St. Veronica Giuliani: Capuchin Mystic and Stigmatist
Today, July 10, is the feast of St. Veronica Giuliani, a Capuchin Poor Clare and one of the greatest mystics of the eighteenth century. Spiritually, she has been compared to St. Teresa of Avila and St. Francis of Assisi.
Born in the Italian town of Mercatello on December 27, 1660, St. Veronica Giuliani was given the baptismal name of Ursula. She was pious from a young age. At six, she was giving her food and clothing to the poor. By 11, she was practicing devotion to the Lord’s Passion.
At the age of seventeen, she entered the Capuchin Poor Clare monastery in Città di Castello, where she spent the rest of her life. There, she took the name of Veronica in memory of the Passion of Christ. One year later, she made her solemn religious profession. During her early years in the monastery, she worked in the kitchen, infirmary, sacristy, and also served as portress. At the age of 34, she was appointed as novice mistress, a position which she held for twenty-two years.
At the age of 37, St. Veronica was blessed with the gift of the stigmata and experienced great penance and suffering, and numerous mystical experiences related to Christ’s Passion. She also had heavenly visions. Nevertheless, she remained very practical and down-to-earth in spite of her mysticism. Veronica offered up her prayers and sacrifices for the Pope, bishops, and clergy and all in need, including the Poor Souls in Purgatory. She was deeply devoted to the Eucharist, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
At the age of fifty-six, Veronica became abbess of her monastery, remaining in that position until 1727 when she died. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Gregory XVI on May 26, 1839. She is usually represented by a crown with thorns and embracing the Cross. Her 10-volume Diary of the Passion records her religious experiences.
Reflection on St. Veronica Giuliani
St Veronica Giuliani invites us to develop, in our Christian life, our union with the Lord in living for others, abandoning ourselves to his will with complete and total trust, and the union with the Church, the Bride of Christ.
She invites us to participate in the suffering love of Jesus Crucified for the salvation of all sinners; she invites us to fix our gaze on Heaven, the destination of our earthly journey, where we shall live together with so many brothers and sisters the joy of full communion with God; she invites us to nourish ourselves daily with the Word of God, to warm our hearts and give our life direction. The Saint’s last words can be considered the synthesis of her passionate mystical experience: ‘I have found Love, Love has let himself be seen!’