September 17 the Franciscan family celebrates the Feast of the Sacred
Stigmata, commemorating the day when St. Francis of
Assisi received the wounds
of the Passion of Christ.
Such a gift marked the
high point of the Little
Poor Manís mystical life, confirming outwardly his total interior
conformity to Jesus Crucified.
Many people know
that one of St. Francisí spiritual sons, the 20th
century Capuchin priest St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Pio), was also privileged to bear the Stigmata.
Few know however that one of his spiritual
daughters, the 17th century
Capuchin Poor Clare St. Veronica Giuliani, was likewise granted to bear
the wounds of Christ in her body.
was born on
December 27, 1660, in
the youngest of five children.
When she was four, her mother died, but not before
entrusting each of her children to one of the wounds of Jesus Crucified.
Ursula was given to the wound in His Heart.
It was a prophetic entrustment, for as the lively
little girl grew, so did her desire to be totally immersed in the fire of
At the age of
seventeen, Ursula entered the Poor Clare monastery in Citta di Castello,
taking the name of Veronica.
With characteristic ardor, she dedicated all her
energies to surrendering herself to Crucified Love.
God did not delay long in rewarding her
fervor, granting her abundant mystical graces and permitting numerous
trials to purify and strengthen her.
Thanks to her
confessor, who obliged Veronica to keep a journal of her mystical
experiences, we have a detailed record of her spiritual ascent which
culminated in the reception of the Stigmata on Good Friday 1697.
Thanks also to that journal and to the testimony
of her Sisters, we also have some idea of the searing sufferings Veronica
underwent Ė physical illness, spiritual aridity, temptation, calumny,
But there was also
a very human side to this extraordinary mystic.
Like St. Francis, Veronica had a great love for
She likewise had a very tender and solicitous love
for her Sisters.
Veronica had a very practical side, too, and even
engineered a plan which brought running water into her monastery.
St. Veronica Giuliani died, rich in virtue and in merit, on
July 9, 1727,
and was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.
She continues to bear witness to the power of
Crucified Love to transform the soul to the point where one can truly say
with St. Paul:
It is no longer I
who live, Christ is living in me!