14th March 


The Servant of God Appollonia of Bologna


Widow, Third Order

Apollonia was born of noble parents in Bologna late in the 1400s. Even as a child she was remarked upon for her modesty and retirement. While other parents tried to outdo themselves in providing beautiful and elegant attire for their daughters, little Apollonia pleaded with her mother not to be dressed that way, rather to be clothed in the simplest attire her station would permit. Apollonia preferred being useful in the home, she enjoyed entertaining or reading a good book rather than going outside.

Honouring her parent’s wishes Apollonia married an honourable young man of her own class who agreed to allow her to continue her life in retirement even as a married woman. Apollonia was placed in control of family finances which she kept in good order because despite her devotion to pious practises she was a diligent housewife. It is said that the maxim of St. Francis of Rome could be applied to her:

"A Christian housewife must ever be prepared to leave off her practices of piety if the needs of her house require her presence.”

Apollonia was not interested in increasing her wealth since they already had sufficient; rather she concentrated on storing up treasures in heaven by her charity to the poor.

When her husband died Apollonia exchanged the attire of her rank for the ash-grey habit of the Third Order She used her wealth to establish several institutions for the poor and the sick to which she would go each day to minister to the distressed to provide them with whatever they needed.

At the end of her days, she herself was “visited by God with a severe illness”(Habig, 1959); Apollonia used this opportunity to devote herself to further purifying her heart and to increase her merits, she bore her illness with admirable patience until her death led to her eternal reward on 12, March 1500. She was buried in a church of the Friars minor nearby the gates to the city of Bologna, and was glorified by God with several miracles.






Prayer of the Church

( Monday of the Third Week in Lent)


Pour forth Thy mercy, O Lord, we beseech thee, Thy grace

into our hearts, that as we abstain from bodily food, so we may

also restrain our senses from hurtful excesses.

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



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


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