Prayer to St. Rose of Lima
(This prayer may be said for nine consecutive days as a Novena)

Admirable Saint Rose, you were truly a sweet flower blooming on a rugged soil; you were indeed a rose among thorns, bearing with meekness and patience the stings of envious tongues, and preserving perfect purity and modesty amid the alluring blandishments of a deceitful world. To the sufferings inflicted on you by others you added the voluntary tortures of fasting and watching, of the discipline, of the crown of thorns and of the hair shirt, to subdue the flesh and to make yourself like to your heavenly Spouse. By the merits which you have thus gained with your divine Bridegroom, obtain for me the grace to bear my afflictions with patience, to remain pure and modest, to be meek and humble, to be faithful to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and so to mortify my passions that I may be ever more pleasing and acceptable in the sight of my dear Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.


St. Rose of Lima, Virgin
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

God gave to the Christians of America, and all over the world, a beautiful example of holiness, at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, in the Saint whose festival is this day commemorated by the Catholic Church. Her native place was Lima, the capital of Peru. She was named Isabel, but while yet in the cradle, she was called Rose, as her face, in its loveliness, resembled a rose. She took the surname of St. Mary, by order of the Blessed Virgin. Already in her childhood, her conduct was holy. Her intention was to follow the example of St. Catherine of Sienna, whose life she had read, and therefore she entered the third order of St. Dominic. When five years old, she consecrated her virginity to God, and was such a perfect hand-maiden of the Lord, that during her whole life, she never offended Him by a mortal sin, nor even intentionally by one that was venial. Her time was divided between prayer and work. Twelve hours she gave to devout exercises, two or three to sleep, the rest to work.

When grown to womanhood, her hand was sought by several, but she always unhesitatingly gave the answer, that she was already promised to a heavenly spouse. That, however, her parents might no further urge her, she herself cut off her hair, as a sign of her consecration to God. She treated her innocent body with extreme severity. From her childhood she abstained from fruit, which, in Peru, is so delicious. Her fasts and abstinences were more than human; for, when scarcely six years old, her nourishment consisted almost entirely of water and bread. At the age of fifteen, she made a vow never to eat meat, except when obliged by obedience. Not even when sick did she partake of better food. Sometimes for five or eight days, she ate nothing at all, living only on the bread of angels. During the whole of Lent, she took only five citron seeds, daily. Incredible as this may appear to the reader, it is told by unquestionable authority. Her bed was a rough board, or some knotted logs of wood. Her pillow was a bag filled with rushes or stones.

Every night she scourged her body with two small iron chains, in remembrance of the painful scourging of our Saviour, and for the conversion of sinners. When, however, her Confessor forbade her this, she, after the example of St. Catherine of Sienna, bound, three times around her body, a thin chain, which in a few weeks, had cut so deeply into the flesh that it was scarcely to be seen. Fearing that she would be compelled to reveal it, she prayed to God for help, and the chain became loose of itself. Hardly were the wounds healed, when she again wore the chain, until her Confessor, being informed of it, forbade her to do so, She then had a penitential robe made of horse-hair, which reached below her knees, and occasioned her intense suffering. She wore under her veil, in remembrance of our Saviour's crown of thorns, a crown which was studded inside with pins, and which wounded her head most painfully. To attend the better to her prayers, she loved solitude above everything.

To this end, she asked the permission of her parents to build a small cell for herself in the corner of the garden. This cell was only five feet long and four feet wide; but she lived more happily in it than many others do in royal palaces. O, how many graces she obtained from heaven in this place! How many visions she had there of St. Catherine of Sienna, her Guardian Angel, the Blessed Virgin, and even of Christ Himself! She was also frequently favored with visions in other places. The most remarkable of these was one which she had on Palm Sunday, in the chapel of the Holy Rosary, before an image of the Blessed Virgin. Rose, gazing at the picture, perceived that the Virgin Mother, as well as the divine Child, regarded her most graciously, and at last she heard distinctly from the lips of the divine Child, the words: "Rose, you shall be my spouse." Although filled with holy awe, she replied, in the words which the Blessed Virgin had spoken to the Angel: " Behold, I am a handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word." After this, the Virgin Mother said: "May you well appreciate the favor which my Son has accorded to you, dear Rose!"

I leave it to the pious reader to picture to himself the inexpressible joy which this vision gave to Rose. It served her as a most powerful incentive to the practice of all virtues. Among these virtues, surely not the least was the heroic patience which this holy virgin showed, as well in bodily suffering, as in interior, spiritual anguish. The Almighty permitted her, for fifteen years, to be daily tormented, at least, for an hour, by the most hideous imaginations, which were of such a nature, that she sometimes thought that she was in the midst of hell. She could think neither of God nor of the graces He had bestowed upon her; neither did prayer or devout reading give her any comfort. It sometimes seemed as if she had been forsaken by God. In this manner, God wished to prove and purify her virtue, as He had done in regard to many other Saints. Her patience was also most severely tried by painful diseases, as she sometimes had a combination of two or three maladies at the same time, and suffered most intensely.

During the last three years of her life, she was disabled in almost all her limbs; but her resignation to the will of God was too perfect to allow her to utter a word of complaint. All she desired and prayed for was to suffer still more for Christ's sake. She, at the same time, encouraged other sick persons, whom she served with indescribable kindness, as long as she was well. She endeavored to comfort them when it was necessary to prepare them for a happy death; for, her greatest joy was to speak of God and to lead others to Him. One day when she was greatly troubled about her salvation, Christ appeared to her and said: " My daughter, I condemn those only who will not be saved." He assured her at the same time, first, that she would go to heaven; secondly, that she never would lose His grace through mortal sin; thirdly, that divine assistance would never fail her in any emergency. God also revealed to her the day and hour of her death, which took place in her thirty-first year. After the holy sacraments had been administered to her, she begged all present to forgive her faults, and exhorted them to love God. The nearer the hour of her death approached, the greater became her joy.

Shortly before her end, she went into an ecstasy, and after it, she said to her Confessor: " Oh! how much I could tell you of the sweetness of God, and of the blissful heavenly dwelling of the Almighty!" She requested her brother to take away the pillow that had been placed under her head, that she might die on the boards, as Christ had died on the cross. When this was done, she exclaimed three times: "Jesus, Jesus, be with me!" and expired. After death, her face was so beautiful, that all who looked at her were lost in astonishment. Her funeral was most imposing. The Canons first carried the body a part of the way to the church; after them the senate, and finally, the superiors of the different orders, so great was the esteem they all entertained for her holiness. God honored her after her death, by many miracles; and Clement X. canonized her in 1671 and placed her among the number of the holy virgins.


I. Have you been able to read without astonishment the different means that St. Rose employed to give pain to her body, and constantly to mortify herself? What do you think of it? I will tell you what I think. We find in the lives of almost all the Saints, that they abstained from all worldly pleasure, and exercised themselves in voluntary penances. As, however, the people of our day will hear nothing of all this, and will live in comfort, and still think that, by avoiding all mortifications of the flesh, and by enjoying all the pleasures of the world, they will go to the same heaven into which the Saints endeavored to enter by so many voluntary austerities, I must come to the conclusion that either the Saints acted very foolishly in being so severe to themselves, or that the world of our day errs in imagining that it has found an easier way to eternal life. What do you think? Whom will you follow? The world or the Saints? Can you name to me a single one who has followed the world and yet entered the Kingdom of God? Perhaps you hope to be the first. Take care; your hope will deceive you.

II. St. Rose was assured by God that she would be saved, that she would never lose His grace, and that heavenly assistance would never fail her. Ah ! what great and priceless favors ! The chaste virgin had made herself worthy by her holy life, of these graces, as much as was in her power. Your tepid piety cannot promise you such graces; but it is your duty to pray frequently and earnestly that God may grant them to you. Pray therefore fervently and often to God that He may not condemn you, but grant you life everlasting. Pray to Him humbly, that you may never lose His grace by a mortal sin, and that He may grant you assistance in all your needs. To obtain these graces endeavor to lead a Christian life. Although this does not give you an infallible assurance of your salvation, it gives you reason to hope that you will not go to perdition. Think on Christ's words: "I condemn no one who wishes to be saved." But who is he, you perhaps ask, who will not be saved. According to the words, no one; but according to the works, many, and they are all those who become guilty of mortal sin, who continue in their iniquity, who defer their penance too long. If we voluntarily do what we know will lead us to destruction, it may in truth be said of us, that we wish to be condemned. If we do no penance, after having committed sin, it may again be said, with truth, that we wish to be condemned; because we do not make use of those means by which we may escape hell. Examine yourself and see if you do not perhaps belong to those unfortunate beings who will be condemned. If you do not desire to be one of their number, avoid sin; and if you have committed it, do penance immediately. "As often as a man becomes guilty of a mortal sin, so often does he sentence himself to eternal misery, says St. Chrysostom.


Hymn: Virginis Proles

Son of a virgin, Maker of Thy Mother,
Thou, Rod and Blossom from a Stem unstained,
While we a Virgin's triumphs are rehearsing,
Hear our petition.

Lo, on Thy handmaid fell a twofold blessing,
Who, in her body vanquishing the weakness,
In that same body, grace from heaven obtaining,
Bore the world witness.

Death, nor the rending pains of death appalled her;
Bondage and torment found her undefeated:
So by the shedding of her blood attained she
Heavenly guerdon.

Fountain of mercy, hear the prayer she offers;
Purge our offenses, pardon our transgressions,
So that hereafter we to Thee may render
Praise with thanksgiving.


Litany of St. Rose of Lima

(For private recitation only)

Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, hear us!
Christ, graciously hear us!

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us!
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us!
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us!

St. Rose of Lima, pray for us.*
Sweet-scented rose of piety and virtue,*
Servant of God perfectly united with your Master,*
Virgin espoused to God from your fifth year,*
Thorn-crowned spouse of our Divine Redeemer,*
Worthy daughter of St. Dominic,*
Faithful copy of St. Catherine of Siena,*
Lover of prayer and solitude,*
Merciful friend of the poor souls and of hardened sinners,*
Consoler of the sick and help of the needy,*
First among the saints of America,*
Powerful patroness of America,*
That we may love God with our whole heart,*
That we may fear God's chastisements,*
That by true penance, we may avert God's anger,*
That we may know and amend our faults,*
That we may take up our cross,*
That we may cheerfully endure the frailties of our neighbor,*
That we may heartily thank God for all our tribulations,*
That with our sufferings our love may increase,*
That, with contrite hearts and true devotion, we may ever prepare for Holy Communion,*
That we may not die an unprovided death,*
That we may, until death, daily increase in faith, hope, and charity,*

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us, O Lord!

V. Pray for us, St. Rose.

R. that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O dear St. Rose, by the excessive love that inundated your soul when you heard from the lips of Christ the loving words: "Rose of My heart, you shall be My spouse!"--obtain for us and for our children a true love for Jesus Christ and an ardent desire to be united with Him. May our hearts, enclosed in His Heart, seek nothing but the perfection of His virtues, the fullness of His grace, and the imitation of His example! Obtain for us patience in suffering; gentleness under offenses; humility in calumny and abuse; and in all the affairs of life a pure heart and a contented mind. Obtain for us constant and generous renunciation of our willful desires, perfect victory over evil inclination, perseverance in prayer and good works, that we may ever please our God and, in the end, attain to a share in His glory. Amen.


Mother's Prayer to Saint Rose of Lima

Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617), the first saint of the Americas, took the habit of the Third Order of Saint Dominic and remained in the world, supporting her parents and practicing extraordinary penances. Whenever possible, she retired for prayer to a little grotto which she had built. Our Lord revealed Himself to her frequently.

Saint Rose, devout Virgin, fragrant rose in the garden of God, sweetly blooming amid the thorns of distressing tribulation and severe mortification, white as snow in the immaculate innocence of your heart, glowing in the love of God that consumed you. Your devotedness to your parents was so great that you labored night and day to relieve their poverty, and most tenderly cared for them in their sickness.

Most grateful, most humble daughter, have pity on me and my children. Teach me, by conduct truly Christian, to deserve the warmhearted gratitude of my children. Teach my children to appreciate my love and the numerous sacrifices that I cheerfully make for their sake; teach them to repay the same by filial love and obedience, and chiefly by fervent prayers for me. Bless me and my entire family. May our hearts be intimately united even in adversity. Let us not place our happiness in temporal prosperity, but rather in the hope of a future, eternal blessedness. Pray, likewise, O sainted patroness of America, for all Christian mothers in particular, that Christian life and sentiments may everywhere be awakened among them. May these sentiments spread far and wide, uniting all families into the one great family of God, in which Jesus Christ may live and rule with God the Father and the Holy Ghost. Amen.


Prayer to St. Rose as your Patron Saint

Saint Rose, whom I have chosen as my special patron, pray for me that I, too, may one day glorify the Blessed Trinity in heaven. Obtain for me your lively faith, that I may consider all persons, things, and events in the light of almighty God. Pray, that I may be generous in making sacrifices of temporal things to promote my eternal interests, as you so wisely did.

Set me on fire with a love for Jesus, that I may thirst for His sacraments and burn with zeal for the spread of His kingdom. By your powerful intercession, help me in the performance of my duties to God, myself and all the world.

Win for me the virtue of purity and a great confidence in the Blessed Virgin. Protect me this day, and every day of my life. Keep me from mortal sin. Obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Amen

Catholic Book:

St. Rose of Lima: The Flower of the New World