|St Veronica Giuliani|
The webmaster would like to gratefully thank Mrs. Angelica Avcikurt for creating this article from various Italian and English sources. May God reward her for her efforts in translating from the original Italian many of the inspiring and informative passages below.
St. Veronica Giuliani (Feast day July 9) is one of the greatest Italian mystics of the 18th century. She is a saint of the stature of St. Teresa of Avila or St. Francis of Assisi. She was a soul chosen by God from her early childhood to reach the highest mystical graces which she described in her diary. Born on December 27, 1660 at Mercatello, she was given the baptismal name, Ursula. At the age of 17 she entered the cloistered Capuchin Convent at Citta di Castello in Umbria and took the name Veronica. She remained there until her death on July 9, 1727.
St. Veronica left us a spiritual treasure, her Diary, which she wrote under obedience to her confessor, Fr. Gerolamo Bastianelli. She began writing it in April, 1693 and finished writing it thirty four years later in 1727. She wrote a total of twenty-two thousand pages. This was a great penance for her. She did not neglect her other duties and would write late at night in her cell. The devil would often try to scare her to disrupt her writing. He would hide and break her pencils, and sometimes even attacked her physically: “After Matins, when I wanted to make an act of obedience and write for a quarter of an hour, I suddenly got a big punch in the eye and heard a voice saying, ‘damned writings!’” During the last fifteen years of her life, Veronica was so ill that a painting of Our Lady of Sorrows in her cell would come to life, and the Blessed Virgin Mary herself dictated to her the last chapters of the Diary.
|The diary of St Veronica Giuliani|
Ursula enjoyed spiritual favors since she was a little girl. At the age of 3 or 4 she remembers having seen the child Jesus in the garden while she was picking flowers. He told her, “I am the true flower” and then disappeared. This experience left her with a longing for heavenly things.
When she went home afterwards, she felt different, transformed, and she realized she had a vocation to the consecrated life, “Oh God! What joy! I cannot explain what I felt. I only know that I was left with an ardent longing to become a nun, and that I could not wait for the moment to marry God.”
|The incorrupt body of St Veronica Giuliani|
|St Veronica Giuliani with crown of thorns|
St. Veronica had numerous visions during her lifetime, some celestial and some infernal. In one of her visions, she saw a vast area with a multitude of souls carrying heavy crosses on their backs dressed in different colors, but they were facing earth and could not move forward. Another group of souls dressed in white, which were mostly religious, were floating. Jesus appeared in a luminous light among them but only few of them would look at him. This caused her great suffering and made her exclaim: “I wish I had had as many eyes as there were souls there to supply for the loving gazes to my Greatest Good.” There was like a veil between them and God which did not allow them to enjoy this vision, and she understood that this meant that these souls lacked purity of intention. She continues: “These souls are cold, and with the cold comes sin, and with sin, they offend God, the Great Creator. And then…justice…chastisement. I seemed to see the Lord with three spears in hand, and He made me understood that He wanted to punish Christianity for the offenses and sins committed. Now He made me see every sort of weapon, I seemed to see a great war. Everyone was killing each other. It scared me a lot. I didn’t see anything but dead people, and there was a stench in the air, that seemed to make everything stink. This also made me feel sorry. Suddenly I seemed to see everyone’s health in obvious danger. Almost everyone was cursing God; and I seemed to see them die in dire need. At this point, I seemed to understand that the three spears were war, disease and poverty”
On August 15, 1694, Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her holding a chalice. She had seen this chalice before, it was the Chalice of Bitterness, and on this day it was finally presented to her:
|Saint Veronica Giuliani|
Then St. Catherine started undressing her and Jesus asked the Virgin Mary to redress her. The Virgin Mary took St. Catherine’s cloak and put it on Veronica. This cloak was covered with precious stones that seemed to change colors, which symbolized the virtues. Then, Jesus took the ring from His side wound and placed it on the Virgin Mary’s hand. The ring seemed to be made out of gold and covered by enamel which formed the name of Jesus on the precious stone. When Jesus put the ring on her finger, she felt a greater union with Him.
St. Veronica’s spontaneous prayers often invoked the Wounds of Christ in an original way asking them to be ‘voices’: ‘My God, I ask you for souls. Let these Your Wounds be voices for me and say with me: O souls redeemed by the Blood of Christ, come to this source of love. I am calling you and these Holy Wounds speak for me, but all of you come.”
Like many other great mystics, Veronica also received the wound in her heart, known as the transverberation. This happened on Christmas Eve, 1696: “I only remember that the child Jesus had like a bow and arrow in his hands, and it seemed that he sent it to my heart. I felt great pain. When I came back to my senses, I saw that my heart had been wounded and it was bleeding. I cannot express in writing or with words what the Lord communicated to me at that moment. I only remember that I experienced an intimate union with Him and He made me understand that this wound was nothing compared to the wound He would inflict on me soon.” This wound would remain open and bleeding for several days and then it would close. She describes that she felt pain all the time and like a flame inside the wound. The wound would reopen at times and stay open for several days again. She would offer the pain of this wound in union to the sufferings and wounds of Jesus for the conversion of sinners.
|A drawing of the mystical wounds that Jesus imprinted upon the heart of St Veronica Giuliani|
In 1701, 26 years before her death, Veronica wrote in her dairy all the graces God had given to her: “In an instant, I saw all the special graces God had given to my soul. There were really so many that I could not tell their number. I will only tell you what I understood in detail. He made me understand that He had renewed the sorrow in my heart 500 times, and again many times had renewed the wound in it; that He had in that period given me the special grace of sorrow for my sins, adding to it knowledge of myself and of my faults; that He had made me understand every sort of virtue, and how to exercise them; that He had given me so many inspirations and teachings that if I wanted to tell them all, there would be no end to it.”
We have already seen the special roles that St. Catherine of Siena, St. Rose of Lima and St. Teresa of Avila had in Veronica’s life and mystical graces. Other saints that helped Veronica were St. Joseph, St. Augustine, St. Phillip Neri, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Ignatius Loyola, Saint Bonaventure and St. Florido, protector of Citta di Castello. St. Paul, whom she referred to as “my Saint Paul” held a special place in her heart. Also, on the feasts of St. Francis of Assisi, her ‘holy father’ and St. Clare, her ‘holy mother,’ she always received special graces.
Veronica’s guardian angel had an important role in her life. He helped her get up when she fell under the weight of the Cross, defended her when she was attacked by the devil, and helped her with the chores. Later on during her life the BVM appointed another guardian angel to her because she was so much attacked by the devil. Her angels accompanied her on her visits to hell. God revealed to Veronica that upon the election of a new Pope, heaven appoints to him an additional ten guardian angels to assist him.
Veronica took great care of Sister Angelica Berioli during her last illness. According to the accounts of the convent, Sister Angelica was not very observant of the rules and had always been Veronica’s adversary. However, Veronica offered many prayers and penances for the salvation her soul and prayed at her bedside day and night saying, “My Lord, Your Most Precious Blood and Your infinite merits can obtain this grace.”
Around the years1714-1715, since she had such a great devotion to the BVM, her confessor told her to ask the Lord to help her make a trip to the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin’s House in Loreto. Mario Cursoni, one of her confessors, explains, “She was ordered to pray to the Lord, asking Him to grant her the possibility of a pilgrimage in vision, to the Sanctuary of Loreto, stopping at the hermitage of Monte Corona, where at that time, Fr. Crivelli was carrying out his spiritual exercises, to receive a blessing; from there to the church of the Holy Virgin Mary of the Angels, to that of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, and finally to the Sanctuary of Loreto to take Holy Communion.” Veronica was taken there in vision by an angel and this is what Fr. Cursoni reports: “When I questioned her about this journey, she replied that the Lord had granted her to make it in a vision and described the sanctuaries with so much accuracy of detail that she could not have done better even after having bodily visited them various times, and even I who have visited them various times could not have done better.”
|St Veronica Giuliani receiving the Stigmata|
The presence of the Virgin Mary becomes central in the life of Veronica in the year 1700, when on April 29 the BVM takes her as her disciple. These were the years that Veronica was to suffer greatly from percussion from within the convent and from the Holy See because of her stigmata. Like Padre Pio, Veronica was in confined for a while to the infirmary, only being allowed to go to Holy Mass accompanied by two other nuns.
|The incorrupt body of St Veronica Giuliani|
Veronica spent the last years of her life in continuous union with God. She wrote, “When God gives His graces of union and transformation, these are the same as those enjoyed by the blessed souls in heaven. They enjoy God in God: it is a continuous banquet of love with love.”
An autopsy was performed on Veronica the day of her death after lunch. During her lifetime, Veronica had told Blessed Florida that her heart bore certain symbols of the passion and that it had been engraved with the letters representing the vows she had taken. Blessed Florida made a sketch of her heart with all the signs that Veronica described. When her heart was dissected in half during the autopsy, it revealed mysterious incisions shaped like the outlines of the instruments of the Passion, the seven swords of Our Lady, and a number of letters.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who did glorify St. Veronica by the marks of Thy suffering, grant us the grace to crucify our flesh and thus become worthy of attaining to the joys of eternity. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.