The name Lidwina means "suffering." Lidwina was from Holland. She was born in 1380 and died in 1433. When she was fifteen, Lidwina dedicated herself completely to God. She might have eventually become a nun. But in a single afternoon, her entire life was changed.
The girl went skating with her friends. One of them accidentally bumped her. Lidwina fell down hard on the ice and broke a rib. She was in pain. But the fall triggered other problems, too. In the days ahead, she had severe headaches, nausea, fever, pain throughout her whole body and thirst.
Crying, Lidwina told her father she could not stand the pain anymore. But the pain increased. She developed sores on her face and body. She became blind in one eye. Finally, she could no longer leave her bed.
Lidwina was frustrated and bitter. Why had God let this happen to her? What did he want from her? And what could she still give to him anyway? Her parish priest, Father John, came to visit and pray with her. He helped her think of what Jesus had suffered. She began to realize the beautiful gift that she would give to Jesus: she would suffer for him. She would offer her sufferings to console him, who had suffered so much on the cross. Her suffering became a beautiful prayer to God. Little by little, Lidwina began to understand.
For thirty-eight years, Lidwina suffered. It seemed impossible that she could remain alive in such serious condition. But she did. God comforted her in many ways. Lidwina was good to everyone who came to her poor little room. She prayed to God and suffered for their special intentions. They knew God would listen to Lidwina. Lidwina's special love was for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. For many years, she seemed to live only on Holy Communion.
Let us pray today for a heart able to appreciate the meaning of human suffering.