Paradise, and outside of the cross, there is no way to climb to heaven."
She adds: "When I heard these words, a very strong impulse carried me away, as if to make me come into the middle of the street, so that I could say, with loud cries, to all people of all ages, sexes, and conditions: 'Listen, people; listen, everyone. By order of Christ, using the words that came out of his mouth, I warn you: we cannot acquire grace if we do not suffer afflictions; it is necessary for the pains to accumulate on top of one another to obtain intimate participation in the divine nature, in the glory of the sons of God, in the perfect happiness of the soul."
There is also a Saint Rose of Lima Association founded by Fathers Dominique and Jean-Jacques Duten, which aims to train "loving missionary disciples" and to make known the teachings of Luisa Piccarreta regarding the Divine Will.