St Juliana Falconieri, Virgin; Commemoration of SS Gervase & Protase, Martyrs: Missa “Dilexísti justítiam”
Juliana was a spirited young woman of Florence who felt drawn to serve God in a radical way. Through her uncle she was attracted to the Servites, first as a tertiary and later became the Superior of the “Mantellate” Servite Sisters.
Juliana was born into the noble Florentine family of the Falconieri in 1270. Her parents had paid for the construction of the Church of L’Annunziata in Florence. Her father died when she was quite young and her uncle Alexis, who shared her upbringing with her mother, was one of the seven founders of the Servite Order, the only one of the founders who did not become a priest.
The Servite order was begun by seven merchants, wealthy young men of Florence, who were disenchanted with the worldly life of the city. They wanted to live a more radical Christian life and at first were first known as Laudesi, “Praisers”, and later as the Servants of Mary, or Servites. See 17th February. (Feast of the Seven Founders)
At 15 Juliana refused her family’s plans for her to marry and soon after became a Servite tertiary. She continued to live with her mother and followed the rule given her by the prior general of the Servites, St. Philip Benizi, practising charity, chastity, mortification, penance, and prayer. Her mother was so impressed with her conduct that she eventually also placed herself under her daughter’s direction and spent the last 20 years of her life living a quiet, austere life of prayer and good works. Other young women of Florence had become tertiaries and formed a community. Juliana found a place for them at the Grifoni Palace in Florence.
After her mother’s death in 1305 Juliana herself asked to be admitted to the tertiaries’ community. They elected her as their superior. She continued in this position for the next thirty five years until the end of her life .
For their habit they adopted a black gown or cloak secured by a leather girdle with a white veil. The gown had short sleeves to facilitate work and so people called them Mantellate, because it looked like a cloak (mantello). Their main devotion was to Our Lady of Sorrows and their main activity was caring for the sick.
As Juliana lay on her death bed she was sick much of the time and couldn’t receive Holy Communion. She asked the priest to spread a corporal upon her breast and lay the host on it. Shortly afterwards the host disappeared and Juliana died. When her community came to wash her body, they found the imprint of the cross on her heart just as it had been on the host. She is buried below the altar in L’Annunziata church in Florence.
Immediately after her death Juliana was honoured as a saint and was canonised in 1737. She is usually represented in the habit of her order with a host upon her breast. The order of Mantellate Sisters has houses in mainland Europe and England, the USA and Canada. The sisters are involved in education, parish ministry, hospital and prison chaplaincies, the care of cancer patients and AIDS sufferers. Her feast is usually celebrated on 19th June.
SS Gervase & Protase, Martyrs These are two heroic brothers who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in the city of Milan, in Italy, in the second century. They are called the protomartyrs of Milan. The relics of Saint Gervase and Saint Protase were discovered by Saint Ambrose in the fourth century. Their bodies now repose in the Church of Saint Ambrose in Milan. Saint Gervase and Saint Protase are mentioned always in the Litany of the Saints. They are two of the eleven holy martyrs especially remembered in this sacred litany. The other nine are: Saint Stephen, Saint Laurence, Saint Vincent, Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian, Saint John and Saint Paul, and Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian.
INTROIT Psalm 118: 95-96
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Ps. 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. Glory be…etc
O God, Who miraculously fortified blessed Juliana, Your Virgin, in her last illness with the precious Body of Your Son, grant, we beseech You, that with her merits pleading for us, we also, refreshed and strengthened by the same sacrament in our dying agony, may be brought to our heavenly home. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
For SS. Gervase and Protase
O God, Who gladden us by the annual festival of Your Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, grant that we may be inspired by the example of those in whose merits we rejoice. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE 2 Corinthians 10,17-18 ; 11,1-2
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren, he that glory, let him glory in the Lord. For not that he that commendeth himself is approved, but he whom God commendeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly, but do bear with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44:5
With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. V. Because of truth, and meekness and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully. Alleluia, alleluia. V. After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbours shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 25:1-13
In that time Jesus said to the people: shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 44:10
The daughters of kings in thy glory: the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.
May the offering made by Your devoted people be pleasing to You, O Lord, in honor of Your Saints, through whose merits they know they have received help in times of trial. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
For SS. Gervase and Protase
Be appeased by the gifts we offer You, O Lord, and through the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, safeguard us from all dangers. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 25: 4, 6
The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh: go ye forth to meet Christ our Lord.
You have filled Your people, O Lord, with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we beseech You, by the intercession of her whose festival we are celebrating. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
For SS. Gervase and Protase
May this Communion, O Lord, cleanse us of sin, and through the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, make us sharers of heavenly salvation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.