In 1682, within a modest town near Augsburg, Crescentia Hoess was born to a humble weaver. Her childhood was marked by an unusual devotion; she found solace in prayer at her parish church, offered assistance to those less fortunate, and displayed such an understanding of her faith that she was granted the rare privilege of receiving Holy Communion at the age of seven. Her saintly demeanor earned her the moniker “the little angel” among townsfolk.

With age, Crescentia’s aspiration to join the Tertiaries of St. Francis convent grew, despite her lack of a dowry making her admission seem impossible. The intervention of the town’s Protestant mayor, to whom the convent was indebted, reluctantly secured her entry. Initially, her presence was deemed a nuisance, and she was relegated to menial chores, her buoyant spirit mistaken for insincerity.

A pivotal change occurred four years later with the election of a new superior who recognized Crescentia’s virtues. Her elevation to mistress of novices was a testament to her character, and her eventual unanimous election as superior following the predecessor’s death highlighted her profound impact. Under her guidance, the convent’s financial woes were alleviated, and her spiritual counsel became sought after by high-ranking individuals, reflecting her humble yet influential nature.

Crescentia’s life, however, was a testament to endurance through physical sufferings, from relentless headaches and toothaches to a crippling condition that contorted her body. Yet, she embraced her afflictions with a Franciscan spirit, finding in them a reason to praise. Her death on Easter Sunday in 1744 was a peaceful conclusion to a life of joy amidst suffering.

Beatified in 1900 and canonized in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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