I’m always trying to find new ways to teach my children about the saints, especially the less popular saints. The majority of activities for the saints are geared toward older kids and we’re on short supply of those around here! Theology lessons have to be boiled down to pictures, quick activities and food in most cases. I spent the last week or so working out a lesson on St. Rose of Lima whose optional feast day is August 23rd.
St. Rose’s real name was Isabel. I love that because when I was in college one of our spiritual leaders had the most beautiful little girl names Isabel and they called her Isa. I’m telling you she was gorgeous, which would be appropriate because it is said that St. Rose’s face was so beautiful that they called her Rose as a nickname and it stuck.
She was known for her dedication to Christ, but she didn’t get a lot of support from her family. Even though they didn’t support her, when times got tough she worked all day in the garden and sewed all night to make ends meet. It is said that her embroidery and lace was the most beautiful handiwork. Still, her parents refused to let her enter a convent. Instead she lived her life of Christ at home in solitude.
She was said to have lived the utmost simple life, emptying herself of everything in order to be filled only with Christ. Some accounts of her life say that she rubbed pepper all over her face to keep her beauty from being a distraction and that she ate no meat and sparse portions.
Toward the end of her life she opened one of the rooms in their home to care for orphaned children, elderly and the sick. It was the beginning of social services in Peru. She died at the age of 31.
St. Rose of Lima loved God so deeply that she endured family pressure and societal ridicule for her love. Her commitment and discipline made way for Christ to enter her fully and completely. For her brave and loving actions, she was made the first canonized saint of the Americas.
We may not be called to the extreme forms of discipline St. Rose chose, but what are we willing to give up to allow Christ to enter us more fully? St. John the Baptist says in the Gospel of John (3:30) “He must increase; I must decrease.” In a world filled with temptation and desire, filled with toys and treats, filled with instant gratification and personal achievement, what discipline will you choose?
St. Rose was from Lima, Peru. Peru is one of the birthplaces of the potato and to this day has some of the finest potatoes in the Americas as well as the greatest variety. Below you will find a recipe for a simple soup. While it is said that St. Rose was likely a vegetarian, I do include a meat in the soup because that is just who we are as a family.
Because it is a hot preparation, have the kids help you get your “mise en place” or ingredients in order ahead of time while you teach about St. Rose. This is also helpful for short attention spans. While the potatoes are boiling, here are my favorite instructions for folding a cloth napkin into a rose, though I imagine you could also do it with a good paper napkin. Simple, easy and the perfect base for your bowls of soup.
St. Rose Sausage and Potato Soup – Makes 6-8 healthy servings
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- A few flakes of red pepper, adjust to taste (in honor of St. Rose’s desire to show everyone that her surface beauty didn’t matter)
- 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 medium potatoes, any color but I love red (in honor of St. Rose’s homeland)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 lb turkey or pork sausage, I prefer a mix, cooked off and drained
- 1 cup of greens, I prefer kale, but collards would work too (in honor of St. Rose’s gifts in the garde and they are just such a beautiful, healthy, bright green!)
Add 1 tbsp of oil to a skillet with the garlic and red pepper flakes. Heat until fragrant. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and onions. After 10 minutes, add the meat. After another 5 minutes add the greens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add a little shot of cream to bowls when I serve them. Serve with crusty bread.
If you’re like our family and soup is a messy proposal for your youngest members, consider adding some instant potato flakes or baby rice cereal. It thickens it up just enough for them to get it stable on their spoons. If you’re one of those families that needs to stretch recipes for cost efficiency or extra people you can add a colorful pasta or a white bean to the soup.
Amberly Boerschinger is now officially, primarily a wife and mother working only 3 days out of 7 at a local parish. If this post isn’t proof, she loves the late-summer/fall harvest and is currently blogging it at Woman at the Inkwell. She is also a national speaker and teacher specializing in women’s spirituality.