23 August 2021

Sta. Rosa de Lima | Unknown artist | Undated |Oil on canvas| UST-H-00046

Today August 23, 2021, we commemorate the feast day of St. Rose of Lima. She is the patron saint of florists, gardeners, and embroiders.

Born in Lima, Peru, in 1586 of Spanish descent, “Isabel” lived a life of piety and dedicated herself to prayer and contemplation. She was later called “Rosa” by her mother due to her extraordinary beauty; also, during her infancy, it was said that a rose appeared and descended on her crib and brushed the infant’s cheek. She was associated with the name “Rosa” ever since.

During her early years, she learned of St. Catherine of Siena, which she chose as her role model, leading her into a life of purity, austerity, and eventually ascetism. These actions came with resistance and disapproval from her parents as they wanted Rosa to marry. Eventually, Rosa continued with his strict observance of her spirituality, joining the Third Order of the Dominicans and living in seclusion in a hut situated at the garden of their residence.

On August 24, 1617, Rosa died and was beatified in 1668; proclaimed patron of America and Filipinas by Clement X in 1670; canonized in 1671, sixty years after the foundation of the University of Santo Tomas.

The UST Museum Collection houses artworks depicting Sta. Rosa de Lima and the following attributes were observed:

Crown of thorns or roses - The crown symbolizes royalty and victory over sin and death. Thorns in the crown represent grief, tribulation, and sin. The flowers present on the crown are representations of victory, pride, and triumphant love. The white roses on the portrait of St. Rose symbolize her purity.

Crucifix – The crucifix is a representation of Christ on the cross. Representative of the life St. Rosa chose to live. A life of purity, chastity giving utmost importance to spiritual life – A life dedicated to Christ.

Infant Christ – This symbolizes one of the instances that the Christ Child has appeared to Rosa while she was reading or praying.

Sta. Rosa De Lima

Unknown artist


Oil on Canvas



Encyclopedia Britannica. (2021, August 20). St. Rose of Lima. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Rose-of-Lima

Ferguson, G. (1961). Signs and Symbols in Christian Art. New York: Oxford University Press.

Jose, R. T. (2007). The Saints in the processions of La Naval de Manila. In D. P. Philippines, Saga of La Naval : triumph of a people's faith. Quezon City: Dominican Province of the Philippines.

Suarez, A. (2016, August 24). Who Is St. Rose of Lima? 8 Facts About Patron Saint of Peru And Latin America. Retrieved from International Business Times: https://www.ibtimes.com/who-st-rose-lima-8-facts-about-patron-saint-peru-latin-america-2405949