LIMA – Thousands of devotees of St. Rose of Lima, patron saint of Peru, took part on Tuesday in celebrations beginning the jubilee year honoring the 400th anniversary of her death with a massively attended Mass and a procession to her sanctuary, where the faithful dropped their prayers in the wishing well.
The celebrations, organized by the archbishop of Lima, paid tribute to the first saint of the Americas, canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671 after a life dedicated to God, from her birth in Lima in 1586 to her death in 1617 at the age of 31 in the same city.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski headed the list of authorities who attended the tribute, offered by the cardinal and archbishop of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani, in the main square of Peru’s capital.
Kuczynski thought Cipriani’s sermon was “very conciliatory” after the cardinal’s description last week of the president’s female ministers as “smart alecks” for urging the Peruvian government to resume the free distribution of emergency oral contraceptives, better known as the day-after pill.
Cipriani lauded St. Rose for her “simple, austere life, her sweet nature, courageous speech and her apostolate among the poor and the sick.”
The Mass was said before the relics of the saint that were brought this Monday from the Convent of St. Dominic, to which they were returned after the ritual procession through the historic colonial streets of downtown Lima over carpets of flowers.
The procession passed in front of the St. Rose of Lima sanctuary, where from early in the morning thousands of the faithful gathered to leave their letters and notes full of prayers in the wishing well.
Tradition has it that St. Rose threw into this 19-meter-deep (62-foot-deep) well the keys of the haircloth she wore on one leg as an act of devotion.
The director of Citizen Security of the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima, or MML, Abdul Mirando, estimates that around 25,000 people will visit the sanctuary of St. Rose of Lima this Tuesday.