The Saint of the Day
St. Rose of Lima – August 30
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
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Some half century after the conquest of America by the Spaniards, the city of Lima, founded at the foot of the Andes Mountains as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, was suffering so great a corruption of customs that St. Francis Solanus threatened it with divine chastisements, as the Prophet Jonah threatened Nineveh. Divine Mercy, however, was already acting in the soul of a child capable of making the necessary expiation.
Rose of Lima, born on April 20, 1586, grew under the protection of Divine Goodness. She took the third order habit of St. Dominic at age 20, offering constant prayer and sacrifices in her small oratory in the family garden. She was only 31 years of age when, on the evening of St. Bartholomew’s feast (August 24) in 1617, she cried out: “The Spouse is here!” and she delivered her soul to God.
St. Rose of Lima
Painting by Claudio Coello, 1684
Zeal for the cause of God consumed this virgin. When she turned her eyes to the unfaithful nations of South America, she would weep and suffer torments of soul. She often counseled priests and monks to go with all haste to the aid of those nations. Once, she thought of adopting a boy to raise him and later direct him to the missions, but her death prevented the realization of that wish.
One time a Dutch fleet of Protestant heretics stopped outside Lima’s harbor. The alarm was raised in the city to prepare for an invasion. Rose ran to the Church of St. Dominic and like a warrior placed herself before the Tabernacle in order to protect Our Lord with her life. God, however, was satisfied with that manifestation of her dedication. The enemy fleet left without damaging the city.
Not just in Lima, but in all Peru and Latin America, miracles of conversion and countless graces were received through the intercession of that humble virgin, unknown until her death. The Sovereign Pontiff testified that since the discovery of Peru, no missionary had ever produced such a universal spirit of penance.
The young woman who prayed and suffered amidst the general corruption of her city desired to live in silence and obscurity. Her action after death, however, made her the Patron Saint of Peru, and Pope Clement X extended her protection to all of America, the Philippine Islands and India.
Comments of Prof. Plinio:
These facts from the life of St. Rose of Lima allow us to see the condition of Latin America at that time. In Brazil as well as Spanish America, the coming of the Iberians produced a very dangerous moral trauma. Those men who came to the New World were moved by a thirst for adventure. Arriving here, they found an exuberant tropical flora and a weather that favored lust and nudity. Most of them succumbed to a life of immorality and complete vulgarity. This brought the new society to a very low level.
St. Rose of Lima understood that unless there was a strong reaction assisted by grace, the plans of Divine Providence in bringing the Iberians to Latin America would be frustrated. The plan was to make those Indian peoples Catholic, and form an immense Catholic bloc extending from Mexico to the south of Argentina and Chile.
Our Lady and the Christ Child with St. Rose of Lima, right, and St. Catherine of Siena, left
In that dire moral situation, God called, not a great preacher to convert those Iberians and Indians, but a person with a universal vocation to change the lives of them all. This person was a young woman, St. Rose of Lima. Through her penances, sufferings, and prayers she accomplished in the realm of the Communion of Saints what was needed to save not only her country, but others. Her sanctity influenced all Latin America and worked countless miracles and conversions. Both during her life and after her death, she spread the spirit of penance and mortification, a very difficult thing for people to accept.
With this, she halted in good measure the general corruption of customs, and vaccinated those peoples against the spirit of the Revolution.
We see what a single soul can do by delivering herself entirely to Our Lord and Our Lady, renouncing all the advantages and comforts the world can give and delivering herself to penance and the Divine Mercy. If one of us would decide to be a saint, an unspeakable good could be done.
This should encourage us to ask Our Lady and St. Rose of Lima for this grace. Let us ask St. Rose of Lima, who did so much good for our Continent to make Latin America a true Catholic Continent so it can accomplish its mission of providing faithful peoples for the Reign of Mary.
The Saint of the Day features highlights from the lives of saints based on comments made by the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Following the example of St. John Bosco who used to make similar talks for the boys of his College, each evening it was Prof. Plinio’s custom to make a short commentary on the lives of the next day’s saint in a meeting for youth in order to encourage them in the practice of virtue and love for the Catholic Church. TIA thought that its readers could profit from these valuable commentaries.
|Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira|| |
The texts of both the biographical data and the comments come from personal notes taken by Atila S. Guimarães from 1964 to 1995. Given the fact that the source is a personal notebook, it is possible that at times the biographic notes transcribed here will not rigorously follow the original text read by Prof. Plinio. The commentaries have also been adapted and translated for TIA’s site.
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