Thursday, August 30, 2018

August 30: St. Rose of Lima, V, O.P., III Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Rose of Lima.  The feast is III Class, so the Ordinary office is prayed according to the rubrics.  This is another one of those III Class feasts which retained many of the propers from the days when the feast was totum duplex or duplex.  At Lauds, the Psalms of Sunday are prayed.  

From the Martyrology:

At Lima in Peru, St. Rose, virgin, of the Third Order of our holy Father St. Dominic. The Roman Pontiff Clement IX called her "the first flower from the Western World." At the age of five she took the vow of virginity; later she was received by Christ in a miraculous way as His spouse. She added the most severe penances to a life of purest innocence and her fame spread because of her many miracles. She died on August 24.
From “Short Lives of the Dominican Saints” (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1901):

This "first flower of sanctity in the New World," was born at Lima, the capital of Peru, in South America, on the 20th of April, A.D. 1586, and received in baptism the name of Isabel, but was always called Rose in consequence of a beautiful rose having appeared in the air over her cradle, gently touching her face and then vanishing. Later on, our Blessed Lady was pleased to add her own name to that of Rose, saying to her in vision, "Henceforth thou shalt be called Rose of Saint Mary. Thy soul shall be a fragrant flower consecrated to Jesus of Nazareth." Even from infancy the choicest graces were showered down on this favorite of Heaven, and at the age of five she consecrated her virginity to God by vow. She was granted even at this early age a wonderful gift of prayer, kept herself continually in the presence of God, and made use of everything she saw and heard as a means to lift up her heart to Him. She was divinely inspired from her childhood upwards to practice in a heroic degree those virtues of penance and mortification which were to be among the most striking characteristics of her future sanctity. She knew that the Beloved of her soul had endured torments and death for her; and her love for Him found expression in inflicting the severest sufferings on herself. She offered all her austerities to Him, in expiation for her own sins and those of others, for the needs of the Church, the conversion of sinners, and the relief of the poor souls in Purgatory. She was very fond of fruit; from the age of four she absolutely forbade herself the use of it, and deprived her body as far as possible of everything which is pleasing to the senses. As she grew older, her scanty food consisted of hard crusts, tepid and nauseous water, and a soup of bitter herbs mingled with gall and ashes. On Fridays she took only bread and gall. She sometimes entirely deprived herself of food for a whole week, and in the heat of a tropical climate would, for weeks at a time, abstain altogether from drinking. Her bed was composed of rough logs strewn with bits of broken glass and earthenware. She denied herself even the scanty and troubled sleep she might have obtained on this instrument of torture, devising all sorts of painful expedients for keeping herself awake, that she might watch with her Lord.

In addition to these and many other austerities, she took a severe discipline several times in the day, and wore on her head, dexterously concealed beneath her veil, a triple silver crown armed with ninety-nine sharp points, in memory of the crown of thorns of her Divine Spouse. On one occasion, when her mother insisted on placing a wreath of flowers on her head, Rose fastened it with a needle, which she ran so deeply into the flesh that it could with difficulty be removed at night. In the midst of all these terrible self-inflicted sufferings, the Saint's face was always serene and cheerful; and she showed perfect readiness to obey her confessors in everything which related to her penitential exercises.

Saint Rose was the most loving and dutiful of daughters, and devoted ten hours every day to working with her needle for the support of her family; for, though the De Flores were of noble descent, they were in very straitened circumstances. She had to undergo a painful persecution from her friends on account of her refusal to marry. Soon after this, she built herself a little wooden cell in a remote part of the garden, and there she spent the entire day in solitude, only returning to the house late at night. This little cell became to her a paradise of delights. As she sat at her work, her Divine Spouse would often appear to her in the form of an infant of surpassing beauty, lying on her book or on her cushion, stretching out His little arms to her, and telling her that, as she wished to belong entirely to Him, so He wished to be all hers, to take her heart and to give her His in exchange.

Like all faithful servants of God, Saint Rose had to suffer continual assaults from the devil, and, for the last sixteen years of her life, she was required to bear for an hour or more every day the most terrible spiritual desolation, in which her memory was completely obscured and she seemed to herself to be enduring the torments of Purgatory or Hell. But she manfully combated the attacks of the evil one with the arms of profound humility and boundless confidence in God, and in her dereliction abandoned herself wholly to the Divine will.

From childhood she had earnestly desired to wear the Dominican habit, with which her beloved patroness and model, Saint Catharine of Siena, had been clothed; and in the twenty-first year of her age she was admitted into the Third Order, continuing to reside, as before, in her parents' house. Our Lord was pleased mystically to espouse her to Himself with the words, "Rose of My heart, be thou My Spouse." From that time He took upon Himself to provide for the wants of her family, leaving the Saint free to devote her time to the service of the poor, the sick, and the afflicted. In her zeal for souls she was a true daughter of Saint Dominic, and was spiritually envious of missionaries whose sex and vocation enabled them to carry the light of faith to the Indians and die a martyr's death.

The last three years of her life were spent under the roof of Don Gonzalo de Massa, who held an important post under the Viceroy, and whose wife was tenderly attached to her. It was in the house of these kind friends that she was attacked by her last illness, and there she died, repeating the words: "Jesus, Jesus be with me," on the 24th of August, A.D. 1617. Many miracles and heavenly favors have been granted through her intercession. She was beatified by Clement IX., A.D. 1668, and canonized by Clement X., A.D. 1671, and has been declared Patroness of America and of the Philippine Islands.


O Almighty God, giver of all good gifts, in predisposing blessed Rose by the dew of your heavenly grace, you willed that she should blossom in the Indies with the beatify of virginity and patience; grant us, your servants, that hastening in her pleasing fragrance, we may be worthy to be made the aroma of Christ, Who lives and reigns…