Franciscan Saints




15th February

Blessed Veridiana, Viridiana (1182 – 10 February 1242)

Virgin, Third Order

  St. Veridiana's feast is observed on February 1st in the Roman Calendar and by the Third Order Regular, on February 16th by the Franciscans.

Veridiana was a daughter of the noble family of the Attavanti and was born in 1182 at Castelfiorentino, just outside of Florence. Even as a child Veridiana showed signs of a vocation to the ‘Higher life’ she loved seclusion, prayer, good works and works of penance. As she got older she became more gracious, she was goodness itself made friends easily and won respect from everyone she met.

As an adolescent Veridiana, who was very sensible for her age, was sent to live with an uncle to assist his wife in managing the household even while doing this she  often made time to practice charitable works.

On one occasion during a famine Veridiana distributed beans from the household stores to the hungry without realizing that her uncle had already sold them. When the buyer arrived and found the bins were empty her uncle was furious with her. Veridiana suffered much for this and spent the whole night in prayer and in the morning the bins in the storeroom were filled to the brim with beans!

News of the miracle spread everywhere and everyone she met showed her tokens of respect, to avoid this Veridiana made a pilgrimage to Compostela, in Spain, to visit the grave of St. James the Apostle and then to the tombs of the Apostles in Rome.

Returning home Veridiana withdrew completely from society becoming an Anchoress living in a Cell built against the side of the chapel of St. Anthony in Florence. This cell has been preserved until today; it is ten feet long and three and a half feet wide with only a ledge a foot wide to sit on. A small window in the cell opens to the chapel through which she could speak with people, attend holy Mass and receive Holy Communion and nourishment.

At the age of twenty-six Veridiana, with a crucifix in her hand, led by her spiritual director, both surrounded by a large crowd, entered the narrow cell door and allowed it to be walled up behind her. Veridiana spent the remaining thirty-four years of her life as an Anchoress in prayer and severe penance. In summer she slept on the bare earth while in winter she lay on a board with a block of wood for her pillow. She ate only bread, water and herbs.

Tradition holds that two snakes penetrated her cell in the last years of her life, she never revealed their existence; these increased her mortification of the flesh, for she fed them from her own meagre rations.

As with other recluses of her era, it is not known whether Verdiana belonged to any particular monastic order; the Dominican order appropriated her after her death by revising her biography, but Veridiana most likely belonged to none of the mendicant orders during her lifetime. One late account suggests that in 1221 she was visited by Francis of Assisi, who admitted her into his Third Order. It is more likely that she was associated with the local monastery in Castelfiorentino, which belonged to the Benedictine order at Vallanbrosa, whose economic success had so troubled the bishops of Florence. Even this association, most likely occurred after her death, as various monastic orders vied for “possession” of yet another popular saint. (This paragraph C.f. Verdiana, Wikipedia Creative Commons Deed)2

Veridiana was privileged with the revelation of the hour of her death and prepared herself by receiving the sacraments with great devotion and on February first, 1242 she died while saying the Penitential Psalm, she was sixty years old.

Moved by the many miracles occurring after her death Pope Clement VII approved her cult in 1533 and in 1694 Pope Innocent XII Canonized her. Her feast day is 1st February in the Roman calendar. The Franciscans observe her feast on February 16th and the Third Order Regular on the 1st. (C.f. These Made Peace, pp.12-16; Forum, 1948, pp. 41-42 in Habig p. 108, 1959)

 

Prayer of the church

O God, Who didst unite in Thy servant Veridiana extraordinary

fruits of penance with the flower of virginity, grant us, we beseech

Thee, that we may through her merits and intercession cleanse our

 souls with tears of repentance and, thus purified,

deserve to be admitted to Thy presence.

Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.

 Amen

 

1. Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois

2.Wikipedia, Modified 15 December 2012,Verdiana,wikipedia.org,accessed 10 January 2013 <web:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verdiana>

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Last edited 13/09/2017 07:18 
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