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Saint Rose of Lima, the patroness of Peru

Saint Rose of Lima, the patroness of Peru

Every year on August 30 the residents of Lima and other cities of Peru go to the streets to commemorate their saint patroness. They arrange processions from churches named after Saint Rose; organize the folk dance festivals, exhibitions of folk artists, and in the streets put the tables with a variety of local treats. In the evening, many cities arrange fireworks.

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Isabel Flores de Oliva was born in Peru on April 30, 1586, and in her early childhood the people noticed her amazing beauty, for what they started to call her Rose. Isabel grew humble and God-fearing. Her parents planned her successful marriage, but she decided to devote herself to God, and, when she was 20 years old, she was accepted for the Dominican order. Rose of Lima helped to the poor Indians, arranging a hospital at her home.

In 1615 the Dutch corsairs set out to attack Lima. The residents of the city were very alarmed by this news. Then Rose of Lima gathered all the women of the city in the church of the Virgin of Rosario to pray for the salvation of Lima. There they found the news that the invaders ships moored to the shore. Rose came up to the altar and began to cut her dress, covering the figure of Christ with her body. In some mysterious way, the captain of the Dutch died a few days later, and the ships were gone without causing harm to the city. All inhabitants of Lima attributed this miracle to Rose’ merit, and therefore she is sometimes depicted holding a city on the anchor.

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There is a well in the sanctuary of St. Rose of Lima in the capital of Peru. According to legend, into this well she threw the key of the lock, which bonded the belt on her body, when she wanted to confess to God. The belt crashed into the skin and caused Rose’ suffering, and then her family asked her to remove it. However, the key was thrown. Rose came to the well and cried, begging the Lord for forgiveness, and then miraculously the lock was opened. Every year thousands of devotees come to the well, which has been preserved to this day, to dip into it their letters to the saint with their requests.

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Rose of Lima died of a serious illness at the age of 31, on August 24, 1617. The monastery with her name stands now at the site of the house where it happened. On the day of the funeral her faithful devotees crowded around the coffin to take a piece of her clothes. Even then, she was considered the saint, and from 1669, the patroness of Peru. Rose of Lima was canonized in 1671.

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