Blessed Veronica was born to the Negroni family in Binasco (Milan) Italy in 1445 and was given the name Giovanna at Baptism. She was the faithful daughter of a peasant family. Drawn by a Divine call, and with a fervent desire to consecrate herself to the divine spouse, at the age of twenty-two she entered the Augustinian monastery of Saint Martha in Milan as a lay sister, since she was illiterate.
Moved by a singular devotion to the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, she requested, and received, the religious name of Veronica. Though she was a true contemplative she also engaged faithfully in manual activities. She was particularly committed to the loving care of the sick sisters and developed an intense apostolate throughout Milan and its environs as she went begging for the community.
Her spiritual ecstasies and her gifts of prophecy and discernment were well known and are documented by her biographers. She was very humble and used to desire that all her actions be done under the sign of obedience.
Her biographer tells us that this holy nun experienced physical mistreatment by the devil, yet remained constant in her devotion to the Lord’s passion and to the Most Blessed Eucharist. She enjoyed a great reputation among many people of her day. Though she was a contemplative, she journeyed to far off places. She even traveled to Rome in 1495 to meet with Pope Alexander VI.
She is noted for her intense spiritual life, her zeal for the salvation of souls, her suffering over the few days available for communion, and the faith that she confessed when she was able to receive communion. This unlettered nun was hardworking and a contemplative for thirty years, “always appearing with peaceful countenance, smiling eyes, and always quick to help, being of a strong constitution.”
Blessed Veronica died on 13 January 1497 and great throngs came to venerate her: so much so that the body remained unburied for five days, and “many of the infirm who touched the holy body recovered their health.”
On 15 December 1517 Pope Leo X granted the Augustinian nuns permission to celebrate Blessed 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.
Blessed Veronica proclaims to us, even today, the powerful message of simplicity of life, work, and dedication to others. She shines forth with the beauty of a deep interior life. The Augustinian Family celebrates her feast on the 19th of January.