Today, February 7, is St. Colette de Corbie’s feast day.
St. Colette was born in Corbie, France on Jan 12, 1381 to parents who had been praying and yearning for a very long time to be blessed with a child until they were finally blessed with Colette when they had already reached 60 years of age. Even as a child Colette found pleasure in prayer, had compassion for the poor, and took part in rigorous mortification, in which she made her soul and body a sacrifice to God. She was extremely short and her father became very disconcerted and was filled with pain over this. She prayed to God for his consolation. Then, Colette grew to normal height.
Colette was 22 years old when her parents died. After this, she gained permission from the Church authorities to become an anchoress. This meant that she would shut herself in a small room which directly adjoined the church, where she was able to view the Blessed Sacrament through a window. At this time she embraced the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis. In accordance with this rule she lived in poverty, severe mortification, and in constant prayer.
She was tempted by spirits of darkness and this affected her body in an extremely harsh manner. She also experienced consolations from heaven. The Lord had called Colette to re-introduce the rule of St. Clare but she resisted his call. She thought the inspirations were temptations of pride from the unclean spirits that taunted her. These inspirations kept on returning time and time again but Colette still resisted. Her resistance to the Lord’s will left her dumb and blind. She finally embraced the will of God stated this: “Lord,” St Colette de Corbie sobbed in her heart, “what wilt Thou have me do? I am ready to do anything Thou desirest of me.”and immediately afterward she was healed of her blindness and dumbness.
St. Colette re-introduced St. Claire’s rule. The most important tenet of St. Clare’s Rule was that it declared that the sisters were to possess no property.
While Colette endured countless hardships she also experienced the goodness of God via numerous miracles which the Lord answered in response to her prayers. She remained very humble giving credit to God for all of his wonderful miracles. Through St. Colette’s example the convents centered their focus on humility, a spirit of prayer, and simplicity of heart.
She reformed the Order of Poor Clares. They are still known as the Colettines today.
She died on March 6, 1447.
St. Colette was a person of great faith. Learning about the life of St. Colette reminded me of this scripture passage:
Luke 17: 6 — “And the Lord said: If you had faith like to a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this mulberry tree, Be thou rooted up, and be thou transplanted into the sea: and it would obey you.”
Let us follow in Colette’s footsteps. Let our faith consist of numerous mustard seeds.