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July 9

St Veronica Giuliani - July 9

Saint Veronica Giuliani
Nun, Mystic and Stigmatist
(1660 – 1727)

“O sinners… all men and all women, come to Jesus’ heart; come to be cleansed by his most precious blood…. He awaits you with open arms to embrace you.”

Saint Veronica Giuliani

Her Early Years

Orsola was born at Mercatello, Urbino, Italy on December 27, 1660. Her parents, Francesco Giuliana and Benedetta Mancini, were both of noble birth. Her baptismal name was “Ursula.” She was the youngest of seven sisters, three of whom chose the monastic life and two of whom died as infants. Her mother, Benedetta, died when Veronica was seven years of age.

As a child, Ursula developed a deep spirituality and was blessed with extraordinary gifts. When she was 18 months old, her first words were reported to be “Do justice, God sees you.” By the time Ursula was six, she was giving her food and clothing to the poor. By age 11, Ursula was pursuing a devotion to the Lord’s Passion. Also early in life she was intolerant of those who were not as devoted as she, but this tendency was tempered by a vision where she saw her own heart as a “heart of steel”.

Capuchin Poor Clares Nun

Ursula decided to become a nun after experiencing a vision of the Virgin Mary, but her father opposed her plan. He insisted on introducing her to eligible suitors, which caused her to become ill from anxiety. Her father finally gave in and allowed her to become a nun. So, in 1677, at the age of 17, Ursula entered the convent of the Capuchin Poor Clares in Citt’ di Castello in Umbria, Italy, taking the name of Veronica in memory of the Passion of Christ. At the conclusion of the ceremony of her reception, the bishop said to the abbess: “I commend this new daughter to your special care, for she will one day be a great saint”.

Veronica, the youngest in the Monastery, was known by the nickname ‘la Bambina’ meaning ‘the Baby’ or ‘the Youngest Girl’, and in accordance with her nickname she was always filled with a lively zeal.

Her Visions

Veronica’s novitiate was difficult. At her profession in 1678, Veronica experienced a great desire to suffer in union with our Savior crucified for the conversion of sinners. At this time, she began to experience a feeling of pain over her heart.

At the age of 33, she entered a new phase in her spiritual life, when she had another vision of the chalice symbolizing the Divine Passion offered to her, which was to take place within her soul. On Easter 1694, Veronica was espoused to Jesus in a vision and the imprint of the Crown of Thorns appeared on her head.

Stigmatist

Three years later, Veronica saw Blessed Virgin Mary say to Jesus, ‘let thy bride be crucified with thee.’ Then at age 37, she received the stigmata in hands, feet, and side during a long period of ecstasy on April 5, 1697. Medical treatment was given, but the wounds did not heal. Her journal records experience.

In her journal, Veronica tells of the rays of light that came from Jesus’ wounds and became small flames of fire, four in the form of great pointed nails, the fifth a spear-head of gleaming gold. She writes, “I felt a fearful agony of pain, but with the pain I clearly saw and was conscious that I was wholly transformed into God. When I had been thus wounded, in my heart, in my hands and feet, the rays of light gleaming with a new radiance shot back to the Crucifix, and illuminated the gashed side, the hands and feet of Him who was hanging there. Thus My Lord and My God espoused me, and gave me in charge to His Most Holy Mother for ever and ever, and bade my Guardian Angel watch over me, for He was jealous of His honor, and then thus He spoke to me: ‘I am Thine, I give Myself wholly unto thee. Ask whatsoever thou wilt, it shall be granted thee.’ I made reply: ‘Beloved, only one thing I ask, never to be separated from Thee.’ And then in a twinkling all vanished away.”

She was given medical treatment was given, but the wounds did not heal.

Shortly after they first appeared, her wounds were examined by the bishop of Città di Castello, who devised a special, fraud excluding regimen for her. The wounds were bandaged, and the dressings fastened shut with the bishop’s seal; she was separated from the other sisters and watched carefully. The wounds remained. During her ecstasies, Veronica emitted a sweet odor of sanctity and she levitated. The local bishop was impressed by her obedience and humility throughout and was convinced that the phenomenon was genuine. A favorable report was given to the Holy Office and Veronica was permitted to resume normal community life.

Novice-Mistress and Abbess

In spite of the fact that she lived a mystical life, Veronica was a practical woman. For fifty years, Veronica lived in the Capuchin convent of Città di Castello in Umbria, Italy. With gritty determination tempered by humility, she led her sisters as novice mistress for thirty-four years. Veronica governed the convent with obvious common sense guiding her novices with both wisdom and prudence. At the age of 56, Veronica was elected abbess, an office she held for 11 years until her death. She wrote a ten volume Diary of the Passion, about 22,000 handwritten pages that cover a span of 34 years of cloistered life, which recorded her mystical experiences.

Her Death

After a very painful prolonged agony that lasted 33 days and culminated in a joy so profound that Veronica’s last words were: “I have found Love, Love has let himself be seen! This is the cause of my suffering. Tell everyone about it, tell everyone!” On July 9, 1727, Veronica died of a stroke caused by a brain hemorrhage at the age of 67 in Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy. Her body is incorrupt.

Veronica had told her confessor that the instruments of the Lord’s Passion were imprinted on her heart. Veronica drew their positioning for him more than once as she said they changed location over the years. Her heart was examined after death and “miraculously” showed images of a cross, crown of thorns, and chalice, as she had said it would. Examination also revealed a curvature of the right shoulder as if she had carried a heavy cross.

Levitations and stigmata, which ceased bleeding at a word of command, reveal Veronica as one of the best documented examples of how prolonged and intense consideration of Christ’s Passion can have an extraordinary effect in the faithful. Veronica is portrayed in art holding a heart marked with a cross.

Born :                  December 27, 1660 in Mercatello, Urbino, Italy

Died:                    July 9, 1727 in Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy

Beatified:            June 17, 1804 by Pope Pius VII

Canonized:         May 26, 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI

Feast Day:          July 9

Patron Saint:     Diocese of Città di Castello, Italy

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Veronica Giuliani accepted and embraced a life of suffering. Despite experiencing physical ailments and enduring spiritual trials, she embraced her suffering with humility and trust in God’s will. Her willingness to unite her sufferings with those of Christ demonstrates her profound understanding of the redemptive power of suffering and her desire to participate in Christ’s mission of salvation. As we get older, we all acquire some physical ailments (although most likely not Saint Veronica Giuliani’s suffering from her stigmatas. However, all of us, no matter what are age is suffer spiritual trials during our lifetime.

Today, offer up to God in prayer your physical ailments and spiritual trials that may be used to demonstrate His redemptive power of suffering.

Prayers

Saint Veronica Giuliani,

You, who bore the stigmata of Christ, and endured spiritual trials with unwavering faith, teach us to unite our sufferings with those of Christ and to trust in God’s providence in all things.

Help us to deepen our prayer life and to cultivate a closer relationship with God, that we may discern his will for our lives and strive for holiness in all that we do.

May your example of humility, perseverance, and love guide us on our journey of faith, and may your intercession bring us closer to God and lead us to eternal life with him.

Saint Veronica Giuliani, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – 5 Stigmatics you might not know about

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Veronica Giuliani

Catholic Culture – Saint Veronica Giuliani by Pope Benedict XVI

Catholic News Agency – Pope remembers St. Veronica, who shared the wounds of Christ

Catholic Online – St. Veronica Giuliani

Daily Prayers – Veronica Giuliani

Franciscan Media – Saint Veronica Giuliani

New Advent – Hess, L. (1912). St. Veronica Giuliani. In The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Roman Catholic Saints – Saint Veronica Giuliani

Saint for a Minute – Saint Veronica Giuliani

uCatholic – Saint Veronica Giuliani

Video Link

St. Veronica Giuliani – YouTube (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)