Saint Rose of Lima

Saint Rose of Lima by Claudio Coello (1642–1693), in the Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain
BornIsabel Flores de Oliva
(1586-04-20)April 20, 1586[1]
Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
DiedAugust 24, 1617(1617-08-24) (aged 31)[1]
Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru
Venerated inCatholic Church
BeatifiedApril 15, 1667 or 1668, Rome, Papal States by Pope Clement IX
CanonizedApril 12, 1671, Rome, Papal States by Pope Clement X[1]
Major shrineBasilica of Santo Domingo
Lima, Peru
FeastAugust 23
August 30 (some Latin American countries and pre-1970 General Roman Calendar)
Attributes Dominican tertiaries' habit, roses, anchor, Infant Jesus
Patronageembroiderers; sewing lace; gardeners; florists; people ridiculed or misunderstood for their piety; for the resolution of family quarrels; against vanity; indigenous peoples of the Americas; Latin America; Peru; Philippines; the Indies;[2] Villareal; Santa Rosa, California; Santa Rosa, Laguna; Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija; Alcoy, Cebu; Daanbantayan, Cebu; Arima, Trinidad and Tobago;[3] Lima; Sittard

Rose of Lima, TOSD (born Isabel Flores de Oliva; 20 April 1586 – 24 August 1617) was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic in Lima, Peru, who became known for both her life of severe penance[4] and her care of the poverty stricken of the city through her own private efforts. Rose of Lima was born to a noble family and is the patron saint of embroidery, gardening and cultivation of blooming flowers. A lay member of the Dominican Order, she was declared a saint by the Catholic Church, being the first person born in the Americas to be canonized as such.[1]

As a saint, Rose of Lima has been designated as a co-patroness of the Philippines along with Pudentiana; both saints were moved to second-class patronage in September 1942 by Pope Pius XII, but Rose remains the primary patroness of Peru and of the local people of Latin America. Her image is featured on the highest denomination banknote of Peru.


Frontispiece of Leonhard Hansen's Vita Mirabilis (Credit: Women of the Book Collection, Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University)

She was born as Isabel Flores de Oliva in the city of Lima, then in the Viceroyalty of Peru, on 20 April 1586. She was one of eleven children of Gaspar Flores [es], a harquebusier in the Imperial Spanish army whose family were from Baños de Montemayor, Cáceres, Spain and later travelled to Puerto Rico.[5][6] His wife and Rose's mother, María de Oliva y Herrera (b. 1560), was a criolla native of Lima.[7] Her maternal grandparents were Francisco de Oliva and Isabel de Herrera. Rose’s siblings (in birth order) were Gaspar, Bernardina, Hernando, Francisco, Juana, Antonio, Andrés, Francisco and Jacinta, all born in Lima.[8]

Plaque in Baños de Montemayor, Spain dedicated to Gaspar Flores, the father of Rose of Lima.

Her later nickname "Rose" comes from an incident in her infancy: a servant claimed to have seen her face transform into a rose. In 1597 Isabel was confirmed by the Archbishop of Lima, Toribio de Mogrovejo, who was also to be declared a saint. She formally took the name of Rose (Rosa in Spanish) at that time.[4]

As a young girl, in emulation of the noted Dominican tertiary Catherine of Siena, she began to fast three times a week and performed severe penances in secret. When she was admired for her beauty, Rose cut off her hair and rubbed peppers on her face, upset that men were beginning to take notice of her.[9] She rejected all suitors against the objections of her friends and her family. Despite the censure of her parents, she spent many hours contemplating the Blessed Sacrament, which she received daily, an extremely rare practice in that period. She was determined to take a vow of virginity, which was opposed by her parents who wished her to marry.[4] Finally, out of frustration, her father gave her a room to herself in the family home.

Stained glass window by Harry Clarke, located in St. Michael's Church, Ballinasloe, Ireland, depicting Saint Rose burning her hands in an act of penance.

After daily fasting, she took to permanently abstaining from eating meat. She helped the sick and hungry around her community, bringing them to her room and taking care of them. Rose sold her fine needlework and took flowers that she grew to market, to help her family. She made and sold lace and embroidery to care for the poor, and she prayed and did penance in a little grotto that she had built. Otherwise, she became a recluse, leaving her room only for her visits to church.[9]

She attracted the attention of the friars of the Dominican Order. She wanted to become a nun, but her father forbade it, so she instead entered the Third Order of St. Dominic while living in her parents' home. In her twentieth year, she donned the habit of a tertiary and took a vow of perpetual virginity. She only allowed herself to sleep two hours a night at most so that she had more hours to devote to prayer.[10] She donned a heavy crown made of silver, with small spikes on the inside, in emulation of the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ.[9]

For eleven years she lived this way, with intervals of ecstasy, and eventually died on 24 August 1617, at the young age of 31, after a long illness. It is said that she prophesied the date of her death. Her funeral was held in the cathedral, attended by all the public authorities of Lima. Her feast day is on the 23rd day of August (the 30th day of August in the Traditional calendar).


Monastery of Saint Rose in 17th-century Lima

Rose was beatified by Pope Clement IX on 10 May 1667, and canonized on 12 April 1671, by Pope Clement X, and was the first Catholic in the Americas to be declared a saint.[1] Her shrine, alongside those of her friends Martin de Porres and John Macias, is currently located inside of the convent of Saint Dominic in Lima. The Catholic Church says that many miracles followed her death: there were stories that she had cured a leper, and that, at the time of her death, the city of Lima smelled like roses; roses also started falling from the sky. Many places in the New World are named Santa Rosa after her.

Saint Rose of Lima; facial reconstruction
Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo in Lima, Peru where the remains of St. Rose of Lima rest

Her liturgical feast was inserted into the General Roman Calendar in 1729 for celebration initially on 30 August, because 24 August, the date of her death, is the feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle and 30 August was the closest date not already allocated to a well-known saint.[11] Pope Paul VI's 1969 revision of the calendar made 23 August available, the day on which her feast day is now celebrated throughout the world, including Spain, but excluding Peru and some other Latin American countries, where 30 August is a public holiday in her honor.

Early lives of Rosa were written by the Dominican Father Hansen, "Vita Sanctae Rosae" (2 vols., Rome, 1664–1668),[12] and Vicente Orsini, afterward. Pope Benedict XIII wrote "Concentus Dominicano, Bononiensis ecclesia, in album Sanctorum Ludovici Bertrandi et Rosae de Sancta Maria, ordinero praedicatorum" (Venice, 1674).

There is a park named for her in downtown Sacramento, California.[13] A plot of land at 7th and K streets was given to the Catholic Church by Peter Burnett, first Governor of the State of California. Father Peter Anderson built one of the first of two churches in the diocese to be consecrated under the patronage of St. Rose.[14]

In the Caribbean twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago, the Santa Rosa Carib Community, located in Arima, is the largest organization of indigenous peoples on the island.[15] The second oldest parish in the Diocese of Port of Spain is also named after this saint. The Santa Rosa Church, which is located in the town of Arima, was established on 20 April 1786, as the Indian Mission of Santa Rosa de Arima, on the foundations of a Capuchin Mission previously established in 1749.[16]

On the Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia there are two flower festivals supported by their Societies. Each society has a patron saint on whose feast day the grande fete is celebrated. For the Roses it is the feast of St. Rose of Lima on 30 August; and for the Marguerites it is that of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, 17 October.[17]

Rose's skull, surmounted with a crown of roses, is on public display at the Basilica in Lima, Peru, along with that of Martin de Porres. It was customary to keep the torso in the basilica and pass the head around the country.

She is also commemorated on 24 August in some places.[18][19]


Saint Rose is the patroness of the Americas,[4] the indigenous people of the Americas, and of Peru, especially the city of Lima, Sittard in the Netherlands, of the Indies, and of the Philippines.[2]


Colonial painting of Saint Rose of Lima (1680) by Colombian Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos. Colonial Art Museum of Bogotá.[20][21]

On the last weekend in August, the Fiesta de Santa Rosa is celebrated in Dixon, New Mexico, and the Sint Rosa Festival in Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands. Also, in Sibbe, Limburg, Netherlands a maypole dedicated to Saint Rose is erected on the first Saturday after the 23rd of August by the local Jonkheid.

A barony of Saint Rose of Lima was created in the Royal House of Rwanda on 25 July 2016 by the Catholic king in exile, King Kigeli V of Rwanda.[22]

Maywood, California, contains the largest parish dedicated to Saint Rose.[citation needed]

Dedicated parishes are located in:




North America[edit]

Bay St Louis, Mississippi

South America[edit]

Central America and Caribbean[edit]


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Marques, Luis Carlos L. (2000). "Rose de Lima". In Leonardi, C.; Riccardi, A.; Zarri, G. (eds.). Diccionario de los santos (in Spanish). Vol. II. Madrid, Spain: San Pablo. pp. 2003–2006. ISBN 84-285-2259-6.
  2. ^ a b Clement X, Pope (11 August 1670). "Bull Sacrosancti Apostolatus Cura". § 3: Bullarium Romanum, 26VII, 42. (Latin text) declaram, &principaliorem Patronam omnium, & singularum Provinciarum, Regnorum, Insularum, & Regionaum Terrae firmae totius Americae, Phillipinarum, & Indiarum, cum eisdem praerogativis dicta autoritate tenore praefentium eligimus pariter, & declaramus
    (translation) "...I, Clement, (..) proclaim Blessed Rosa de Santa Maria as the principal patroness of each and every province, country, island and area of the entire land of the Americas, the Philippines and the Indies, with the same prerogatives of the designated authority, we declare."
  3. ^ "Home".
  4. ^ a b c d "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Rose of Lima".
  5. ^ Familia Dominicana. VOL. I: Nueve personajes históricos (in Spanish). Editorial San Esteban. 1983. p. 201. ISBN 9788471881496. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  6. ^ del Busto, José Antonio (2020). Santa Rosa de Lima. Fondo Editorial de la PUCP. ISBN 9786123175177. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  7. ^ del Busto, José Antonio (2020). Santa Rosa de Lima. Fondo Editorial de la PUCP. ISBN 9786123175177. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  8. ^ del Busto, José Antonio (2020). Santa Rosa de Lima. Fondo Editorial de la PUCP. ISBN 9786123175177. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  9. ^ a b c "St. Mark - Saint of the Day -".
  10. ^ Mills, Kenneth & Taylor, William B. Eds. "Colonial Latin America: A Documentary History".(2002) Oxford: SR Books. Page 205.
  11. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 101
  12. ^ Hansen, Leonardus (1664). Vita Mirabilis et Mors Pretiosa Venerabilis Sororis Rosæ de S. Maria Limensis, ex Tertio Ordine S. P. Dominici ac Sanctissimum d. N. Alexandrum VII. Pontificem Max. Excerpta & collecta Per P. M. F. Leonardum Hansen Provincialem Angliæ, & Socium Reverendissimi P. Magist. Generalis Ord. Præd. Rome: Typis Nicolai Angeli Tinassii.
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  14. ^ "Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento – History & Archives". Archived from the original on 31 January 2008.
  15. ^ Santa Rosa Carib Community
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  18. ^ "Rosa von Lima - Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon". (in German). Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  19. ^ Catholic Church (2004). Martyrologium Romanum (2004).
  20. ^ Michael A. Brown (10 November 2023). "Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos (1638-1711) in Viceregal Colombia: Workshop Practices and the Role of Draftsmanship". Racar: Revue d'Art Canadienne / Canadian Art Review. AAUC (Association des universités d’art du Canada). 38 (2): 56–70. JSTOR 42630894.
  21. ^ "Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos - Saint Rose of Lima". Google Arts and Culture.
  22. ^ Saint-David, Stewart Addington (2019). "Grace and Favor: The Foreign Honorific Peerage of the Royal House of Abanyiginya of Rwanda". Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  23. ^ "St. Rose Of Lima Parish, Pili". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
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  54. ^ "Saint Rose of Lima School Website". Saint Rose of Lima School Website. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  55. ^ "Saint Rose of Lima Parish Website". Saint Rose of Lima Parish Website. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
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  66. ^ "Houten kruizen Sint Rosakerk worden vervangen door aluminium exemplaren". Dagblad Suriname (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 January 2022.
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Further reading