Lima in Peru was one of the great cities of the old Spanish Colonial Empire in the Americas. Not surprisingly, it is home to many old and beautiful churches. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Lima was also home to a woman named Rose, the first Catholic saint to be born in the New World. The site of her tomb in the city’s Convent of St. Dominic became one of the first major places of Catholic veneration in the Americas. It remains to this day the most popular Christian site in Lima, and the most sacred Catholic sites on the west coast of South America. The Convent of St. Dominic is part of the Historic Center of Lima UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Isabel Flores de Oliva was born in Lima in 1586. Her nickname, Rosa, was attributed to a miraculous vision of Isabel’s head in the form of a rose by one of her family’s servants. This later became her confirmation name. Rosa became a devout Catholic at a very early age, and by her teens was determined to lead a life of the Spirit. Her early endeavors included extreme fasting, abstention from meat, and to a lesser extent, self-disfigurement that included head shaving. In later years she also became a recluse, confining herself to cave where she regularly resided.
Her efforts attracted the attention of the local Dominican convent, who invited her to join without a family donation. Throughout her life, both before and after taking her vows, Rosa became famous throughout Lima for her acts of charity. She sold her own hand-made embroidery and home-grown flowers to raise money for her family and for the poor of Lima. By the time of her death in 1617, she had become a beloved daughter of the Spanish colonies. She was buried in the convent, along with Toribio de Mogrovejo and Martin de Porres, all three of whom would eventually be recognized as saints.
During the Colonial Era, Spain made Lima into the religious center of the Pacfic Coast of South America. The old city center was adorned with some of the largest early churches and monasteries in the New World. The Convent of St. Dominic was one of the first of these. Established by Dominican monks in the late 16th century, it was for many years the most important Catholic site in the city after the Cathedral.
The Convent of St. Dominic, later also refered to as the Convent of Santa Rosa, rose to prominence when it became associated with the life of Rose of Lima. After her death, Lima’s Convent of St. Dominic became the pre-eminent Catholic pilgrimage shrine in South America, and remains one of that continent’s most important Christian sites to the present day.
The Convent of St. Dominic is located a few blocks northwest of the city center of Lima. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.visitperu.com (official tourism website of Peru)
Lima is one of the great church cities of South America, with many historic sites dating from the Spanish Colonial period. Highlights in the historic center include the Cathedral of Lima and the Monastery of San Francisco. The city’s Sanctuary of the Nazarene is home to one of Latin America’s most famous piece of Christian art, the Lord of Miracles, which was painted by a slave in the 1600s.