Eucharistic Crusade
Saints who loved the Blessed Sacrament

St. Juliana of Mt. Cornillon (1193-1258)


Juliana was born in 1193, at Retinnes, near Liege, Belgium.  From her early childhood, she had a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  When she was five years old, her parents died and she was put in the Convent of the Augustinian Nuns of Mt. Cornillon, for her education. Before long when she decided to become a Nun.  Juliana received the veil in 1206, at the age of thirteen.  She wanted to devote herself to the care of the sick.

The building that the Nuns occupied was divided into three parts; one part was the hospital, another part was the Convent for Augustinian Sisters and a third part, was the Monastery for Augustinian Brothers.  The Sisters and Brothers cared for sick people who were lepers.

St. Juliana was a holy religious who liked to spend a lot of her time in prayer and mortification. She had a great love for Our Lady and the Passion of Jesus, but mostly she had a great love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  She meditated constantly on the Blessed Sacrament. 

St. Gerard Majella

St. Juliana saw a vision of the moon hanging in med air,
with a black spot on it.


One day when she was sixteen, she began to have visions.  She saw the moon hanging in mid air, in the sky.  Although the moon was shining bright, there was a single black spot on it!  Juliana was not used to seeing things like this.  She thought that the vision was just her imagination, so she tried to forget about it by saying more prayers. 

But the vision came back again, and feeling that it was from God, she told the details of the vision to her Superior, Sr. Sapientia.  Both Sisters could not understand what the vision meant.

 St. Juliana spent many days in prayer and one day, God explained the meaning of the vision to her.  Jesus said, “You are troubled about the vision.  I desire to set up a special Feast for My Church Militant, because this Feast is most necessary.  It is a Feast of the Most High and Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.  At the present time, the celebration of this Mystery is only observed on Maundy Thursday.  But on that day, it is mostly My sufferings and death that are thought about.  Therefore, I desire that another day be set apart, in which the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar shall be celebrated by all of Christendom!”

Jesus continued, “The first reason why I am asking for this special Feast Day, is so that the faith in this Sacrament would be confirmed by this Feast, when bad people would attack this mystery in the future.  The second reason is so that the faithful would be strengthened on their way to virtue by a very great love and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and the third reason is so that because of this Feast and the loving attention given to it, reparation would be made for the insults and lack of respect shown to the Blessed Sacrament.”     

Jesus also told St. Juliana that this vision of the moon was a symbol of the Church, so bright with all its Feasts.  The black part of the moon meant that there was no Feast, to honour the Blessed Sacrament in a special way.  He gave her the Mission to get many people interested in this new Feast Day.  But Sr. Juliana was very humble, and she was frightened at the thought of such a Mission.   She believed that this vision was just her imagination, so she decided to keep the whole thing a secret. 

For many years, St. Juliana kept the vision, a secret.  She spent these years in prayer and sacrifice, waiting for God to give her a stronger command to go ahead with the idea of the new Feast Day.  Juliana wanted to be sure that she was doing God’s Holy Will, and not her own.  God was watching over His chosen one, and He had special plans for her.

In 1230, St. Juliana was elected Mother Superior of the Augustinian Monastery.  Soon after her election, she again had the vision of the moon with the black spot on it.  Mother Juliana decided to share her secret with someone who could give her some good advise.

There was a good and pious priest in Liege, by the name of Canon de Lausanne, who had a very great love for the Holy Eucharist.  St. Juliana decided to tell this holy priest about her vision and also begged him to talk to other great theologians about it.

The holy Canon immediately told some learned theologians about the matter of the vision.   All of the theologians loved the idea, of having a new Feast in honour of the Blessed Sacrament.  Many Bishops also gave their approval to the plan.  Mother Juliana was delighted that so many learned men accepted the idea of a Feast Day in honour of the Blessed Sacrament so quickly.

Feeling that her cause was won, she proceeded at once, to ask a young Cleric from Mt. St. Martin, to write up some new Office prayers for the special Feast.  Even though the humble Cleric felt that someone with greater ability should write these Office prayers, he obeyed, and was successful in his efforts.  The Office was accepted and approved by theologians.  It was recited in the Church of St. Martin up to the time that St. Thomas Aquinas wrote his famous Office. 

However, not all the Clergy accepted St. Juliana’s idea, especially Roger, the General Superior, who was in charge of the Monastery!  He disliked the virtues and holiness of St. Juliana, and even encouraged the people to revolt against her.  

But St. Juliana did not get discouraged.  She knew that her vision had come from God.  It was God’s work, and if He wanted it to succeed, men could not stop it!  She turned to God in prayer and tried to become more holy.  And in order to strengthen her faith in her mission, she made pilgrimages to several shrines.

She brought the matter to the attention of Bishop de Thorete of Liege, and a Dominican, and Archdeacon James Pantaleon, later; (Pope Urban IV.)  The Bishop gave his approval to the new Office, and in 1246, he ordered all his priests, both secular and religious, to celebrate The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament every year, on the Thursday after the Feast of the Most Blessed Trinity.  But the good Bishop died, before he could see his orders fulfilled. 

Mother Juliana’s enemies were glad, when they heard that Bishop Liege had died.  Roger, the General Superior drove St. Juliana from the Monastery.  Others continued to persecute her and slander her.  They even went so far as to spread lies about the dead Bishop.  Poor Juliana had to flee to a place called Namur.  Later, the General Superior lost his position.  St. Juliana was able to return to the Monastery at Mt. Cornillon.  Then in 1247, Roger was back in power, and again he succeeded, in driving St. Juliana out.

But God always triumphs over evil, and in the same year, God had His way!  The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament was celebrated at the Church of St. Martin, in Liege.  Cardinal de St. Cher, who was a Dominican, celebrated it with great pomp and ceremony.  He was thrilled about the new Feast, and preached a wonderful sermon.  Soon after, he ordered that the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament be kept in all the countries under his care.

 The Cardinal’s sermon was so wonderful on the occasion of this first celebration at Liege, that it inspired one of the Canons of St. Martin’s Church in a special way.  Canon Stephen wished to give the Church a sum of money each year, so that they could celebrate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament with great ceremony every year.  His sister also agreed to leave a sum of money, to keep the Sanctuary Lamp burning at all times.

St. Juliana was full of joy, to see her vision made real.  She was eager to see the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament extended throughout the whole church!  But she was not blessed to see this take place.  She passed the last few years of her life in solitude, and died at Fosses on April 5th, 1258. 

Even in Liege, the new Feast of the Blessed Sacrament was not accepted in all parts; only in certain Churches.  But another religious known as St. Eve, who lived at St. Martins, carried on the work, which was started by St. Juliana.  She had been a dear friend of St. Juliana’s and she too, was filled with a great desire to have the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament spread throughout the whole world.                            

St. Eve remembered that the former Archdeacon of Liege had now become Pope Urban IV.  She, as well as St. Juliana, had known him well.   She persuaded Bishop Henry of Liege and some other powerful people, to write to the Holy Father, urging him to fix permanently, the Feast of Corpus Christi {in Honour of the Blessed Sacrament}, for the whole Church.  But Pope Urban, who loved the idea, was in the middle of great political difficulties.  Several years would have to pass, before he could give his full attention to the matter of the Feast Day.

However, God was watching from Heaven.  The Holy Father, had to retire at Orvieto, because of political troubles.  During his stay at Orvieto, the Pope learned about a miracle of the Blessed Sacrament, which had just taken place. It was because of this miracle that the Pope decided to set up a special feast day in honour of the Holy Eucharist.

There was at Bolsena, a little town near Orvieto, a priest, who while saying Mass, no longer believed that Jesus was in the Host after it was consecrated.  The poor priest had practically lost his Faith, and he wanted to give up being a priest.  After the Consecration, the Blood of Jesus dripped from the Host and spread over the corporal on the Altar!  Those who were present at the Mass were also given the grace to see the beautiful miracle.  The Faith of the priest returned, and his soul was filled with joy. 

Pope Urban was told of this miracle and he ordered that the miracle should be examined.  He was so thrilled when the examination proved that the miracle was true, that he ordered a special procession of thanksgiving to take place at Orvieto.

He asked St. Thomas Aquinas, who was then in Italy, to come and write up a beautiful Office for the Feast.  Blessed by the grace of God, St. Thomas wrote a most wonderful Office, in honour of the Blessed Sacrament.  He then begged Pope Urban to settle the matter of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, finally for the whole Catholic Church all over the world.

In 1264, Pope Urban IV published a Bull, ordering that the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament be celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, with great pomp and ceremony.  He also granted many indulgences to those who attended at the Mass and Office, of this beautiful Feast.

 St. Juliana, Pray for Us!                         The End


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