St. Rose of Lima
This South American saint was born in Lima, in Peru. Her real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was affectionately called Rose. As Rose grew older, she became more and more beautiful. One day her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show off her loveliness to friends. But Rose did not like that. She only wanted Jesus to notice her and love her.
Rose did not think she was special because of her beauty. She realized that beauty is a gift from God. She even became afraid that her beauty might be a temptation to someone. She noticed people staring at her with approval. She heard them say that her complexion was smooth and beautiful. So she did an unusual thing: she rubbed her face with pepper until her skin became all red and blistered so that people would not find her beautiful anymore.
St. Rose worked hard to support her parents who were very poor. She humbly obeyed them, too, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. Her love for Jesus was so great that when she talked about him, her face glowed. Rose prayed that her parents would allow her to live for Jesus.
The devil often tried to tempt her and there were times when she had to suffer terrible loneliness and sadness. During those times, God seemed far away. Yet she cheerfully offered all these troubles to him. She kept praying for her trust to grow stronger. In her last long, sickness, this brave young woman used to pray: "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase your love in my heart." She was just thirty-one when she died on August 24, 1617, in Lima.
St. Rose is the patron saint of the Americas, Philippines and West Indies.