Saint of the Day – 13 January – Blessed Veronica of Binasco OSA (c 1445-1497) Virgin Nun of the Order of St Augustine, Mystic, endowed with the gifts of prophecy and discernment- born as Giovanna Negroni in c 1445 at Binasco, Italy, a small village near Milan and died on 13 January 1497 in Milan, Italy of natural causes. Veronica of Binasco was known as a great contemplative who also gave loving care to sick sisters in her community and ministered to the people of Milan. Additional Memorial – 28 January (Augustinian calendar).
Veronica grew up in the small town of Binasco, Italy, not far from Milan. She and her family were poor and she worked with her mother and father, doing chores and in the fields. Her parents set their daughter on the path to Christian virtues, as it was said that her father was a scrupulously honest man, never selling a horse without first disclosing its faults or imperfections to the buyer. As she developed a desire for saintliness and perfection, she became tired of the joking and songs of her companions, even hiding her head and weeping as she worked.
Having no formal education, she attempted, unsuccessfully, to teach herself to read. While making this effort one night, the Virgin Mary appeared to Veronica, telling her that while some of her pursuits were necessary, her reading was not. Instead, the Virgin taught her in the form of three mystical letters:
The first signified purity of intention; the second, abhorrence of murmuring or criticism; the third, daily meditation on the Passion. By the first she learned to begin her daily duties for no human motive but for God alone; by the second, to carry out what she had thus begun by attending to her own affairs, never judging her neighbour but praying for those who manifestly erred; by the third she was enabled to forget her own pains and sorrows in those of her Lord and to weep hourly but silently, over the memory of His wrongs. – Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints.
Veronica became accustomed to nearly constant apparitions and religious ecstasies. She saw scenes from the life of Christ, yet these never interrupted her work. She joined an Augustinian lay order at the convent of Saint Martha in Milan at the age of 22. She took the religious name Veronica, reflecting her devotion to the Passion of Christ.This community was very poor; Veronica’s job was to beg in the streets of the city for food.
She was known and respected by the secular and ecclesiastical leaders of her day. Several times Christ gave to her in prayer important messages which she carried to influential persons, such as the Duke of Milan and Pope Alexander VI.
Her spiritual life was intense. She was particularly devoted to the Eucharist and to the Suffering and Death of Jesus. She experienced physical mistreatment from the devil but found strength in prayer, remaining at peace and overcoming difficulties through the power of Christ. She cheerfully helped others when help was needed. In spite of her growing reputation for holiness and wisdom, Veronica remained humble.
After a six-month illness, Veronica died on the date she had predicted, 13 January 1497. So numerous were her admirers who came to pay their respects, her burial was delayed for nearly a week. Many sick persons who touched her body were restored to health. Her remains are preserved at the parish Church in Binasco.
She was Beatified in 1517 by Pope Leo X (cultus confirmed). In 1672, Pope Clement X extended the devotion to the entire Augustinian Order and in 1749 Pope Benedict XIV added Blessed Vernoica to the Roman Martyrology.