ST. SERAPHINA
Feast: March 12
She was a little girl, very pretty, born into a very poor family, whose father died when she was very young. As a little girl she learned to sew and spin, spending most of her time at home.

After her father's death, she was struck with a strange and paralyzing illness. She became misshapen and ugly, in constant pain, unable to get out of bed or even to move. Her mother took care of her but had to leave her for hours at a time to attend to her work. Seraphina's only consolation was the crucifix, and she realized that she was called to imitate the suffering Christ.

Yet she never complained. She managed to remain serene, and something beautiful shone out of her face. Then she was struck another blow. Her mother died, and she was left completely destitute, her neighbors repelled by her appearance and her sickness, her only friend a girl named Beldia who visited her and brought her food.

In her reading, St. Seraphina had heard of the great sufferings of Pope St. Gregory the Great and he became her special saint. She prayed to him, drew strength from the sufferings that he had to endure, and prayed that he would obtain for her the patience she needed to bear her own sufferings. She was now so weak and helpless that it was clear to everyone she could not live very long.

Eight days before her death, alone and almost completely forsaken, St. Gregory appeared to her and told her: "Dear child, on my feast day, God will give you rest" (in those days his feast day was celebrated on March 12). On that day, she died. The whole city attended her funeral and from that moment everyone began to pray to her. On the place where she had lain, her neighbors found white violets growing, and even today in the village of San Geminiano where she lived, the white violets that bloom in March are called Santa Fina flowers. She died on March 12,1253, at the age of fifteen.

Thought for the Day: Sufferings and pain are difficult for anyone to bear, and in St. Seraphina's case they were a true martyrdom. Seraphina had to make sense out of it, young as she was. She drew strength from the sufferings of Jesus and found her happiness in God, in spite of her terrible afflictions. We have little reason to complain about ours.

From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': . . . "Don't be so surprised. Aren't you looking for Jesus, the Nazarene who was crucified? He isn't here! He has come back to life! Look, that's where his body was lying. Now go and give this message to his disciples including Peter: 'Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died!'"—Mark 16:6-7


Taken from "The One Year Book of Saints" by Rev. Clifford Stevens published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, IN 46750.


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