|Are some cherubim really just winged heads?|
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.