Blessed Juliana of Mount CornillonVirgin (A.D. 1258)
“The introduction of the feast of Corpus Christi was primarily due to one woman, whose mind first conceived it and whose efforts brought about its observance. Juliana was born near Liege in 1192, but being left an orphan at the age of five, she was placed by guardians in the care of the nuns of Mount Cornillon, a double Augustinian monastery of men and women devoted to the care of the sick, more especially of lepers…Juliana grew up into a studious girl who had an intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and who loved to pore over volumes of St. Augustine, St. Bernard and other fathers on the library shelves. Strangely enough, from the time when she was about sixteen she was haunted day and night by the appearance of a bright moon streaked with a dark band…she feared lest it might be a device of the Devil to distract her from prayer, but usually she felt convinced that it had some deep spiritual meaning if only she could grasp it. At last she had a dream or vision in which our Lord explained that the moon was the Christian year with its round of festivals and that the black band denoted the absence of the one holy day required to complete the cycle-a feast in honour of the Blessed Sacrament.>br>
The years passed and Juliana became a nun at Mount Cornillon; but she was unknown, without influence and in no position to do anything in the matter of the desired feast. Then in 1225 she was elected prioress and began to speak about what she felt to be her mission to some of her friends…opposition arose…Juliana was criticized as a visionary, and worse..These accusations so infuriated the people of Liege that they compelled Juliana to leave…she lived as a recluse for the rest of her days in poverty and sickness. She died on April 5, 1258…
Juliana’s great mission was carried on and completed by her old friend…After the elevation to the papacy of Urban IV…to sanction the new feast of the Blessed Sacrament…the beautiful office for Corpus Christi which St. Thomas Aquinas had composed at his desire. The bull was confirmed in 1312 by the Council of Vienne under Pope Clement V, and the celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi has from that time become of universal obligation…The observance of a feast in honour of Blessed Juliana was allowed by the Holy See in 1869.
May we ponder the beatitude: Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness’sake; for theirs is the kingdom of God.