SAINTS

MARCH 6: ST. COLETTE DE CORBIE

(1381-1447)

Colette was the answer to her mother’s prayers when she was born.

Her mother was 60 years old and childless up until that time. Although the child was compassionate, prayerful and kind, her father was disappointed she remained small in stature. Colette realizing her father’s disappointment prayed that her father would be somehow consoled. After age 14, Colette began a growth spurt and grew to normal size.

When her parents died, Colette received permission from church authorities to shut herself up in a small abode directly adjoining the church; from a small window in it she could see the Blessed Sacrament. There she expected to spend the remainder of her life as an anchoress. She had embraced the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, and endeavored to live in perfect poverty, severe mortification, and constant.

Colette felt divine inspiration to reintroduce the strict observance of the rule of St. Clare, which many convents of Poor Clares then observed in a modified form. She dismissed that calling several times, thinking it was merely “an illusion of the proud spirit of darkness.” She was struck dumb and later on blind, until she finally resigned herself to the will of God. At once her speech and her sight were restored.

The Lord sent her a special director under whose guidance she was to perform extraordinary things. And so, after spending four years in her retreat, and with the authority and the blessing of the pope, she established one convent of Poor Clares after another, so that the number reached 17 during her lifetime. St. Colette reformed the Order of Poor Clare’s and founded a branch of the Order that is still known as the Colettines.

St. Colette had a special devotion to St. John the Apostle, who appeared to her on one occasion to place a miraculous ring on her finger. As he did so, he said: “By my own right and on behalf of the sovereign king and prince of virginity and chastity.” This ring was visible to all and was a beautiful and very precious ring of gold.

St. Colette had a great desire for a relic of the True Cross. One day when she was contemplating Our Lord’s suffering amid her community, she was drawn into an ecstasy. When her contemplation was over, she realized she was holding a small gold crucifix that had not been there before. It contained a small relic of the True Cross. Years later, upon preparing for her death, she gave away her few possessions. The abbess of Besancon received this cross as St Colette told her: “Keep it and treasure it, for it is from Heaven.”

After laboring for 40 years, she was to receive her eternal reward. She died in her convent at Ghent on March 6, 1447. At the moment of her departure from this world she appeared to several sisters in different convents. Pope Urban VIII beatified her, and Pope Pius VII.

Adapted by A. J. Valentini from: St Colette de Corbie, Virgin and Miracle Worker. (n.d.). Roman Catholic Saints. Retrieved Feb. 25, 2021, from https://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/st-colette-de-corbie.html