JANUARY 20. EUSTOCHIA, whose corpse puts earthquakes on pause
Lived from 1434 to 1485
While pregnant, Eustochia's mother fled their plague-stricken town. Near this time, she received a vision in an unknown form that directed her to the stable where baby Eustochia was born.
One day in church, Eustochia had a powerful vision of Christ Crucified. The vision compelled her to devote herself fully to God. Her father had other plans, and Eustochia was twice betrothed at his behest. Both men died before Eustochia could marry them, and shortly thereafter Eustochia's father died too. At fifteen-and-a-half, Eustochia entered the convent.
TOSSED BY THE DEVIL
Eustochia's holiness offended the devil, so he tried to kill her by throwing her off of a high balcony. Having witnessed this vile act, Eustochia's mother cried out for God to intervene. A mysterious woman appeared, caught Eustochia in mid-air, and restored her to the balcony before vanishing.
GO FORTH AND MAKE BREAD MULTIPLY
When provisions were scarce at the convent, Eustochia would make a sign of the cross over scant scraps of bread, and by some miracle, there'd be loaves to feed ten sisters. Sometimes her prayers brought the arrival of a stranger or angel bearing a much needed gift of food supplies.
THE ODOR OF SANCTITY
Eustochia bore the stigmata for many years; that is, Christ's signature wounds reproduced on her own body. When she died, "her body was radiant with heavenly beauty, and the Stigmata, which had wounded her hands and feet for many years, were fragrant with the Odor of Sanctity."
CHANTING CORPSE STOPS QUAKE
130 years after Eustochia's death, when earthquakes kept striking Messina, the city senate asked local nuns to request the dead saint's intercession. They set her incorrupt body upright in a choir stall, and asked for her prayers. Suddenly, Eustochia's cold lips parted and her corpse began chanting a psalm. The terrified nuns joined her in song and the earthquakes soon ceased.
BE A MODEL OR JUST LOOK LIKE ONE
Known for her inner and outer beauty, Eustochia is thought to be the model for Antonello da Messina's painting "Virgin of the Annunciation."