May 13 – “Can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?”

May 12, 2014

Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322 – May 13, 1333) is the patroness of First Holy Communicants.

Bl. Imelda

Imelda was born in 1322 in Bologna, the only child of Count Egano Lambertini and Castora Galuzzi. Her parents were devout Catholics and were known for their charity and generosity to the underprivileged of Bologna. As a very young girl, Imelda had a burning desire to receive Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. On her fifth birthday, she requested this privilege.


However, Church custom at the time was that a person did not receive his or her First Holy Communion until age 12. Imelda was sorely disappointed but knew the time would come soon enough. She would sometimes exclaim: “Tell me, can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?”

Bl. Imelda

As time went by, her desire for the Blessed Sacrament grew, and she loved Christ more than ever. To show this love, she joined a cloistered Dominican community at age nine in Valdipietra, near Bologna . (It was unusual at the time for a girl her age to enter the convent). There it would be easier to wait for her First Communion, in deep prayer and conversation with God.

The Incorrupt body of Bl. Imelda in the Church of San Sigismondo in Bologna, Italy.

The Incorrupt body of Bl. Imelda in the Church of San Sigismondo in Bologna, Italy.

On May 13, the day of the vigil of the Ascension, in 1333, she finally got her wish. As she knelt in prayer the “Light of the Host” was witnessed above her head by the Sacristan, who then fetched the Priest so he could see. After seeing this miracle, the Priest felt he had to give Blessed Imelda her Holy Communion. Immediately after receiving the Holy Eucharist, Imelda fell to the floor and died in complete ecstasy. Her remains are in Bologna, Italy, at the Church of San Sigismondo, beneath the wax effigy of her likeness. There still remains some controversy as to whether Blessed Imelda can be classified as incorrupt. Many argue that contrary to popular belief, she is not truly incorrupt. Many other sources, including the Church of San Sigismondo, steadfastly claim that she is incorrupt.

She was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1826.

Bl. Imelda body

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  • Pablo (6 years old)

    I Like the story of BL. Imelda Lambertini,because I’m going to receive my first holy Communion, I also Like the story of St. Pius X.

    • JjSeg

      Wonderful News Pablo! May your First Holy Communion be full of blessings! We have alot to be grateful to St. Pius X for it was this great Pope that allowed us to receive at a young age.

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