Miracles of Jesus, Stories of the Supernatural

The Crucifix of St.Colette

This visionary, reformer, healer of schisms and worker of miracles was born to a poor carpenter of Corbie in 1381 and was named Nicolette in honor of St. Nicholas of Myra, for whom her parents had a special devotion. When both parents died within a short time of each other, Colette was placed under the care of Dom de Roye, the Benedictine abbot of Corbie. Instead of marrying, as he suggested, Colette distributed her belongings to the poor and became a tertiary of St. Francis, taking a vow of seclusion with the permission of her guardian.

On the feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis, September 17, 1402, Colette was immured in a cell between two buttresses of the church named Notre Dame de Corbie. In the wall separating the church and the cell was a small opening through which Colette could receive Holy Communion and attend services. St. Francis appeared to her and requested that she reform the Order of St. Clare; her confessor encouraged her to leave her cell and seek the authority of the Pope. She turned to Benedict XIII, an antipope, who allowed her to enter the order of Poor Clares and empowered her by several Bulls, dated 1406, 1407 and 1412, to serve as the superior general with full authority to reform the order and to found new convents. The Collettine reform spread quickly from France to Spain, Flanders and Savoy and even influenced the order of the Friars Minor.

In addition to being a reformer, St. Colette helped heal the great schism when there were three claimants to the papacy: Benedict XIII, John XXIII and Gregory VII. Together with St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Colette persuaded the Council to proceed with a new election, after which Martin V was chosen as the legitimate heir to the throne of Peter. Colette was favored with many visions,especially those regarding the Passion of Our Lord. She was frequently rapt in ecstasy while assisting at Mass and especially after receiving Holy Communion. After experiencing a vision in which men and women in great numbers were falling into Hell, St. Colette became fervently devoted to the Poor Souls in Purgatory and prayed unceasingly for the salvation of souls.

Throughout her lifetime there was one article that St. Colette yearned for, a relic of the True Cross. One day as she was praying, the remembrance of Christ’s sufferings drew her into an ecstasy that was witnessed by her companions in religion. When the ecstasy ended, she discovered in her hand a small golden crucifix that had not been there before. The figure of the Crucified is on the front; on the back, immediately behind the head of Christ, is a small golden receptacle containing a red stone. Surrounding this on four sides are four pearls. Four blue stones are situated on the outer extremities, with a fifth pearl added at the foot of the cross. It was soon discovered that the cross was actually a reliquary. On the front of the crucifix where the figure of Our Lord is displayed, a portion of the cross containing the figure can be turned back, or removed, revealing a relic of the True Cross that is identified with an inscription.

When St. Colette told St. Vincent Ferrer about her experience and the heavenly gift of the crucifix, he held out his hand to receive it. But when he saw it in the hand of St. Colette, he fell to his knees and for a time was oblivious to everything around him. This precious Cross from Heaven is kept at the Poor Clare convent of Besancon, France. At the same convent is another precious crucifix, that being the miraculous missionary cross of St. Vincent Ferrer. St. Colette foretold her own death, which took place in 1447 during her 67th year.

~Source:”Miraculous Images of Our Lord” by Joan Carrol Cruz

February Feast Days

St.Brigid of Ireland

Saint Brigid was born Brigit, and shares a name with a Celtic goddess from whom many legends and folk customs are associated.

There is much debate over her birthparents, but it is widely believed her mother was Brocca, a Christian baptized by Saint Patrick, and her father was Dubthach, a Leinster chieftain. Brocca was a slave, therefore Brigid was born into slavery.

When Dubthach’s wife discovered Brocca was pregnant, she was sold to a Druid landowner. It is not clear if Brocca was unable to produce milk or was not present to care for Brigid, but legend states Brigid vomited any food the druid attempted to feed her, as he was impure, so a white cow with red ears sustained her instead.

Many stories of Brigid’s purity followed her childhood. She was unable to keep from feeding the poor and healing them.

One story says Brigid once gave her mother’s entire store of butter, that was later replenished after Brigid prayed.

When she was about ten-years-old, Brigid was returned to her father’s home, as he was her legal master. Her charity did not end when she left her mother, and she donated his possessions to anyone who asked.

Eventually, Dubthach became tired of her charitably nature and took her to the king of Leinster, with the intention of selling her. As he spoke to the king, Brigid gave his jeweled sword to a beggar so he could barter it for food for his family. When the king, who was a Christian, saw this, he recognized her heart and convinced Dubthach to grant her freedom by saying, “Her merit before God is greater than ours.”

After being freed, Brigid returned to the Druid and her mother, who was in charge of the Druid’s dairy. Brigid took over and often gave away milk, but the dairy prospered despite the charitable practice, and the Druid eventually freed Brocca.

Brigid then returned to Dubthach, who had arranged for her to marry a bard. She refused and made a vow to always be chaste.

Legend has it Brigid prayed that her beauty be taken so no one would want to marry her, and the prayer was granted. It was not until after she made her final vows that her beauty was restored.

Another tale says that when Saint Patrick heard her final vows, he accidentally used the form for ordaining priests. When the error was brought to his attention, he simply replied, “So be it, my son, she is destined for great things.”

Little is known about Saint Brigid’s life after she entered the Church, but in 40 she founded a monastery in Kildare, called the Church of the Oak. It was built above a pagan shrine to the Celtic goddess Brigid, which was beneath a large oak tree.

Brigid and seven friends organized communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland and she founded two monastic institutions, one for men and one for women. Brigid invited a hermit called Conleth to help her in Kildare as a spiritual pastor.

Her biographer reported that Brigid chose Saint Conleth “to govern the church along with herself.”

She later founded a school of art that included metalwork and illumination, which Conleth led as well. It was at this school that the Book of Kildare, which the Gerald of Wales praised as “the work of angelic, and not human skill,” was beautifully illuminated, but was lost three centuries ago.

There is evidence that Brigid was a good friend of Saint Patrick’s and that the Trias Thaumaturga claimed, “Between St. Patrick and Brigid, the pillars of the Irish people, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many great works.”

Saint Brigid helped many people in her lifetime, but on February 1 525, she passed away of natural causes. Her body was initially kept to the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, with a tomb “adorned with gems and precious stones and crowns of gold and silver,” but in 878, during the Scandinavian raids, her relics were moved to the tomb of Patrick and Columba.

In 1185, John de Courcy had her remains relocated in Down Cathedral. Today, Saint Brigid’s skull can be found in the Church of St. John the Baptist in Lumiar, Portugal. The tomb in which it is kept bears the inscription, “Here in these three tombs lie the three Irish knights who brought the head of St. Brigid, Virgin, a native of Ireland, whose relic is preserved in this chapel. In memory of which, the officials of the Altar of the same Saint caused this to be done in January AD 1283.”

A portion of the skull was relocated to St. Bridget’s Church and another was sent to the Bishop of Lisbon in St. Brigid’s church in Killester.

Saint Brigid’s likeness is often depicted holding a reed cross, a crozier, or a lamp.