Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Blessed Archangela Girlani

. . . .a 15th century nun, is honored this day on the Carmelite calendar.

“Another lovely Virgin Saint is Blessed Archangela, born at Trino on Monte Ferrato, of the noble family of the Girlani. She was called Leonora, and when a little girl, was educated with the Nuns of St. Benedict. Her serious and elevated mind was soon remarked. She was not like other children, but from her earliest years thought only of things above.

“Her father urged her to marry, but she was firm in her determination to consecrate her virginity to God, and soon after entered the Carmelite Monastery of Parma. Here she outstripped all in virtue and perfection, but her exactitude was mingled with such rare sweetness, she won the love of all her Sisters, and though so young in years, she had hardly made her profession when they unanimously chose her as their Prioress.

“After her term of Office had expired, she was sent to Mantua at the request of the Princes of Gonzaga, to govern a new Monastery erected by their piety and under their auspices. She was the admiration of the city for her virtues and the multitude of her miracles. She was a living example of regular observance, and of tender and filial devotion to Our Lady.

“There were numerous vocations, and all who entered loved and honored her not only as a Mother, but as an Angel of God. She called her Monastery “Our Lady of Paradise,” and from her name and her Monastery, she would seem to have heeded the words of St. Paul, “Let your conversation be in heaven” – “seek the things that are above.” This is her legacy to us. She died in the flower of youth, before completing her third year at Mantua. Calling all her sisters about her, she urged them on in the way of perfection, and, fixing her eyes on the Crucifix, she repeated her accustomed words, “Jesus, my Love” – “Jesus, amor meus,” and gave up her soul to God, January 25, 1494.

“She was buried in the Church of her Convent at Mantua, and five years later was found to be without a trace of corruption. Her greatest miracles were for cancers of the face and throat. The Supreme Pontiff, [Blessed] Pius IX, after four hundred years of public veneration, placed her name among the Blessed, and granted her Office to Carmel.”

The Life of Blessed Archangela quoted above is taken from “Carmel, Its History, Spirit, and Saints, compiled from approved sources by The Discalced Carmelites of Boston and Santa Clara” (1927) For some reason this book consistently refers to her first name in religion as “Archangeli”. No other source that I have seen does this. I have assumed this is an error and changed it back to “Archangela”.


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