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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When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was aware that Clement VII was offering her a great honor and a great opportunity to serve when he asked her to take charge of a religious order of nursing sisters. But Angela knew that nursing was not what God had called her to do with her life. She had just returned from a trip to the Holy Land. ... continue reading
Before the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, Christopher was listed as a martyr who died under Decius. Nothing else is known about him. There are several legends about him including the one in which he was crossing a river when a child asked to be carried across. When Christopher put the child on his shoulders he found the child was unbelievably heavy. The ... continue reading
Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the Foundress of an order of nuns now called "Poor Clares." When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. ... 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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This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came ... continue reading
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