St. Juliana Falconieri
Born in 1270; died 12 June, 1341. Juliana belonged to the noble Florentine family of Falconieri. Her uncle, St. Alexis Falconieri, was one of the seven founders of the Servite Order. Through his influence she also consecrated herself from her earliest youth to the religious life and the practices of Christian perfection. After her father’s death she received about A.D. 1285 from St. Philip Benitius, then General of the Servites, the habit of the Third Order, of which she became the foundress. Until her mother’s death she remained in her parents’ house, where she followed the rule given her by St. Philip Benitius, practicing perfect chastity, strict mortification, severe penance, zealous prayer, and works of Christian charity. After her mother’s death she and several companions moved into a house of their own in 1305, which thus became the first convent of the Sisters of the Third Order of Servites, Juliana remaining the superior until the end of her life. Their dress consisted of a black gown, secured by a leathern girdle, and a white veil. As the gown had short sleeves to facilitate work, people called the sisters of the new order “Mantellate”. They devoted themselves especially to the care of the sick and other works of mercy, and the superioress, through her heroic deeds of charity, set a noble example to all. For thirty-five years Juliana directed the community of Servite Tertiaries.
An extraordinary occurrence, mentioned in the oratio of her feast day, took place at her death. Being unable to receive Holy Communion because of constant vomiting, she requested the priest to spread a corporal upon her breast and lay the Host on it. Shortly afterwards the Host disappeared and Juliana expired, and the image of a cross, such as had been on the Host, was found on her breast.
Immediately after her death she was honored as a saint. The Order of Servite Tertiaries was sanctioned by Martin V in 1420. Benedict XIII granted the Servites permission to celebrate the Feast of St. Juliana. Clement XII canonized her in 1737, and extended the celebration of her feast on 19 June to the entire Church. St. Juliana is usually represented in the habit of her order with a Host upon her breast.
Acta SS., III, June, 917-25; BERNARDUS, Vita della beata Giuliana Faconieri (Florence, 1681); LORENZINI, Vita di S. Giuliana Falconieri (Rome, 1738); Legenda di S. Giuliana Falconieri, con note di Agost. Morini (Florence, 1864); BATTINI, Compendio della vita di S. Giuliana Falconieri (Bologna, 1866); SOULIER, Life of St. Juliana Falconieri (London, 1898); LÉPICIER, Ste. Julienne Falconieri fondatrice des Mantelées (Brussels, 1907).
J.P. KIRSCH (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Nobility.org Editorial comment: —
Saint Juliana Falconieri honored her noble ancestry by founding the Servite Tertiaries.
As Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira points out in Revolution and Counter-Revolution these were the years when the golden age of faith was coming to an end: “Hearts began to shy away from the love of sacrifice, from true devotion to the Cross, and from the aspiration to sanctity and eternal life.”
Saint Juliana’s life of penance and suffering was a spiritual rearguard action. It did not reverse the trend, but it consoled God and was a rebuke to those who were embracing the spirit of pride and sensuality that would come to characterize the Revolution.