St. Serpahina: Patron of the Physically Challenged
Today’s saint is a great inspiration for those who suffer from poverty and illness, especially young people. She is the patron of the disabled and those who are physically challenged.
Seraphina was born to a poor family in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy in 1238. Her father died when she was very young and her widowed mother went to work, leaving her alone at home. She was an attractive girl with a cheerful, congenial nature and a deep empathy for others — sharing half her food with those less fortunate than herself. She spent her time alone sewing, spinning, and praying.
At the age of ten, Seraphina suffered from diseases, which caused her to become paralyzed from the neck down and which disfigured her body. She became totally dependent on her mother and had to be carried around on a wooden plank, which is where she spent her days — flat on her back. She suffered immensely and lost her good looks, developing sores on her face, arms, and legs. In spite of her sufferings, she remained peaceful and prayerful, offering up it all up to God. Whenever she had visitors, she was gentle, loving, and genuinely concerned about them.
When her mother died suddenly, Seraphina became destitute. A friend, Beldia, who had a withered hand, did her best to care for Seraphina, despite her own disability. Serphina was deeply devoted to St. Gregory the Great, who shared a painful condition similar to hers. When it became apparent that she did not have long to live, St. Gregory the Great appeared to her in a vision and told her that she would be joining him soon. Serphina died on his feast day at the age of 15. At the moment of her death, the bells of the church began ringing without anyone touching them.
Tradition tells us that when Belidia lifted up Seraphina from the board on which she had laid for so long, beneath her were white violets in bloom and the fragrance of the fresh flowers permeated the air. Miraculously, Beldia’s withered hand was instantly healed!
~ © Jean M. Heimann 2015
Prayer to Saint Seraphina (also known as St. Fina)
Glorious Saint Seraphina, beloved daughter of Mary and Jesus, although in great pain, you served God with humility and confidence.
You persevered until death and gained the crown of eternal life. Now you enjoy the beatific vision of God in Heaven.
Dear Saint Seraphina, make my troubles your own. Speak a word for me to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain by her powerful intercession the grace I yearn for so ardently.
Please obtain for me from God the graces I hope for from the Infinite Goodness of our Blessed Lord, especially (mention your petition).
Saint Seraphina, pray for me and for all who implore your assistance. Amen.