MARCH 6. Colette, a visionary / vision of scary
Patron saint of women seeking to conceive, expectant mothers and sick children
Lived 1381 to 1447
"If there be a true way that leads to the Everlasting Kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering, patiently endured."
Colette's parents grew old without children and prayed to Saint Nicholas to conceive. Their incessant prayers were answered, and Colette's mother was 60 years old when she bore her. As a little girl, Colette took great pleasure in prayer, compassion for the poor, and rigorous mortification; that is, she "made her soul and tender body a sacrifice to God."
PRAYING FOR UGLINESS
Colette begged God to deprive her of the rare beauty she possessed, as she believed it would endanger her and others. God granted her request, and Colette developed severe features which inspired great respect.
Colette received the habit and became an anchoress for 4 years, submitting herself to penance and prayer and remaining "walled in to a cell," the only opening of which was a grilled window into a church. From there, she could see the blessed sacrament. While in seclusion, Colette received "many consolations from heaven" as well as "severe corporal abuse from the spirits of darkness."
During this period, she had visions of Saint Francis of Assisi, who ordered her to restore the Rule of St Clare to its original severity. When she hesitated, God showed her a vision of a great golden tree from which other trees sprung. She understood the nurslings were symbols of the houses she would found. Still resistant, she was struck blind for three days and mute for three more. Taking this as a sign, she began wandering convent-to-convent while barefoot in a habit of patches. She met opposition, abuse, slander, and was even accused of sorcery.
WAILING STILLBORN BABIES
When a local man brought his stillborn child to a parish priest to be baptized, the priest turned him away on account of the child was dead. The man, hysterical, clutched his "pathetic bundle" and arrived at at Colette's house. Colette removed her veil, advising the local man to wrap the baby in it and return to the priest. When the priest saw the local man approaching, the two began to quarrel. Then, "the row was silence by a faint cry from inside the veil." The alarmed priest then opened the font and baptized the"now wailing baby."
VISIONARY / VISION OF SCARY
Colette never ceased praying for the sanctity of the church and its leaders. As such, the devil plagued her with torture and temptation. Stinging insects would often swarm and surround her, piercing her repeatedly. Decomposing corpses of criminals and heretics would appear in her walled-in cell. Demon assaults would leave her bruised, broken, and exhausted.
Once while riding on a mule, Colette fell into an ecstasy. Her face became literally radiant, spilling a stream of light on the two friars who walked her side. Fieldworkers left their tasks to touch her mantle and hands and feet as she passed. They were too awed to stop her, and Colette remained lost in her reverie.
SECOND JOB IN HEAVEN
According to one chronicler, Colette's "second job in heaven" is "to pray for expectant mothers that they may have a safe and happy birth."