Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 28 February or 29 in a Leap-Year

detail from a portrait of Blessed Villana by Fra AngelicoBlessed Villana, O.P.

After having ardently desired the life of the cloister, Blessed Villana became through a series of small acts of unfaithfulness, a slave to the vanities of the world. But God loved her still and she was converted by twice seeing in the mirror in which she was admiring herself the face of a horrible demon instead of her own. She gave herself to a life of austere penance in the secular Third Order, and was so eager to relieve the sufferings of the poor that she desired to beg from door to door for them. She found in the Epistles of Saint Paul a source of joy and light which almost threw her into an ecstasy. Favored with the gift of prophecy, she foretold things in such an ordinary way through humility, that it was only after the events had occurred that notice was taken of them. When about to die, she caused the Passion according to Saint John to be read to her, and at the words: “Inclinato capite emisit spiritum,” she crossed her hands on her breast and died. The Tertiary Sisters saw her face surrounded with luminous rays while they were clothing her body in the holy habit of the Order. It is related that several favored souls saw her presented at the throne of God by the Blessed Virgin and Saint Mary Magdalen and that He said: “Henceforth I shall call thee Margaret, for thou shalt be as a precious pearl on My Heart because of thy patience” (1368).

Prayer

O my God, even in poor and mourning garments I am a prey to vanity; do Thou pardon and correct me.

Practice

In your visits to the Blessed Sacrament pray for those who are given to vanity in dress and for parents who inspire their children with worldly tastes.