Author: Lisa Graas
•3/12/2003 01:19:00 PM
From Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society

March 12


Fina was born in a little Italian town called San Geminiano. Her parents had once been well off, but misfortune had left them poor. Seraphina, or Fina, as her family called her, was their daughter. Fina was pretty and lively. She had a generous nature. Each day she saved half of her dinner for someone in the town poorer than she. During the day she sewed and spun cloth to help pay the family debts. At night, she usually spent a long time praying to Jesus and Mary.
When she was still quite young, her father died. Fina was struck with an illness that deformed and paralyzed her. Movement became almost impossible and Fina lay for six years on wooden planks. Pain rushed through her whole body. The only way she could bear it was to concentrate on Jesus as he was nailed to the cross. "I unite my sufferings to yours, Jesus," she would whisper. Sometimes, when the pain was horrible, she would say, "It is not my wounds but yours, O Christ, that hurt me." Fina was left alone for many hours every day because her mother had to go out to work or beg. The neighbors knew about Fina, but her sores had become so foul-smelling that people made excuses for not going to visit her.
Unexpectedly, Fina's mother passed away. Now the girl was left alone. Only one neighbor, her good friend Beldia, came to care for her. Beldia tried to give Fina as much attention as she could, but Fina was usually left alone. It was obvious that she could not live much longer. She refused to lose heart. Someone mentioned to her about the tremendous sufferings St. Gregory the Great had endured. Fina became devoted to him. It is said that one day, as she groaned in pain, St. Gregory appeared to her. He said kindly, "Child, on my feast day God will grant you rest." His feast day in older calendars had been celebrated on March 12, because he had died on March 12, 604. So on March 12, 1253, St. Gregory came to take Fina home to heaven.

St. Fina helps us appreciate the Christian meaning and value of suffering. We can also realize the value of visiting shut-ins, the elderly, the ill. We can ask St. Fina to give us a sensitive heart for people who are lonely or suffering.
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