THE ROSES OF ST ROSE
 ST ROSE was born in Lima, at the end of the sixteenth century, of rich and honoured parents. At
her christening she was named Isabel, but, as she lay so rose-leaf fair in her cradle, her
mother, calling her "my rose," renamed her.
She grew up beautiful as the day, but from childhood her hatred of vanity was as
remarkable as her beauty, as also was the severity with which she ruled herself. For food
she chose herbs bitter as wormwood, for bed she took the hard ground. When her mother bade
her wear roses in her hair to enhance her loveliness—for her skin rivaled the roses
in its brilliance and delicacy—she so arranged the wreath that it became a crown of
thorns, which kept her constantly reminded of her Saviour's sufferings.
In vain a host of suitors sighed for her hand; she would listen to no word of love, and
when their pleadings and her parents' importunities had become insistent, she disfigured
her too charming visage by the application of a mixture of pepper and quick-lime.
She early took the habit of the Third Order of St Dominic, and after this her life became
one long chapter of patient service and filial devotion, for her parents became poor and
she toiled early and late to provide for them. All day she worked in her garden, and all
night she plied her needle. Throughout these hardships, uncomplainingly borne, she was
upheld and strengthened by ecstatic visions and visitations; the Infant Jesus was with her
among the roses of her garden, His Blessed
 Mother was her companion during the watches of the night.
Hearing of these wonders, doctors and divines questioned and examined her to discover if
she were sane or mad, but she stood their tests in such wise that they decided that her
visions were from God.
She died after a long illness when she was thirty-one years old.
Then it was that the people of Peru realized that in very truth a Saint had dwelt among
them, and many years after her death a company of devout believers in the holy maid's
sanctity sailed for Rome to entreat Pope Clement X to canonize their cherished compatriot.
The Pope listened sceptically to the one hundred and eighty who bore witness to the
wonders performed both before and after her death by their candidate for canonization. It
may be that he was not convinced that what he heard fulfilled the requirements; perhaps he
did not discern among Rose's achievements the three miracles of the first magnitude of
which he must have proof; mayhap he found in the annals but two! At all events he finally
summed up his general unbelief in the fitness of one who had lived away off there in the
outland of the Western hemisphere, . . . in the Indies . . . in the wilds . . . in the
unknown . . . in one exclamation: "India and Saint! As likely as that it should rain
No sooner had the words left his lips than a heavenly fragrance filled the air, heralding
the fall of a shower of roses—they had far to come from the heavens, and their
perfume preceded them.
And then came the flowers, thick and fast and soft and sweet. Both the puzzled Pontiff and
the enraptured witnesses were filled with wonder at the marvel. Down they came—red
and white—the roses of Paradise—emblems of love and purity—covering the
floor of the
 Vatican with an ever deepening carpet of velvety petals.
Not at once could Clement bring himself to yield his point, but as long as he hesitated,
just so long the shower continued. At last, seeing no other way to stop the gentle
insistence of the perfumed flood, the Pope acknowledged his incredulity mistaken, and
confessed himself convinced.
Thus we of the Western world came by our one ewe-lamb, St Rose of Lima!
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