Saint Catherine of Bologna

by A. Grady, Moody AFB Confirmandi, 2008

Feast Day - March 9

Patron Saint of Artists

St Catherine of BolognaSaint Catherine de Vigni was born on September 8, 1413 in Bologna, Italy.  She was the daughter of an agent of the Marquis of Ferrara.  When she was eleven, she was appointed maid of honor to the daughter of the Marquis. When the Marquis daughter married, she wanted Catherine to stay in her service, but Catherine left and became a Franciscan Tertiary at the age of fourteen.

Catherine wanted to live a life of perfection, and her companions admired her for her holiness.  Her community eventually became part of the Poor Clares.  Catherine began to have visions of Christ and Satan, and wrote her experiences down.  Her most remarkable vision was on Christmas Eve, when she claimed that Mary appeared to her with baby Jesus, and that Mary even let Catherine hold him.  Then she became Superioress of a new school in Bologna.

She studied literature and fine arts, and was a talented artist. She drew many pictures with attractive illustrations of Jesus, Mary, and the saints. She also composed a few hymns and wrote some stories.

She died on March 9, 1463 in Bologna, Italy due to a serious illness.  She was buried without a coffin and her body was dug up 18 days later because of cures credited to her and also because of a perfume scent coming from her grave. Today, her body is held in the Church of the Poor Clare School in Bologna. She became a saint on May 22, 1712 by Pope Clement XI.

Despite the opportunity to live a noble life at court, St. Catherine eagerly responded to her call to lead the religious life.  Her piety, charity, and kindness attracted many to follow her along the road to perfection.  The beauty of her life and death encourages us to resolve to live in perfect charity as a Lenten goal.

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