Blessed Columba of Rieti

Also known as

  • Angelella Guardagnoli
  • Colomba of Rieti

Memorial

Profile

Legend says that at her birth, angels gathered around Columba’s house to sing. During her Baptism, a dove suddenly flew down to the font. From that point on, no one used her by her given name (Angelella = little angel), but called her Columba (= dove). She was raised in a poor but pious family; her parents gave away nearly everything thing they had to people even poorer than themselves. As a small girl Columba learned to spin and sew; she and her mother repaired the clothes of the local Dominicans. Educated by Dominican nuns.

Columba quickly developed a strong devotion to Saint Catherine of Siena and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. While still in her teens she prayed about her vocation in life, and received a vision of Christ on a throne surrounded by saints. She took this as instruction to dedicate herself to God, and so she cut herself off from the world, made a private vow of chastity, and spent her time in prayer. Unbeknownst to Columba, her parents had arranged a marriage for her, but she cut off her hair and sent it to her would-be suitor, an accepted way at that time of telling him that she was devoting her life to God, not marriage.

She had the gifts of prophecy, healing, exorcism, raising the dead, and miracles. Given to ecstacies during one of which her spirit toured the Holy Lands. Dominican tertiary at age 19. Her reputation for wisdom and holiness spread throughout the region, and she was a much sought after counsellor. Some people from the city of Narni, Italy tried to kidnap her so she could be their miracle worker, but she escaped.

Following a revelation that she should leave Rieti, Italy, she walked away with no destination in mind. Along the way she was arrested in Foligno, Italy as a vagrant, but she eventually stopped and stayed in Perugia, Italy. On 1 January 1490 she and several other women took vows as a community of Dominican teritary nuns. Noted spiritual counselor to any who sought her advice. During an epidemic she worked among the sick, healing many by praying for them. She offered her own health in exchange for the city; when the general epidemic ended, she became ill, eventually recovering through the intercession of Saint Catherine of Siena. Her sanctity caused her to be persecuted by Lucrezia Borgia for years; at one point Borgia had a decree issued accusing Columba of practicing magic.

Born

Died

  • 20 May 1501 at Perguia, Italy of natural causes
  • at the moment of her death, her friend, Blessed Osanna Andreasi, saw Columba’s soul as a radiance rising to heaven
  • the whole city turned out for her funeral, which was paid for by the city fathers

Beatified

Patronage

Representation

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Columba of Rieti”. Saints.SQPN.com. 14 November 2012. Web. 21 December 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com/blessed-columba-of-rieti/>