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The Catholic Defender Saint Veronica Giuliani


Veronica was very devoted to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart. She offered her sufferings for the missions, died in 1727, and was canonized in 1839. Her Liturgical Feast Day is July 9.


She was the youngest of seven sisters, three of whom embraced the monastic life. It is told that at the age of three years Giuliani supposedly began to show great compassion for the poor. She would set apart a portion of her food for them, and even part with her clothes when she met a poor child scantily clad. Her mother died when Ursula was seven years of age.


At the age of 16, she experienced a vision which correctedher imperfections of character: she saw her own heart as a "heart of steel". In her writings she confesses that she took a certain pleasure in the more stately circumstances which her family adopted when her father was appointed superintendent of finance at Piacenza.


When Giuliani came of age, her father believed she should marry, and so he desired her to take part in the social activities of the young people. But she pleaded so earnestly with her father that, after much resistance, he finally permitted her to choose her own state in life.


Veronica’s desire to be like Christ crucified was answered with the stigmata.


Giuliani had a lifelong devotion to Christ crucified that eventually became manifested in physical signs. The marks of the crown of thorns appeared on her forehead in 1694 and the five wounds on her body in 1697.


Veronica was born in Mercatelli, Italy. It is said that when her mother Benedetta was dying she called her five daughters to her bedside and entrusted each of them to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was entrusted to the wound below Christ’s heart.


At the age of 17, Veronica joined the Poor Clares directed by the Capuchins. Her father had wanted her to marry, but she convinced him to allow her to become a nun. In her first years in the monastery, she worked in the kitchen, infirmary, sacristy, and also served as portress. At the age of 34, she was made novice mistress, a position she held for 22 years. When she was 37, Veronica received the stigmata. Life was not the same after that.


Church authorities in Rome wanted to test Veronica’s authenticity and so conducted an investigation. She lost the office of novice mistress temporarily and was not allowed to attend Mass except on Sundays or holy days.


Through all of this Veronica did not become bitter, and the investigation eventually restored her as novice mistress.


Though she protested against it, at the age of 56 she was elected abbess, an office she held for 11 years until her death. Veronica was very devoted to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart. She offered her sufferings for the missions, died in 1727, and was canonized in 1839. Her Liturgical Feast Day is July 9.


In her last moments she assigned each of her five children to one of the five wounds of Christ and bade them take their refuge there whenever they were troubled. Veronica was the youngest. She was assigned to the wound in the side of our Lord, and from that time on her heart became more tempered.


Why did God grant the stigmata to Francis of Assisi and to Veronica Giuliani? God alone knows the deepest reasons, but as Celano points out, the external sign of the cross is a confirmation of these saints’ commitment to the cross in their lives. The stigmata that appeared in Veronica’s flesh had taken root in her heart many years before. It was a fitting conclusion for her love of God and her charity toward her sisters.

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