Born at Schiedam, Holland, one of nine children of a workingman, she was injured in 1396 while ice skating and became a lifelong invalid, suffering intensely, with each year bringing increasing pain. She bore the pain as reparation for the sins of others. Beginning in 1407, she began to experience supernatural gifts-----ecstasies and visions in which she participated in the Passion of Christ, saw Purgatory and Heaven, and visited with Saints. The last nineteen years of her life she took no sustenance but Communion, slept little if at all the last seven years of her life, and became almost completely blind. Her extraordinary suffering attracted widespread attention, and when a new parish priest accused her of hypocrisy, the people of the town threatened to drive him away. An ecclesiastical commission appointed to investigate declared her experiences to be valid. Thomas à Kempis wrote a biography of her, and her cult was approved in 1890.
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