Rose of Lima (1586–1617), born Isabel de Flores to a Creole family, was the first saint to be canonized in the New World. Less than a century after her death, she was named the patron saint of Peru in 1669. Rosa's short and virtuous life was extolled in sermons and poems like the one excerpted here.

Luis Antonio Oviedo y Herrera's poem, published in 1711, diverges from the normal saintly biography. It surveys the entire 16th–century history of Peru, casting it as an epic battle between good, represented by Spaniards in the New World, and evil, embodied by the devil, Atawalpa (the last Inka emperor), Sir Francis Drake (the English pirate), and lastly, Admiral Joris von Spillbergen, whose Dutch fleet attacked Lima's coast during Rosa's lifetime. According to Rosa's biographers, she miraculously repelled von Spillbergen's forces and saved her city.
Visual Culture
In capturing the saintly virtues Rosa was held to have, even as a very young child, this poem shows how "ideal models" were held out for girls and women. These verses capture the child Rosa: deeply faithful, although unschooled, eschewing worldly toys in favor of religious prints, rosaries and crucifixes. The poem thus reveals the kind of visual objects that inspired religious devotion, objects that had wide circulation among all social classes in Spanish America. In addition, images of Rosa herself also enjoyed wide circulation, like the one created as the frontispiece of the book. This engraving, "Saint Rose of Lima," can be seen in the Vistas Gallery.

As a young woman, Rosa would become a tertiary of St. Dominic, wearing a habit, professing virginity, poverty and abstemiousness, but living at home with her family. She neatly combined the two cardinal roles for women: nun and family member.

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