Vatican City, Nov 17, 2010 / 11:14 am
On Nov. 17, Pope Benedict XVI told general audience attendees how a 13th-century Belgiun nun, St. Juliana of Cornillion, helped to inaugurate the widely-celebrated feast of Corpus Christi.
The Pope recalled St. Juliana's tragic loss of her parents at age five, after which she entered an Augustinian convent. She eventually became a nun in the same order, and later prioress of the convent, where the sisters recognized her intellectual gifts and her love of the Eucharist.
At 16 years-old, Juliana had experienced a vision that convinced her of the surpassing importance of the Eucharist. She envisioned a new liturgical feast, to deepen belief in Jesus' sacramental presence and compensate for insults and mistreatment against the Body of Christ. This vision persisted for 20 years, eventually prompting her to disclose it to two of her companions.
Together, they formed what the Pope called “a kind of 'spiritual alliance' with the intention of glorifying the Blessed Sacrament.” They eventually proposed the Feast of Corpus Christi to Bishop Robert Thourotte. He agreed to celebrate the solemnity in his diocese, with processions offering royal honor and Divine worship to Christ in his sacramental form.