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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blessed Villana de’Botti

The Saint of the Day for February 28 is Blessed Villana de’Botti.

Villana de’Botti was a wife and a Third Order Dominican. She was born in Florence in 1332. She was a very pious child, and at age 13 she ran away from home to join a convent. She was refused and returned home. Soon after, her family married her to Rosso di Piero.

The rejection at the convent and the marriage seemed to change Villana. She became lazy and worldly, concerned only with pleasure. One day, as she was getting dressed, her reflection in her mirrors suddenly changed to a demon. Villana understood this to be a reflection of her sinful soul. She tore off her clothes, put on something poor and simple, and ran to the Dominican Fathers for help.

She became a Dominican tertiary, concentrated on her vocation of married life, and spent her free time praying and reading Scripture and the lives of the saints. She was given to religious ecstasies at Mass, visions of Our Lady and the saints, and had the gift of prophecy. She became the object of much ridicule and slander, but even her fiercest opponents eventually came to see her as a living saint.

She died in 1361 of natural causes at the age of 30. Her body was taken to the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, which was under the care of the Dominican Fathers. The priests were unable to bury her for a month due to the constant crowd of mourners. She was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1824.

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