BLESSED OSANNA D’ANDREASI (1449-1505), virgin
Today, the Church honors Blessed Osanna d’Andreasi, a holy mystic whose life was chronicled by a Benedictine monk in whom she confided the story of her life, and who also became her spiritual son.
Osanna was born of aristocratic parents in 1449 in Mantua, a town located in northern Italy. At the young age of five or six, she had her first mystical experience – a vision of the Blessed Trinity, the nine choirs of angels, and then of Jesus as a child her own age, carrying His Cross.
Osanna soon found that she had to keep her mystical experiences to herself; she became so withdrawn that her mother, who always treated her daughter kindly, was greatly troubled, and her father harshly rebuked her and began to think that she was an epileptic, since he would often find Osanna absorbed in trance-like prayer.
Her parents died during her childhood and she became responsible for the household and her other siblings, all which she managed with great care, along with showing a compassionate hospitality to the poor. Nevertheless, in spite of all her domestic responsibilities, she continued to experience an intense mystical life.
At the age of eighteen, Osanna experienced a mystical espousal to Jesus, and, for twelve years thereafter, she prayed constantly that she might be permitted to share in Christ’s sufferings for the sake of the Church and of Italy which was being torn apart by internal feuds and wars.
When she was thirty years old, she received the stigmata on her head, then her side, and finally on her feet. She also had a vision in which her heart was transformed and divided into four parts. For the rest of her life, she experienced our Lord’s Passion in a more intense way on Wednesdays and Fridays.
In her case, the stigmata did not bleed, but simply appeared as red, intensely painful swellings. She kept them hidden from everyone except her servants, but at times the pain in her feet became so great that she was unable to walk. To those who became aware of the cross she was bearing, Osanna insisted on the utmost secrecy.
Nevertheless, the reputation for her sanctity spread because of her works of charity and her constant prayer which sometimes, much to her embarrassment, caused her to fall into ecstasy during the celebration of Holy Mass. As a result, people begin to visit her for spiritual counsel, and many benefited from her gift for guiding and encouraging those who confided in her.
In 1498, when Osanna was the age of forty-nine, Father Jerome, a Benedictine monk, introduced himself to her. He had long observed her praying in Church and had become profoundly impressed by her total absorption in contemplation. Between them, there grew to be a deep spiritual bond.
She saw in Father Jerome, as she frequently repeated in her letters, a spiritual son “conceived in the Blood of Christ”, who, in the final years of her life, provided her with an understanding friendship which she had never known, and which at last made it possible for her to speak of her experiences to someone whom she could fully trust to understand her.
Throughout Osanna’s letters and her conversations with Father Jerome, one finds a profound humility, a deep concern for the Church and the people of her country, and a constant desire to suffer for their conversion, along with her tender love and concern for her “spiritual son”.
Osanna d’Andreasi died in 1505 from natural causes and was beatified by Pope Innocent XII on November 24, 1694.
We commemorate her feastday on June 18.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com and domcentral.org/study)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Virgins)
“Lord, You have told us that You live forever in the hearts of the chaste. By the prayers of the virgin Blessed Osanna, help us to live by Your grace and remain a temple of Your Spirit.
“Grant this 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.”