Veronica Giuliani


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Franciscan nun. Born at Mercatello of an affluent family, she showed precocious devotion and in 1617 became a Capuchin nun against her father's wishes. Her novitiate at Città di Castello was difficult. After her profession she experienced mystical union with Christ in his Passion which resulted in her receiving the stigmata. Visions of Christ bearing his cross and offering her a chalice of suffering followed: in 1697 a crown, as of thorns, appeared on her forehead. The local bishop examined these phenomena, devised a special, fraud-excluding regime for her, and became convinced that they were genuine. Throughout he was impressed by her obedience and humility. After a favourable report to the Holy Office, Veronica resumed normal community life.

She was mistress of novices for thirty-four years and insisted on the fundamental virtues fostered by reading Rodriguez's Christian and Religious Perfection, excluding works of advanced mysticism at the early stages. Elected abbess in 1716, she not only improved the spiritual life of the community but also installed piped water and enlarged its buildings.

At her confessor's command she left a spiritual diary in ten volumes, carefully examined in her canonization process and since published. Among other things she claimed that the instruments of Christ's Passion were imprinted on her heart: after her death reliable witnesses saw small objects in her right ventricle corresponding to a plan she had drawn. Levitations, stigmata which ceased bleeding at a word of command, and other phenomena reveal her as one of the best documented examples of how prolonged and intense consideration of Christ's Passion can have extraordinary effects in the devotee. She was beatified in 1804 and canonized in 1839. Feast: 9 July.

Works ed. Prof. Buccioni (1927); Life by R. Cioni (1965); B.L.S., vii. 66–8; Bibl. SS., xxi. 1050–6.

Subjects: Christianity.

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