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A Particular Miracle Rosary Connected To The Eucharist And The French Revolution

St. Colette of Corbie: Franciscan Reformer of the Poor Clares




Feast Day March 6th  


St. Colette’s Infancy & Childhood:

St. Colette’s pious and charitable parents prayed for decades for a child, particularly a son. They asked St. Nicholas. At the age of fifty nine her mother Margaret finally conceived.  After St. Nicholas, she was born Nicolette Boellet on January 13th, 1381.  Colette accompanied her father on trips to the Benedictine Abbey in Corbie to meet with the Abbot who employed her father as a carpenter.  The abbot was fond of little Colette and was later offered her guardianship and accepted with great humility.  In childhood the name “Colette” replaced her baptismal name of Nicolette, forever.  

She recalled later in life her devotion to the Passion of our Lord was enkindled by her mother when she was very young.  She tells that it was while she was sewing or weaving that her mother instructed her in religion.  When she was four she nearly severed her foot at the ankle with her father’s axe and very calmly and silently bandaged the wound tightly with her handkerchief, she stepped forward on it. All that remained the next day were bloodstains on the floor and wall, a miracle.  When she was seven years old she meditated for at least one hour each day.  She had a modest education but had knowledge “not given her by men”.  When she was nine, a true Pentecostal wind swept across her mind and told her with painstaking clarity the present state of the Franciscan Order.


St. Colette’s Youth:

Colette grew several inches after praying before a famous image of the Madonna and child. She had been very small for fourteen, the size of a nine-year-old, and it concerned her parents. She overheard them and decided to go on pilgrimage to a famous statue there in France to ask your the favor of growing larger if it be Our Lord’s will. When she was finished praying and stood up, she was several inches taller and this had everyone buzzing.

Another miracle happened, a compromise, after Colette was approached by a young man who whispered to her at church. She rebuked him and he left but did not get far before a powerful force convinced him to turn around and apologize to her before leaving. St. Colette asked the Lord for a favor again, to lose the beauty of her face lest He be offended. Her face and hands turned a dull pale color and stayed that way for the rest of her life although the rest of her face stayed the same.

Colette’s father asked the local Abbot who he had worked with so many years if he would be Collette’s guardian (not legal, but as a paternal figure) after he passes, being that he and his wife were a much older couple. The Abbot agreed to find her a good husband. However, he also knew she was a predestined girl.


Attempts at Religious Life:

Abbot Raoul told Colette he found her a good man to marry but St. Colette would have no part in it. She told him it was not God’s will for her to marry. Without permission she gave away all of her inheritance to the poor, like Francis, ironically. Fr. Bassan, a Celestine, agreed to be her Spiritual Director.

St. Colette only knew God’s plan for her to give away her inheritance and for her to remain a perpetual virgin at this point, nothing else. St. Colette made a vow of perpetual virginity and prayed according to his request. She then allied herself in the company of the Beguines a semi-cloistered order of older pious women. She knew this was not for her and was urged by her Spiritual Director to wait on God’s Will.

To please the Abbot, her guardian, she asked to be admitted to the Benedictine Abbey of nuns near Corbie. She applied as a lay sister but they thought she would be more appropriate as a choir nun. The Benedictine’s very much wanted to keep her. One day she was dusting a statue of St. Francis which seemed to come alive and motioned for her to go to the outside world and depart. She began to believe that she was called to join the Franciscan Second Order, the Poor Clares. They took her as a servant. Their divergence from the way of St. Francis was too much for her heart. She left and returned to Corbie.

A Franciscan Friar assured her that she had a vocation as a Franciscan and perhaps she could be as a Franciscan in the Third Order. 

He invested her with the habit of the Third Franciscan Order at a Mass he offered for her. During that Mass the Friar has an undeniable powerful inspiration that she would be a recluse.

The Abbot Dom Raoul did not agree with this when it was presented to him but she sought divine intervention through the Holy Spirit and he finally agreed and supported her throughout the process of becoming a recluse.


Anchor hold and the End of Reclusion:

St. Colette made a vow of perpetual enclosure. Her small three-room area was directly next to the local church which included a window so she could see into the sanctuary, receive communion and have confession. There was also an opening at her door where she could receive food, and other items as well as visitors. She prayed and kept her living area very clean. She started getting a ton of visitors asking for her assistance so much so that restrictions were made as to when she could have visitors. This allowed her to focus on her prayers. It was after a year, not too long, that the devil began to attack her. Her living area suddenly became infested with snakes and hideous black birds flew around hitting her in the back of her head. One night he broke down the wall of her room which gave way to the street.

She couldn’t replace the stones because they disappeared. She posted a picture of Our Lady on the broken wall, said a prayer and went to sleep. The next day the wall was fully restored.

Our Lord showed her many visions of hell, it went on for eight days. Through a series of events including her going blind and mute it became undeniable to her that it was Our Lords will for her to restore the primitive observance in the Franciscan Orders. She had a vision of St. Francis as a part of this revelation and a priest also had a vision related to her own revelation that confirmed God’s Will.

To make a long story short, a Priest and a Noble woman went to help St. Colette begin the reform, and the priest stayed with her from then on out. When they arrived St. Colette ordered that their helpers bust down the door area to her reclusion but she didn’t step out until she had obtained permission from the Pope to be dispensed from her vow of enclosure and to join the Second Order and become a Poor Clare.

Abbot Dom Raoul never came to her aid again although she was sorely in need of his assistance beginning her new journey.


Abbess General and the Reform Begins-Monasteries Founded:

St. Colette had asked the Pope for permission to follow the apostolic and evangelical state according to the primitive rule of St. Francis by entering his Second Order and to be authorized to undertake the restoration and reformation of the Orders which Sir St. Francis had instituted.

In 1406 Pope Benedict XIII gave permission through verbal authorization, she became Abbess and Mother to anyone willing to follow her reform and this permission was followed by Papal Bulls that were quickly reinforced in the following months. When she was dispensed and entered the Second Order, the Pope was the one who personally placed the black veil on her head.

Before her death in 1447 she had founded seventeen new monasteries to which, in addition to St. Clare, she gave constitutions and regulations of her own.

After the death of St. Colette her reform continued to spread and by the end of the fifteenth century reformed convents were to be found throughout France, Flanders, Brabant, Savoy, Spain and Portugal totaling more than 35,000 sisters and they were commended everywhere by the austerity of their lives.

To this day each of her daughters is given the same penance before she makes her solemn vows. At the chapter of her reception, a young nun kneels before her Abbess to hear her say: “And as a penance in preparation for your holy profession, you may recite the Office of the Dead for the Pope who received the vows of our Mother St. Colette.”


Miracles:

St. Colette became known for her miracles throughout Europe, which included raising some people from the dead. The first miracle after beginning the reform was when she went to pray at the bedside of a woman dying while in childbirth, St. Colette made the sign of the cross on the woman’s forehead and said a prayer. The woman recovered and delivered her baby girl who grew up to join the Order. This miracle was the origin of the cult of St. Colette being the Patron of expectant mothers even to this day.

To this day the nuns of her monastery in Ghent have a veil she wore during her lifetime which women flock to for the privilege of having the veil of St. Colette placed over their heads, and they leave feeling secure with her protection.

St. Colette had the tenderest devotion to the suffering Redeemer even as a child and once while praying in the choir at Besancon she was meditating on the Passion of Our Lord and was lifted to a spiritual realm where her nuns could not follow her. When she returned to herself she noticed in her hand a small golden crucifix with pearls and rubies. It was discovered to be a reliquary, a large splinter of the true cross was inside and clearly identified with an inscription. It is believed to have come directly from Heaven and the little reliquary remains at the monastery in Besancon to this day.

Miracles continued to happen even at her grave.


St. Colette’s Death:

She died on March 6th, 1447. She was in her last agony for two days and remained fully conscious; she knew each time her sisters kissed her hand.

The account of her death is as follows. Sr. Colette’s appearance remained unchanged for twelve hours, you could see her age and suffering on her face. Her body was bent. Then suddenly “her body transformed into a great and marvelous beauty; it was white as snow and her skin was so lovely, so supple, so fragrant that it seemed entirely spiritualized with an angelic purity. For three days she was visited by crowds. She had begged to be buried without any type of coffin or even a sheet. St. Colette was declared Blessed in 1604 and Cannonized in 1807.

If you would like to read about a Rosary made of miraculous beans from the French Revolution CLICK HERE

Sources:

Walled in Light: St. Colette

by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. Published by the Franciscan Herald Press in 1959

www.Catholic.com The Encyclopedia- Poor Clares (a Catholic Answers website)


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