Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Saint Juliana Falconieri


Juliana was born into a wealthy family in Florentine. Her father died when she was very young and was raised by her mother and her uncle Alexis. Alexis was one of the founders of the Servite Order and is now Blessed Alexis. Under his care Juliana grew up, as he said, more like an angel than a human being. Such was her modesty that she never used a mirror or gazed upon the face of a man during her whole life. The mere mention of sin made her shudder and tremble, and once hearing, a scandal related she fell into a dead swoon.

Her devotion to the sorrows of Our Lady drew her to the Servants of Mary. At the age of fifteen, she refused an offer of marriage. She consecrated her life to God, devoting her time to prayer and works of penance and charity. She received the habit from St. Philip Benizi himself. Her sanctity attracted many novices, for whose direction she was bidden to draw up a rule, and thus with reluctance she became foundress of the "Mantellate."

She led a life of apostolic charity, converting sinners, reconciling enemies, and healing the sick by sucking with her own lips their ulcerous sores. She was sometimes rapt for whole days in ecstasy, and, her prayers saved the Servite Order when it was in danger of being suppressed. She was visited in her last hour by angels in the form of white doves, and Jesus Himself, as a beautiful child, crowned her with a garland of flowers.

She became sick with a disease of the stomach, which prevented her from taking food. She bore her silent agony with constant cheerfulness, grieving only for the privation of Holy Communion. When, in her seventieth year, she had sunk to the point of death, she begged to be allowed once more to see and adore the Blessed Sacrament. It was brought to her cell, and reverently laid on a corporal, which was placed over her heart. At this moment she expired, and the Sacred Host disappeared. After her death the form of the Host was found stamped upon her heart in the exact spot over which the Blessed Sacrament had been placed.

Saint Juliana pray for us!

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