Monday, May 12, 2008

Blessed Imelda

"Can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?" - Blessed Imelda

Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333) was born to wealthy but charitable parents. Imelda's mother was the sister of an archbishop. Right when she was born, the whole town had expected her father, the Captain General of Bologna, Ambassador to the Republic of Venice to have a son and heir. Some were disappointed when it turned out that they had a baby girl instead. Her parents did not mind, and they named her Imelda. Then, for some reason, bells started to ring loud and long when that was only a custom reserved for the first-born son of a noble family. Shortly after her birth, her mother had a dream that St. Dominic blessed her and Imelda.

Imelda grew up to be a pious young girl who loved to hide away in her garden to pray. She would stop when her family servant would find her, and tell her to come inside the house. Imelda told her maid servant that she prayed every day for a family friend who was blind. On her fifth birthday she told her parents her great desire to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. Her parents then explained to her that she could not receive Holy Communion because she was still too young. Disappointed, Imelda decided to wait patiently, but also eagerly. During the years, she began to have a great interest for Bologna's (where she grew up) saints like Bl. Diana, but also saints like St. Agnes and St. Tarcisius. As time past, her desire to receive Holy Communion grew.

About four years later, she entered the convent at Val-di-Pietra, and stayed there, still eagerly waiting and praying to receive her first Holy Communion soon. It didn't take very long for the other nuns to discover Imelda's great desire to receive Our Lord. Most of them admired and were impressed by this. became Finally one day when the 11 year old girl was quietly praying alone in the Blessed Sacrament after Mass had been celebrated, a Sacred Host floated down to her from the front. Meanwhile, somewhere in the monastery the other nuns noticed that Imelda was missing, but they also notice some strange, but sweet fragrance around as if there were flowers everywhere, but nowhere to be seen. As they made their way back to the chapel, they found Imelda kneeling down, and facing up towards a Sacred Host float just above her. The chaplain then came, and knowing of Imelda's long and strong desire to receive Our Lord, he took the Host, placed it on a golden paten, and gave the little novice her First Holy Communion.
Later, her family friend who had been blind had regained his sight.

As everyone left the room, Imelda fell into deep prayer. She didn't move from that spot, and soon the other nuns began to worry about her. Imelda's face had become pale, and then the Prioress took her by the shoulders. At once, the little girl fell limp in her arms, and it suddenly came to them that Imelda had died a few minutes after making her first Holy Communion.


Lord Jesus Christ, you received into heaven Blessed Imelda who loved you in the Eucharistic banquet. By her prayers may we learn to approach your holy table with that same fervent love and so fulfill our longing to be with you, who live and reign with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. - General Calendar of the Order of Preachers

pic and prayer from here, and info from the book, Patron Saint of First Communicants The Story of Blessed Imelda Lambertini, by Mary Fabyan Windeatt

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