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March 12

St Seraphina - March 12

Saint Seraphina

Layperson, Virgin

(1238 – 1253)

“It is not my wounds but Yours, O Christ, that hurt me.”

Saint Seraphina

Saint’s Life Story

Her Birth

Seraphina (also know as Fina) was born to a poor family in 1238 in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy. Her father, Cambioa, died when she was very young. Her widowed mother, Imperiera,  went to work, leaving Seraphina alone at home. There is little record of the first ten years of her life and what information is available comes from legends narrated after her death.  

Pretty Kind Young Girl

Seraphina was an attractive girl with a cheerful, congenial nature and a deep empathy for others. She shared half her food with those less fortunate than herself. She spent her time alone sewing, spinning, and praying. Imperiera instructed her daughter in the faith and in household crafts. Some accounts note Seraphina’s strong devotion to the Virgin Mary and that she went out, only to hear Mass. She was also said to be extraordinarily kind.

Stricken with Illness and Paralyzed

At the age of ten, Seraphina suffered from diseases, which caused her to become paralyzed from the neck down and disfigured her body. She became totally dependent on her mother. Seraphina had to be carried around on a wooden oak plank. There she spent her days — flat on her back. Seraphina suffered immensely and lost her good looks, developing sores on her face, arms, and legs. In spite of her sufferings, she remained peaceful and prayerful, offering up it all up to God. Whenever she had visitors, she was gentle, loving, and genuinely concerned about them. Despite these trials she never complained, but kept a joyful countenance and gave thanks to God.

Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart

Seraphina’s immense devotion was an example to all the citizens of San Gimignano, who frequently visited her. Visitors were surprised to receive words of encouragement from this desperately ill young girl who was resigned to the will of God. 

Destitute and Parentless as a Teenager

When her mother died suddenly, Seraphina became destitute. A friend, Beldia, who had a withered hand, did her best to care for Seraphina, despite her own disability. 

Her Death

Serphina was deeply devoted to Saint Gregory the Great, who shared a painful condition similar to hers. When it became apparent that she did not have long to live, Saint Gregory the Great appeared to her in a vision and told her that she would be joining him soon. Serphina died on his feast day at the age of 15  on March 12, 1253 in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy.

Saint Seraphina is depicted in art as a maiden holding a bunch of flowers in the town of San Gimignano. She may also be shown lying on a pallet tended by a nurse, as Saint Gregory appears to her, or at her death her pallet is covered with flowers.

Saint Seraphina is celebrated in San Gimignano on two separated days. Her first feast is on March 12 – the anniversary of her death – which has been a statutory holiday in the town since 1481. The second feast on the first Sunday of August, commemorates her miraculous intercession for the cessation of two incidents of the Plague, which had ravaged the town in 1479 and 1631.


Miracles attributed to Seraphina are mentioned in stories, paintings, poems and in notary documents. Legends say that, at the exact moment of Seraphina’s passing away, all the bells of San Gimignano rang without anyone touching them.

When Seraphina’s body was removed from the pallet that was her deathbed, onlookers saw white violets bloom from the wood.  A fresh, floral fragrance permeated throughout her house. Violets grow on the walls of San Gimignano. For this reason, the townspeople call them “The Saint Fina violets.” Miraculously, Beldia’s withered hand was instantly healed!

Many sick people who visited her grave during the following years were said to have experienced cures and some of these became some of Fina’s most fervent devotees.

One legend tells that during a walk with two of her friends she heard a young girl, Smeralda, crying. Smeralda had broken a pitcher that her mother had given her in order to fill with water from the public well. While she was entertained by other children, she forgot the pitcher on the ground which unfortunately rolled down and broke. Seraphina told her to arrange the pieces and put them under the water: the pitcher became whole and full of water.

Another anecdote about Seraphina’s miracles is the one of the Ciardi family’s neighbor. Once on the anniversary of Seraphina’s death, when the townsfolk had declared a holiday in her honor, a neighbor, Cambio di Rustico, went to cut wood and hurt his leg. He asked Seraphina’s pardon and was very sorry for not having respected her memorial. His cut then miraculously disappeared.

Born:                   1238 in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy

Died:                   March12 1253 in age 15 in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy

Beatified:           Not Beatified

Canonized:        Not Canonized

Feast Day:         March 12 and 1st Sunday of August

Patron Saint:    Disabled People; Handicapped People; San Gimignano, Italy; Spinners



Like most of our lives, Saint Seraphina is not remembered for anything she did. She is celebrated for having patiently—even joyfully—endured a lengthy, grievous illness without complaint. Seraphina went from a beauty young girl to a paralyzed disfigured girl reduced to lying on an oak plank the rest of her life.  However, Saint Seraphina is celebrated for having patiently—even joyfully—endured a lengthy, grievous illness without complaint.

What minor (or major) ailments do you have that you can offer up to Jesus? Remember that Jesus went through a lot more than our minor pains when he offered up his life innocently crucified on the cross for our sins.


Eternal God, you have given us your glorious Saint Seraphina, who was devoted to Jesus and Mary. Like you, Jesus, Saint Seraphina suffered great pains on a wooden plank while she served you with humility and confidence. Saint Seraphina persevered until her very death, obtaining the crown of eternal life and gaining the joy of your beatific vision in Heaven. We pray that through her powerful intercession, we may obtain the infinite goodness of your graces to prayerfully offer up our ailments to Christ our Lord while serving you.

St. Seraphina, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 12 March – Saint Seraphina (1238-1253) Virgin

Catholic Fire – St. Serpahina: Patron of the Physically Challenged

Catholic Online – St. Seraphina

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Seraphina

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Saints of the Day – Fina of San Gimignano by Katherine I Rabenstein

Davao Catholic Herald – St. Fina or Seraphina, Virgin A.D. 1253

Loyola Press – Saint Fina Feast day March 12

Newman Ministry – Saint Fina -Seraphina

Prayers and Petitions – Feast of Saint Seraphina (Fina) – 12 March

University of Notre Dame Faith ND – St. Seraphina

Wikipedia – Saint Fina

Video Link