Saint Veronica Giuliani
Visionary, Mystic and Stigmatist, Mystically married to Jesus
Pope Pius IX said, after reading Veronica Giuliani’s Diary that she was not merely a Saint, but a great Saint! A bishop, in 1927, two hundred years after her life, wrote that Saint Veronica Giuliani was a Saint for all time: a Penitent like St. Rose of Lima1 who suffered for the redemption of sinners, a Mystic like St. Margaret Mary Alacoque2 to whom God revealed His Love and Passion, a Visionary like St. Teresa of Avila3 passing on the infused knowledge she received from the Lord in her Diary,4 a Stigmatist who like St. Francis,5 (her father in faith), bore the Wounds of Christ’s Passion on her body; she was Mystically married to Jesus as was St. Catherine of Siena,6 a Saint who stands shoulder to shoulder with all the greats before and after her who have molded this Glorious Church which Jesus founded.
Ursula Giuliani (who will later become Sister Veronica) was born on December 27, 1660, in Mercatello, a small village in the Province of the Marches in Italy. Her father was a well-respected member of society. Her mother was a deeply religious woman. She would die before she reached her 40th birthday, leaving Ursula and her four surviving siblings (two having died) to their father’s care. But before she died, her mother would consecrate each of her five children to the precious Five Wounds of Our Lord Jesus. To the Wound in Our Lord’s Side, she entrusted Ursula, who was all of seven years old. Without her understanding the full implication of her mother’s bequest, nevertheless this was the beginning of Ursula's betrothal to Jesus’ Heart, the very Heart Which bled on the Cross.
Ursula walks with Jesus from the very beginning of her life
From the time of her infancy, little Ursula sought only paintings and statues of Jesus, His Mother and the Saints, pointing to them from as young as a few months old. Barely able to walk, she cried until someone would carry her to a picture of Mother Mary holding the Baby Jesus, so that she could kiss them.7 She would talk to them saying, “I am Yours, and You are all mine, dear Jesus!” The Child Jesus at that time would reply “I am yours, and you are Mine!”
Ursula had her first vision of Jesus, seeing Him as a Baby holding out His Hand toward her. She would dream of Jesus. He would play with her in her dreams; her family said they could hear her gleefully talking and laughing.
One day, when she was still a little girl, picking flowers in her garden, Ursula beheld the Infant Jesus. He said, “I am the real flower.” Then He disappeared! She thought He had run into the house. She ran after Him with such speed, she later wrote it seemed8 as if her feet were not touching the ground. Jesus would later call her “His little flower.”
Ursula knew Jesus and loved Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, from as early as two years old. When the priest raised the consecrated Host, her mother had all to do to keep her from running up to her Lord Present in the Eucharist. She would stand next to her mother and sisters and watch them receive Holy Communion, drinking in the outer sign on their faces of the real change taking place inside, her mouth opened in joyful anticipation that maybe this time she would receive her Lord.
When she first heard her mother read to her about the Martyrs, Ursula was all of three years old. She was so filled with love of Jesus she too wanted to suffer just like them, to be burned for the love of her Lord. As it was winter, she went over to the stove and placed her hand on the fire. Imagine her family’s grief, when they saw what she had done. But, Ursula later writes, she did not remember shedding a tear.
She began doing penances from an early age in silence, striking her body with rope, all in a desire to imitate the Saints before her. She began walking on her knees, her little arms outstretched in the form of Jesus Crucified. Like St. Rose of Lima, Ursula desired to carry the Cross as her Jesus had done. She fashioned a Cross, putting two pieces of wood together. She later wrote that it was so heavy, she could not carry it; she found herself falling with every step she took. Our Lord, too, fell under the weight of the Cross made heavy by our sins and the sins of the world.
Ursula had a deep love for the poor, never sending a beggar away empty-handed. Now, she had a new pair of shoes that she had carefully placed by her bed. Oh, how she treasured those shoes. She would have worn them to bed, if she had thought she would not spoil them. One day a beggar came to the door; she knew she had to give him one of her new shoes, and she did. Then, the beggar returned and asked for the other shoe. She gave it to him. A book could be written around that one sentence. Many years passed when Jesus appeared to Ursula, holding out golden shoes in His Hands. He said, “These are the shoes you gave to Me when you were a little child. I was that beggar.” And He disappeared! Ursula not only invited beggars into her home to share her meal, she led them to pictures of Jesus and Mary, feeding their souls as well as their bodies. And all this began when she was just a little child.
Ursula had an earthly mother who read to her about the Saints, prayed with her and guided her toward Sainthood. Death would bring that to an end, when Ursula was barely seven. She watched her mother die, moment by moment. Ursula was devastated. She was with her mother when she received her last Communion, her Viaticum. Desiring to share this last Gift her mother would receive, she begged the priest for a piece of the Host. He was sad, as he refused her. The child bent close to her mother, to be near her Lord in the Host; she smelled the heavenly fragrance of roses and said to her mother, “Oh what a beautiful thing; oh what a sweet perfume.” When they returned from the grave, Ursula refused to go to bed, as her mother was no longer there. The only thing that quieted her was when her family placed the statue of the Blessed Mother holding Jesus in her arms. She would be her Mother from now on.
On February 2, 1670, at the age of ten Ursula was to finally receive her heart’s desire, her Lord Jesus in First Holy Communion. When she received her Lord this first time, she said she felt a fire blazing inside her, “her heart burning.” From that time on, she would consecrate herself to the Lord alone. She wrote:
“In First Communion, I think the Lord was teaching me that I had to be His bride. I experienced something special. I don’t know quite what; I was beside myself, but I couldn’t understand a thing. I thought it was always like this at Communion.”
After receiving Communion, young Ursula had a burning desire to become a nun, to belong to Jesus completely. She would have to wait for the mystical marriage that would take place between her as the beloved and the Lord as her Spouse.
She asked the Blessed Mother to teach her how to suffer. And the Baby Jesus, speaking from His Mother’s precious arms said, “I have suffered so much.” To which Ursula replied, “I want to do everything You did.” Jesus then said, “The Cross awaits you.” But little Ursula was so filled with her Lord, so overflowing and abounding was His love, she wanted to offer herself completely to Him. So, at only ten years old, she offered the Lord her total abandonment, in the quiet of night pleading:
“My God, don’t delay, any more. My Lord, I do not want to separate from You, until You give me the grace to be Crucified with You. Crucify me with You! Give me Your thorns, Your nails, Your Cross, and all of You; here I am, hands, feet and heart. Wound me, O my Lord!”
Jesus calls Ursula to be His own, and the Courtship begins
Ursula, now a young woman of seventeen, told her father of her desire to be the spouse of her Lord Jesus. He answered by bringing eligible suitors to the house. But seeing the holy stubbornness of his fiery daughter, as she had been called since early childhood, he finally gave in and granted her permission to enter the Monastery.
Writers write one liners which cover a lifetime of struggles and temptations. The road to the Monastery was not to be a smooth one. Ursula always had a very charismatic personality. Her laughter and joy were infectious. She was beautiful, her blonde hair and blue eyes, a decided attraction to young would-be suitors. She later wrote how she was tempted by a relative who always managed to walk with her in the garden, saying all sorts of worldly, upsetting things to her, bringing her messages from eligible young men asking her hand in marriage. She fought him Saint Veronica Giuliani off, saying,
“If you don’t keep quiet, I’ll go away. Don’t keep bringing me messages. I don’t know anybody and I want nobody. My Spouse is Jesus. He is the One I want. He is mine.”
This pursuit by the devil, to tempt her from her Spouse in Heaven lasted two painful years. After much struggling with family, the day finally arrived when Ursula knelt before the bishop and asked for his approval to enter the Monastery in Cittá di Castello. He was so impressed with her, he suggested to the Capuchinesses9 they admit her, immediately. He told them, “Take care of this new Sister as precious treasure, because she will be a great Saint.” The day she had anxiously been looking forward to finally came about. As she excitedly anticipated her appearance before the Superior of the Monastery, Ursula went into ecstasy, and when the nuns came to escort her before their Abbess, they had to wait until she returned to this world!
Ursula begins the Way of the Cross as Sister Veronica
On the day she received her heavy coarse maroon-colored habit, Ursula was given the name of the Saint who had the courage to wipe Our Lord’s Face on His Way to the Cross - no longer Ursula but now Veronica of Jesus and Mary. This was to be the sign of her life with the Lord, that of His Passion. When did it begin? Was it at age seven when she saw Our Lord covered in wounds? At that time He told her to be devoted to His Passion and then disappeared. When He again appeared, He looked so wounded, His Wounds forged a stamp onto her heart, carving themselves so deeply into its cavity, she was unable to think of anything or anyone else.
Jesus called out to her “To War! To War!” when she was still a young girl. As with her Seraphic father Francis, she misunderstood and began to study the art of fencing. Our Lord then appeared to her and said, “This is not the war I want from you.” Jesus was preparing her for the battles she would have to wage in His Name.
When she was vested in her habit, Sister Veronica asked three things of the Lord: One, that she would have the strength to live up to the life she had pledged to follow; Two, that she never wander far from His Will; And Three that He keep her on the Cross with Him. [That last one makes me tremble! I know the Cross He could have me share and I am not inviting my Lord to do that.] He promised Veronica she would do all she desired, but cautioned her that the price would be much suffering. She would drink from the cup of bitterness, as she shared the Lord’s Way of the Cross.
The Lord was calling her to “make up in her flesh what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ”10 for the good of the whole Church. The Lord has always turned to His Mystics and Saints calling for sacrifice for His beloved Church, the Church which flowed from His Heart on the Cross. Saint Catherine of Siena, another powerful Visionary, Mystic and Stigmatist, “had a Vision in the early part of 1380, in which the ship of the Church crushed her to the earth. At that moment she offered herself as a willing sacrifice. She was to be ill from that time (until) on April 29th of that year she went to her reward.”11
In the first year of her religious life, her novitiate, Veronica was to suffer the slings and arrows of the devil through her sister novices. They constantly strived to show her in a very bad light in front of her Novice Mistress who took up the persecution of Veronica with gusto, causing the little novice to struggle against the temptation to fight back! She later wrote, “What a struggle went on inside of me, to overcome myself!”
The enemy never lets up. He barely allows you to catch your breath, when he strikes again, more furiously than before. The attacks would be ongoing throughout Veronica’s life as a religious. They were so brutal, they could only have been waged by the number one archenemy of God, Lucifer himself. He took on the identity of some of her fellow sisters accusing her of vile misconduct. When that was not enough to destroy her, they began to abuse her physically, inflicting wounds, bruising her body mercilessly. And then, as with her Seraphic father Francis before her, the enemy thought to do her in by having his fallen angels appear as monsters performing disgusting obscene acts. But wherever the enemy of God is, the Shepherd is not far away. The Lord gave her the strength to not only withstand the assaults, but to infuriate the devil as she laughed at his stupid antics.
Where are You, Lord?
It has been called the Dark Night of the Soul by the Mystics, like Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, and rightly so. [We can still remember when we lost our son, the pain of not having the consolation of the Lord and His Mother. Only with us, it was not He Who withheld Himself from us but we who turned our backs on Him. And till today, when we are ever slightly tempted to go with the crowd and run from Jesus and his persecuted Church on the Cross, we remember life without Jesus and fight the good fight. Nothing can compare with that Dark Night of the Soul when you no longer feel the Lord inside you. Not even the devastating loss of a loved one can compare with the loss of the Loved One.] Saint Veronica was to write:
“One occasion, when I was dry and desolate and longing for the Lord but unable to find Him, I would come out of myself and run from one place to another. I called for Him out loud, using all kinds of magnificent names, repeating them several times. At times, I seemed to hear Him, but in a way I cannot explain....I felt as though I were on fire, especially around the heart.”
Sister Veronica would apply cloths soaked in cold water to allay the pain, but upon contact, the heat that was emanating from her body quickly dried them, leaving her in excruciating pain.
Pain was the road she would travel to complete union with Jesus. Most of us can stand almost any kind of pain - physical, spiritual or mental, if we have a loved one at our side. Veronica was all alone, without earthly or Divine consolation! Through this pain, she would know the Spouse Whom she had chosen and Who had chosen her. Her walk was to be to the Cross, to literally hang there with her Spouse Jesus alone, deserted, mocked and rejected. She would cry out, as He had before her: “My God! My God, why have You forsaken me?” in her Dark Night of the Soul.
When we went to make our documentary on Saint Veronica, we stood in front of the Cross upon which she would hang almost every evening (and during the forty days of Lent every evening), after her work was done, for anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. She would tell the nun who helped her climb onto the cross, to return and help her off the cross when her time was up. One evening, the nun overslept and did not come for Veronica until the following morning (around three hours later, possibly more). When they found Veronica, she was close to death. Her confessor forbid her to hang on the cross from that time on, and she obeyed.
Veronica began suffering from aridity. She was longing for the Lord, trying to find Him, to have Him talk to her; He seemed to be nowhere to be found. Where did she go for help? To the Sacraments! She went to confession sometimes four or five times a day! She desired a complete union with her Spouse; He was not responding. Well, she would not give up; she would wait for Him! She lived as though He would come at any moment. While she was waiting for Him, she would go about making her house (soul) spotless for Him to enter. Even as He withheld Himself from her, she had an unexplainable urgency to prepare herself for that moment when He and she would be one. It reminds us of what someone once said, “When a woman loves you, you can’t drive her away; she will never leave you.” And so, it was with Saint Veronica and Jesus, only more so.
Veronica is shown Hell
Veronica asked Our Lord for His sufferings, and He said Yes! An eye-witness attested to the following:
“One day, I saw her suspended in midair, shedding tears of blood which stained her veil. Later, she told me that God was greatly offended by sinners and that she, in a trance, had seen the wickedness of sin, and of sinners’ ingratitude.”
Having been shown hell, Veronica devoted her life to keeping souls from ending up there. She wrote:
“At that moment I was once again shown hell opened, and it seems that many souls descended there, and they were so ugly and black that they struck terror in me. They all dropped down in a rush, one after the other, and once they entered those chasms, there was nothing to be seen but fire and flames.”
Upon seeing this, Sister Veronica offered herself as a victim to hold back the Hand of the God of Justice. [Today, when we are being told God is Love (and He most certainly is) and God is merciful (and He most certainly is), we are not being taught He is also the God Who is Just, the God of Justice. Prophets and Visionaries tell us that in the final days, when the time of the God of Mercy is over, we must stand before the God of Justice.] Veronica pleaded, she be allowed to block the entrance to hell, so that no one would be able to enter, and lose the Lord for all eternity. She outstretched her arms, as if on a cross and said to the Lord,
“As long as I stand in the doorway, no one shall enter. O souls go back! My God, I ask nothing of You but the salvation of sinners. Send me more torments, more crosses!”
On the Cross Our Lord said “I thirst!” He thirsted for souls! As Veronica shared His thirst for souls, He allowed her to experience the pains of Purgatory and Hell. Our Lady who had prepared her told her that “Many do not believe that Hellexists, and I tell you that you yourself, who have been there, have understood nothing of what hell is.”
The Mystical Marriage of Veronica and Jesus
On Easter Sunday, 1694, Jesus appeared to Veronica, seated on a golden throne adorned with sparkling jewels. Before Him, on a throne of alabaster, sat His Mother the Blessed Virgin praying to Him, in readiness to offer Veronica to Him as His bride. Saints Rose of Lima and Catherine of Siena, acting as her ladies in waiting were there encouraging Veronica. Jesus took the wedding ring, embossed with His Name, from His Sacred Heart. Our Lady held out her hand to Veronica and guided her to the Royal throne of her Divine Spouse. She handed Veronica’s right hand to the Lord and He placed the mystical wedding ring on her finger. Veronica wrote in her Diary:
“I felt the pressing of the ring, on my finger; and so it is every time I receive Communion, I feel I am again at the wedding.”
Jesus asks Veronica to make her confession
Before Jesus would share His Wounds with His beloved Veronica, He would require she make a general confession before the entire Heavenly Court. On Good Friday, in the year 1697, she had a vision of the Risen Lord, the Virgin Mary most holy, all the Angels and the Saints. The Lord asked her to begin her confession. She began, “I have offended You and confess to You my God,” when suddenly she could not go any further because there before her, were all the times she had offended her Lord, and the sorrow she felt was indescribable. The Lord turned to her Guardian Angel and commanded him to speak for her.
Then Our Lady came before her Son. She stood at His Feet, just as she had done at the foot of the Cross. She began to pray for Veronica, interceding for her. The Lord revealed to Veronica the unconditional love that He has for all souls, particularly ungrateful souls like hers that have been singularly gifted. As the Lord revealed His Hurts and Wounds, suffered by Him because of the unfaithfulness of His children, she was filled with such overpowering sorrow for the times she had caused Him pain by her sins, she asked the Lord for His suffering, especially His Wounds, His Pain to become her pain. The Lord looked at her and said,“I forgive you, but I want faithfulness in the future.”
How would Veronica remain faithful to the Lord? She walked the Way of the Sacraments, those Graces of Light in our path to the Father! She was ordered by her Spiritual Director to write down all she was experiencing, in a diary. She wrote that when she went to confession:
“I feel an inner tenderness and would like the confessor to penetrate every thought of mine, not only as it exists in me but as it exists before God. I feel such great sorrow that I don’t know how I shall manage to speak a word. When I come before the one who stands in the place of God on earth, I have such sentiments that I cannot put them into words.”
She wrote that an unexplainable peace filled her after she received absolution for her sins, as if “a mountain of lead” was lifted from her back. She could feel the Lord embracing her soul, and through this Love from the Lord, love began to flow from her to others.
[They say that when we stand before Jesus, it is not He Who condemns us, but we condemn ourselves as our life unfolds before us, revealing to us how many times we have put human respect before Divine love, how many times we have run away from Him and the Cross, how many times we have worshiped the subtle false gods of this world over Him, our One True God. Yes, and at that time we will beg to be purified in Purgatory; at that time, even those who have not believed there is a Purgatory will be grateful for its existence.]
“Many are going to hell because there are so few who pray and sacrifice.” This message, given to the three children at Fatima by our Blessed Mother, has been true from the time of Adam and Eve. Veronica’s vocation would be, singularly, to fulfill that need. The Lord not only chose her to be a victim for sinners, a 16Visionaries, Mystics and Stigmatists
sacrificial lamb as He had been before her, but He also trusted her to fulfill this act of love, day in and day out. She accepted the role of intermediary, acting as a go-between, between God and the people of God living in a state of sin. She knew that, as with her Jesus before her, the only road to forgiveness of the sins that still stain the world that God created, was through atonement! And she said Yes! It reminds us of Blessed Edith Stein12 who went to the Cross in atonement not only of her Jewish brothers and sisters but for the Nazis who killed them and her, saying if she did not, who would?
Veronica receives the Stigmata
One day, while praying in her cell, Sister Veronica had a vision of Jesus. He was carrying His Cross on His Shoulder. He asked her, “What do you wish?” She replied, “That Cross and I wish it for You, for Your Love.” He took the Cross from His Shoulder and placed it on her shoulder. It was too heavy! She fell under the weight of it, and her Lord lifted her.
Still another time, Our Lord appeared to Veronica, covered with open sores, a Crown of Thorns on His Head. Blood spilled from His precious Body, as He said, “See what sinners have done to Me.” Veronica wrote in her Diary:
“Seeing the great agony that my Lord was in, I begged Him to give Me His Crown. He placed it on my head; I suffered so much, I thought I was dying.”
Another time, Jesus came and showed Veronica a Chalice full of liquid. She wrote that it seemed as if the liquid was on fire. The Lord told her, “If you want to be Mine, you must taste this liquid for My Love.” She later wrote that when He placed just a few drops of the liquid on her tongue, she was filled with such indescribable bitterness and sadness, she thought she would die. Her tongue became dry and from that day on, she could not taste anything.
On Christmas Day, the Infant Jesus appeared to Veronica.
He sent an arrow deep into her heart. When she awakened, she found her heart bleeding. The burning flame roaring inside her heart was so painful, she could not rest day or night. He told her He wanted her heart to bear the marks of His Wound; He said, her heart had to feel the lance and her feet and hands, the nails He felt on the Cross.
Our Lord chose to make Veronica as much Himself as is possible, and what better way than to share His Passion with her. He had asked her many times what she wished, and she had replied, His Cross. Well on April 5, 1697, Veronica had a vision of Jesus Crucified, accompanied by His Mother Our Lady of Sorrows as she appeared at the foot of the Cross on Golgotha. Veronica’s heart, as with her Savior before her, was pierced. She experienced the crowning of thorns, the scourging, the crucifixion, her own death and that of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mother Abbess Mary Catherine told us that the other nuns could see the impressions of the crown of thorns on her head through her veil, the blood at times dripping from her eyes because of the deep wounds inflicted by the long sharp thorns. Sealed with this stigmata, Veronica's body became an indelible sign of the Lord’s total communion with her, one of everlasting unity and love. She wrote:
“In an instant, I saw five shining rays shooting out from His Wounds, coming towards me. I watched as they turned into little flames. Four of them (the flames) contained the nails, and the fifth one contained the lance, golden and all aflame, and it pierced my heart. The nails pierced my hands and feet.”
Veronica took the crucifix off the wall in her cell and embraced it saying:
“My Lord, pains with pains, thorns with thorns, sores with sores, here I am all Yours, crucified with You, crowned with thorns with You, wounded with You.”
Veronica takes up the Cross
Veronica received the stigmata. Now it was time for her to take up the Cross! She could not help Jesus carry His Cross, that dark and infamous day He walked to Calvary. He had told her, she would be the bride of the Crucified Savior. Now to be completely one with Him as His bride, in imitation of her Spouse, she would carry her cross each evening. At those times she would wear a robe, lined with sharp long thorns which pierced her body, especially doing damage to the shoulder upon which she carried the cross.
Laden down by the weight of the cross, she staggered as she tried to maintain her balance. She would walk through the monastery’s orchard or within the monastery itself until she was to the point of collapse. When she completed her Way of the Cross, she would then climb up many steps to a painting, in the convent, of St. Francis receiving the stigmata, where she would flagellate herself. At other times, she would levitate up into the tree in the cloister gardens, the other nuns saying she looked like a little bird in flight.
At times Veronica would take a very heavy log and carry it across her shoulders as a cross beam to reenact more authentically Our Lord carrying the cross to Calvary. There are crosses there till today, which the nuns carry on Good Friday.
Our dear Lord asked Veronica to fast for three years. Upon receiving permission from her Superior, she fasted for the next three years on bread and water alone.
Veronica experiences internal suffering
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said that the Wet Martyrs, those who died for the Church, suffered and died, all pain ending with physical death. But the Dry Martyrs suffered and died an ongoing pain and death, day in and day out, for the Faith. As the physical pain ended for Veronica, a new form of suffering would begin.
She described in her Diary the pain she had in her heart resulting from her Lord’s great Love, and the purification she underwent through those within her own convent. Sister Veronica's internal suffering was so intense, that after she died they found the traces of her life as a victim. Her heart had Divine incisions on it of the instruments of Our Lord’s Passion: the Cross He had carried, the Lance which pierced Our Lord’s Heart, the Pliers used to rip the nails from our Lord’s Hands and Feet so He could be taken down from the Cross, the Nails that mercilessly ripped away at the Flesh on His Hands and Feet as His Body collapsed, completely exhausted, after trying to summon enough breath to speak, begging forgiveness for us all.
As you can not separate the Son from the Mother, Veronica’s heart also bore the seven swords that pierced the heart of Mother Mary. It was further engraved with letters representing the vows she had taken, a sign of her faithfulness to her vocation: P for Passion, O for Obedience, V for Volunta,14 F for Faith and C for Caritas.15 She described each sign to Blessed Florida (one of her nuns), as it was being imprinted on her heart by the Lord, and Blessed Florida would sketch the heart with the sign. And then, as a new one was added, Blessed Florida would sketch the new sign, including the signs that she had previously received, until finally, she sketched the heart containing all the signs the Lord had inscribed. When Veronica died, the bishop, doctors, and nuns, including Blessed Florida, were present at the autopsy. They saw the signs Veronica had spoken of, clearly imprinted on her heart when it was dissected in half.
Attacks from within the Monastery, from within the Church
There is no pain like that from within, whether it is within your family, your church, your ministry, your village, your friends. Veronica was Novice Mistress several times but not without terrible conflict within her own Community. As if that persecution and pain was not enough, when there was peace with her fellow nuns, she had attacks from priests, confessors and bishops, her Superior and then even the Holy See adding to the severe tests she had to undergo.
After she received the stigmata, Veronica was ordered by her confessor to remain locked away in a room in the infirmary for 50 days, to leave only to go to Mass, and then accompanied by two other nuns. The devil kept attacking her, throwing her against the walls and door in an attempt to scare her into disobeying her confessor. Veronica obeyed her confessor! At other times, the Holy Office ordered she be placed under round-the-clock scrutiny for days on end. She never refused or complained, as they examined and probed her mind and her body. She submitted without complaint.
Finally satisfied, the Holy Office lifted the ban which they had imposed on her being elected Abbess, and so in the month of April, 1716, Veronica was elected Mother Abbess of the Monastery. Although she reluctantly agreed to being Abbess, the Lord blessed the Monastery with many vocations under her very able headship. She had a wing built, to accommodate all the new sisters. [It reminds us of a modern day Abbess, Mother Angelica, who has to keep expanding the monastery because, in this time of shrinking vocations, she has a struggle keeping up with the number of young women who desire to live the cloistered life of the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, and now the young men who desire to be part of the Order of Missionaries of the Eternal Word that she founded.]
Veronica became so spiritually attuned to Christ’s suffering and passion she asked to not die, but to be allowed to remain on earth so that she could suffer more! She, like the Saints and Mystics before and after her, knew the value of Redemptive suffering. Someone once said, “Catholics know the saving merits of the Cross.”
The Diary written by a reluctant author lives till today
When they were investigating the cause of Saint Veronica’s beatification, as with so many Mystics and Saints who have written so extensively, the process had to have been slowed down considerably; the Church, always prudent in making a proclamation, so as to not face possible scandal some day. Under obedience to her Abbess and confessor, Veronica had written 20,000 pages. [We had the privilege of holding one of her manuscripts and filming its handwritten pages for our documentary.]
Veronica never allowed her daily tasks to suffer, in order to write her diary. She, like St. Teresa of Avila, found Jesus among the pots and pans, cooking and baking for the nuns, a loving task she really enjoyed, especially for Feast Days. She devotedly cared for the sick nuns in the Infirmary, seeing Jesus in each and every one of them. At times, when Veronica was going about performing her duties among them, she would pass by the Crucifix in the Infirmary, and Jesus would take His arm off the cross and scoop her up to Him, holding her close to Him. When He lifted her onto the Cross and embraced her, it is the same as when we receive Him in Holy Communion; He embraces us.
She spent very little time sleeping. She walked the Way of the Cross, prayed and wrote down all the Blessed Mother and Jesus dictated to her in the evening hours, after her chores were completed.
At night, when she retired to her cell and would begin writing her diary, the devil would throw huge cobble stones against her door to frighten her and disrupt her thoughts. The last fifteen years of her life, she was so very ill and under such ferocious attack from the devil, she could barely remember what to write. Our Lady of Sorrows, the Blessed Mother in the painting in her cell, came to life and dictated the last chapters of Veronica’s diary.
Through the Diary, we are able to glimpse not only into the life of Saint Veronica but of the Church and world at that time. We, in the Catholic Church have such a wealth of role models, beacons of light to guide us. Saints are like lights placed strategically along a pathway leading to our home that go on when it gets dark. When it seems the light has gone out of our life and there is darkness, and we are approaching despair in our families, in our Church, in our world, the Lord places these lights, these Saints in our path to lead us to our final and eternal Home.
Veronica, daughter of Mary Most Holy
Veronica drank mystically from the Chalice of the Blood of Christ and that of the Tears of Mary; she shared in what really happened at the foot of the Cross. Do you not believe that Jesus’ Chalice of Blood was not mingled with Mary’s Chalice of Tears? Were not the Blood and Water from His Side, that of Mother Mary, as well? Was His Blood not her blood and His Water not her water? Had she not given all to her Son, right up till the very end?
Mother Mary assigned a second Guardian Angel to Veronica, to help and console her through her difficult journey to the Kingdom. She was further strengthened one time, by the Angel transporting her in a vision to the Holy House of Loreto. Again, as with Saint Joseph of Cupertino, a Saint is brought to the House of the Holy Family in Loreto.
Veronica solemnly consecrated herself to Mary on November 21, 1708, as her “slave.”16 In addition to being Veronica of Jesus and Mary,17 she became “Veronica of the Divine Will, daughter and devotee of Mary Most Holy,” her heart melting into those of Jesus and Mary, the three hearts becoming one.
There was a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows in the infirmary, before which Veronica spent hours praying after caring for the infirmed. One night Veronica pleaded she was not worthy to be Abbess; Our Lady came to life in the statue and spoke to her, “I’ll be the Abbess and you will be my Vicar.” When Veronica received the keys to the convent, she handed them to Mother Mary; whereupon the Blessed Mother assured Veronica that it was she who was the true Superior of the Monastery:
“Daughter, be calm. I am the Superior and I will provide all the necessary sustenance for you and your sisters. That is my task. You don’t have to see to anything.”
Mother Mary even took over the instruction of the sisters in Chapter. One time Veronica journeyed into ecstasy, and did not awaken until the Chapter lesson was over. Mother Mary had taught the entire lesson. “She it was who did and said everything.”
Mother Mary never left her daughter alone, always walking beside her, supporting Veronica as she walked closer and closer to perfection in her Son Jesus. Veronica became more and more Jesus, and more and more His Mother Mary.
Mother Mary is our true Mother. Sometimes, thinking of her as Our Queen, which she most certainly is, we lose sight of the fact that she is a Mother, our Mother. And what do mothers do? They help their daughters in everyday tasks. One day, as Veronica was washing clothes in the laundry room, the Blessed Mother appeared to her and said, “Do you want to wash all the clothes, yourself? Move over and leave some for me.” As Mother Mary began to wash the clothes, the ice cold water turned into hot water. We saw the primitive laundry room inside the cloister of the convent, (which we filmed for our Documentary).
Veronica, Mother Mary and the Holy Trinity
She wrote in her Diary that Mother Mary guided and groomed her, as she walked toward becoming “daughter of the Father, spouse of the Word and disciple of the Holy Spirit.”
Mary called her “heart of my heart” and then brought her before the Holy Trinity. Veronica wrote, powerfully:
“I became recollected with the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I behaved as usual, and she had me perform an act of adoration of the Holy Trinity. Then, three rays, with three arrows, came into this heart of mine. It seemed to me, the three Divine Persons were confirming, by a sign of love, what they had graciously shown me on many occasions. Mary explained to me: `The Father confirms that you are His daughter, the Eternal Word confirms you as His spouse, the Holy Spirit, that you are His disciple.’ Meanwhile, the three arrows that were in my heart went straight to the heart of Mary, and one arrow came from Mary’s heart to mine, each heart drawing the other to itself. Then the three arrows became like flashes of lightning, and went back and forth from my heart to that of Our Lady.”
Through that experience, Veronica said that it seemed her heart and soul became one with the heart and soul of Mother Mary. That night, the convent began to shake with the force of a huge earthquake. The nuns ran out of their cells, frightened half to death. Veronica told them to go back to sleep; she was having a vision of the Holy Trinity.
The Lord reveals the graces He bestowed upon Veronica
It was as if the Lord was unfolding before her a video of her spiritual life with Him. He told her He had renewed the sorrow in her heart 500 times to bring her closer to Him. When we are under attack, do we consider, the Lord may be trusting us to share in His Passion on the Cross? Jesus gave her the grace to have true repentance for her sins, as He revealed to her who she was and who she was called to be. He made her aware of her faults that she might use the gifts He had given her to perfect herself. Then He helped her to understand all the virtues His generous Heart had instilled in her that they might help and guide her, and through her others on their journey towards sanctity.
He told her, He had renewed His marriage to her sixty times, and He would allow her to experience His Passion thirty-three times, for every year He had spent on the earth that she might know the price, He had paid for His children on earth. He said, He revealed this only to His specially chosen ones.
[It reminds us of St. Clare of Montefalco, when the Lord told her He had been waiting so very long for someone He could trust with His Cross, as He plunged His Cross into her heart.]18
The Lord showed Himself to Veronica wounded and bleeding, His precious Blood spilling from His open Heart and other Wounds. He once again asked that she do His Holy Will. It’s so simple, isn’t it? All we need to do is listen for His Will and do His Will. It’s simple but it’s not always easy to discern His Holy Will. One thing is certain, Our Lord is in charge and nothing is going to happen unless He allows it. As Jesus said to Pilate, “You would have no authority over Me, if My Heavenly Father had not given it to you.”19
How loving Our Lord is to those who carry the Cross with Him. Veronica wrote in her Diary that on three different occasions, Jesus pulled His Arm away from the Cross, and lifting her, brought her close to Him and held her beside Him on the Cross. Five times Our Lord allowed her to drink the Blood and Water from His Side. Fifteen times He washed her heart in His precious Blood which shot forth from His Side like a ray and struck her heart. Twelve times He searched her heart, purifying it, emptying it of all imperfections and remnants of past sins.
Was this to strengthen her so that she could, with her sacrifices make retribution for the Church that flowed from that Holy Side? She wrote, “He gave my soul delightful embraces in a special way, not counting the others which He gave constantly.” He pierced her heart with one hundred loving Wounds, to be known to the world only after her death when all would see the signs Our Lord had imprinted on her heart.
This and so much more He gave to her, always after she would receive Holy Communion. What gifts of Grace, Our Lord has ready to give us in the Eucharist! If only the faithful knew Our Lord’s generous Heart to those who receive Him worthily.20
Veronica had such a love for the Lord and an awareness of His Real Presence! The night before the convent chaplain was to bring Holy Communion to the bedridden in the infirmary, Veronica would climb four flights of stone stairs on her knees, making the Sign of the Cross with her tongue on each step.21 It was as if she were laying out a red carpet for her King, the Eucharist, upon which He would ascend to the infirmed, in the hands of his ambassador-priest. When she got to the top, her tongue, now bleeding profusely, would leave a visible bloody Sign of the Cross on the last steps.
Veronica goes Home
Veronica’s last years were spent in total communion with God, enjoying the special Graces of being one with God, a new perfected creation, as are all the Saints in Heaven. When it was revealed to her that she had received the gift of sanctifying Grace, she exclaimed, over and over again, “Forever and forever...Love has conquered and love itself has been overcome.” The more that we accept God’s Love in our hearts, the more we become aware how small our love is, in comparison to His unconditional never-ending Love for us.
The time for her to enter the Kingdom was at hand. We believe, it must be like the state we are in when we are about to go on a journey, especially (for us) a pilgrimage. You are physically with your loved ones, but your heart and mind is already on the way and you can think of nothing but the place where you are going. What a peaceful death, this Faith gives us.
Our Lady appeared to Veronica. On March 25, 1727, the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord, His Mother, who had been dictating the Diary to Veronica for fifteen years, gave her the final message: “Call a halt!” She was telling Veronica it was time to stop writing the Diary.
Veronica suffered a stroke on June the 6th, right after having received Holy Communion. Now paralyzed, the nuns carried her to a bed in the infirmary, she had so faithfully served. But, the Lord would not take her Home to Him, until she suffered thirty-three days of Purgatory on earth. She, and others who have had visions of Purgatory, will tell you, it is God’s Mercy that we be able to suffer our Purgatory here and not after we die. For those thirty-three days, she was attacked mercilessly: physically, as she knew the most excruciating pain; spiritually, as she had all the temptations of such Saints as St. Thérèse, the Little Flower, the devil taunting her with her sinfulness and unworthiness to enter Heaven, how she had been a poor nun and led many to sin; on and on, diabolically torturing her, pulling out all stops, in a last ditch effort to have her for himself.
But you see, Veronica knew the devil's game, having prophesied she would suffer his slings of poisonous arrows. She suffered all the pains and sufferings of Our Lord, the complete Passion of Christ, a day for each of His thirty-three years on earth. As you meditate on the last days of Jesus’ life, you get a glimpse of what pain, rejection, abandonment, complete vulnerability Veronica shared with Him.
At dawn, July 9th, Veronica asked permission from her confessor to go to her Spouse in Heaven. Having received it, she closed her eyes! Then she uttered final words to her sisters at her bedside: “Love has let Himself be found!” No more pain, no more Passion on earth, job well done, her soul soared up to Heaven where she would experience the Beatific Vision22 for all eternity.
Mother Church declared Veronica Blessed in 1804. Then in 1839 she entered the Company of Saints and became known to the world as Saint Veronica Giuliani. There is a movement within the Church to declare Saint Veronica a Doctor of the Church because of her invaluable teachings, through her writings: her Diary, her Reports and her Letters. Please continue to read about Saint Veronica Giuliani. Her road to perfection is a loving, spirit-filled journey to the Lord for all those reaching for eternal life with the Father.
Saint Veronica Giuliani speaks to us, today! on the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation
“In some way, the Three Divine Persons, present in the most Holy Sacrament revealed Themselves to my soul, and my soul received a deep and penetrating understanding of this Divine mystery.
“There is no way I can find to explain how this was seen. I can only say it was presented to me as a precious joy. Every time we receive Communion, our soul and heart become a temple of the Most Holy Trinity and, with God coming to us, all Paradise comes. In this joy, I saw how God exists, enclosed in the most Holy Host, and this Grace was for me superior to all the other Graces, I have ever received during my whole life.
“I sensed Divine Love intimately in my soul which united itself to Him and it gave me strength and momentum, light and clarity about my faults, the like of which I have not experienced. Also in that moment, I had a very vivid understanding of the special Grace of the Sacrament of Penance. These two Sacraments are such great Graces for our souls. We do not comprehend; we do not really esteem them as we should.”
Whenever we have given a Retreat or Mission on the Miracles of the Eucharist, as the faithful became more and more aware of the Miracle that comes about on the Altar at the moment of Consecration and of that Lord Who dwells in the Tabernacle, we would see them line up outside of the confessional to receive the Sacrament of Penance. The more we know Jesus in the Eucharist, the more aware we become of our unworthiness and sinfulness; and we want to be washed clean. Normally the Sacrament of Reconciliation brings us to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. In this instance, the Eucharist brought us to Reconciliation.
Saint Veronica speaks of the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance as a “Tribunal of Mercy...the confessor takes the place of God: he speaks in the very Person of God (in Persona Cristi).”
“When I go to this Tribunal, I am terrified from head to foot. I do not seem to have a tongue to confess my failings...I wish that the confessor would be able to penetrate every thought I have, not only as it is in me but also as it is in the Eyes of God. I feel such sorrow, I do not know how I can utter a word.
“In the act of receiving absolution from the confessor I seem to feel myself renewed and so lighthearted that really, it seems like I have had a mountain of lead lifted off my shoulders. I experience the loving embrace God gives my soul.
“I sense that Divine Love makes it clear to me what He has and is doing, so that I may say everything to him who stands in His place. Thus with entire frankness I reveal everything just as if I were at the feet of God, and while I am speaking I feel myself changing into someone else, so much so that I remain astonished. He has made me to understand that the obedience of revealing things (about my visions) is my cooperation as is the Penance of writing about them.”
Veronica speaks on God’s Grace
“Revelation teaches that God dwells in us through Grace, that the soul becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit and in addition, a dwelling place of the entire Trinity.”
St. Veronica lived in the reality of the Presence of God. She was not a theologian but a Mystic, a vessel through which the Lord and His Mother could speak to the children of God. As God spoke through the prophets at the time of the Israelites, now Veronica, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, simply recounted and reported all that had been passed on to her by the Savior and His Mother.
Whether we realize it or not, we seek the Divine from the day we are conceived. It is as if God keeps a small piece of our hearts with Him, and we long to be united with that part of ourselves. Some of the problems facing the faithful today is, with the de-emphasizing of the Divine by some theologians, we find people fulfilling their need for the Supernatural in the wrong places, running from one alleged Mystic to another, or substituting age-old heresies that deify man.
Saint Veronica said, “God is in me and I am in God.” She also cried out, “Lord, I want to love You and to be completely one with You.” All of God’s children yearn for God. Alleged mystics who give no credit to Divine Revelation and the Supernatural, bringing the faithful to focus on them and not God and his Divine Power to do all things, will invariably end up in Pantheism23 or the Pantheism of today, New Age! We have two problems: one, those who fall into the danger of Pantheism; and two, those who, fearing Pantheism or New Age, fall into the equally dangerous heresy of Naturalism.24 Mystics, accepted by the Church, who have passed the test of time, have had a Supernatural oneness with God within themselves - as St. Paul said to the Galatians: “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God Who has loved me and given Himself up for me.” 25
So, unlike those practicing Pantheism, true Mystics experience God within, and are raised to the Divine through that indwelling of God within them, God taking over the soul, not the soul becoming God. Veronica said:
“O Love, O Love, what are You doing with this soul? I am no one, dust, ashes, and nothing. I sense this fullness which is God, without limit, united, made One very substance with my soul, and my soul made one and the very same thing with God.” (Diary)
Although the soul continues to live, it now experiences itself living in God. Do we not say: Empty me, Lord, of all that is not of You and quickly fill me with Yourself? Our soul continues to live with the Free Will which God has given to it; but completely abandoning itself to God and His Will, we no longer live but God lives within us. And then, God lights that flame that cannot be extinguished.
St. Veronica says that when God takes possession of the human will, what results is one single will and from this one will, one Love alone flows. As a result, everything the soul does from this moment on is not the soul acting, but Love Who is present inside.
This day, turn your will over to the Lord, to do with as He Wills. Invite Jesus into your heart, mind and soul. Ask that your thoughts be His Thoughts, your eyes His Eyes to see, your ears His Ears to hear, your words His Words to speak, your arms His Arms to embrace, your legs His Legs to bring you closer to Him, your heart lost in His Heart that you might love as He does. Adore Him, as did Mother Mary, the Saints, the Angels and the Mystics before you.
The Incorrupt body of St. Veronica Giuliani is in the Monastery in Cittá di Castello, Italy
Visionaries Mystics and Stigmatists book
1Read chapter on St. Rose of Lima in this book.
2Read chapter on St. Margaret Mary in this book.
3Read chapter on St. Teresa of Avila in Bob and Penny Lord’s book: “Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church.”
4which we pray will someday make her a Doctor of the Church. It contains over 20, 000 pages in 23 volumes.
5Read chapter on St. Francis in Bob and Penny Lord’s book: “Saints and Other Powerful Men in the Church.”
6Read chapter on St. Catherine of Siena in Bob and Penny Lord’s book: “Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church.”
7It reminds us of our grandson when he was a little baby pointing to a picture of Jesus, saying “God!” and then “Man!” and then “God-Man!” He was barely able to talk but he knew that Jesus was the God-Man; a truth that many with supposed higher intellect deny, today.
8The Saint uses “seem” often, out of humility, never presuming that all or any part of what was revealed to her was of the Lord and His Mother, obediently waiting upon the decision of the Church.
11from chapter on Saint Catherine of Siena in Bob and Penny Lord’s book: “Saints and other Powerful Women in the Church.” Read more about Saint Catherine and other powerful Saints who were also Visionaries, Mystics and Stigmatists
12Read more about her and other Martyrs in Bob and Penny Lord’s book: “Martyrs, They died for Christ.”
13Our Lord shared with St. Bridget of Sweden that He suffered the greatest pain on the shoulder upon which He had carried His Cross.
14the Will of God
15Charity, love, compassion
16Louis Marie de Montfort gave himself to Mother Mary as her slave, during this same time and advocated everyone do likewise.
17her religious name
18from chapter on Saint Clare of Montefalco in Bob and Penny Lord’s book: “Saints and other Powerful Women in the Church.” Read more about Saint Clare and other powerful Saints who were also Visionaries, Mystics and Stigmatists.
19 John 19:11
20to worthily receive, one must not be in a state of sin, nor separated from the Church Community of believers.
21approximately 60 steps
22"The blessed see God as He sees Himself”...”the fulfillment of happiness, seeing all in the light of supreme Truth” John writes: “...we are God’s children now; what we shall later be has not come to light. We know that when it comes to light we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (Jn 3:2) The Catholic Encyclopedia - Broderick
23Pantheism denies a personal God; it advocates that God is in everyone and everything, that we are all God and there is no One God. For more on Heresies, read Bob and Penny Lord’s book: “Scandal of the Cross and Its Triumph.”
24Naturalism is a rationalistic system of philosophy and theology, which denies the Supernatural and centers on nature alone. The Catholic Encyclopedia by Broderick
25Gal 2:20 Saint Veronica Giuliani
About the Authors:
Bob and Penny Lord are renowned Catholic authors of many best selling books about the Catholic Faith. They are hosts on EWTN Global Television and have written over 25 books. They are best known as the authors of “Miracles of the Eucharist books.” They have been dubbed, “Experts on the Saints.” Many of the ebooks are now available at Smashwords.com.
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