The Rose of Lima
The Rose of Tralee International Festival is a week long festival and is one of Ireland's largest and longest running festivals. It is based around the selection of the Rose of Tralee, an international event that encompasses young women of Irish descent from Ireland and around the world. People sometimes ask if the Rose of Tralee Festival is a beauty pageant. As their website states, “The Rose of Tralee Festival is a multifaceted event that celebrates the many attributes of modern young Irish women.”
When we were younger, we all wanted to be a ‘Rose’, to dress up in a beautiful dress and share our story with the world. It was the time to celebrate being Irish and to let one’s personality shine through, to share a gift or a talent. It also meant that the school holidays were coming to an end and I have memories of watching the Rose of Tralee with my sisters as my Mam ‘wallpapered’ our schoolbooks.
It's fitting that today we celebrate the liturgical memorial of Saint Rose of Lima, a great friend of the Dominican Family and many others as she is the patroness of Latin America and the Philippines. Her original name was Isabel, but apparently she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose, and that name remained. As she grew older, she became more and more beautiful, and one day, her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show her off to friends. But Rose had no desire to be admired, for her heart had been given to Jesus. So we're told that she put a long pin into that wreath and it pierced her so deeply and that is why she is often depicted with a wound on her head. As a young girl, she took St. Catherine of Siena as a model. When she was admired for her beauty, Rose cut off her hair and smeared pepper on her face, upset that suitors were beginning to take notice of her. She wanted to become a nun, but her father forbade it, so she instead entered the Third Order of St. Dominic while living in her parents' home. In her twentieth year she donned the habit of a tertiary and took a vow of perpetual virginity. She lived a further eleven years demonstrating a profound life of prayer and offering. She was an artist who wrote poetry, sang songs, played the guitar and embroidered. Who knows, if the Disciples of the Divine Master were around in the 1600's, maybe Rose would have been a PDDM! She also raised flowers to support her family and medicinal herbs to cure the poor and sick people of Lima. Rose was a friend of St. Martin de Porres and, like Martin, helped to bring healing among peoples of different races. She died in 1617 at the young age of thirty-one and was the first saint from the Americas to be canonized. It wasn’t long before many miracles were attributed to her intercession.
|The Roses visit our Athlone convent|
The girls toured Ireland to meet nuns from ten different orders who showed them around their home, shared the story of their founders and foundresses, the saints that inspired them and their unique charism. They listened to their personal testimonies and learned how they spend their time. It was such a blessed time and the young women involved with the Tour continue to share the beauty of who they are as children of God with so many people.
This past week in Ireland, we celebrated the feast of our Lady of Knock, fondly known as the Golden Rose of Ireland. In this apparition in Knock, Mary does not speak, her message was a silent one but she pointed to the Lamb of God. This year, over 250,000 people were drawn to the shrine of Knock for prayer and pilgrimage and Marian devotion. Mary, Queen of Knock keeps her mantle of motherly love over all of us. Mary’s ‘YES’ continues to ripple down throughout the centuries.
|Rose from convent garden |
in Dublin (Photo-LOR)