Born: Apr. 18th, 1380
Died: Apr. 14th, 1433
FEast: Apr. 14th
Patron of: the chronically ill, ice skaters, winter sports, multiple sclerosis, victims of medical malpractice
Lidwina was born to parents living in poverty in Schiedam, Holland, as one of nine children. We don't have much information about her childhood other than that she enjoyed prayer, until we hear of her accident around the age of 15. Lidwina had gone ice skating with friends during a particularly harsh winter, and she happened to fall so hard on the ice that she broke a rib.
Lidwina was treated unsuccessfully, and soon developed gangrene. She had much difficulty walking, and also extreme headaches with pains in her teeth. By the age of 19, she had become partially paralyzed, and was forced to stay in bed, likely an early sufferer of multiple sclerosis.
Some doubted her pain, and others believed it was an evil spirit that had taken over her. Lidwina, regardless, stayed faithful despite the pain and doubt. She was tested and studied by many, and likely even suffered at the hands of doctors and priests who may have maltreated her even so much as with rape.
Soon, miracles began to happen at her bedside, and many famous religious life came to visit her. She reportedly was able to heal many (though not herself). She also recorded having visions and during one was told that she would be free of pain when she would see a rose bush blooming.
As Lidwina aged, her pain and suffering only progressed. Legends say that parts of her body simply fell off, that she bled continuously, and that she even, rather graphically, lost pieces of skin and organs. Her parents were said to have kept those pieces in jars because they had a sweet smell. Lidwina ordered them to bury them, however, due to the sideshow-like attraction they had been gaining.
Finally, in the spring of 1433, she exclaimed when she claimed to have seen the rose bush. She passed away not long after, having just undergone some of her worst pain and trials yet.
As a sufferer of chronic illness, you understand how some of us here on earth live so unfairly each day. Even though you were unable to do the things you loved, you persevered with grace and love, not forcing others to take part in your pain. Give us the grace to do the same.
Lidwina's color palette had to be reminiscent of the ice that changed the course of her life and that she likely hated from then onward. Her expression is both pained and curious about how God is going to get her through this life, since she trusted completely.