St Rose of Lima Teaches Us to Remove Vanity from our Lives
St Rose of Lima was born in Lima Peru in the 16th Century. From a young age, this Saint wanted to emulate St Catherine of Siena and began to practice extreme asceticism to the chagrin of her parents who wanted to marry off this beautiful young girl. To stave off any suitors, she smeared pepper on her face.
The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that
After reading of St. Catherine she determined to take that saint as her model. She began by fasting three times a week, adding secret severe penances, and when her vanity was assailed, cutting off her beautiful hair, wearing coarse clothing, and roughening her hands with toil. All this time she had to struggle against the objections of her friends, the ridicule of her family, and the censure of her parents. Many hours were spent before the Blessed Sacrament, which she received daily.
She wanted to become a Dominican nun but since her father begged her not to, out of obedience, she became a Dominican tertiary instead. She received the third-order at the age of twenty and also took a perpetual vow of virginity.
St Rose of Lima spent all her time in her room leaving only to visit the Church and to visit the sick. She wore a painful, heavy crown made of silver and small spikes.
At the age of 30, she died. She was beatified by Pope Clement IX on April 15, 1667, and canonized on April 12, 1671, by Pope Clement X.
What does St Rose of Lima teach us? Like the earlier Saints, her life was a life dedicated to God. She made embroidery and sold the embroidery to help support her family and the poor. She was selfless and devoid of vanity.
No one is recommending that we scar ourselves to remove any signs of physical beauty. But we need to remove any sort of vanity associated with our physical appearance. We need to remove any impediments that threaten our relationship with God. Sometimes that means disengaging ourselves from a romantic relationship that has an improper place in our lives. Sometimes it means putting our relationships with our families in the proper place.
Happy Feast Day of St Rose of Lima!