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Resurrection Miracles

St. Colette of Corbie

Franciscan nun

13th January A.D.1381 - 6th March 1447 A.D.


Biography of St. Colette

It is a long way from a convent in Scandinavia to a Poor Clare abbey in Corbie, France. St. Collette or Corbie was born Nicolette Boylet at Calcye near Corbie on January 13, 1381. As a practical person, for the saints are the most practical persons in the world, despite some notions to the contrary, Colette reformed many Poor Clare monasteries and established 20 new ones (Colettine Poor Clares). Besides these accomplishments, Colette also performed many miracles.

St. Colette was a friend of St. Juan Capistrano and St. Vincent Ferrer. From her convent at Besancon, she once appeared to Vincent, while he was at prayer in Saragossa, pressing him to end the schism then dividing the Church. She had many friends among the nobility, such as the Duchess of Burgundy; many daughters of princes were sent to her Poor Clare convents of strict reform. She made many prophecies and had many visions.

Once when riding on a mule not far from Besancon, St. Colette fell into an ecstasy and her face became so radiant that a stream of light flowed upon the two friars walking by her side. Along the road people left the fields, coming to touch her mantle, and then her hands and feet as she went on. They were too much in awe to stop her, and Colette was oblivious to their reverent attentions.

As an abbess, Colette once went to Verey to make her eighth monastery foundation. She was welcomed warmly by the Dominican nuns (the spiritual sons and daughters of Dominic, Francis and Clare have always maintained a special friendship). St. Colette embraced and kissed each Dominican nun as they all came forward. But at the end of the greetings Colette noticed a young nun who stood at a distance and made no move to approach. St. Colette said to the Dominican chaplain standing nearby, “Shall I not also kiss her?”

“She is a leper, Reverend Mother,” the priest replied in embarrassment. “She cannot live in the community; over there is her house”; he pointed to a small building nearby. “We are sorry to distress you. It would have been better for her to stay away, but she wanted so much to come.”

Without a word, Colette quickly walked straight over to the young nun. She put both arms around the pathetic figure and gave her the warmest embrace of all. The other nuns fell back in alarm, and the young nun, not having been embraced for years, also recoiled in horror as she realized she had “contaminated” the famed and holy abbess. The priest moved forward to draw the abbess back.

But Colette quietly announced that everything was all right. And indeed it was, the young nun had been cured of leprosy!

Colette is also credited with raising many to life again, including a nun of Poligny already in her coffin, who had died without absolution, (picture above) a child who had been buried, four grandees who lived for years afterward, and a goodly number of stillborn children.

One stillborn baby was born to the wife of a man named Prucet, at Besancon. The husband did not want to believe the baby was dead. He seized the lifeless body and ran with it to the church, where he insisted that it be baptized. But the priest had to tell him that it was undoubtedly dead. The father returned home sadly with his tiny, silent burden.

Perhaps to distract his mind, or to give him some hope in his grief, friends and neighbors encouraged him to take the dead infant to the Poor Clare Monastery and ask for the prayers of the Abbess Colette. The father grasped at this hope and went to the monastery, where Colette, when informed of the story, came to the enclosure grate by the parlor.

Prucet fell on his knees and held out the dead infant in mute appeal. The abbess also fell on her knees and began to pray. The friends who had followed Prucet also crowded into the parlor. At the sight of both the father and the abbess on their knees, and of the dead infant, they all fell silent. Then they too sank to their knees and the men doffed their caps in reverence. After a while Colette arose, stepped back from the grate, took off her veil and had it passed out to the father. She said to him, “Wrap the child up in it, and take it back to the church to be baptized.”

Prucet obeyed with the simplicity of a child. When he and his friends arrived at the church, Prucet again asked the priest to baptize the baby. The poor priest thought Prucet had lost his senses in his grief. But he was shaken when the familiar cry of an infant came out from under the black veil of the abbess. Prucet told the priest what had happened. The priest, fearing that life might be only temporary, decided not to delay the child’s Baptism for even a moment. “What name?” he asked.
“Colette!”

Colette Prucet grew into sturdy girlhood, entered the convent at Besancon, and later made her solemn vows. She became abbess of a Poor Clare monastery at Pont-a-Mousson in Lorraine. Sister Perrine, the faithful biographer of St. Colette, wrote that “Colette Prucet herself told me all this.”

St. Colette is credited with many such miracles of raising the dead, four of which were involved in her beatification. Great devotion grew up about St. Colette because of her intercessory powers for childless couples, expectant mothers, and mortally ill infants. After the miracle of baby Colette, many came to her to be cured of sicknesses and other troubles. When Colette herself died in 1447, the marks of her own sickness and suffering disappeared. Her body became incomparably and marvelously beautiful, with skin white as snow, supple limbs, and giving off a lovely fragrance.

 

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