Wednesday, June 19, 2013
St. Juliana Falconieri

Today Holy Mother Church remembers St. Juliana Falconieri.  St. Juliana was the foundress of the Religious Sisters of the Third Order of Servites (or the Servite Tertiaries).

She was born the only child of a wealthy Florentine noble family of Chiarissimo and Riguirdata Falconieri.  She is the niece of Saint Alexis Falconieri. Her father died while Juliana was very young, and her saintly uncle Alexis had a great influence on her. Her life was plagued with chronic gastric problems.

Legend says she never gazed into a mirror, never looked at a man’s face, trembled at the mention of sin, and fainted upon hearing scandalous gossip. Juliana refused an arranged marriage at age 14. She became a Servite tertiary in 1285, taking the habit from her spiritual director, Saint Philip Benizi.  She helped form and served as the first superior of the Servite Order of Mary (Servite Nuns, the Mantellate Servites), which was formally established in 1304, and their first convent founded in 1305.

At her death, unable to receive Holy Communion because of constant vomiting, she requested the priest to spread a corporal upon her breast and lay the Host on it. Soon after, the Host disappeared, Juliana died, and the image of the cross that had been on the Host was found on her breast.

The Servite Order was approved by Pope Martin V in the year 1420. Pope Benedict XIII recognized the devotion long paid to her and granted the Servites permission to celebrate the feast of the Blessed Juliana. Pope Clement XII canonized her in the year 1737 and extended the celebration of her feast day (June 19) to the entire Church

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