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Friday 26 November |
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Saint of the Day: Bl. Emilina of Boulancourt

Cistercian Nun




Her life

+ The city of Emilina’s birth has been lost to history, but we do know that when she was still quite young, she became a nun at the Cistercian Abbey of Boulancourt, France.

+ Emilina was known a deep commitment to prayer, as well as for her fasting and habits of penance.

+ As people heard of her reputation for holiness, many pilgrims began to visit the abbey. She is said to have had the gift of prophecy and would often speak about guests before they arrived.

+ Always humble before God and her sisters, Emilia died in 1178.

Worth knowing

Blessed Emilina served her community as a “lay sister.” Unlike the “choir nuns” who were obliged to sing the Divine Office seven times each day, the lay sisters supported the community through their labor and sacrifice, supporting the prayer of the choir nuns by the work of their hands. Since the Second Vatican Council, these distinctions within religious communities have all but disappeared. Today, you can often still find “extern sisters” attached to communities of enclosed nuns who are responsible for tasks such as shopping and contracting outside laborers for monastery upkeep, etc., allowing the sisters within the enclosure to remain focused on the liturgy and their personal prayer.

For prayer and reflection

One thing is necessary; she has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:42

Spiritual bonus

On this day, we also remember Blessed Goswin of Clarivaux, a Cistercan monk who later became a monk in the monastery at Cheminon, France, and who died in 1203.


O God, who called your handmaid blessed Emilina to seek you before all else, grant that, serving you, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to your eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

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

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