Army of Heaven
Blessed Lucrezia Bellini of Padua (1444-1469)
Her mother was Maddalena Cavalcabò, a nun of the Benedictine monastery of San Prosdocimo, while her father was a local commissar, Bartholomew Bellini.
The adulterous relationship with a consecrated religious and unlawful birth of a daughter led Bartolomeo Bellini to entrust their child Lucrezia at the age of seven to the nuns of the same monastery where her mother lived. The first signs of the demonic possession that had struck her at a very young age are revealed at this time.
However, strange for the era, the monastic community of San Prosdocimo lived in immorality, open to worldliness. An elderly nun, Sister Maiorina, seducing Lucrezia's mother to transgress the Rule, pushing her to adultery with Bellini, was the primary cause of the poor conduct of the monastery. Despite all this, the bad and right woman, tried to put a brake on this malice. Her child Lucrezia would instead prefer prayer, embroidery, and blessed solitude to all of the world's attractions.
In 1460 the repentent nun died (historians say the nuns used poison to get rid of her). Bishop Jacopo Zeno profited from the lack of a summit but lead the monastery to impose greater discipline. The reaction of nuns, novices, and educants was in line with what they had lived until then: they left the monastery. All except Lucrezia, who was alone in the prayer of her saints, the Virgin Mary , Saint Luke and Saint Gerolamo, to whom she had profound devotion. The cloisters of the Benedictine Monastery were called by the curia to return from the convent of Santa Maria della Misericordia under the guidance of prioress Giustina de Lazzara.
On January 15, 1461, Lucrezia took the black Benedictine habit, and the name Eustochus, in memory of the faithful disciple of Saint Gerolamo, already blessed by the Church. The devil who had left her in peace for some time reappeared in her body, forcing her to act contrary to the Rule, making it even to explode in such violent acts that her sisters were terrified and had to bind her to a column.
After Eustochus was released, the situation quieted, but suffering became again acute in spirit and in flesh. When the Abbess fell to a strange illness, Eustochus was blamed by her as a witch and she was shut up in a prison for three months on bread and water. The prison strengthened its intent of wanting to blame her birth in the very place where she was conceived. She rejected the proposals of those who asked for her to leave the habit and enter a lay life. She instead persevered with prayers and fasting.
Even when she was free to return to the monastery, she began to be tormented by the devil who molested her in numerous violent ways. But Eustochus, bearing all this, succeeded in convincing the sisters of her virtues and finally on March 25, 1465, was admitted to the solemn profession. Two years later, as was customary at that time, she took the black veil of the Benedictines.
Lucrezia, who grew up in the beauty of body and soul, suffered so much as to remain marked until death. On her deathbed, a few hours before exhaling last breaths, few who had known her alive would have been able to recognize her dirty face and wounded body covered with sores. Whoever listened to her last words and prayers said that she was just the maiden girl of Bellini.
She died on February 13, 1469 , at 25 years. Before her death the devil left her for good, defeated by the strength of extraordinary faith and heroic patience. The visible sign of this defeat was the return to the victorious monk of her beauty and lost smile.
The Blessed Paduan is one of the few obsessed people in the history of the Church who had lived all her life with the devil in her body and was able to reach the honors of the altar for the merits gained in life, showing that she possessed the fortress in bearing all that she suffered.
There are now two more cases of the demon-possessed-then-canonized: Blessed Christina von Stommeln (1242-1312), beatified by Saint Pius X in 1908 , and St. Mariam Baouardy (1846-1878), beatified by St. John Paul II in 1983 and canonized by Pope Frances in 2015.
Four years after her death, Eustochus’ body was recovered from the first tomb which became filled with miraculous water, ceasing to arise only after the monastery was abolished. In 1475 the body was brought to the church of the monastery of San Prosdocimo and from 1720 it was made visible by placing it in a crystal casket. The monastery of San Prosdocimo was abolished in 1806 by the Napoleonic decree and the body of the blessed was translated to the church of St. Peter of Padua.
Pope Clement XIII , who before the election had been bishop of Padua , confirmed her veneration in 1760 , first to the patavine town and then extended to the entire Venetian Republic in 1767.
Her memory is celebrated by the Padua diocese on 13 February. - From Wikipedia Italy
Eustochus is the intercessor of extraordinary patience in lifelong affliction, who’s graces bless addicts, compulsives and the satanically maimed.
Blessed Lucrezia Bellini, pray for us, that we may persevere unto the end of our days as you did.