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

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Monday, June 19, 2006

St Juliana Falconieri

What sets many Saints apart is their love of charity towards all and their at times severe penances towards themselves, such is this case with the young lady, Juliana Falconieri.

Juliana Falconieri was born in the year 1270 in the city of Florence into the Nobility. Juliana would also not be the only Saint to be born into the Falconieri family her uncle also became a Saint his name being Alexis Falconieri, not an unusual occurrence in the days when living the Catholic Faith meant something.

Juliana was lucky in that her parents were deeply devout and instilled into their beloved daughter a love of the Catholic Church and Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Her devout parents in a spirit of thanksgiving towards God financed the building of the Church of the Annunciation in Florence in appreciation of how much God had blessed this Holy couple.

Juliana from a very young age showed little joy for trivial pursuits and had absolutely no time for dances and what she considered foolish past-times, her heart was totally dedicated to God and God alone! This did not make her a dour or morbid personality Juliana simply knew what her priorities in life were and lived them with joy and a deep knowledge of what was pleasing to God and it was in pleasing God that she gained her greatest joy and happiness.

Unfortunately Juliana's parents were both elderly when she was born and at a young age Juliana's beloved father died and so Juliana was raised by her mother, Riguardata with the help of her uncle Alexis. From a very young age Juliana's deepest desire was to serve God as a Religious, and though her mother was deeply devout she did not wish to be left alone and so was against her daughter leaving her to join an Order. As Juliana was an obedient child, she did not wish to disobey her beloved mother and so a compromise was reached where Juliana could join a Third Order the Religious Order chosen was the Servites.

After taking instructions from her uncle Juliana was given her Habit to wear as a Third Order Servite and was able to live at home for many years while putting into practice the Charism of the Servite Order. Juliana and her mother were deeply devoted to one another as both loved their faith deeply so it saddened Juliana deeply when her mother died, she had lost not only her mother but also one of her closest friends. The death of her mother allowed Juliana to leave her former home and to live in another house where the memories were not so heartrending.

As she lived the Charism of the Servite Order, Juliana's obvious holiness came to the attention of many who knew of her and had heard about her total devotion to God and the Catholic Church. Soon more women would join her in her new home where Juliana started the Third Order of Servites, she and her lady friends began to wear a Habit that was similar to the male equivalent of the Servite Order.

Juliana and her fellow sisters practiced works of charity within their community and lived a prayerful life within the home as they dedicated their lives to God and lived out the message of the Gospels. Though Juliana had a deep love of the poor and tried her best to alleviate their sufferings, she intensified her own mortifications sometimes at the expense of her own health. Juliana and her fellow Servite sisters became well renowned for their love and service to the poorest of the poor and the love that they took in treating all as if they were royalty, this made Juliana greatly loved and admired for her virtue and charity towards all. It is also one of the reasons why she remained the Director of her Servite Third Order community for nearly 35 years, an astounding feat.

Due to her severe penances Juliana's health became severely impaired and caused her many stomach ailments later in life. This deeply affected her in that due to her inability to retain food she could no longer receive the Eucharist, something that grieved her deeply. A compromise was reached when close to death Juliana requested that the Priest lay the Eucharist on her heart, this he did. The Priest was astonished when the Host disappeared as were the rest of her community.

Upon her death and as she was being prepared for burial there was found to be the image of the Eucharist upon her heart.

Juliana Falconieri died in 1341.

Saint Juliana Falconieri was canonized in the year 1737 by Pope Clement XII.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.
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