Julia della Rena was born at Certaldo, Italy, near Florence, about the year 1319. Orphaned at an early age, she was employed as a domestic in the service of the Tinolfi family in Florence where, in 1337 at the Augustinian church of the Holy Spirit, she became an Augustinian Tertiary. After returning to Certaldo, she retired to a life of solitude near the church of Saints Michael and James. For thirty years she led a life of penance and prayer. Upon her death in 1370 she was immediately venerated as a saintly woman by the faithful who had sustained her with their alms and revered her for her life of prayer and penance.
Blessed Julia’s mortal remains are venerated at Certaldo in the church of Saints Michael and James, which at one time was under the care of the Augustinians. In a number of instances the people of Certaldo attributed their deliverance from the plague to Blessed Julia. She is a model of gospel living by a lay person and of mutual collaboration between religious and laity. Her feast is celebrated by Augustinians on the 15th of February.