Saint Juliana of Mt. Cornillon

Saint Juliana of Mt. Cornillon


Saint 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 honor 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 honor 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 neighboring 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 the Saint. 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 Saint 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. Saint Juliana 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. Albert

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St. Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem

[Compiler of the Rule of the Carmelites.] HE was born at Castro di Gualtieri, in the diocess of Parma, and of a noble Italian family. After having laid a solid foundation of learning and piety, and acquired a great reputation by his skill in the canon and civil laws, he put on the habit of a canon regular in the monastery of Mortura in the Milanese, and, thoughvery young, was in a short time after his profession chosen prior, and, three years after, bishop of Bobio. Whilst his humility found excuses to decline this dignity, the church of Vercelli falling also vacant, that city had the happiness to carry him off, and see him, by compulsion, placed in its episcopal chair. For twenty years he never ceased to procure the advantage of the flock committed to his charge, and by humility and sanctity raised to the highest degree the splendour of the see which he adorned. He was chosen by Pope Clement III. and the Emperor Frederic I., surnamed Barbarossa, umpire of their differences. Henry VI., successor to Frederic, created him prince of the empire, and granted many favours to his church. He was employed by the pope in several commissions of the highest importance. In 1204, died Monachus, the eleventh Latin patriarch of Jerusalem: and the Christians in Palestine who, in their desolate condition, stood extremely in need of a person whose consummate prudence, patience, and zeal, might be to them both a comfort and a support, moved by the great reputation of Albert, earnestly besought him to fill the vacant chair. Pope Innocent III. expressed great joy at their choice, being full of compassion for their situation and dangers, and called Albert to Rome, that he might receive the confirmation of his election, and the pall. The holy man obeyed the more readily, because this dignity at that time exposed him only to persecutions and afflictions, not without a prospect of martyrdom. He embarked in a Genoese vessel in 1206, and landed at Aeon, in which city he resided, Jerusalem itself being in the hands of the Saracens. To his labours and persecutions he added the practice of assiduous mortification, and made prayer the chief employment of all his retired hours. His sanctity procured him the respect and veneration of the infidels themselves. Besides many other pious establishments and holy works of which he was the author, he became the legislator of the Carmelites, or White Friars. On Mount Carmel lived certain anchorets, who regarded the Prophet Elias as their founder and model, because he made that mountain the place of his retreat, 1 as did also Eliseus. 2 One Bertheld formed these anchorets into a community: and Brocard, superior of these hermits, in 1205, or rather, as Papebroke proves, in 1209, addressed himself to the patriarch Albert, beseeching him to prescribe them a rule. 3 The holy man drew up the constitutions of this Order, in which the friars are enjoined to abide in their cells day and night in assiduous prayer, as it becomes hermits, unless they are otherwise lawfully occupied: to fast from the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross till Easter, except on Sundays: perpetual abstinence from flesh: to employ themselves in manual labour: keep silence from Vespers till Tierce the next day, &c. But several additions were made to this rule, and mitigations introduced by commissioners appointed by Innocent IV. in 1246. The White Friars did not wear a scapular before St. Simon Stock, in 1285, and began to use a mantle and hood in 1288. This Order being in its origin eremitical, hence among the barefooted Carmelites every province has a desert or solitude, usually for three or four hermits, who lead there very austere lives; but after one year return again to their convent, or go to some other desert, with the leave of superiors. 1 Continue reading