St. Rose of Lima was born in 1586 in Lima, Peru. She was born to Spanish colonists and was named Isabel Flores de Olivia. It is said that St. Rose was exceedingly beautiful--to the point that she was nicknamed “Rose”--a nickname she got when a servant had a vision where her face turned into a rose. When she completed her Confirmation in 1597, she officially took the name Rose.
Rose was quite devout from her youth and always desired to become a nun, even though she was desired by many men. Rose prayed often, fasted daily, took daily Communion, and even performed secret penances. Her beauty attracted suitors who wanted to marry her, and to ward them off, Rose attempted to lessen her beauty. She would take hot peppers to her face to make it blister and cut all of her hair off.
Though her parents wanted to see her married, they eventually gave in to her desires and gave her a room of her own in which she cloistered herself. The stories say she only spent two hours a night in sleep so that she could spend the rest of her time in prayer.
Rose joined the Third Order of St. Dominic when she was 20 and began to wear a heavy silver crown resembling Jesus’ crown of thorns. The spikes would often pierce her flesh, and it is said that at one point, a spike became lodged in her skull and had to be pulled out with great difficulty. She was also known to burn her own hands occasionally as an act of penance.
St. Rose died at the age of 31, and it is said that she accurately predicted the date of her own death.
St. Rose of Lima is depicted with a cross, a garland of roses, and a black and white Dominican habit. She is also sometimes portrayed holding the Christ Child in her arms because of the visions she experienced of Christ and because of her dedication to Christ and the Virgin.
St. Rose of Lima is the patron saint of Latin America and the Philippines, embroiderers, gardeners, florists, those who suffer ridicule for their piety, and people who suffer family problems.