There’s a good chance you haven’t even heard of Bl. Imelda Lambertini before – but after reading her story, you’ll wonder how that was possible!
Lambertini was born in 1322 in Bologna, Italy to two devoutly Catholic parents. And that faithfulness rubbed off on her. Even though it was the custom of her time and place for people to receive First Communion at age 15, she was already talking about how much she wanted to receive it when she was just 5 years old.
And she wasn’t just wanting to do what what everyone else was doing. She seemed to not only understand the Eucharist, but to appreciate it better than anyone else. What illustrated this better than anything was that, as a child, she would often tell people, “Tell me, can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?”
This pious wonder would prove to be prophetic for her life.
She was 11 years old, kneeling in prayer at Mass on the vigil of the Ascension, when the sacristan helping the priest noticed something striking: there appeared to be some sort of miraculous light above her head! The sacristan ran to alert the priest, who then felt moved to offer Lambertini the Eucharist even though she wasn’t at the customary age yet.
Lambertini gratefully received then went back to her seat to pray, where she stayed after Mass to spend extra time in prayer. A long time passed and she was still praying, and her sister was sent to get her for dinner. She found Lambertini kneeling with a smile on her face. When her sister tapped her to get her attention, Lambertini fell over – she was dead!
Lambertini was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1826 and is the patroness of First Communions. You can venerate her remains in the Church of San Sigismondo in Bologna, Italy.