Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Rose of Lima (1586–1617)

Saint Rose of Lima (1586–1617)

Patron saint of florists, Latin America, and the Philippines

Feast day: August 23

Saint Rose was born in Lima, Peru, on April 20, 1586. She was given the name Isabel but later was called Rose because of her beauty. However, Rose did not want people to admire her looks, because she had no interest in marriage or in attracting notice from others. To make herself less desirable, she rubbed lime and pepper on her face until it blistered.

In keeping with the spirituality of the times, she also performed strict acts of penance, such as wearing a silver circlet on her head studded inside with sharp points, in imitation of Christ's crown of thorns. She worked hard to support her poor family, selling her fine needlework and the flowers that she grew, and she helped the sick and hungry by caring for them in her own room.

A member of the Dominican Third (secular) Order, she counted among her friends the future saint, Martin de Porres, a Dominican brother.  Because of Rose’s love for Jesus, she was often tempted by the Devil, and at times she felt great loneliness and separation from God. Even though she sometimes felt this way, she offered all her sadness and suffering to God.

She died at the age of 31 and was the first canonized saint of the New World.

(Image in public domain-100)