I am saddened to say that my very humble and courageous best friend Rose has passed away today, on August 24, in the year 1617. Rose has definitely been my inspiration throughout our years together. She is the humblest and bravest person I have met in my entire life. She taught me how to overcome temptations from the devil. I definitely saw a spark in her eye when she talked about the Lord. Rose had a great and radiating love for Him. I admired how her heart was set straight on the Lord, and no one else. Although I mourn over her death, I know she would have wanted me to spread the word of our Lord to others. She would have wanted me to be out in the world, helping others, and forever praying and doing my penance, which she stressed. Rose would have wanted me to have immense faith in our Lord.
I will always remember how much of an influence she had on me before she passed away. She was born on April 20,1586, two days before I was born in our town of Lima in Peru. She had once complained to me about how everyone called her Rose, because of how beautiful she truly was, even though her real name was Isabel.While I was talking to a servant, he claimed to have seen her face transform into a rose when she was a small child! In 1597, we were both confirmed personally by the Archbishop of Lima. She finally came around and also formally took the name Rose. Rose went through some temptations from the devil, though. She went through a phase a loneliness and sadness but with the help of the Lord, she overcame them. Rose really looked up to Saint Catherine of Sienna. So much that she began to fast three times and week and performed severe penances in secret. She rarely talked about this though. Even though I told her not to, she cut off her beautiful, long hair and disfigured her face with pepper and lye.Rose also wore a silver circlet of silver, studded on the inside, like a crown of thorns. She hurt herself in many other ways, despite my objections, so that no one would want to marry her.She also took a vow of virginity, which completely surprised me since both of our parents expected us to find good suitors.
Even when Rose found time to talk to me, most of the time it was about the Lord. Her face lit up when she told me about Him. We both also enjoyed helping out the sick and hungry in our town. Rose loved her parents dearly and sold her needlework and lovely flowers she grew to help out her family. As time drifted on, we only saw each other on the way to church due to the fact her nights consisted of prayer and penance in a grotto she had built and her days she mostly stayed in her room apparently, and only left when she went to church. As the years went by she finally decided she would join the Third World of St. Dominic, even though her father had a different future planned for her. I was very proud of her. In a letter she had sent me, she had stated that she finally took the vow of perpetual virginity. The thing that surprised me the most though, was that she wrote me a letter telling me how she was to get ready for her death. A few weeks later I got a letter stating Rose had grown severely sick and had passed on the exact date that she prophesied.
I chose St. Rose of Lima as the saint whom I would like emulate and take the name of on my confirmation day. I am inspired by her willingness to put God before her beauty and by her pure devotion to the Lord. She truly represents someone with an amazing connection to God, which I strive for always. I also admire her willingness to help others. St. Rose of Lima is a truly courageous, faith-filled, loving, and humble person.She devoted her entire life to one person, the Lord. I pray that one day I will be like her. I want to take her name so I can always remember how much of an inspiration she is in my life.
Above is a stained glass window at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church of St. Rose of Lima.
St. Rose of Lima window by Steve Grant under CCL