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April 6

St Juliana of Mont Cornillon - April 6

Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon

“Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament”

(Around 1192 – 1258)

“She is little known but the Church is deeply indebted to her, not only because of the holiness of her life but also because, with her great fervor, she contributed to the institution of one of the most important solemn Liturgies of the year: Corpus Christi.”

Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon recognized by Pope Benedict XVI’s quote on November 17, 2010

Her Life

Juliana was born in born at Retinnes, near Liège, Flanders, Belgium around 1192. At the age of five, she and her twin sister, Agnes, were orphaned. They were both raised by Norbertines nuns, the French Augustinian canons at the convent of Mount Cornillon, right outside of Liège. Agnes seems to have died young, as there is no further mention of her in the archives.

Juliana became so learned that she could read the words of the Church Fathers, of St Augustine and St Bernard in particular, in Latin. She also cultivated an ardent love of the Blessed Virgin, the Sacred Passion, and especially the Blessed Sacrament. Juliana was taught mainly by a sister called “Sapienza” [wisdom], who was in charge of her spiritual development.

A Nun Devoted to the Sick

In 1206, Juliana received the veil becoming an Augustinian nun. She devoted herself to the sick in the covent’s hospital and worked for many years in its leprosarium.  Very early, she exerted every energy to introduce the feast of Corpus Christi.

Visions for the Feast of Corpus Christi

When Juliana was 16, she had her first vision which recurred subsequently several times during her Eucharistic adoration. These visions from Christ were of the full moon obscured by a dark spot. At first, Juliana feared that her visions were of demonic origin. Instead, Juliana came to discern that the moon represented the Church’s liturgical year, and the dark spot was a missing feast in honor of Christ present in the Sacrament. Based on this, she promoted the additional of what became the feast of Corpus Christi.

Trials as a Prioress

In 1230, Juliana was chosen prioress by the unanimous vote of her community. But, soon God sent heavy trials. She had instituted reforms to bring the monastery back to its strict Augustinian rule.  However, the male cleric appointed to oversee her — a corrupt politician who had obtained his position by bribery — made her life so miserable with constant harassment and trumped-up charges of financial mismanagement of hospital funds. So, Juliana twice fled her convent.

The first time Juliana fled and found shelter in the cell of anchoress Blessed Eve of Li, and then to a house given her by John, a canon of Lausanne.  An investigation by Robert de Thorate, Bishop of Liège, exonerated Juliana. Then, she was restored to her position in the community.

But, in 1247, this cleric, Roger, was again in power. Again, he succeeded once more in driving out Juliana. This second time, for ten years from 1248-1258, she found refuge among the Cistercian monasteries at Robermont, Val-Benoit, and Val-Notre-Dame. Then, Juliana found refuge as a secluded anchoress at Fosses-la-Ville, in the county of Namur, France.

Her Death

Juliana died on April 5, 1258 in Fosses-la-Ville, Namur, France of natural causes. At her own request, Juliana was buried at Villiers, France. After her death a number of miracles occurred at her intercession.  Juliana is represented in art as an Augustinian nun holding a monstrance.

Push for the Feast of Corpus Christi

After Juliana’s death, the movement for the establishment of Corpus Christi as a universal feast was carried on by her friend Eve. The office for the feast was later written by Saint Thomas Aquinas, and was sanctioned for the whole Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. Pope John XXII made the feast mandatory in the Roman Church in 1312. Since then the Feast experienced a wonderful development and is still deeply appreciated by the Christian people.

Born :                   Around 1192 in Retinnes (near Liège), Flanders, Belgium

Died:                    April 5, 1258 (Feast Day – Apr 6) in Fosses-la-Ville, Namur, Belgium

Beatified:            Unknown

Canonized:         1869 by Pope Pius IX

Feast Day:          April 6

Patron Saint:     Devotion to Blessed Sacrament

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon’s life highlights the significance of following one’s personal vocation and convictions. Despite facing challenges and opposition, she remained steadfast in her belief in the need for a feast dedicated to the Eucharist. Her dedication to her vision ultimately had a lasting impact on the Church.

How can you follow your convictions today? While you may not create a new feast celebrated by the Catholic Church like Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon, you may never know how your dedication to your conviction leaves a lasting impact on whom you encounter today.

Prayers

Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon, your deep and abiding love for the Blessed Eucharist inspired the establishment of the Feast of Corpus Christ.

Please intercede on my behalf before our Heavenly Father. Inspire me to deepen my love for the Body and Blood of Christ, so that I may always recognize the real presence of Christ in the Holy Communion. And lead me to a more profound understanding of the mysteries of our faith.

 

Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

All Saints & Martyrs – Blessed Juliana of Mont Cornillon – Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament

Catholic Exchange – Miraculous Origin of Corpus Christi by Fr Roger Landry

Catholic News Agency – Pope praises St. Juliana, visionary devotee of the Eucharist

CatholicSaints.Info – Blessed Juliana of Mont Cornillon

CatholicSaints.Info – General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI, 17 November 2010 – Saint Juliana of Cornillon

New Advent – Mershman, F. (1910) St. Juliana of Liège. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Sanctoral – Saint Juliana of Mt. Cornillon Virgin (1193-1258)

Zenit – St. Juliana: the Nun Who Gave Us the Feast of Corpus Christi

Video Link

St Julianna & the Feast of Corpus Christi – YouTube (Sensus Fidelium)