April 15, 2018
Blessed Among Us
St. Lydwina of Schiedam
Patron of Sufferers (1380-1433)
Lydwina was born in 1380 to a poor family in the small Dutch town of Schiedam. On a winter’s day when she was fifteen she had an accident while skating on the frozen canal. At first she seemed to have suffered a few broken ribs. But her condition rapidly deteriorated, inaugurating an illness that would leave her an invalid for the next forty years.
In time, at the urging of her confessor, Lydwina began to meditate on the sufferings of Christ, striving to unite her own sufferings with his. Through this reflection she gradually perceived a wider meaning in her ordeal. This was her vocation: to bear her sufferings with courage and faith as a loving sacrifice for the sins of others.
Before long, word of Lydwina’s witness spread widely. Pilgrims came from great distances to look upon one so intimately united with the passion of Christ. For her part, Lydwina experienced visions in which she visited the Holy Land and held conversations with Christ and his Mother.
She had her detractors, even a parish priest who at one point thought she was a fraud. A Church inquiry upheld her good faith and confirmed the miraculous sign that she subsisted on the Eucharist alone for the last nineteen years of her life.
At last her sufferings came to an end. She died on April 14, 1433. She was canonized in 1890.
“Meditation on the Passion and reception of the Eucharist became, as it were the arms with which Lydwina embraced her Beloved.” -St. Lydwina’s first biographer