St. Juliana Falconieri (1270-1341)
The Patron Saint of Chronic Illness
Juliana Falconieri grew up among saints. Her uncle, St. Alexis Falconieri, was one of the seven founders of the Servite order. The priest who taught her as a child and acted as her spiritual director was St. Philip Benizi, one of the early superiors of the Servites. Inspired by the holiness around her, Juliana decided to affiliate herself with the Servites as a nun. Juliana added works of charity to the Servite way of life by going out into the streets of Florence to help the sick, the helpless, and the abandoned.
Because of her own struggle with sickness, St. Juliana became the patron of people suffering from any type of chronic illness. During the last years of her life, she was plagued by an undiagnosed stomach ailment. Eventually the illness proved fatal. As she lay dying, she was seized by such a severe bout of vomiting that the attendant priest deemed her unable to receive Holy Communion. Instead, at Juliana's request, he covered her chest with a corporal (a linen cloth) and laid the consecrated host over her heart. According to the story, the Eucharist vanished a few moments later.
From This Saint's for You!: 300 Heavenly Allies for Architects, Athletes, Brides, Bachelors, Babies, Librarians, Murders, Whales, Widows, and You © 2007 by Thomas J. Craughwell. Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books