One of the wonderful things about being Catholic (really!) is the saints. There is always a saint that is a patron of something that relates to your life or your circumstances. Today’s feast day belongs to Saint Aldobrandesca (1245-1310).
Though Saint Aldobrandesca may belong in the obscure-saint category, her life teaches us numerous lessons on a variety of issues that we face today: forgiveness, sexual temptation, and temptation in general.
Born in the thirteenth century in Siena, Italy, Aldobrandesca became the town’s oddity due to her visions, ecstasies, and miracles. Her arranged marriage ended abruptly when her husband died, leaving her childless. Her life of prayer meant so much to her that she decided to live a life of celibacy. She struggled with that commitment, which made her the patron of sexual temptation.
Her forgiveness of others was extraordinary:
A hospital maid came upon Aldobrandesca when she was in a trance. The saint appeared to be cataleptic — muscles rigid, unconscious, and without feeling. Aldobrandesca’s biographer says the woman screamed in fear,
“summoning everyone to see her whom she thought was dead. Some were amazed, others amused. They began to punch and pinch her, to prick her with pins and to burn her fingers with candle flames. When she returned to her senses and felt her entire body in excruciating pain, Aldobrandesca simply said: ‘May God forgive you.'” – Bert Ghezzi, Voices of the Saints
In her later years, she gave away her money and belongings and eventually moved to a hospital where her real ministry began.
Making the sign of the cross was all Aldobrandesca had to do to cure a boy who had pains throughout his body. A girl’s face had swollen so much, her one eye was closed. The girl was supposed to have surgery, but it wasn’t necessary once Aldobrandesca made the sign of the cross over her.
Two women with cancer were cured after Aldobrandesca anointed them, one with blessed oil and the other with a grape leaf placed on her breast. These charitable works were performed up until Aldobrandesca’s death on April 26, 1310.
We can honor this little-known saint today by doing these four things:
- Curtail our own temptations, whatever they may be.
- Put action in our prayer to help those we pray for.
- Make the sign of the cross in acknowledgement when we experience something that we know is from God.
- Begin the process of forgiving someone.
Copyright 2018 Pam Spano