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Blessed Osanna Andreasi

Blessed

Blessed Osanna Andreasi

Feast Day: June 18

Birth: January 17, 1449
Blessed Columba of Rieti, also known as Angelella Guardagnoli, was born on February 2, 1467, in Rieti, Umbria, Italy. Legend surrounds her birth, as it is said that angels gathered around her house to sing, and during her baptism, a dove descended upon the font. This dove symbolized the beginning of her connection to her new name, Columba, which means dove, replacing her given name, Angelella, which means little angel.
Columba hailed from a poor but deeply religious family. Her parents were known for their generosity and would often give away their possessions to those in need, even if they were poorer than themselves. Growing up, she learned basic skills such as spinning and sewing, and she and her mother would repair the clothes of the local Dominicans. Columba's education was entrusted to the Dominican nuns, who nurtured her spiritual growth.
At a young age, Columba developed a strong devotion to Saint Catherine of Siena and the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her adolescence, she prayed fervently about her vocation and received a vision of Christ on a throne surrounded by saints. Taking this as a sign from God, she decided to dedicate her life to Him, choosing a path of chastity and prayer. Unbeknownst to Columba, her parents had arranged a marriage for her, but in a symbolic act, she cut off her hair and sent it to her intended husband, making it clear that she had committed herself to God's service rather than a worldly union.
Throughout her life, Columba displayed remarkable spiritual gifts. She had the power of prophecy, healing, exorcism, and even raising the dead. She was known for her ability to enter into ecstatic states, during which her spirit would tour the Holy Lands. Columba became a Dominican tertiary at the age of 19, embracing the spirituality and charism of the Dominican Order.
Her reputation as a wise and holy woman spread across the region, and many sought her counsel. However, some people from the city of Narni tried to kidnap her, desiring her to be their personal miracle worker. Thankfully, Columba managed to escape the kidnapping attempt. Later on, following a revelation that she should leave Rieti, she began a journey without a clear destination. She was arrested in Foligno for vagrancy but eventually settled in Perugia, Italy.
On January 1, 1490, Columba and several other women took vows as a community of Dominican tertiary nuns. She became a noted spiritual counselor, offering guidance and support to anyone who sought her advice. During an epidemic, Columba fearlessly worked among the sick, praying for their healing. At one point, she even offered her own health in exchange for the well-being of the city. Miraculously, after her intercession to Saint Catherine of Siena, the epidemic subsided, and she recovered from her illness.
Despite her remarkable sanctity and devotion to God, Columba faced persecution from Lucrezia Borgia, who accused her of practicing magic. This persecution lasted for several years, but Columba's faith remained steadfast, enduring the trials and challenges with grace and humility.
Columba's earthly journey ended on May 20, 1501, in Perugia, Italy, due to natural causes. At the moment of her passing, her friend, Blessed Osanna Andreasi, witnessed her soul rising to heaven as radiant light. The entire city turned out for her funeral, which was generously sponsored by the city fathers.
Blessed Columba of Rieti was beatified on February 25, 1625, by Pope Urban VIII, recognizing her exceptional holiness. Although her official feast day is celebrated on May 20th, her legacy continues to inspire and uplift the faithful. She is often depicted in art as a Dominican tertiary receiving the Eucharist, either from a hand reaching down from heaven or an angel. Other representations show her with a dove, lily, and book or adorned with a wreath of roses, a cross, a lily, and a rosary. Her life serves as a testament to the transformative power of faith and the courage to follow God's calling, regardless of the challenges one may face.