St Alda was born in Siena, Italy and became widowed and childless after seven years of marriage. She retired to a cottage outside Siena and devoted herself to almsgiving and asceticism. She experienced visions of Jesus performing the deeds recorded in the gospels. Eventually, she gave away all of her possessions and used only a small gourd for a drinking cup.
She gave up her hermitage and went to live and work in a hospital in order to take care of the sick. Members of the staff regarded her as a fraud and wanted to prove her trances and ecstasies false. Therefore, while she was in a mystical ecstasy, they pricked her with sharp pins and put lit candles to her hands and feet. She did not respond in any way to these provocations, only feeling the pain much later, when she came out of the trance. Her patience and forgiveness -- saying merely "may God forgive you", indicating her humility -- in response to such treatment caused her to eventually win over the staff.
While ministering to the sick, she performed several miraculous cures. According to her biographer, on at least three occasions, making the sign of the cross over the patient was sufficient to immediately heal the affliction.
- Dictionary of Saints, by John Delaney
- Saint Aldobrandesca, in Saint Stories for All Ages
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