Imelda Lambertini

Imelda Lambertini

Imelda Lambertini (1322 BolognaMay 12 1333), known to Roman Catholics as Blessed Imelda, is the patroness of First Holy Communicants.

Early life

Imelda was born in 1322 in Bologna, the only child of a noble family. Her parents were devout Catholics and known for their charity and generosity to the underprivileged of Bologna. As a very young girl, Imelda had a burning desire to receive Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. On her fifth birthday, she requested this privilege. However, Church custom at the time was that a person did not receive their First Holy Communion until age 14. Imelda was sorely disappointed but accepted the Church's position and her parents' decision.

As time went by, her desire for the Blessed Sacrament grew. She thought that if she joined the convent, she would get to receive communion sooner. She joined a cloistered Dominican community at age nine. (It was unusual at the time for a girl her age to enter the convent.) However, she was still denied the opportunity to receive Holy Communion.

The Miracle

When she was eleven, on the feast of the Ascension, she knew in her heart that it would be the day of her First Holy Communion, but did not speak of this inspiration to anyone. At Holy Mass, she waited for a signal from her superior or from the priest-celebrant, but no one indicated their approval to her. After Mass, Imelda was crushed at not having received communion as she thought and remained in the chapel weeping long after the other nuns left. Her heart so desired to receive the Eucharist that she could not take it any more.

Miraculously, a consecrated Host, which was reserved in the tabernacle, left the tabernacle and hovered over her head. She was in a state of ecstasy. After a long time, her superior noticed she was not going about her duties around the monastery and went looking for her. She discovered Imelda just where she left her, in the chapel; but she was in a state of rapture as the miraculous Host continued to be elevated above her head. The superior ran to get the priest, who promptly came. He got a paten and held it under the Host. The Host dropped onto the paten, and the priest gave Imelda her First Holy Communion. Imelda knelt in her spot in the chapel to pray in thanksgiving, and her Dominican sisters joined her for a time. Eventually, they left her alone to contemplate this great gift.

Later that day, her superior again became concerned and looked for her only to discover that after several hours, little Imelda was still in the chapel. The superior wanted to make sure she got some rest and approached with the intention of asking her to retire. However, Imelda had died, kneeling serenely and in prayer. It is said she died for joy and love of the Holy Eucharist. Miracles were immediately attributed to her intercession, especially the restoration of sight to one man from her town who had been blind. Her body remains incorrupt to this day.


Imelda was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1826.


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