The other day, on the feast of the Annunciation, I had a brief email exchange with management at Catholic Embroidery. We both relished our respective visits to Santissima Annunziata. That was the church hi-lighted in this post : https://marcsviewonstuff.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/happy-feast-day/
I don’t know if the Church ever kept an official octave of this feast but I can certainly keep an unofficial and personal one! (“Gee, Marc, you’re such an innovator…so…N.O.”)
Below are a couple of my own pictures of the same church in Florence. In addition to the beautiful painting of the Annunciation, this is where I had my first ever close-up visit with one of our incorrupt saints amongst the Church Triumphant. I did see Pope St. Pius X in St Peters Basilica, but he was much further away. (Not to mention I had just flown into Rome a few hours before going there and my brain was foggier than usual.)
Here in this Florentine church, lies the incorrupt St Juliana Falconieri. It was amazing to see that nearly seven centuries that have passed since her death and how beautiful she looks today!
Father Butler’s words on our saintly virgin above:
June 19.–ST. JULIANA FALCONIERI.
JULIANA FALCONIERI was born in answer to prayer, in 1270. Her father built the splendid church of the Annunziata in Florence, while her uncle, Blessed Alexius, became one of the founders of the Servite Order. Under his care Juliana grew up, as he said, more like an angel than a human being. Such was her modesty that she never used a mirror or gazed upon the face of a man during her whole life. The mere mention of sin made her shudder and tremble, and once hearing a scandal related she fell into a dead swoon. Her devotion to the sorrows of Our Lady drew her to the Servants of Mary; and, at the age of fourteen, she refused an offer of marriage, and received the habit from St. Philip Benizi himself. Her sanctity attracted many novices, for whose direction she was bidden to draw up a rule, and thus with reluctance she became foundress of the “Mantellate.” She was with her children as their servant rather than their mistress, while outside her convent she led a life of apostolic charity, converting sinners, reconciling enemies, and healing the sick by sucking with her own lips their ulcerous sores. She was sometimes rapt for whole days in ecstasy, and her prayers saved the Servite Order when it was in danger of being suppressed. She was visited in her last hour by angels in the form of white doves, and Jesus Himself, as a beautiful child, crowned her with a garland of flowers. She wasted away through a disease of the stomach, which prevented her taking food. She bore her silent agony with constant cheerfulness, grieving only for the privation of Holy Communion. At last, when, in her seventieth year, she had sunk to the point of death, she begged to be allowed once more to see and adore the Blessed Sacrament. It was brought to her cell, and reverently laid on a corporal, which was placed over her heart. At this moment she expired, and the Sacred Host disappeared. After her death the form of the Host was found stamped upon her heart in the exact spot over which the Blessed Sacrament i had been placed. Juliana died A. D. 1340.
Reflection.–“Meditate often,” says St. Paul of the Cross, “on the sorrows of the holy Mother, sorrows inseparable from those of her beloved Son. If you seek the Cross, there you will find the Mother; and where the Mother is, there also is the Son.”
St Juliana, Ora pro nobis!