By R. W. Millar The Rose and the Lily. The story of two South American Saints, by Frances Parkinson
Keyes (Peter Davies. Illustrated. 30s.).
IN a street in Lima, near the
house of St. Rose's parents, lived a small mulatto. Martin de Portis. It is improbable that they knew him, but the year in which he has been canonised is a most apt occasion for reading this rich and delightful book, a much needed tribute to a Chris
tian civilisation which has been ignored or maligned.
English people. even Catholics, are, in the main, deplorably ignorant of the culture of the former Spanish colonies of South America. For this reason alone. a warm welcome is extended to The Rose and the Lily, an account of the lives and backgrounds of St. Rose of Lima and St. Mariana of Peru.
There are other reasons for recommending the book. One is that it is written by Frances Parkinson Keyes with all the warmth and human sympathy characteristic of this gifted novelist, whose power of assimilating historical background and presenting it with details that bring it
instantly alive is, in her own genre. unsurpassed.
BOTH saints lived within a few years of each other. St. Rose of Lima. so famous for her charity that " the poor called her their mother ". 'had mystical gifts of a high order, a small human characteristic which endears her to us is her great love of flowers and gardens.
St. Mariana exemplified the austere heroic side of the Spanish character: she lived in times of disaster arid she offered her life as a sacrifice " in defence of her country, her compatriots and her kindred ". When she died, in 1645 at the age of twenty-six, her confessor. Hernando de la Cruz, said: " We have a new advocate in heaven, for Mariana is already there ".