Lidwina was born at Schiedam in Holland. The name Lidwina means "suffering." Her parents were poor folk. Lidwina was quite young, when a deep affection for Our Lady of Schiedam began to grow in her heart. When she was fifteen, Lidwina gave herself completely to God.
She may have become a nun later, but when she was sixteen, in a single afternoon, her whole life changed. Lidwina went skating with her friends and one of them accidentally bumped her. Lidwina fell down hard on the ice and broke a rib. She was in great pain.
But that fall brought other problems, too. In the days ahead, she had very bad headaches, nausea, fever, thirst and her whole body hurt badly.
Crying, Lidwina told her father she could not bear the pain anymore. But the pain got even worse. Sores began to form on her face and body. She also became blind in one eye. Finally, she got paralyzed and could no longer leave her bed.
Lidwina was upset 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.
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. She saw visions of Heaven and Purgatory and Christís Passion. She was also visited by saints.
Miracles took place at her bedside and some people said she was possessed by evil spirits. She became completely blind for the last seven years of her life. She had a beautiful final vision of Jesus giving her Holy Communion shortly before she died.
Let us pray today for a heart that is able to give thanks to God when suffering comes our way.