Blessed Columba of Rieti – Feast Day – May 20

Today is Thursday, February 2, 2023

Blessed Columba of Rieti, also known as Angelella Guardagnoli, was a religious sister of the Third Order of St Dominic. She was born on February 2 1467 in Rieti, Umbria, Italy, and died on May 20 1501 at the age of 34 in Perugia, Umbria, Italy. We celebrate her feast day on May 20 every year in the Catholic Church.

The Memorial of Blessed Columba of Rieti – Feast Day

Blessed Columba of Rieti Biography

Date of Birth February 2 1467
Country/Place of Birth Rieti, Umbria, Italy in Europe
Matrimony/Holy Orders Blesseds who were Nuns/Sisters
Profession Nun
Place of Work Italy
Date of Death May 20 1501
Place of Death Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Feast Day May 20
Beatification Beatified by Pope Urban VIII on February 25 1625
Patron Saint of  

Blessed Columba of Rieti Biography

Blessed Columba of Rieti was born as Angelella Guardagnoli on February 2, 1467, in Italy. Legend has it that angels sang around the house when she was born and that her original name was Angelica, but a white dove appeared over the baptismal font and it was changed to Columbia (it: Columba = dove).

She learned to sew and her mother repaired the clothes of the local Dominicans. Columba was educated by Dominican nuns. She was devoted to the Virgin Mary, and as soon as she read the biography of St. Catherine of Siena, she began to build her life as a model of this great Dominican tertiary. 

As a 12-year-old, Columbia was self-sufficient. She prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and saw her sitting on a golden throne with the Saints Dominicus, Hieronymus, and Peter Martyr of Verona.

She interpreted the vision to mean devoting herself to God, and she made a private vow of chastity and planned to live a life of solitude. 

Unfortunately, she did not think of mentioning this to her parents, who were busy arranging a marriage for her. The night before the engagement was publicly announced, they suddenly told her that the young man she had arranged for her marriage was waiting for her in the living room.

Columba had been warned in a vision before, so she quickly cut her hair and sent it to him, which seems to be an accepted Dominican way of dismissing a hairdresser. He took the hint and left to the rage of her brothers.

As a 19-year-old, she was admitted as a Dominican tertiary in Rieti. Her reputation had already spread, and as they walked along the road, people gathered around her to come closer and pay tribute to her as a saint. When she visited a killer in prison and made him regret and repent, he was released before he was executed. 

Columba made her solemn promises in the convent of Perugia on Pentecost in 1490. There she lived, often sunk in prayer, until her death eleven years later.

She won everyone’s trust in the city and bishops, priests, and government officials came to consult her about various issues and to pray for her prayers. The rich and influential Baglioni family supported her. 

Blessed Columba of Rieti
Blessed Columba of Rieti

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