Colegio de Santa Rosa is one of the two remaining original schools in Intramuros (Colegio de San Juan de Letran is the other). The school was founded by Mother Paula de la Santissima Trinidad in 1750 and it served as an orphanage for girls. It was originally called Beaterio y Casa Ensenanza. The school was later dedicated to the saint from Peru, Santa Rosa de Lima.
A popular story in pre-war Manila was the legend of the twisted sword which was attributed as a miracle from the convent’s patroness. The story goes that when the British invaded the city in 1762, Mother Paula assured the beatas of protection from Santa Rosa. A group of British soldiers barged into the convent and one of them attempted to rape a beata. The woman fought hard forcing the soldier to draw his sword to kill her. Suddenly, the sword was taken away from the soldier and the blade was twisted and bent, how the witnesses described to be “by the unseen hands.” The frightened soldiers fled off the convent leaving the sword behind.
It has been said that the sword was exhibited in the convent to remind the beatas of Sta. Rosa’s protection until the building was destroyed during World War II.