Thursday, June 18, 2015

Blessed Osanna of Mantua: Mystic and Stigmatist

The saint of the day for June 18 is Blessed Osanna of Mantua (1449 - 1505), an Italian Dominican tertiary, who was a mystic and stigmatist. She is the patron of school girls.

The daughter of Italian nobility, Osanna had her first mystical experience at the age of five: a vision of the Trinity, the nine choirs of angels, and Jesus as a child her own age, carrying His Cross.

Feeling called to the religious life, Osanna rejected an arranged marriage and became a Dominican tertiary at the age of 17; however, she waited 37 years to complete her vows so she could care for her brothers and sisters after the death of her parents.

At the age of eighteen, she experienced mystical espousal to Jesus -- like St. Catherine of Siena, she had a vision in which Our Blessed Mother made her a bride of Christ, placing a ring on her finger.

When she was thirty, she received the stigmata on her head, her side, and her feet. She also had a vision in which her heart was transformed and divided into four parts. For the rest of her life she experienced the Passion in a more intense way on Wednesdays and Fridays. In her case the stigmata do not seem to have bled, but simply appeared as red, intensely painful swellings. She kept them hidden from everyone except her servants, but at times the pain in her feet was so great that she was unable to walk. For years also, like St. Catherine, she lived on almost no food at all.

Her reputation for sanctity spread because of her works of charity and her constant prayer, which sometimes caused her to fall into ecstasy at Mass. Consequently, people begin to visit her for spiritual counsel and report that she sometimes proved a true prophet about their affairs. Osanna assisted the poor and the sick, served as spiritual director to many, and spent much of her family’s considerable fortune to help the unfortunate.

Osanna died in 1505 and was beatified on November 24, 1694 by Pope Leo X and Pope Innocent XII.

O God, giver of all good things, you led Blessed Osanna to prefer the unsearchable riches of Christ above all else and to so teach others. By following her example and teaching may we grow in knowledge of you and faithfully live according to the light of the gospel. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  – General Calendar of the Order of Preachers

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