Today, august 30, Peru (and surely many other countries) celebrate the festivity of Santa Rosa de Lima. I remember 10 years ago I was at the sanctuary of Santa Rosa, along with my whole school, to attend a mass in her honor. I don’t remember if I was ok with that or hoped (as most of my classmates) the celebration finished quickly.
That’s one of the memories I have about Santa Rosa, going every year to the sanctuary. Another is an old nun singing a song in her honor in a squeaky voice when I was in elementary school.
As you can notice, children are taught to revere these saint figures since they are very young. No wonder some adults keep revering those figures. I think part of the fascination one feels about it are the miracles that those saints supposedly did.
One of the miracles Santa Rosa is credited for is praying for the corsair Jorge Spilbergen not to attack Lima. Well, thanks to El Utero de Marita and Amautacuna de la Historia, that miracle has been busted.
From Amautacuna de la Historia:
When the corsair Spilbergen, a Calvinist, arrived to Callao (the principal port in Peru, very near Lima, the capital) everywhere in Lima was the rumor that his men would enter the Santo Domingo Convent to desecrate the Sacrament in the Altar. When Santa Rosa heard that, she run to the temple and “climbed up the altar to protect the eucharist with her own body”, eager to die defending it. At the same time she prayed to the Virgen del Rosario to protect the city
Being a corsair, I’m sure Spilbergen had better things to do than going to a church and desecrate whatever was there. His men might have had a good time with 29 year-old Rosa, but that’s just my speculation. After all, they weren’t pirates.
Coincidently, Spilbergen did not disembarked in Callao, neither attacked Lima; he went to Paita and Acapulco and then to Molucas and never came back. The people from Lima attributed their salvation to Santa Rosa de Lima and to this day many remember the episode as one of her principal miracles.
However, checking some books, I found some facts that allow us to understand better why Lima was not attacked that Tuesday, July 21, 1615:
- In the Cerro Azul combat, Spilbergen lost a ship and other 5 were left very damaged
- In that same combat, the corsair lost 25% of his men.
- When Spilbergen arrived to Callao and commanded the disembarkment, his ships were attacked by a canon that protected the port.
- Spilbergen only had 300 men and did not
IN OTHER WORDS, Lima was NOT SAVED because Santa Rosa’s prayers (as if prayer ever worked), but because a particular reason.
On a certain way is understandable that people pray when they have no other options and all hope is lost. But those prayers won’t change anything. Your beloved ones may be dying and you can gather the entire town to pray, but that won’t work. Sorry, that’s how it is. Santa Rosa may have prayed all she wanted, but she doesn’t deserve any credit for Lima no being invaded.