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April 14

St Lydwina of Schiedam - April 14

Saint Lydwina of Schiedam

Laywoman, Mystic, Virgin

(1380- 1433)

“I give thanks to God, who inspires in simple souls such confidence in the prayers of His little servant.

Saint Lydwina of Schiedam

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life

Lydwina (who is also known as Lydwine, Lidwid, Lidwina) was born in Schiedam, Netherlands on April 18, 1380, to her father, Pierre, who was a night watchman, and her mother, Petronille. Her mother, not thinking it was time for Lydwina’s birth, painlessly delivered her during the singing of the Passion, Palm Sunday. Out of nine children, she was the fourth child and their only daughter.

Her Pious Childhood

Lydwina had a bright childhood in a poor, but very Christian household.  She was known for her piety and other rich gifts both of nature and grace. Lydwina was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. After bringing meals to her brothers in school, she would find time on her return to say Hail Mary’s in the church. In addition, she prayed often before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Schiedam. At the age of 12, she consecrated her virginity to Christ.

Ice Skating Accident

On February 2, 1394, while ice skating, she fell and broke a rib. After some time, an abscess formed at the site of the injury and grew worse as the day went by. Although she was treated by physicians, her rib never healed and gangrene set in, followed by many complications. By the age of 19, both her legs were paralyzed and her vision was disturbed. This injury caused her to be an invalid for the rest of her life. For seventeen years, she could not move any part of her body, with the exception of her head and left arm. Today, some people think that Lydwina is one of the first known multiple sclerosis patients and attribute her disability to the effects of the disease and her fall. She ate almost nothing and became blind during the last seven years of her life.  Some of the illnesses which affected Lydwina were:  headaches, vomiting, fever, thirst, bedsores, toothaches, and muscle spasms. In addition to her sufferings, Saint Lydwina was said to have suffered from stigmata. These injuries on her hands and feet bore an eerie resemblance to Jesus’.

Heroically Devoted

Lydwina heroically accepted her condition. Around 1398, her confessor, John Pot, taught Lydwina how to meditate upon the Passion of Christ. She spent her time praying, meditating, and uniting her pain to that of Christ’s on the Cross for the salvation of souls. She also developed a strong devotion to the Eucharist. Tradition tells us that she had the gift of inedia, and that her only food for her last 19 years was the Eucharist. She was a miraculous healer who prayed for the sick people back to health. There were many miracles reported by those that visited her in her bedroom during her suffering. 

Selfless Kindness and Charity

In addition to her close union with Christ and her selflessness, Lydwina also lived in voluntary poverty, giving away many of her material goods and donating the money to those less fortunate. After her mother’s death, she sold the furnishings she had inherited and gave the money to the poor. When her brother died, Lydwina paid his debts and helped support his orphaned children.

Gifted

Lydwina was the recipient of supernatural gifts. She was blessed with the gift of ecstatic visions, in which she was shown Heaven and Purgatory and participated in Christ’s Passion. Lywdina was also visited by the saints.  In one of the visions, she saw a rosebush and an inscription that read: “When this shall be in bloom, your suffering will be at an end.” In the spring of 1433, she said that she saw the rosebush of her vision. On Easter morning of that year, she had a vision of Jesus administering the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. 

Her Death

Later that year, on April 14, 1433 at the age of 52, Lydwina died in Schiedam, Netherlands. Lydwina was buried in a marble tomb in the chapel of the parish church of Schiedam which became a place of pilgrimage.  During her sickness, her body bore all the repulsive signs of suffering, but upon her death, was restored completely to its former splendor.

Born:                 April 18, 1380 in Schiedam, Netherlands

Died:                 April 14, 1433 in Schiedam, Netherlands

Beatified:          Not Known

Canonized:       March 14, 2013 by 1890 by Pope Leo XIII (cultus confirmed)

Feast Day:         April 14

Patron Saint:    Against Bodily Ills; Chronically Ill; Ice-Skating; Schiedam, Netherlands; Sick People; Skating

Source:

Reflection

Sometimes we may think that because we have some type of handicap or are older and slowing down and we cannot serve God. However, Saint Lydwina fell ice skating as a teenager. This injury caused her to be an invalid for the rest of her life. For seventeen years, she could not move any part of her body, with the exception of her head and left arm. God had plans for this bed-ridden invalid. Saint Lydwina accepted her condition and spent her time praying, meditating, and uniting her pain to that of Christ’s on the Cross for the salvation of souls. She gave away material goods and donated money to those less fortunate. When her brother died, she paid his debts and helped support his orphaned children. So like Saint Lydwina,  if you fall down, you never give up and you too may become a Saint.   Your search for holiness, may, after all, only begin after the fall!

What physical or mental suffering do you have that you could offer up to God?  Just as Jesus Christ suffered on a cross and his human pains were removed when he was raised up, you can offer up your sufferings to God to work with to help you gain eternal salvation.

Prayers

Saint Lydwina, in your sufferings you knew the weight of the cross. Please pray for all those who are burdened in life. Teach us by your example to never waste a drop of pain, but to lovingly and courageously “offer it up” to our Lord.

Saint Lydwina of Schieham, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia -Meet St. Lidwina, the patron saint of ice skating

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Lydwina of Schiedam – Mystic, Stigmatic, Visionary, and Victim Soul

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 14 April – Saint Lydwina of Schiedam (1380-1433)

Bartleby.com – Rev. Alban Butler Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. April 14 B. Lidwina, Called Lydwid, Virgin

Busted Halo – St. Lidwina: A Lesson in Overcoming Suffering

Catholic Fire – St. Lidwina: Mystic, Stigmatic, Visionary, and Victim Soul

Catholic Online – St. Lydwine

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Lydwina of Schiedam

New Advent – Albers, P.H. (1910). St. Lidwina. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saints, Feast, FamilyThe Story of Saint Lydwine

Saint Lydwine of Schiedam – Translated from the French by Agnes Hastings by Huysmans, J.-K. (Joris-Karl)

Saint Lydwine of Schiedam, Virgin, by Thomas a Kempis

Saint of the Day – April 14 Saint Lydwine

Sanctoral – Saint Lydwina of Schiedam Virgin (1380-1433)

The Wanderer – Catholic Heroes… Blessed Lydwina Of Schiedam by Deb Piroch

uCatholic – Saint Lydwine

Wikipedia – Lidwina

Video Link