St. Magdalen of Pazzi

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St. Magadalen of Pazzi

St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, a shining example of virtue and holiness, was born at Florence, in 1566, of illustrious parents. She received the name of Catherine in baptism, but on entering the Convent, she changed it to Mary Magdalen. The lessons of her office in the Roman Breviary testify that her life was perfect from her earliest youth. Her only enjoyment, when yet a small child, was to be taken to church, or to listen to the histories of the lives of the saints. She prayed for hours before she was able to read. Being asked what she was doing, she replied: “I pray God for grace to learn what I should do to please Him.” When she was sent to school, they gave her, as is the custom of the country, a little basket of refreshments. She, however, gave it to some prisoners whom she passed on her way, and thus fasted until noon. At another time she abstained from food or drink until she had been to church. When scarcely seven years of age, she began to mortify herself in divers ways. She denied herself her favorite fruit; took only two meals, one at noon and one at evening; refused to be present at the theatre; read with great avidity spiritual books, especially those which treated of the life and sufferings of our Saviour, and which implanted in her heart that ardent love of Christ of which her life gives so bright a record. In her eighth and ninth years, she had so intense a longing to receive holy Communion, that she could not, without tears, look at those who had the grace to partake of this food of angels. She was therefore permitted to receive her first communion, at the age of ten years. How this holy act filled her heart with joy and happiness is more easily conceived than described. She herself declared it was the happiest day of her life. Soon after, she consecrated herself entirely to God by taking the vow of perpetual chastity. Having reached her twelfth year, she had increased her mortifications to such an extent, that she wore a penitential robe, of hair-cloth, slept upon the floor and wore, during the night, a crown of thorns upon her head.” She mortified her tender body in these and many other ways, in order to become more like her beloved Jesus. When 15 years old, several rich and noble young men asked her hand in marriage; but she assured her parents that she had already chosen a much richer and more noble bridegroom, to whom she would always remain faithful, namely, Jesus. Continue reading