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Saint of the Day: Bl. Colomba Gabriel

Foundress of the Benedictine Sisters of Charity


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Benedictine Sister(1858-1926)

Her life

+ Janina Gabriel was born in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, in 1858. The daughter of a noble family, she received an excellent education. As a young woman she discerned a call to serve God as a Benedictine nun.

+ A member of the Benedictine monastery in Leopoli, where she was known as Sister Colomba, she conducted programs for the poor, especially for the benefit of young working girls.

+ In 1900, Colomba moved to Rome. Her spiritual director was the Dominican priest Blessed Hyacinth Cormier, and he guided her to start teaching catechism and caring for the sick in Rome’s Prati district. This work inspired Sister Colomba to establish a group of Benedictine oblates (lay affiliates) and, in 1908, she established a new branch of the Benedictine Order: the Benedictine Sisters of Charity.

+ During her life, Colomba saw the community grow and she established new hours throughout Italy, in Madagascar, and in Romania.

+ Blessed Colomba Gabriel died on September 24, 1926, and was beatified in 1993.

For prayer and reflection

On the path of suffering the Holy Spirit uprooted her from her homeland, led her to leave everything and begin all over.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed Colomba

Spiritual bonus

On September 24 the people of England celebrate the Mother of God under the title “Our Lady Walsingham. Origins to the Virgin Mary under this title date back to a series of apparitions of the Mother of God to Richeldis de Faverches, an English noblewoman, in 1061. During the visions, Mary asked that a shrine—“the Holy House”—be built as a place of pilgrimage. The original shrine was destroyed during the ravages of the English Reformation but in 1897, Pope Leo XIII re-established a 14th century chapel located one mile from the original shrine. This became a place of pilgrimage for England’s Catholics and how serves as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. An Anglican shrine was established in 1938. Our Lady of Walsingham is celebrated as the patroness of England.


O God, by whose gift blessed Colomba persevered in imitating Christ, poor and lowly, grant us through her intercession that, faithfully walking in our own vocation, we may reach the perfection you have set before us in your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Religious)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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