Wednesday, May 06, 2009
The Patroness of First Communicants is Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333). She literally died of love for God after receiving Holy Communion for the first time at the age of eleven.
Blessed Imelda was born into a wealthy family in Bologna; she was a very pious child who begged her parents to allow her to become a Dominican when she was just nine years old. Her parents, though saddened at having to be separated from their only child, recognized God's will for their daughter, and Imelda joned the nuns at Val di Pietra. Her status among the nuns is unclear, but she received the habit and participated in the life of the nuns to some extent.
At that time, children were not allowed to make their first Holy Communion until they were fourteen years of age, but Imelda prayed continually that she would be able to receive Our Lord without having to wait so long. When she was eleven, after Mass on the Vigil of the Ascension, the Sacred Host was seen suspended amidst a brilliant light above Imelda's head. The chaplain, who was immediately summoned, gave the Host to Imelda. The nuns retreated to allow Imelda to make her thanksgiving. The prioress soon discovered, however, that Imelda, who had been in ecstacy, had died shortly after receiving her First Holy Communion, so much was she in love with Our Lord in the Eucharist.
Blessed Imelda was declared Patroness of First Communicants by Pope St. Pius X. Her historical feast day is May 12.