Columban Catholic Calendar Art Guide - March 2023

Columban Calendar Art Guide - March 2023 Announcement of Death to St Fina by St Gregory the Great  

Use this Art Guide video in Step 3: Contemplation of Columban Visio Divina - Art Guide Resource

A resource to help you pray using the images and Art Guide of the 2023 Columban Art Calendar.


Announcement of Death to St Fina by St Gregory the Great (detail, fresco, 1475) Ghirlandaio, Domenico (1449–1494) Luisa Ricciarini Bridgeman Images

Fina dei Ciardi was born to an impoverished family in the hilltop Tuscan town of San Gimignano in Italy. From an early age, she was drawn to an ascetic life and devoted herself to God. Fina died at just fifteen years of age, on the feast day of St Gregory the Great, in 1253, after a long illness. The veneration of Fina grew so rapidly that within a few years, she was revered as the patron and protector of San Gimignano. In 1481, Pope Sixtus IV permitted the veneration of Fina as a saint of the Church.

The Florentine Renaissance artist, Domenico Ghirlandaio, painted this large narrative scene as part of two frescoes adorning the walls of a small dedicatory chapel in the collegiate church of Santa Maria Assunta, San Gimignano. The chapel also enshrines the relics of St Fina and was a significant site of local devotion. The fresco depicts the last moments in the life of Fina, when Pope Gregory the Great (depicted to the upper left of this detail) appears to her in a vision, dressed in papal regalia and floating amidst cherubs. Fina is represented lying on the oak board she chose as a bed. Gazing towards Saint Gregory, Fina raises her hands in thanksgiving. Her hagiography narrates that at the moment of her death, scented white flowers miraculously bloomed from her wooden bed. Also depicted are two witnesses to the miracle — her favourite nurse, Beldia, to the right, and another family helper, Bonaventura.

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