These images portray St Rose of Lima and, again, are all from churches in Oaxaca.
|Capulalpan, St Rose (Felipe Falcón)|
Rose seems to have taken for her model St. Catherine of Siena. She donned the habit and took a vow of perpetual virginity. For many years Rose lived almost as a recluse, indulging in extreme forms of penitence and mortification of the flesh. These led to visions, revelations, visitations and, as she thought, voices from God.
But Rose was not wholly detached from the everyday world of Peru around her. Her awareness of the suffering of others led her to speak out publicly against the abusive practices of the Spanish colonial overlords. She brought the sick and hungry into her home, inspiring devotion among the poor inhabitants of Lima.
Due in part to the rigors of her ascetic life, she died on August 25, 1617, at the early age of thirty-one, deeply venerated by the common people. She was laid to rest in the Dominican convent at Lima and, as time went on, miracles and cures were attributed to her intervention.
Finally she was canonized by Pope Clement in 1671 and today is honored in all Spanish-American countries.
St. Rose in OaxacaIn colonial times, as a trading partner and principal entry point for trade goods, Oaxaca enjoyed close ties with Peru. As a Dominican and a new American saint, St. Rose became a favorite in Oaxaca, appearing frequently in the Dominican churches and missions of the region.
|Oaxaca cathedral, south facade|
|Basilica de La Soledad, facade|
She is also usually shown wearing the Dominican habit and a Rosary—another reminder both of her name and her link to this quintessentially Dominican devotion.
Her portraits in Oaxaca have a distinctive look and often include other attributes, notably an anchor and a city—the former holding the latter. This commemorates one of her miracles, in which she reputedly saved Callao, the port city of Lima, from a disastrous earthquake.
|Santa Ana Zegache|
text © 2012 Richard D. Perry; photography: Richard D. Perry; Felipe Falcón & Richard Stracke.
All rights reserved
For more on the colonial churches of Oaxaca and their santos, consult our regional guidebook
and the Stracke website