With many stigmatics these apparitions were periodical, e.g., St. Catherine de' Ricci, whose ecstasies of the Passion began when she was twenty (1542), and the Bull of her canonization states that for twelve years they recurred with minute regularity. The ecstasy lasted exactly twenty-eight hours, from Thursday noon till Friday afternoon at four o'clock, the only interruption being for the saint to receive Holy Communion. Catherine conversed aloud, as if enacting a drama. This drama was divided into about seventeen scenes. On coming out of the ecstasy the saint's limbs were covered with wounds produced by whips, cords etc.
1. None are known prior to the thirteenth century. The first mentioned is St. Francis of Assisi, in whom the stigmata were of a character never seen subsequently; in the wounds of feet and hands were excrescences of flesh representing nails, those on one side having round back heads, those on the other having rather long points, which bent back and grasped the skin. The saint's humility could not prevent a great many of his brethren beholding with their own eyes the existence of these wonderful wounds during his lifetime as well as after his death. The fact is attested by a number of contemporary historians, and the feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis is kept on 17 September.
2. There are 62 saints or blessed of both sexes of whom the best known were:
- St. Francis of Assisi (1186-1226)
- St. Lutgarde (1182-1246)
- St. Margaret of Cortona (1247-97)
- St. Gertrude (1256-1302)
- St. Clare of Montefalco (1268-1308)
- Bl. Angela of Foligno (d. 1309)
- St. Catherine of Siena (1347-80)
- St. Lidwine (1380-1433)
- St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440)
- St. Colette (1380-1447)
- St. Rita of Cassia (1381-1457)
- Bl. Osanna of Mantua (1499-1505)
- St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)
- Bl. Baptista Varani (1458-1524)
- Bl. Lucy of Narni (1476-1547)
- Bl. Catherine of Racconigi (1486-1547)
- St. John of God (1495-1550)
- St. Catherine de' Ricci (1522-89)
- St. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi (1566-1607)
- Bl. Marie de l'Incarnation (1566-1618)
- Bl. Mary Anne of Jesus (1557-1620)
- Bl. Carlo of Sezze (1613-1670)
- Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-90)
- St. Veronica Giuliani (1660-1727)
- St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds (1715-91)
- Marie-Julie Jahenny (1850-1941)
- St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) (1887-1968)
3. There were 20 stigmatics in the nineteenth century. The most famous were:
- Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824)
- Elizabeth Canori Mora (1774-1825)
- Anna Maria Taïgi (1769-1837)
- Maria Dominica Lazzari (1815-48)
- Marie de Moerl (1812-68) and Louise Lateau (1850-83)
Of these, Marie de Moerl spent her life at Kaltern, Tyrol (1812-68). At the age of twenty she became an ecstatic, and ecstasy was her habitual condition for the remaining thirty-five years of her life. She emerged from it only at the command, sometimes only mental, of the Franciscan who was her director, and to attend to the affairs of her house, which sheltered a large family. Her ordinary attitude was kneeling on her bed with hands crossed on her breast, and an expression of countenance which deeply impressed spectators. At twenty-two she received the stigmata. On Thursday evening and Friday these stigmata shed very clear blood, drop by drop, becoming dry on the other days. Thousands of persons saw Marie de Moerl, among them Görres (who describes his visit in his "Mystik" II, xx), Wiseman, and Lord Shrewsbury, who wrote a defence of the ecstatic in his letters published by "The Morning Herald" and "The Tablet" (cf. Boré, op. cit. infra).
Louise Lateau spent her life in the village of Bois d'Haine, Belgium (1850-83). The graces she received were disputed even by some Catholics, who as a general thing relied on incomplete or erroneous information, as has been established by Canon Thiery ("Examen de ce qui concerne Bois d'Haine", Louvain, 1907). At sixteen she devoted herself to nursing the cholera victims of her parish, who were abandoned by most of the inhabitants. Within a month she nursed ten, buried them, and in more than one instance bore them to the cemetery. At eighteen she became an ecstatic and stigmatic, which did not prevent her supporting her family by working as a seamstress. Numerous physicians witnessed her painful Friday ecstasies and established the fact that for twelve years she took no nourishment save weekly communion. For drink she was satisfied with three or four glasses of water a week. She never slept, but passed her nights in contemplation and prayer, kneeling at the foot of her bed.
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St. Margaret Clitherow was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, of protestant parents. Possessed of good looks and full of wit and merriment, she was a charming personality. In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a well-to-do grazier and butcher (to whom she bore two children), and a few years later entered the Catholic Church. Her zeal led her to harbor fugitive ... continue reading
St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately exhorted the other Apostles to accompany Him on the trip which involved certain danger and possible death because of the mounting hostility of the ... continue reading
St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent. Instead they arranged a marriage for her. Rita became a good wife and mother, but her husband was a man of violent temper. In anger he often mistreated his wife. He taught their children his own evil ways. Rita tried to perform her duties ... continue reading
The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the angel who appeared to Zachariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptizer. Finally, he ... continue reading
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Every carpenter must practice patience. We can learn important lessons from the wood shop in Nazareth from the humble Saint Joseph. I have ... continue reading
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