St. Juliana of Mt. Cornillon

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St. Juliana of Mt. Cornillon


Blessed Juliana was born near Liege, Belgium in 1193. At the age of five, she lost her parents and was placed in the convent of Mt. Cornillon near Liege. She made rapid progress in virtue, and read with pleasure the writings of Saint Augustine and Saint Bernard. She also cultivated an ardent love of the Blessed Virgin and the Sacred Passion, but especially of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. In 1206 she received the veil and devoted herself to the sick in the hospital associated with the convent.

Taught in repeated visions that Our Lord wanted a feast in honour of the institution of the most precious heritage of the Eucharist, after twenty years in which her humility protested the investiture of such a mission, she addressed herself to many dignitaries to obtain their opinion. The unanimous decision was that nothing in the divine law was opposed to the establishment of a special feast in honour of the Blessed Sacrament.

But soon opposition arose to her proposed feast of Corpus Christi. Although in 1230 she was chosen as Superior of her community, she was accused of being a visionary, and she became the object of harsh persecution by a man who had secured his position as overlord of the community by intrigues and bribery. He aroused the neighbouring populations against her, and she was obliged to leave the region. Later she was vindicated in the courts through the influence of the Bishop of Liege; her persecutor was deposed, and she was restored to her position in the community.

In 1246 the same bishop ordered that the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament be celebrated every year on the Thursday after the octave of the Trinity. Nonetheless, after the death of the worthy bishop, the furious persecutor was reinstated in 1247 and succeeded once more in driving out Juliana. She passed the last years of her life in seclusion at Namur, and was buried in 1258 at Villiers.

It was Pope Urban IV, formerly archdeacon at Liege, who in 1264, formally instituted this feast day for the entire Church; it was he also who had commissioned Saint Thomas Aquinas to prepare the magnificent text of the Office and Mass. The Pope wrote to the friend and associate of Juliana, a Sister-recluse who had continued her efforts to obtain the request of the Lord: May this day bring to all Christians the joy of a new feast and be celebrated with great joy, as We recommend fully in the Apostolic Letter We are sending to the entire world. In 1312 the Council of Vienna confirmed the papal bull, and from that time on, the feast day became general.

Reflection. BlessedJuliana never ceased to hope in the help of God amid the most cruel persecutions. In effect, His clearly expressed Will was accomplished only after her death. Let us learn from her patience to practice the holy virtue of hope, and to rely on the divine aid for all that is pleasing to Him.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 4

St. Herman Joseph

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St. Herman Joseph, Confessor

HE was born at Cologne, and at twelve years of age entered the monastery of Steinfeldt of regular canons of the Premonstratensian Order in the dutchy of Juliers, and diocess of Cologne. His incredible fasts and other austerities, and his extraordinary humility, joined with assiduous prayer and meditation, raised him to an eminent gift of contemplation, which replenished his soul with the most profound sentiments of all virtues, and was attended with many heavenly favours: but, as it is usual, this grace was often accompanied with severe interior trials. He was singularly devoted to the Blessed Virgin. At the very remembrance of the mystery of the incarnation, his soul seemed to melt in tender love; and he seemed in raptures whenever he recited the canticle Benedictus at Lauds. Such was his desire of contempt, that he one day desired a peasant to strike him on the face. The other in surprise asked the reason: “On account,” said he, “of my being a most filthy and abominable creature, and because I cannot meet with so much contempt as I deserve.” He died on the 7th of April in 1226. He wrote a commentary on the book of Canticles, or Song of Solomon, and some other treatises on sublime contemplation, which may be ranked with those of other great masters in the contemplative way, as Thomas à Kempis, St. Theresa, Thauler, Harphius, Blosius, Lanspergius, Hilton, &c. B. Herman is honoured among the saints in his Order, and in some churches in the Low Countries. In the abbey church of Steinfeldt he is titular saint of an altar, at which the priests who visit that church out of devotion to him, say a votive mass in his honour before his relics, with proper prayers of the saint used in that abbey from time immemorial. Small portions of his relics have been given to several other churches. Some are enshrined and exposed to public veneration in the abbey of Premontré at Antwerp; a portion is kept in the abbey of Parc, at Louvain; another in the parish church of St. Christopher, at Cologne, and another at the Chartreuse in the same city. The Emperor Ferdinand II. solicited his canonization at Rome, and several proofs of miracles and other particulars have been given in for that purpose. His name is inserted on the 7th of April, in the martyrology of the regular canons of St. Austin, approved by Benedict XIV. p. 275. See his life by a fellow canon of great virtue in the Bollandists on the 7th of April, t. 1, p. 682; also two other lives, and several acts, collected in order to pursue the process for his canonization. 1

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IV: April.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.