June 19,--ST. JULIANA FALCONIERI.
JULIANA FALCONIERI Was born in answer to prayer, A.D. 1270. Her father built the splendid church of the Annunziata in Florence, while her uncle, Blessed Alexius, became one of the founders of the Servite Order. Under his care Juliana grew up, as he said, more like an angel than a human being. Such was her modesty that she never used a mirror or gazed upon the face of a man during her whole life. The mere mention of sin made her shudder and tremble, and once hearing, a scandal related she fell into a dead swoon. Her devotion to the sorrows of Our Lady drew her to the Servants of Mary; and, at the age of fourteen, she refused an offer of marriage, and received the habit from St. Philip Benizi himself. Her sanctity attracted many novices, for whose direction she was bidden to draw up a rule, and thus with reluctance she became foundress of the "Mantellate." She led a life of apostolic charity, converting sinners, reconciling enemies, and healing the sick by sucking with her own lips their ulcerous sores. She was sometimes rapt for whole days in ecstasy, and, her prayers saved. the Servite Order when it was in danger of being suppressed. She was visited in her last hour by angels in the form of white doves, and Jesus Himself, as a beautiful child, crowned her with a garland of flowers.
She wasted away through a disease of the stomach, which prevented her taking food. She bore her silent agony with constant cheerfulness, grieving only for the privation of Holy Communion.. At last, When, in her seventieth year, she had sunk to the point of death, she begged to be allowed once more to see and adore the Blessed Sacrament. It was brought to her cell, and reverently laid on a corporal, which was placed over her heart. At this moment she expired, and the Sacred Host disappeared. After her death the form of the Host was found stamped upon her heart in the exact spot over which the Blessed Sacrament had been placed. Juliana died A.D. 1340.
Reflection.--"Meditate often," says St. Paul of the Cross, "on the sorrows of the holy Mother, sorrows inseparable from those of her beloved Son. If you seek the Cross, there you will find the Mother; and where the Mother is, there also is the Son."
MORE FROM BUTLER'S LIVES OF THE SAINTS:
ST. JULIANA FALCONIERI, V.
THE illustrious family of Falconieri, in Italy, received great honour from the sanctity of this holy virgin. Her father, Charissimus Falconieri, and his pious lady, Reguardata, were both advanced in years, and seemed to have lost all hopes of issue, when, in 1270, they were wonderfully blessed with the birth of our saint. Devoting themselves afterwards solely to the exercises of religion, they built and founded at their own expense the stately church of one Annunciation of our Lady in Florence, which, for riche and the elegance of the structure, may at this day be ranked among the wonders of the world. B. Alexins Falconieri, the only brother of Charissimus, and uncle of our saint, was, with St. Philip Beniti, one of the seven first propagators and pillars of the Order of Servites, or persons devoted to the service of God under the special patronage of the Virgin Mary. Juliana, in her infancy, seemed almost to anticipate the ordinary course of nature in the use of reason, by her early piety; and the first words she learned to pronounce were the sacred names—Jesu, Maria. Fervent prayer and mortification chiefly took up her attention at an age which seems usually scarce capable of any thing serious. Such was her angelical modesty, that she never durst lift up her eyes to look any man in the face; and so great was her horror of sin that the very name of it made her almost fall into a swoon.
In the sixteenth year of her age, despising whatever seemed not conducive to virtue, she bid adieu to all worldly thoughts and pleasures, renounced her great estate and fortune, and the better to seek the inestimable jewel of the gospel, she consecrated her virginity to God, and received from the hands of St. Philip Beniti the religious veil of the Mantellatee. The religious men among the Servites are called the first Order. St. Philip Beniti constituted his second Order, which is that of the nuns, in favour of certain devout ladies. The Mantellatae are a third Order of the Servites, and take their name from a particular kind of short sleeves which they wear, as fittest for their work. They were instituted to serve the sick, and for other offices of charity, and in the beginning were not obliged to strict inclosure. Of this third Order St. Juliana was, under the direction of St. Philip, the first plant; and as she grew up, the great reputation of her prudence and sanctity drawing to her many devout ladies who desired to follow the same institute, she was obliged to accept the charge of prioress. Though she was the spiritual mother of the rest, she made it her delight and study to serve all her sisters. She often spent whole days in prayer, and frequently received great heavenly favours. She never let slip any opportunity of performing offices of charity towards her neighbours, especially of reconciling enemies, reclaiming sinners, and serving the sick. She sucked the most nauseous ulcers of scorbutic patients and lepers; by which means the sores are cleansed without the knife, or painful pressure of the surgeon's hand, and a cure rendered more easy. By an imitation of this mortification and charity do many pious religious persons, who attend the hospitals of the poor, gain an heroic victory over themselves. St. Juliana practised incredible austerities. In her old age she was afflicted with various painful distempers, which she bore with inexpressible cheerfulness and joy. One thing afflicted her in her last sickness—that she was deprived of the comfort and happiness of uniting her soul with her divine Spouse in the sacrament of the altar, which she was not able to receive by reason that her stomach, by continually vomiting, could not retain any food. The sacred host, however, was brought into her cell, and there suddenly disappeared out of the hands of the priest. After her death, the figure of the host was found imprinted on the left side of her breast; by which prodigy it was judged that Christ had miraculously satisfied her languishing holy desire. She died in her convent, at Florence, in the year 1340, of her age seventy. Miracles have been frequently effected through her intercession, among which several have been juridically proved. Pope Benedict XIII. enrolled her name among the blessed in 1729. His successor, Clement XII., put the last hand to her canonization.¹ Her Order is propagated in Italy and Austria. See Bonanni's History of the Founders of Religious Orders, t. ii.; Giani in her life ; and Papebroke, in his Appendix, t. iii. Junij, p. 923.
(1) Bullar, Rom. t. xv. p. 141.