Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bl Jeanne Scopelli, O.Carm.

If it weren't Sunday, today would be the feast of an early Carmelite prioress, Blessed Jeanne (or Jane) Scopelli.

Some biographical notes from Carmel, Its History, Spirit, and Saints:

Blessed Jeanne was born at Reggio, in the Duchy of Mantua. Her parents were of distinguished rank and equally eminent virtue. . . .She determined to give herself wholly to God, nevertheless, to satisfy her parents, she agreed to remain at home and there lead as far as possible the life of a Carmelite until she was free to follow the longing of her heart.

After the death of her parents, and after four years of effort, she succeeded in founding a Convent which she called "Our Lady of the People." She and her companions then placed themselves under the direction of the Fathers of the Mantuan Congregation [a reform of the Carmelite Order, pre-dating the Discalced Reform], and she was at once appointed Superior of the house she had founded.

Her virtue [and austerities were] great. . . .she gave long hours to prayer each day, and with such fervor that she obtained of God all she asked of Him. She suffered from cruel attacks of the demon, who vainly endeavoured to deceive and terrify her, but she was invincible by the power of prayer. . . .

Blessed Jeanne fell ill at the age of sixty-three, and Our Lord Himself appeared to her, inviting her to the heavenly nuptials upon a given day. She then called her daughters about her, telling them the exact hour of her departure, and saying sweet words of affection and advice. She especially besought them to be devout to the holy Scapular. Then, receiving the last sacraments, she peacefully awaited the coming of the Bridegroom as He had promised, and gently passed from earth to heaven, July 9, 1491.

The fame of her holiness and miracles grew day by day, and after a year her body was exhumed and found without a trace of corruption, distilling a fragrant oil. It was then placed in a more fitting shrine and exposed to the veneration of the faithful. Clement XIV approved her cultus of over three hundred years, on August 24, 1771.

The collect for her feast in the Pauline Rite can be found here. The far more pleasing collect in the old Rite is this:

Deprecantium exauditor, Deus, qui beatam Ioannam orationis ac pœnitentiæ spiritu contra dæmonis fraudes roborasti : ipsius meritis et intercessione, nos eodem confirma; ut, superatis hostium insidiis, ad palmam victoriæ perducamur. Per Dominum.

O God, help of those who cry to Thee, who didst strengthen blessed Jeanne with the spirit of prayer and penance against the wiles of the demon; by her merits and intercession strengthen us with a like spirit, so that we may withstand the attacks of the enemy and gain the palm of victory: through our Lord.


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