Veronica transmits to posterity a message of simplicity of life, work, and
dedication to others, and a deep interior life.
Giovanna Negroni was born in Binasco, (Milan) Italy, in 1445, the daughter
of a family of peasants. At the age of twenty-two she entered the monastery
of Saint Martha in Milan as a lay sister, since she was illiterate. Because
of her devotion to the passion of Christ, she took the name of Veronica.
She was a great contemplative but she also engaged in numerous manual activities.
She took very loving care of the sick sisters and developed an intense apostolate
throughout Milan and its environs as she went begging for the community.
Biographers tell of her ecstasies and her gifts of prophecy and discernment.
She journeyed to Rome in order to give Pope Alexander VI a secret message
from Christ. She was very humble and used to desire that all her actions
be done under the sign of obedience.
The biography of this holy nun is extraordinarily varied in content.
There is her friendship with several sisters of her monastery, one of whom
was her great admirer and biographer. Then there is the experience of her
physical mistreatment by the devil, and her devotion to the Lord’s
passion and the eucharist. She enjoyed a great reputation among important
people of her day, such as Louis the Moor, the avaricious Duke of Milan.
Like Saint Catherine of Siena she journeyed to far-off places, bearing special
messages. Once she traveled to Como to confer with the Franciscan Fra Giovanni,
and another time to Rome in 1495 to meet with Pope Alexander VI.
Her biographers note her intense spiritual life, her zeal for the salvation
of souls, her suffering over the few days available for communion, and the
faith which she confessed when she was able to receive communion. This biography
goes on to say that this unlettered nun was hardworking and a contemplative
for thirty years. She “always appeared with peaceful countenance,
smiling eyes, and was always quick to help, being of a strong constitution.”
Veronica died on 13 January 1497. The devotion given to her at the time
of her death and burial is well documented in several sources. Due to the
great throngs that came to venerate her, the body of Sister Veronica remained
unburied for five days, and “many of the infirm who touched the holy
body recovered their health.” “The archbishop, being too ill
to investigate, sent his vicar, who entered the monastery to see and ascertain
if what was being reported was true. This was the fourth day after her death,
and seeing that what had been said was true, he was both amazed and filled
On 15 December 1517 Pope Leo X granted the nuns permission to celebrate
Veronica’s feast; as a result Blessed Veronica’s name was inserted
in the Roman martyrology. In 1798, with the suppression of the monasteries
of Lombardy by the revolutionaries, her body was moved to the parish church
of Binasco where her mortal remains are preserved.
Her feast is celebrated by the Augustinian Family on 13 January.