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The Catholic Defender: The Imelda Lambertini Story

Imelda Lambertini (1322 – May 12, 1333) is the patroness of First Communicants. Wearing first communion dress, chapel veil with attached to a chaplet of flowers on her head and rosary.

She fully immersed herself in a life of devotion, exceptional in a child of her age. From her youngest days, Blessed Imelda had an all consuming desire for unity with Jesus in Holy Communion. As young as 5 years of age she expressed a deep desire to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament by making her First Communion.

Nobody was at all surprised when one day at the age of nine she sought her parent's permission to enter the local Dominican Convent. Imelda had a very strong desire to become a religious sister. I am sure her parents nearly died from the shock of losing their darling girl so early in life.

This Girl Wanted the Eucharist So Badly That Jesus Directly Intervened.

Imelda Lambertini began doing God’s work at the young age of five.

She was born in Bologna in the year 1322 and was an only child.

Her parents were devout Catholics and were actively involved in charity works; supporting the poor and the downtrodden in the city. When Imelda was baptized, she was given the name Magdalen.

Growing up, she was inspired by many stories about Jesus and Mary that her parents told her. They instructed her in the Faith of the Church, her mother herself was particularly devoted to the souls in Purgatory.

The little girl was so devoted that she prepared a special corner in her room where she could spend a long time thinking about the Child Jesus.

At age five, she had already started requesting to receive Holy Communion. Always nursing the emptiness she felt upon rejection since, at the time, the minimum age was around 14.


When she was nine years, she desperately wanted to become a nun. To her, all that mattered was devoting her entire life to God, and focus on reaching heaven.

She began pleading with her parents to let her join the convent. As it was not uncommon for parents to allow their children to make such a move at the time. SO they allowed her to move into the convent of St Mary Magdalen outside Bologna.

Young Magdalen was too young to wear the Dominican habit, however, she pleaded with the nuns so they eventually gave in. She was filled with so much joy, they gave her the habit and started calling her Sister Imelda.

Sister Imelda began to devote herself to prayer and penance. She was only nine years at that time, yet she already worked hard at obeying the rules of the order.

Sister Imelda discovered a corner at the back of the convent garden made as a small replica of Calvary. She would meditate there on the sufferings of Jesus. She still longed so much to receive Jesus in Communion and would ask “How is it possible to receive Jesus into one’s heart and not die of joy”


The priest returned and was shocked at the sight, he knew then what to do. He held the paten and knelt in adoration before the resplendent Host. As soon as he knelt, the Host slowly descended on the paten. He gave the Host to Sister Imelda who was overjoyed to receive her First Holy Communion.

However, the love and joy she felt were just too much for her. Upon receiving Communion, she closed her eyes and died, her heart still filled with her Savior and his love.

She was beatified in 1826 by Pope Leo XII and declared Patroness of First Communicants.

Her feast is set for May 12.

Blessed Imelda, pray for us to love Jesus as you did. Amen.

On May 12, 1333, at age eleven. God’s plans for her were made manifest. She knelt at her usual spot in the choir watching others receiving Holy Communion. Imelda prayed and wept, she wanted to receive Jesus so badly. She remained where she was even as Mass ended and the priest and nuns left the chapel.

The nuns who were leaving suddenly smelled a beautiful fragrance so they headed back into the chapel. To their amazement, they saw a brightly lit Host hovering above Imelda’s head. So they hurriedly went to get the priest.


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