St. Lidwina of Schiedam
Lidwina was born on April 18, 1380 in Schiedam, Holland. Her parents were poor, but her father belonged to a noble family. As a small girl was Lidwina was devoted to the Blessed Mother and loved to pray before the image of Our Lady of Schiedam. While skating with friends in the winter of 1395, Lidwina fell and broke a rib, piercing the skin. Gangrene set in. Miraculously the infection did not kill her, but left her bedridden in severe pain. She lived in this condition for years, offering her suffering to God in reparation for the sins of others. In 1407, she began having mystical experiences, reliving the Passion of Jesus and receiving visits from the saints. Her prayers resulted in many miracles for people who came to see her. She foretold her death which occurred on April 14, 1433. After she died, people immediately began to pray to her at her grave and a chapel was erected over it. Thomas a Kempis, the author of the spiritual classic, The Imitation of Christ, wrote Lidwina’s biography. Leo XIII confirmed her cult on March 14, 1890, making official what the faithful of Holland had known for centuries.