This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28 -- Feast of Blessed Villana de’Botti

The stuff of horror films and saints tales
Demon in the Mirror is a book of poetry and short stories by S. Joaquin Rivera.  I don't know that any part of the book is about Blessed Vilana, but I figured that since I had ripped off the cover art, I should probably link to an order form for the book itself.

Vilana ran away from home at age thirteen to join a convent.  The sisters sent her home, and her folks married her off to Rosso di Piero.  Vilana then embraced the worldly pleasures that Rosso offered her, right up until she gazed into a mirror one day and saw a demon grinning back at her.  Aware that she overindulged in sensuality, she sought some advice from the Dominicans in the area.  She became a Dominican tertiary, focusing on living a saintly life as a wife and mother.

Vilana de'Botti
Free time was spent reading the scriptures and lives of the saints.  Her family had to stop her begging door to door.  She was excessively penitent, which can be hard on friends and family.  Her ecstatic reactions during Mass tended to distract people, making them uncomfortable and embarrassed for her.  After a while, she became the object of slander and ridicule.

The unfavorable reaction of everyone around her might have been enough to drive some of us back to the pack, to behave like everyone else.  Vilana kept it up, though, and in so doing, eventually came to be recognized as a living saint.  By the time of her death, the Dominican fathers were unable to bury her for a month due to the constant crowd of mourners who wanted to pray by her corpse.

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