Each year on August 23rd millions gather around the world to remember Santa Rosa – the patron Saint of Peru and the New World (The Americas and the Philippines), and the Indigenous natives of Latin America. In Peru and other Latin American countries, she is honoured by a National Holiday on August 30th. On this day in Lima parades will take place with many people dropping a letter of goodwill into the well that was made famous by Santa Rosa.
Rosa dedicated her life to God from a young age and she was confirmed by Lima’s Archbishop Toribio de Mongrovejo. Throughout her life she showed her devotion by consistently doing charitable works, from caring for the sick and hungry to creating and selling fine lace and embroidery. She used this money to help support her family and the poor, whom she often brought to her hut, located in her family garden and care for them.
As a teenager Rosa attempted to join the Santa Clara monastery, but was disallowed as she could not pay the required dowry. After this she chose to continue devoting her life to God, spending her days praying, caring for the homeless, children, the sick and the poor and completing charity work and much more. It was this hard work that made the Dominican Order take note of her, and allow her entry to the prestigious Third Order with payment. Here she continued the extreme religious practices she was used to, surviving on bread and water to which she occasionally added fresh herbs and natural juices, all grown in her garden.
Approximately 50 years after her death, in 1617, Santa Rosa was beatified by Pope Clement IX and four years later she was canonised as the first Saint in the New World by Pope Clement X. Due to her selflessness and devotion to God she is still celebrated throughout Peru and other Latin American countries to this day.