Crescentia was the daughter of a poor weaver, in a little town near Augsburg, Germany. She had so mastered the truths of her religion that she was permitted to make her First Holy Communion at the then unusually early age of 7. In the town she was called “the little angel.”
When she was older, she desired to enter the convent of the Tertiaries of St. Francis. But the convent was poor, and because Crescentia had no dowry, the superiors refused her admission. Her case was then pleaded by the Protestant mayor of the town to whom the convent owed a favor. Because the community felt it was forced into receiving her, they made her life miserable. She was considered a burden and assigned only menial tasks. Even her cheerful spirit was misinterpreted as flattery or hypocrisy.
When a new superior was elected, Crescentia’s virtue was recognized. She was appointed mistress of novices and won the love and respect of the sisters. Upon the death of the superior, Crescentia was elected unanimously to that position. Under her, the financial state of the convent improved and her reputation in spiritual matters spread. She soon was being consulted by princes and princesses; bishops and cardinals too sought her advice. And yet, a true daughter of Francis, she remained ever humble.
Crescentia had ill health all her life. She eventually lost the ability to walk, her hands and feet gradually became so crippled that her body curled up into a fetal position. In the spirit of Francis, she cried out, “Oh, you bodily members, praise God that he has given you the capacity to suffer.”
Despite her sufferings she was filled with peace and joy as she died on Easter Sunday in 1744. She was beatified in 1900 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: St. Crescentia Hoess | Franciscan Media. (n.d.). Franciscan Media. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-crescentia-hoess