Saint of the Day – 31 May – Saint Camilla Battista da Varano OSC (1458-1524)

Saint of the Day – 31 May – Saint Camilla Battista da Varano OSC (1458-1524) Italian Princess, Virgin, Poor Clare Nun and Abbess, Mystic, Spiritual Writer, Stigmatist – born on 9 April 1458 in Camerino, Macerata, Italy and died on 31 May 1524 in Camerino, Macerata, Italy of natural Camilla varano

Camilla Battista was born into nobility in Camerino, Italy on 9 April 1458.   As a Princess in the home of her father Duke Giulio Cesare da Varano she grew up in the court and received a good education.

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Palace of Blessed Camilla’s father, the Duke of Camerino

Around the age of 9 she listened to a sermon on Good Friday preached by Domenico of Leonessa, a Franciscan friar who later became one of her confessors.   He ended his sermon by encouraging his listeners to shed one teardrop for the Passion of Christ.   She resolved to show her love for Jesus by shedding a tear each Friday.   Though not initially drawn to the spiritual life, she persevered in her vow and would squeeze out a tear before running off to play.   She found a booklet that contained a meditation on the Passion of Christ divided into 15 parts to be prayed like a rosary.   She began to pray this devotion each Friday while on her knees before a Crucifix.   Other spiritual practices like fasting and night vigils began to attract her even though she continued to spend time in the youthful pursuits of court life.

During Lent of 1479 a sermon she heard touched her deeply, inspiring her to take a private vow of chastity.   Her father initially opposed her desire to enter religious life as he wanted her to marry.   She wanted to enter the Poor Clare Monastery in Urbino.   Her spiritual life deepened during the few years before she actually entered the Monastery. She wrote Lauda (Praises) during this time – a work in which she expressed the joy she felt in knowing that Jesus loved camilla holy card

On 24 November 1481 she entered the Poor Clare Monastery in Urbino and made her profession in 1483.   Early in 1484, she transferred to the new Monastery of Santa Maria Nuova at Camerino which was close to her father’s castle.   Her father had made arrangements with the Pope and the Vicar General of the Friars to have her moved there. She was reluctant to do so and went only under obedience.Saint-Camilla-Battista-Varano

While living in the Monastery in Urbino, she experienced visions and composed several other spiritual works.   She was elected Abbess in 1500.   The following year, due to political disagreements, her father and her brothers were killed and she was forced to flee to the Abruzzo region until 1503 when she felt safe to return to Camerino.   She founded a Monastery in Fermo and trained a group of nuns in San Severino Marche who adopted the Rule of St Clare.

She died in her Monastery in Camerino during a plague on 31 March 1524, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, at the age of 66.   Her remains were placed to rest in the crypt of the Monastery of the Poor Clares of camilla body

St Camilla wrote with equal facility in Latin and Italian and who was accounted one of the most accomplished scholars of her day.   The Major Works of St Camilla Battista da Varano are:
Praises of the Visions of Christ, 1479 – 1481
Remembrances of Jesus, 1483
Treatise on the Mental Sufferings of Jesus Christ our Lord, 1488
The Spiritual Life, 1491 (Autobiography)
Her Autobiography from 1466-1491 which is considered a “jewel of art” and of the spiritual life.   In this work, she describes how two Seraphim with wings of gold, appeared to her because they were assigned to help her understand the mysterious working of unitive love.

“Two angels came to me, dressed in resplendent white garments which I have seen only worn by Jesus. They had wings of gold. One of them took my soul from the right side, the other from the left side and they elevated it in the air, laying it down near the crucified feet of the Son of God made Man. This state lasted about two months almost continually, I seem to walk, to speak and do what I wished, deprived however of my soul. It remained there where the two Angels had placed it but they never abandoned it.

…They (the celestial spirits) declared to me, that they were so intimate with God that God is not ever separated from them. They also explained to me, that the Seraphim were likewise united to the Cherubim, in that none of them could ever go without the other to a soul.” – Camilla Varano, The Spiritual Lifest camilla-battista-da-varano icon

Both Saint Philip Neri and St Alphonsus Liguori recorded their admiration for her.

On 8 April 1821 Pope Leo XIII approved the acts of the process for her Canonisation. She was Beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on 7 April 1843, following recognition of her long-standing public cult.   On 4 February 1893 her writings were also approved.   On 17 October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI Canonised her, along with five others.

Prayer for the Intercession of
St Camilla Battista da Varano

Holy and Blessed Trinity,
You granted Camilla Battista the ability
to live as a true daughter of the Father,
to adhere to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and to allow herself to be moulded
by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Grant me the grace to imitate her example
and to make, of my life,
a reflection of her beauty
and of her sanctity.
Grant me, I pray,
through the intercession of Saint Camilla Battista,
this grace that I ask
(here state the favour you are requesting)  Amen
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
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The Solemnity of Pentecost +2020, Feast of the Visitation and Memorials of the Saints – 31 May

The Solemnity of Pentecost +2020
(Under lockdown for many of us!)

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

St Alexander of Auvergne
St Camilla Battista da Varano OSC (1458-1524)

St Crescentian of Sassari
St Donatian of Cirta
St Felice of Nicosia
St Galla of Auvergne
St Hermias of Comana
Bl Jacob Chu Mun-mo
Bl James Salomone
St Juan Moya Collado
Bl Kasper Gerarz
St Lupicinus of Verona
St Mancus of Cornwall
Bl Mariano of Roccacasale
St Mechtildis of Edelstetten
St Myrbad of Cornwall
Bl Nicolas Barré
Bl Nicholaus of Vangadizza
Bl Nicholaus of Vaucelles
St Nowa Mawaggali
St Paschasius of Rome
St Petronilla of Rome
Bl Robert Thorpe
St Silvio of Toulouse
Bl Thomas Watkinson
Bl Vitalis of Assisi
St Winnow of Cornwall

Martyrs of Aquileia – 3 saints: Three young members of the imperial Roman nobility and who were raised in a palace and had Saint Protus of Aquileia as tutor and catechist. To escape the persecutions of Diocletian, the family sold their property and moved to Aquileia, Italy. However, the authorities there quickly ordered them to sacrifice to idols; they refused. Martyrs all – Cantianilla, Cantian and Cantius. They were beheaded in 304 at Aquae-Gradatae (modern San-Cantiano) just outside Aquileia, Italy.

Martyrs of Gerona – 29 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in Gerona, Catalonia, Spain, date unknown. No details about them have survived but the names – • Agapia• Amelia• Castula• Cicilia• Donatus• Firmus• Fortunata• Gaullenus• Germanus• Honorius• Istialus• Justus• Lautica• Lupus
• Maxima• Paulica• Rogate• Rogatus• Silvanus• Tecla• Teleforus• Tertula• Tertus• Victoria• Victurinus• Victurus

Martyrs of the Via Aurelia – 4 saints: Four Christians martyred together. No information about them has survived except their names – Justa, Lupus, Tertulla and Thecla. The martyrdom occurred in 69 on the Via Aurelia near Rome, Italy.