Blessed Julia Della Rena of Certaldo
Roman martyrology: In Certaldo, place of Tuscany (today Italy), blessed Julia de la Rena, of the third order of St Augustine, who remained in a small cell next to the Church, where she lived only for God.
Beatification date: 1819 by Pope Pius VII.
Blessed Julia is a model of gospel living by a layperson and of mutual collaboration between religious and laity.
Born Julia della Rena in Certaldo, Italy, around 1319 to an impoverished noble family. she was orphaned while a young child.
She went to Florence, where she found employment as a maid in the Timolfi household at Florence, Italy. She became an Augustinian Secular in 1337 at age 19. Florence was in turmoil in those years.
After returning to Certaldo, she retired to a life of solitude near the church of Saints Michael and James. For thirty years she led a life of penance and prayer.
Upon her death in 1370 she was immediately venerated as a saintly woman by the faithful who had sustained her with their alms and revered her for her life of prayer and penance. Julia’s mortal remains are venerated at Certaldo in the church of Saints Michael and James, which at one time was under the care of the Augustinians. In a number of instances the people of Certadlo attributed their deliverance from the plague to Blessed Julia.