July 9 is the feast day of St Veronica Giuliani. By now we shouldn’t have to review the usual path to sainthood: a parental attempt to arrange a marriage, followed by decampment to a nunnery. In addition, visions were one of the spiritual gifts allowed to women, so there were more than a few saintly nuns with visions. Often they were recorded by their male confessors, or we would not know about them at all.
St. Veronica did all of that, and more. From a very early age she wanted to do everything the Christ child did, and eventually received the stigmata, and embraced constant suffering as a way to be God, or more accurately, the Trinity.
Once she started having visions, she was instructed (by male priests) to keep a diary, which she did, some thousands of pages worth. No doubt they wanted to keep an eye on her, but without getting too closely involved.
But try to find any of it, even in her native Italian language, and you very quickly run up against a brick wall. Her Wikipedia article is no help of course. At one point they simply scraped an out-of-copyright Catholic encyclopedia for the information they do have, which is pretty much a hagiography, another century’s version of the sound bite.
The name of the book is available, it is:
Un tesoro nascosto, ossia diario di S. Veronica Giuliana religiosa Cappuccina in Città di Castello, scritto da lei medesima, publicato e corredato di note.
We even have information about one of the volumes:
Volume IV (1 Maggio 1697-31 decembre 1699). Prato, tip. Giachetti, Figlio e C. 1899, in-8, pp. 912.
Her body washed away in a flood some time ago, and now only the bones are kept in a wax statue of some kind, but her heart is incorrupt, and is still at the Monastero di Santa Veronica Giuliani in Città di Castello, Umbria. The remains of Blessed Lucrezia Elena Cevoli or “Florida Cevoli“, who died in 1767 are also preserved here, on the left side of the altar. Florida served as vicar under Giuliani, and became the new abbess on her death. The wiki tells us “she continued the work started under her predecessor and did not use strong and harsh impositions to do so. Instead she did so with a degree of both firmness and gentleness which was a stark contrast to that of Giuliani.” Florida and several others later founded a monastery in Mercatello sul Metauro, Giuliani’s birth place.
From an obscure website we find the following: stveronicagiuliani.org is supposed to be the definitive source of information, however the website is gone, not even in the Wayback Machine. But there does seem to be a redirect, to the .com version of the webiste…which is in Arabic. This then is the Lebanese group, that adopted this saint in more recent times, certain that it spoke to them directly. http://www.stveronicagiuliani.com/eng/lifeMessage.html And from these we can find a sort of landing page. There are lots of pictures, if you go deep enough.
From the internet archive we find the following, – book, I guess.
“The Life of S. Veronica Giuliani was written by Felippo Maria Salvatori and published: Rome : Lazzarini, 1803. The translation of the Spiritual life of the Blessed Battista Varani is from the French version published: Clermont-Ferrand, 1840. It is founded upon the collection of her revelations, written in Italian by Matthew Pascucci and rendered into Latin by the Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum for the 31st of May.” (The Blessed Battista Varani would appear to be Camilla Battista da Varano (9 April 1458 – 31 May 1524), a different Poor Clares nun.)
This is extraordinary. It seems to be a sort of scan, but not the usual one from Internet Archive–it seems to be a scan that includes the scanning machine itself, and without the usual thumbnails, essential for navigation. There are also some very clear images, like here, but it takes forever to load. (note, more have turned up, see below)
The PDF is a little easier to read, and includes large portions of her diary in translation:
“We find from the memorials in our possession, that it was on the 4th of April in the year 1694, that Jesus appeared to her with the insignia of His Passion, and presented her with His crown of thorns. The following is her own account, written under obedience :- ” On the night of the 4th of April, while I was in prayer, I became rapt in recollection, and beheld an intellectual vision, in which our Lord appeared to me with a large crown of thorns on His Head. Immediately I began to say to Him : ‘ My divine Spouse, give me those thorns: they are fit for me, and not for Thee, Who art my highest good.’ Meanwhile, I felt that our Lord answered me thus: ‘ I am come to crown thee now, My beloved;’ and, in an instant, He took off His crown, and placed it on my head. The pain which it caused was so severe, that I am not conscious of having ever felt anything equal to it. At the same time I was made aware that this my coronation was a sign that I was to be the spouse of Christ, and that, in token of this, He desired that, by participating in His sufferings, I should acquire the title of the Spouse of God Crucified; therefore I was myself to be crucified with my divine Spouse. Every puncture on my head seemed to invite me to this. On the same day our Lord promised me that the grace I had just received should be repeated on different occasions. But the satisfaction which I derived from my sufferings was such that I seemed literally to pine after torments.” Surely this was a proof of the truth of the supernatural favour she had received.”
Very extraordinary stuff. If this happened to someone today, blinding headaches, sudden unconsciousness, visions, it might be very concerning. But in 1660 there was a ready explanation with a silver lining and a path to sainthood.
There is also a version available on google books. There also seems to be a series of eight to ten volumes published by the monastery from 1969-1974 or so. Here is volume 5, which will give the chapter headings, but not even a snippet view. There is also an 8-volume set spanning several years, ending in 1895.
UPDATE: This has turned up:
- The Lives Of S Veronica Giuliani Capuchin Nun: And Of The Blessed Battista Varani, Of The Order Of S. Clare by Salvatori, Filippo Maria, 1874. Internet archive U of Cal
- The Lives Of S Veronica Giuliani Capuchin Nun: And Of The Blessed Battista Varani, Of The Order Of S. Clare by Salvatori, Filippo Maria, 1874. Internet archive U of Toronto
- S. Veronica Giuliani : diario della vita interiore, WorldCat.
- S. Veronica Giuliani : diario della vita interiore / selezione introduzione e note di Leone Veuthey ; a cura di Domenico Alfonsi. Italian. Roma : Miscellanea francescana, 2005. Hathitrust, limited search.
- Il Diario … A cura di Teresa Carloni. [Extracts from the diary of Saint Veronica, with additional material by M.T. Carloni.]. Saint VERONICA Giuliani; Maria Teresa CARLONI, English, 2 vol. Siena, 1954, 55, I Classici cristiani. 1954 no. 5/6, 1955 no. 1/2. Worldcat.
- Saint VERONICA Giuliani, Worldcat.