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St. Zdislava of Lemberk

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Facts

Feastday: January 1
Patron of Difficult marriages; people ridiculed for their piety
Birth: 1220
Death: 1252
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II

As a child of seven, Zdislava, the daughter of a Czech aristocratic family, ventured into the woods with the intent of becoming a hermitess, but she was soon tracked down and brought home from her adventure. Zdislava married a Czech nobleman, the Count of Lemberk. The couple had four children. Zdislava received Holy Communion almost daily, and experienced many ecstasies and visions.

She devoted herself to the poor, bathing the sick with her own hands, and taking homeless refugees into her home. When on one occasion her husband, exasperated by her charity, angrily went to expel from their castle a fever-stricken beggar she had given a bed to, he was stunned to find in the bed a crucifix instead. The mysterious incident moved him to accede to Zdislava's desire to fund the foundation of a new Dominican convent. While still young, Zdislava was stricken with a fatal illness. She reassured her husband and children that she hoped to be of more help to them in the next life than she could ever be in this world. Soon after Zdislava's death on January 1, 1252, her husband experienced a vision of her in glory.


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