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, June 19, 2012

June 19 -- Feast of Saint Juliana Falconieri

Are some cherubim really just winged heads? 
A few miracles are repeated in many of the saints stories: healings, visions, stigmata, and generation, transformation, or multiplication of food and drink are good examples.  Sometimes there is miraculous transportation -- rushing rivers become solid and people appear suddenly in other cities.  Martyrs survive the first attempts to kill them, only to die of beheading after they have proven their point.  Because so many stories are similar, I am always pleased to retell one that seems fresh. 

Juliana was the daughter of a wealthy, well connected Florentine family in the fourteenth century.  Although she had a marriage lined up for her at the ripe age of fourteen, she declined, preferring instead to join the Third Servite Order of Mary.  The Servites had been founded by her uncle, Saint Alexis Falconieri (February 17).  She lived an impressively sanctified life, never looking upon a mirror, avoiding the sight of a man's face, quaking at the mention of sin, and passing out when scandalous gossip was repeated within earshot. 

As a tertiary, she followed the Order's Rule but lived at home until the death of her mother.  Then she and other Servite Sisters moved into a home together, Juliana serving as the first Superior of the Order.  All her life, she suffered a severe gastric disorder.  Around age seventy-one, as she lay dying, she found herself unable to take the final Communion wafer, an element of the last rites.  She asked that it be laid upon a corporal (a small square of cloth used at altars) and placed on her chest.  The wafer vanished as she died; when her body was prepared for burial, the image of the Cross stamped on the Communion bread was found imprinted on her chest. 

As miracles go, it is a little less spectacular than levitation or resurrection, but in an age where every third person seems to have gluten sensitivity, Juliana's miraculous Communion is refreshingly modest as she was. 

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