We believe that Francis was the closest human being on earth to mirror Jesus. Francis draws you like a magnet. That’s how he got to us. On our first pilgrimage to Europe and the Holy Land, a side trip was included to Assisi from Rome.
One day to please a relative, not wanting to offend him by refusing his gift, Gemma wore a gold watch and a gold cross and chain when she went outdoors.
When she returned home, who should come to her but her Guardian Angel. He scolded her: "Remember, the spouse of the Crucified King should wear no ornaments but thorns and crosses." She immediately pledged never to wear nor speak of things of the world.
She went back to the severity of the clothes she had been wearing, and when she ventured out, she donned a simple black cloak to cover a shapeless black dress and a straw hat. This did not detract from her fine patrician looks, but instead enhanced them.
Her Guardian Angel stressed obedience! He would repeat over and over again: "Obedience! You must obey! You must be like a dead body; whatever is asked of you, you must obey quickly and joyfully!"
Born of a very devout mother and father who, in times when families were feuding amongst themselves, were called by some, "Jesus Christ’s peacemakers," it would appear from the very moment of her birth, God had special designs on Rita. There is a tradition in Roccaporena that as an infant, while she slept in a basket, in the fields where her parents were working, white bees swarmed around Rita’s open mouth. Not only did the bees not sting her, but it is said that they dropped honey into her mouth without her uttering a cry of warning to her parents. One of the farmers, seeing the swarm of bees, tried to disperse them with his arm that had been deeply wounded by a scythe. His arm stopped bleeding and he was immediately healed.
Saint Catherine of Siena had Visions during the consecration of the Mass, sometimes seeing Jesus dressed as a Priest, repeating the words He spoke at the Last Supper. Other times, when she gazed upon the raised Host, instead of seeing the Consecrated Host, she saw the Baby Jesus in the Priest’s hands. When we hear some people say they do not need Miracles of the Eucharist to believe in the Lord truly Present in the Consecrated Host, I can’t help recall Catherine, who was strengthened in her belief in Him when she saw the Host in this miraculous form. She did not need the miracle to believe, but she did not refuse the help it gave her when she needed strength, or maybe as Mother Angelica said, the grace to believe.