Isabel Flores de Olivia was born in Lima in 1586 and was of Spanish extraction. She was called Rose from an early age, as she was so beautiful. In 1597 she took Rose as her confirmation name. The family lost all its money, Rose earned money by selling flowers from her garden and taking in embroidery. It was hoped that Rose would marry into a prominent family in order to raise their fortunes. Rose instead chose a life of virginity and suffering. She believed that since it was forbidden for her to be a missionary, she would suffer for the Lord. She endured physical hardship even in her early childhood and retired to a hut in the garden to work, pray and do penance. At 21 she joined the order of St Dominic even though there was no Dominican convent in Lima. She dedicated her life to taking care of the most neglected and abandoned women of all nationalities. She brought them to the house and personally tended them until they died. During her whole life she fasted, put herself through physical pain, went to Mass daily. She died on 25 August 1617 aged 31. She was beatified in 1667 by Pope Clement IX and canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X. Her feast day is 23 August around the world, but 30 August in Peru. She is the patron saint of embroiderers, gardeners, florists, those who suffer ridicule for their piety, and people who suffer family problem.
Dear Lord, as we reflect on Rose of Lima’s life,
teach us to respect people’s choices
regarding faith and devotion.
Help us to help how we can those most
neglected and abandoned in our world.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.