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Saint Colette

Saint Colette

Saint Colette (detail of Saint Clare and Saint Colette), c. 1520, by the Master of Lourinhã

 

Saint Colette (1381 – 1447) was born in Corbie, France, to Robert, a carpenter at the Benedictine Abbey of Corbie, and Marguerite Boellet. The couple was barren. Though advanced in age, they prayed to Saint Nicholas for the grace of a child. Their request was granted and Marguerite, at the age of sixty, conceived and gave birth to Saint Colette.

When both her parents had died, Saint Colette, then 22 years old, joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and went to live as an anchoress in a small room attached to the parish Church. She spent four years there, in prayer and exercises of mortification. Our Lord showed her, during her prayers, that she was to reform the Poor Clares, returning them to their original austerity. After obtaining permission from the religious authorities, Saint Colette set out to accomplish this task. She started the Colettine Poor Clares (Clarisses), a reform branch of the Poor Clares. The Clarisses were known for their poverty: they walked barefoot, did not accept a fixed income, and fasted often. At the time of her death, the saint had founded seventeen monasteries.

Saint Colette was well known for her holiness, spiritual wisdom, and the many supernatural favours granted to her by God. Among other miracles, she brought a dead baby back to life and assisted, through her prayers, a pregnant woman during difficult childbirth so that both mother and child survived. Saint Colette is venerated as the patron saint of women seeking to conceive, expectant mothers, and sick children.

 

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