Sunday, March 5, 2006
St. Catherine of Genoa

The feastday of St. Catherine of Genoa who lived from 1447-1510 is kept on March 22nd in some places. It is not on the Universal Calendar. And since it is during the Holy Season of Lent, it is often not commemorated. However, even despite the Lenten penance, we can find great inspiration in St. Catherine of Genoa for how to better conform our lives to Christ this Lenten season.

St. Catherine was born in the nobility as the youngest of five children in an era when only luxury and art mattered in Europe. However, at the age of 13, St. Catherine sought to become a nun. She was however denied because of her age. So, at the age of 16, immediately following her father's death, St. Catherine married a man named Julian. Julian was a cruel man that didn't provide for Catherine; his unfaithfulness nearly led them to bankruptcy.

It was not until Confession one day that St. Catherine realized how much Jesus loved her even though she sinned. This realization helped St. Catherine to immediately reform her life and in doing so Julian also left his self-centered life behind. St. Catherine shows us the necessity of Confession. St. Catherine even received the Stigmata.

St. Catherine and Julian worked together from that day to help the poor and suffering. They continued this until Julian's death in 1497. In 1493, St. Catherine of Genoa caught the plague yet she miraculously survived.

She was a mystic, visionary, and a writer. She died on September 15, 1510. She was canonized in 1737.

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