Saint Catherine of Bologna
1413 - 1463
Memorial: May 9 - Also known as: Catherine de Vigri
Catherine the daughter of a diplomatic agent of the Marquis of Ferrara was born September 8, 1413 at Bologna, Italy, as Catherine de Vigri. When she was ten years old, her father sent her to the court of the Marquis of Este in Ferrara, as a companion of his daughter Princess Margaret. The two girls, about the same age, became best friends. Their tutor taught them Latin, among other subjects, and Catherine later wrote some small works in that tongue. Their companionship continued until Margaret became engaged to the nobleman Roberto Malatesta.
At the age of 17, Catherine joined the Franciscan Order, an order which in the later years of her membership followed the strict rules instituted by St. Clare. Saint Catherine was sickly from the time she was twenty-two but she never complained. She performed many duties in the Monastery, from baking bread to training the novices. It was in this capacity that she began to write Le sette armi spirituali (The seven spiritual weapons). A collection of Catherine's other treatises, with her hymns and letters, has been published but not yet translated. Among the treatises is I dodici giardini (The twelve gardens), on the stages of growth in love of God; others are il Rosarium and I Sermoni.
By 1450 the Ferrara monastery had grown to
include 85 women. In 1456, she traveled to Bologna to oversee the building of the Poor Clares'
Corpus Christi Convent and became abbess of the new foundation.
God graced Catherine with many heavenly visions and mystical experiences. On Christmas Eve in
1445 the Blesssed Mother appeared to her and gave her the Child Jesus to hold,
and another time Jesus spoke to her from the crucifix in her room.
She was formally canonized in May 22, 1712 by Pope Clement XI.
Patroness of: Art and Artists
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