Saint Veronica Giuliani, born in Mercatelli, was a woman deeply dedicated to her faith and whose desire to emulate Christ was so strong that it was answered with the stigmata. As her mother, Benedetta, lay on her deathbed, she entrusted each of her five daughters to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was given the sacred task of looking after the wound below Christ’s heart.

At a young age of 17, Veronica renounced worldly life and joined the Poor Clares, a monastic order under the guidance of the Capuchins. Her father initially hoped for her to get married, but she persuaded him to let her follow her spiritual calling instead. During her early years at the monastery, Veronica served humbly, fulfilling roles in the kitchen, infirmary, sacristy, and also as a portress. At 34, she was appointed the novice mistress, a role she dedicated herself to for the next 22 years.

When Veronica turned 37, she experienced a life-changing event – she received the stigmata, and her life took a significant turn thereafter. The Church authorities in Rome, seeking to verify Veronica’s authenticity, launched an investigation. This led to her temporary removal from her role as novice mistress and restricted her participation in Mass to only Sundays and holy days. Despite these challenges, Veronica bore no bitterness and continued to devote herself to her spiritual duties. Eventually, the investigation concluded in her favor, and she was reinstated as novice mistress.

Even though she initially resisted, Veronica was elected as the abbess at the age of 56, a position she dutifully served for 11 years until her death. Her devotion was particularly strong towards the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart, and she often offered her sufferings for the betterment of the missions. Veronica was canonized in 1839.

Photo credit: Randy Greve via Flickr

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