Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Visions of Saint Veronica Giuliani
Ursula Giuliani was born in Italy in the year 1660. Even from an early age this little girl was touched by God to fulfil His purpose in the world. Little Ursula would often insist on being taken to a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus, where she would say, "I am Yours, and You are all mine, dear Jesus!" Upon uttering this she would hear the response from the child Jesus, "I am yours, and you are mine!"
From an early age little Ursula was infused with a knowledge beyond her years and a heart that was full of love for all, but most especially the poor both physically and spiritually. When a poor man asked for some shoes Ursula gave him a pair of her own shoes, it was many year later that Jesus appeared to her and told her of her kindness to that beggar in these words, "These are the shoes you gave to Me when you were a little child. I was that beggar!" This was just one of many instances in which Ursula showed her love for the poor and impoverished. She also had a great love and devotion to spreading the Love of Jesus through His Passion which He suffered for love of sinners.
When Ursula, after much longing, was finally of an age to receive our Lord in the Eucharist, her heart near exploded with the joy of finally receiving Him, whom she loved dearly into her soul. She told many later that she had felt her 'heart burning' with a real fire, she took this to be a sign that the Lord was calling her to a special purpose as she said in her diary, "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 know what; I was beside myself, but I couldn't understand a thing. I thought it was always like this at Communion."
Upon returning home Ursula prayed to the Blessed Mother to help her to love Jesus and to suffer for him, the child Jesus said to her, "I have suffered so much." Ursula with real zealousness responded, "I want to do everything You did". The baby Jesus then told Ursula, "The Cross awaits you."
And so it was that in the year 1677 Ursula entered the Capuchin Order and became known as Sister Veronica. As a nun Sister Veronica was to be the recipient of many more Divine images and messages which did not always go well with her other Sisters and Superiors. But Veronica was not there to please people, but to remind them of the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ in His Passion, which He suffered for love of all men.
During this time Sister Veronica began to feel a pain in her heart where in Communion her heart had burned for love of Christ. She explained this in her diary, "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."
This was a real pain and not a figment of Veronica's imagination as she tried various ways to alleviate her suffering where an excruciating pain could be felt in her heart. The heat that emanated from her heart was so intense that upon placing cold cloths on her heart they would immediately become dry! And during this most painful time, Veronica also suffered what many Mystics have termed 'the dark night', for like Jesus, Veronica too could be heard moaning from her cell, "My God! My God why have You forsaken me?"
The sufferings of this very holy sister was also witnessed by others as one explained, "one day, I saw her suspended in mid air, 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." One can only imagine what Sister Veronica was experiencing for love of God and her fellow man, as the baby Jesus told her, she certainly would join Him in His sufferings!
During another vision Jesus showed Sister Veronica hell, where the souls of unrepentant sinners chose to go to spend their eternity in its fiery depths, Sister Veronica wrote down in her dairy what she saw. "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." This holy sister upon seeing such a sight begged our Lord for mercy and prayed before the Divine Justice, with outstretched arms, "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!" Our Lady appeared before Veronica and said to her, " Many do not believe that hell exists, and I tell you that you yourself, who have been there, have understood nothing of what hell is."
Another miraculous event would touch the heart and life of this remarkable Mystic when in Easter 1694, Jesus appeared to Sister Veronica as the Prince of Peace where He was seated on a throne and just before Him sat His Mother on a throne of alabaster, where Victoria could see our Holy Mother praying to Jesus to prepare the way for Veronica to become His Mystical bride. As Sister Veronica explains in her diary, she tells of the rays of light that came from Jesus' wounds and became small flames of fire, four in the form of great pointed nails, the fifth a spear-head of gleaming gold. She writes, "I felt a fearful agony of pain, but with the pain I clearly saw and was conscious that I was wholly transformed into God. When I had been thus wounded, in my heart, in my hands and feet, the rays of light gleaming with a new radiance shot back to the Crucifix, and illuminated the gashed side, the hands and feet of Him who was hanging there. Thus My Lord and My God espoused me, and gave me in charge to His Most Holy Mother for ever and ever, and bade my Guardian Angel watch over me, for He was jealous of His honour, and then thus He spoke to me: 'I am Thine, I give Myself wholly unto thee. Ask whatsoever thou wilt, it shall be granted thee.' I made reply: 'Beloved, only one thing I ask, never to be separated from Thee.' And then in a twinkling all vanished away."
This is when Sister Veronica received the Stigmata granted to a few chosen holy souls, this would bring great anguish to this remarkable woman. But it also brought investigations from the Bishop, and upon testing this holy Nun where many witnessed her levitating and smelt a aromatic odour of roses which emanated from her wounds. The Bishop upon completing his investigation proclaimed that what Sister Veronica had seen and felt was genuine.
But Sister Veronica was also a very practical woman and remained as novice mistress for over 30 years because of her deep sense of practicalities, her obedience and her humility. She was a shining example for all to follow as to what constitutes a good and holy nun.
Here are some other insights that God revealed to this most holy woman:
On the Sacrament of Penance, "a Tribunal of Mercy... the confessor takes the place of God: he speaks in the very Person of God...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 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 light-hearted that really it seems that 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 is my cooperation as is the Penance of writing about them."
On receiving the Eucharist, " 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 other Graces, I have ever received in my life."
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."
There is much for us to learn from this great Saint and stigmatic, who revealed her visions and insights in her diary. Upon her death when her body was examined her heart miraculously showed signs of a cross and a crown of thorns which looked to have been imprinted within her heart itself. Sister Veronica's right shoulder also had curvature as if she had been carrying a very heavy load all her life.
Many had witnessed the miraculous happenings surrounding this remarkable Saint and said so at her cause for beatification.
I would encourage all to read more on the life of this most holy Saint