|ST. CATHERINE OF BOLOGNA|
|Feast March 9
Clare and mystical writer, born at Bologna, 8 September, 1413; died there, 9
March, 1463. When she was ten years old, her father sent her to the court of the
Marquis of Ferrara, Nicolr d'Este, as a companion to the Princess Margarita.
Here Catherine pursued the study of literature and the fine arts; and a
manuscript illuminated by her which once belonged to Pius IX is at present
reckoned among the treasures of Oxford. After the marriage of the Princess
Margarita to Roberto Malatesta, Prince of Rimini, Catherine returned home, and
determined to join the little company of devout maidens who were living in
community and following the rule of the Third Order of St. Augustine in the
neighboring town of Ferrara. Later the community, yielding to the entreaties of
Catherine, adopted the Rule of St. Clare, and in 1432 they were clothed with the
habit of the Second Order of St. Francis by the provincial of the Friars Minor.
The increasing number of vocations, however, made it necessary to establish
other monasteries of the Poor Clares in Italy, and in pursuance of the Brief of
Callistus III, "Ad ea quf in omnipotentis Dei gloriam", convents were
founded at Bologna and Cremona. St. Catherine was chosen abbess of the community
in her native town, which office she held until her death. The grievous and
persistent temptations which in the early days of her religious life had tried
her patience, humility, and faith, especially the latter virtue, gave place in
later years to the most abundant spiritual consolation, and enjoyment of the
heights of contemplation. A large part of St. Catherine's counsels and
instructions on the spiritual life are to be found in her "Treatise on the
Seven Spiritual Weapons", which contains, besides, an account of the
saint's own struggles in the path of perfection, and which she composed with the
aid of her confessor shortly before her death. The body of St. Catherine, which
remains in-corrupt, is preserved in the chapel of the Poor Clares at Bologna.
St. Catherine was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII. Her feast is kept on the 9th
of March throughout the Order of Friars Minor.
Stephen M. Donovan
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press,
Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1996 by New Advent, Inc.
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