This past weekend celebrated the Feast Day of Blessed Imelda Lambertini. She is the Patron Saint of First Communicants. Some church calendars list it as May 12, while other list it as May 13. More importantly, do you know the story of Blessed Imelda?
Blessed Imelda was born in 1322 in Bologna, Italy. As an only child, she attended Mass frequently.
At the age of nine Imelda entered the Dominican Convent in Val di Pietra. She was the youngest one there, and was unable to receive Communion, because Church law did not allow the Eucharist until the age of twelve. She prayed for the Eucharist and asked for an exception to be made, but was refused. It has been said about Blessed Imelda “that to receive Jesus in Communion became the consuming desire of her heart. She would even sometimes exclaim: Tell me, can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die? ”
When she was 11 years old, on the vigil of the Ascension in 1333, her prayers were finally answered.
It was customary for Blessed Imelda to remain kneeling after Mass. On this day, she was bathed in a beautiful Light of the Host. The church was empty except for the sacristan, who, when she saw the light above Imelda, ran to get the convent priest. Upon seeing this miraculous light, the priest was moved to give Imelda her First Communion. Immediately, Imelda fell into ecstasy upon receiving her Lord in the Eucharist.
What happened next? There, right at the altar at which Imelda had been praying so fervently for our Lord, and having just received Him in the Eucharist, she expired. This beautiful young child, who loved God beautifully and purely, was called to be home with her Lord.
Her uncorrupted body still lies in a church in Bologna, Italy to this day.
The story of Blessed Imelda is one that is seldom told. But its simple beauty is a great reminder of the gift of Jesus we receive in Holy Communion. Mary Fabyan Windeatt, the great story teller of Saints, even wrote a book about Blessed Imelda, which would be a wonderful gift for anyone preparing to receive his or her First Holy Communion.
Lord Jesus Christ, you received into heaven Blessed Imelda who loved you in the Eucharistic banquet. By her prayers may we learn to approach your holy table with that same fervent love and so fulfill our longing to be with you, who live and reign with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. – General Calendar of the Order of Preachers