Butler/Lives of the Saints with Daily Reflections/St. Rose of Lima
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August 30.—ST. ROSE OF LIMA.
THIS lovely flower of sanctity, the first canonized Saint of the New World, was born at lima in 1586. She was christened Isabel, but the beauty of her infant face earned for her the title of Rose, which she ever after bore. As a child, while still in the cradle, her silence under a painful surgical operation proved the thirst for suffering already consuming her heart. At an early age she took service to support her impoverished parents, and worked for them day and night. In spite of hardships and austerities her beauty ripened with increasing age, and she was much and openly admired. From fear of vanity she cut off her hair, blistered her face with pepper and her hands with lime. For further security she enrolled herself in the Third Order of St. Dominic, took St. Catherine of Siena as her model, and redoubled her penance. Her cell was a garden hut, her couch a box of broken tiles. Under her habit Rose wore a hair-shirt studded with iron nails, while, concealed by her veil, a silver crown armed with ninety points encircled her head. More than once, when she shuddered at the prospect of a night of torture, a voice said, "My cross was yet more painful." The Blessed Sacrament seemed almost her only food. Her love for it was intense. When the Dutch fleet prepared to attack the town. Rose took her place before the tabernacle, and wept that she was not worthy to die in its defence. All her sufferings were offered for the conversion of sinners, and the thought of the multitudes in hell was ever before her soul. She died in 1617, at the age of thirty-one.
Reflection.— Rose, pure as driven snow, was filled with deepest contrition and humility, and did constant and terrible penance. Our sins are continual, our repentance passing, our contrition slight, our penance nothing. How will it fare with us?
ST. FIAKER, Anchorite.
ST. FIAKER was nobly born in Ireland, and had his education under the care of a bishop of eminent sanctity who was, according to some, Conan, Bishop of Soder or the Western Islands. Looking upon all worldly advantages as dross, he left his country and friends in the flower of his age, and with certain pious companions sailed over to France, in quest of some solitude in which he might devote himself to God, unknown to the rest of the world. Divine Providence conducted him to St. Faro, who was the Bishop of Meaux, and eminent for sanctity. When St. Fiaker addressed himself to him, the prelate, charmed with the marks of extraordinary virtue and abilities which he discovered in this stranger, gave him a solitary dwelling in a forest called Breuil which was his own patrimony, two leagues from Meaux. In this place the holy anchorite cleared the ground of trees and briers, made himself a cell, with a small garden, and built an oratory in honor of the Blessed Virgin, in which he spent a great part of the days and nights in devout prayer. He tilled his garden and labored with his own hands for his subsistence. The life he led was most austere, and only necessity or charity ever interrupted his exercises of prayer and heavenly contemplation. Many resorted to him for advice, and the poor for relief. But, following an inviolable rule among the Irish monks, he never suffered any woman to enter the enclosure of his hermitage. St. Chillen, or Kilian, an Irishman of high birth, on his return from Rome, visited St. Fiaker, who was his kinsman, and having passed some time under his discipline, was directed by his advice, with the authority of the bishops, to preach in that and the neighboring dioceses. This commission he executed with admirable sanctity and fruit. St. Fiaker died about the year 670, on the 30th of August.
Reflection.— Ye who love indolence, ponder well these words of St. Paul: "If any man will not work, neither let him eat"