Today is celebrated the day of Saint Rose of Lima, the holy patron of Peru, America, and the Philippines. For this day her image will go out in procession throughout the country. In Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, a great majority of devotees will accompany her image in its rounds while other contemplate her step with prayers and songs from the sidelines.
She who was canonized as Saint Rose of Lima was born Isabel Flores de Oliva on the 30th of April near the hospital of the Holy Spirit in the city of Lima which was then the capital of the Viceroyality of Peru. It is known that at the end of her life she fell gravely ill and spent the last three months of her life in the home of Gonzalo de la Meza, a recognized accountant of the viceregal government. All of his family came to have particular love and appreciation for her. Today his home is considered the monastery of St. Rose of Lima. She died at thirty years of age on the 24th of August of 1617. Since then, every year, people have remembered that day as the Day of Saint Rose of Lima.
As part of the activities in honor of the 400th anniversary of her death, according to the Archbishop of Lima, the image of Peru’s first saint to be recognized and canonized by the Catholic Church will go out in procession and will advance in the company of the National Police, the students of the Santa Rosa Women’s school, and other institutions that proclaim her as their patron in Cusco.
Cusco’s central square is dressed in color and devotion, though you also see the same devotion in the city’s neighborhoods and streets that take the name of the saint. There will be crowds in these places. You will hear prayers and songs around the image while will be illuminated by white candles. By day and by night the sky will be filled with fireworks and rockets.
In all the cities of Peru and in the different countries where the saint’s devotees arrive and live the image of this Peruvian saint will be feted today.