Saint Lydwine, born in Schiedam, Holland, emerged as the patroness of sickness following a life marked by profound suffering and mystical experiences. One of nine children in a working-class family, her life took a tragic turn following a severe injury in 1396. While ice skating, a collision led to a rib fracture that never healed, triggering a cascade of debilitating illnesses.

These afflictions included continuous headaches, fever, and severe muscular spasms, among others. Notably, Lydwine also experienced the stigmata and was plagued by bedsores, toothaches, and eventual blindness. Despite her constant pain, she believed her suffering was divinely ordained, viewing her myriad illnesses as a means to atone for humanity’s sins.

Her spiritual endurance attracted the attention of Thomas a Kempis, who documented her life and experiences. Acknowledging her sanctity, Pope Leo XIII canonized her in 1890. Lydwine’s feast day is celebrated on April 14.

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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