Today is a feast for us Capuchins, the feast of St. Veronica Giuliani, Capuchin Poor Clare, mystic, stigmatist, Abbess and perhaps one day a doctor of the Church. She truly was an extraordinary woman. The image top is froma painting of her in Citta di Castello where she spent her life as a nun and the image below it is of her death mask kept in the same place.
She was born on December 27,1660 to Franceso and Benedetta Giuliani At Mercatello int he Duchy of Urbino, Italy. She baptized Orsola, the youngest of five daughters. Their mother died when she was young but not before she had dedicated her daughters to the wounds of Christ. Angela was dedicated to the wound in Christ's side, something she never forgot. Something of her temperament can be gathered from her childhood nickname 'fire.' Their father, a civil servant, was left to struggle on and despite his resistance she persisted in her pursuit of a vocation to the toughest religious life she could find - the Capuchin Poor Clares at Citta di Castello. From the start she was deeply prayerful and experienced extraordinary graces. She was drawn to suffer for Christ and in union with Him and yet she still managed to function successfully as Abbess and Novice Mistress and formed a devout and holy community of sisters. Even though hampered by her stigmata she managed to renovate and improve the monastery.
One of the sufferings she endured was the keeping of her diary imposed on her by her confessor and now a valuable record and resource. She did not want to do it and neither did the evil one. The diary would be ripped from her hands and damaged so that she would have to do her work all over again. The enemy saw something in her writings that made him afraid!
She opposed the entrance of Florida Cevoli to the monastery fearing it would be too much for the young noblewoman. Instead Florida became her friend, devoted disciple and successor and is herself a beatus. Veronica died in 1727 and was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.
Today the pain in my hands, feet and heart returned and I spent a night that was precious to me because it was filled with pains and torments. Thanks be to God! Early in the morning I went to confession and this gave me the strength to suffer more. Later at Holy Communion I experienced the grace of God reigning deep in my soul with some kind of new internal sensation. As well as this, for some days now I have a certain feeling in my heart the nature of which I cannot make out; so I will simply describe the effects it has on me.
First, there is the realisation of my faults and sorrow for them; the overwhelming desire for the conversion of souls for whom I am ready to offer my life's blood; a deep trust in the mercy of God and in the loving concern of Our Lady. The second effect is that I feel myself abandoned and submerged in a sea of temptations. As soon as I experience this inner sensation I seem to become fully content and possessed by the most profound sense of peace, firmly established in the will of God.
The third and last effect is like this: when I am disturbed interiorly by the temptations of the devil and when exteriorly I concentrate on other things, running here and there in the course of my duties, the hidden working results in my doing everything without being aware of it, so that I find the task is completed but I do not know how. This happens to me in the most important events of the day, such as receiving the sacraments, in prayer and in the spiritual conversations which we have. I feel myself overcome by fatigue, dried up, empty, so that it scarcely seems possible to go on living. When I am in this state it seems a waste of time to go to confession. But hardly have I felt in my heart the smallest trace of this third effect when I find myself transformed, renewed with such strength, that no matter what the aridity, vexation or numbness, any task even the most difficult, becomes easy for me. May God be glorified in all things.
Veronica Giuliani, from her diary, Un Tesoro Nascosto VIII, pp. 629-30