St.Jerome~Translator of the Holy Bible 


Before he was known as Saint Jerome, he was named Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus. He was born around 342 AD, in Stridon, Dalmatia. Today, the town, which ceased to exist in Jerome’s time, would likely be in Croatia or Slovenia.

The young Jerome was educated by Aelius Donatus, who was a famous Roman grammarian. From him, the young Jerome learned Latin and Greek. Little else is known of his childhood other than his parents were probably well-to-do and Christian. Despite their efforts to raise Jerome properly, the young man behaved as he chose.

Around the age of 12 or so, Jerome traveled to Rome to study grammar, philosophy and rhetoric. It is likely that due to his training in rhetoric, he may have considered a career in law. By his own admission, he quickly forgot his morals. While he was not studying, Jerome pursued pleasure. In particular, he pursued women, even though he knew his behavior was wrong.

To alleviate the feelings of guilt he often felt afterwards, Jerome would visit the crypts in Rome and imagine himself in hell. He did so every Sunday, even though he was not a Christian. Jerome succeeded in frightening himself, but not in changing his ways.

Fortunately, Jerome had as a companion, Bonosus, who was a Christian influence. His influence is part of what persuaded Jerome to become a Christian and change his ways for the better.

In or around the year 366, Jerome decided to become a Christian and was baptized by Pope Liberius.

Now interested in theological matters, Jerome set aside secular matters to pursue matters of the faith. He traveled with Bonosus to Trier where there were schools for him to gain ecclesiastical training.

In 370, he traveled close to home, ending up in a monastery at Aquileia. The monastery was overseen by Bishop St. Valerian, who had attracted some of the greatest minds in Christendom. While in Aquileia, Jerome met Rufinus and the two men became friends. Rufinis was a monk who became renown for his translations of Greek works into Latin. Jerome himself was developing his skills as a translator, a skill he developed during his time in the Roman catacombs, translating the inscriptions on the tombs.

Following his time in Aquileia, Jerome traveled next to Treves, Gaul where he began to translate books for his own use. His goal was to build a personal library.

After a time in Gaul, he returned to Aquileia in 373. While there, Jerome and his friend Bonosus had a falling out and decided to part ways. Bonosus departed for an island in the Adriatic where he would live as a hermit for a time.

Jerome traveled to the east, bound for Antioch by way of Athens.

In 374, Jerome finally reached Antioch, after making several lengthy stops along the way. While in that city, Jerome began writing his first work, “Concerning the Seven Beatings.”

During that same year, disease made Jerome ill while taking the lives of some of his companions. It is unclear what disease was responsible, or if different illnesses had taken his friends. During his illness, Jerome had visions which made him even more religious.

Jerome went into the desert to live for four years, living as a hermit southwest of Antioch. He was frequently ill during this time.

After he emerged from his hermitage, Jerome was quickly embroiled in conflicts within the Church at Antioch. This was not something Jerome wanted to be associated with. Jerome made clear that he did not want to become a priest, preferring instead to be a monk or a hermit. But Church officials in Antioch as well as Pope Damasus wanted him to be ordained. Jerome relented on the condition he would not be expected to serve in any ministry and would still be allowed to pursue his monastic life. He was subsequently ordained.

Making the most of his freedom as a priest, Jerome traveled to Constantinople where he studied under St. Gregory of Nazianzus, who was renown as a great theologian.

After St. Gregory left Constantinople in 382, Jerome traveled to Rome for a council of the Church and met Pope Damasus. Following the council, Pope Damsus kept Jerome in Rome and made him his secretary.

While serving as secretary to the pope, Jerome also promoted the ideal of aestheticism to everyone around him. Included in this group were women of the city of Rome who wanted to live saintly lives.

Pope Damasus died in 384, and this exposed Jerome to criticism and controversy. Jerome was a sarcastic man of great wit. He became unpopular because of his attitude and made a number of enemies. While Pope Damasus was alive, he could shield Jerome from criticism, but now Jerome faced the vengeance of the enemies he made. Both prominent pagans who resented his promotion of the faith and fellow Christians who lacked his wit attacked him with vicious rumors. Among the rumors were accusations that he was behaving inappropriately with the woman we now know as Paula. At that time, she was one of his students in aestheticism.

Paula was a widow with four children who deeply mourned the loss of her husband. Jerome provided counseling and instruction to her and she became a lifelong friend and follower of Jerome, assisting him in his work.

Eventually, Jerome decided to return to the Holy Land to escape the calumny in Rome. He headed east and arrived in Antioch in 386. Shortly after, Jerome was met by Paula, her daughter, and several other followers. The group went first to Jerusalem, then on to Alexandria, Egypt. They settled in Bethlehem and had a monastery built there which included dormitories for women.

Jerome was a hard worker and he wrote extensively defending the virginity of Mary, which some clerics dared to question. He also engaged in several debates against various other heresies including a lengthy battle with his old friend Rufinus. Jerome was easily upset, and even the venerable St. Augustine exchanged words with him. Eventually, Jerome and Augustine repaired their relationship and were able to correspond as friends and colleagues.

Of all the things that made Jerome famous, nothing was so legendary as his translation of the Bible. Jerome began work while he was still in Rome under Pope Damasus. He spent his entire life translating the scriptures from Hebrew and Old Latin.

In the year 404 Paula died, later to become a saint of the Church. Rome was sacked by Alarc the Barbarian in 410. These events distressed Jerome greatly. Violence eventually found its way to Bethlehem disrupting Jerome’s work in his final years.

Jerome died on September 30, 420. His death was peaceful and he was laid to rest under the Church of the Nativity. His remains were later transferred to Rome.

Saint Jerome is the patron saint of archaeologists, Biblical scholars, librarians, students and translators.

His feast day is September 30.

Source:catholiconline.org

St.Wenceslas~The Good King 


Patron saint of Bohemia, parts of Czech Republic, and duke of Bohemia frorn 924-929. Also called Wenceslas, he was born near Prague and raised by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla, until her murder by his mother, the pagan Drahomira. Wenceslaus’s mother assumed the regency over Bohemia about 920 after her husband’s death, but her rule was so arbitrary and cruel in Wenceslaus’ name that he was compelled on behalf of his subjects to overthrow her and assume power for himself in 924 or 925. A devout Christian, he proved a gifted ruler and a genuine friend of the Church. German missionaries were encouraged, churches were built, and Wenceslaus perhaps took a personal vow of poverty Unfortunately, domestic events proved fatal, for in 929 the German king Heinrich I the Fowler (r. 919-936) invaded Bohemia and forced Wenceslaus to make an act of submission. This defeat, combined with his pro-Christian policies, led a group of non-Christian nobles to conspire against him. On September 28, 919, a group of knights under the leadership of Wenceslaus’ brother Boreslav assassinated the saint on the doorstep of a church. Virtually from the moment of his death, Wenceslaus was considered a martyr and venerated as a saint. Miracles were reported at his tomb, and his remains were translated to the church of St. Vitus in Prague which became a major pilgrimage site. The feast has been celebrated at least since 985 in Bohemia, and he is best known from the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslaus.

Source:catholiconline.org

St.Vincent de Paul~Patron of Charitable Societies and Hospitals 


St. Vincent de Paul was born to a poor peasant family in the French village of Pouy on April 24, 1581. His first formal education was provided by the Franciscans. He did so well, he was hired to tutor the children of a nearby wealthy family. He used the monies he earned teaching to continue his formal studies at the University of Toulose where he studied theology.

He was ordained in 1600 and remained in Toulose for a time. In 1605, while on a ship traveling from Marseilles to Narbone, he was captured, brought to Tunis and sold as a slave. Two years later he and his master managed to escape and both returned to France.

St. Vincent went to Avignon and later to Rome to continue his studies. While there he became a chaplain to the Count of Goigny and was placed in charge of distributing money to the deserving poor. He became pastor of a small parish in Clichy for a short period of time, while also serving as a tutor and spiritual director.

From that point forward he spent his life preaching missions to and providing relief to the poor. He even established hospitals for them. This work became his passion. He later extended his concern and ministry to convicts. The need to evangelize and assist these souls was so great and the demands beyond his own ability to meet that he founded the Ladies of Charity, a lay institute of woman, to help, as well as a religious institute of priests – the Congregation of Priests of the Mission, commonly referred to now as the Vincentians.

This was at a time when there were not many priests in France and what priests there were, were neither well-formed nor faithful to their way of life. Vincent helped reform the clergy and the manner in which they were instructed and prepared for the priesthood. He did this first through the presentation of retreats and later by helping develop a precursor to our modern day seminaries. At one point his community was directing 53 upper level seminaries. His retreats, open to priests and laymen, were so well attended that it is said he infused a “Christian spirit among more than 20,000 persons in his last 23 years.”

The Vincentians remain with us today with nearly 4,000 members in 86 countries. In addition to his order of Vincentian priests, St. Vincent cofounded the Daughters of Charity along with St. Louise de Marillac. There are more than 18,000 Daughters today serving the needs of the poor in 94 countries. He was eighty years old when he died in Paris on September 27, 1660.He had “become the symbol of the successful reform of the French Church”. St. Vincent is sometimes referred to as “The Apostle of Charity” and “The Father of the Poor”.

His incorrupt heart can be found in the Convent of the Sisters of Charity and his bones have been embedded in a wax effigy of the Saint located at the Church of the Lazarist Mission. Both sites are located in Paris, France.


Two miracles have been attributed to St Vincent – a nun cured of ulcers and a laywoman cured of paralysis. As a result of the first, Pope Benedict XIII beatified him on August 13, 1729. Less than 8 years later (on June 16, 1737) he was canonized by Pope Clement XIII. The Bull of Canonization recognized Vincent for his charity and reform of the clergy, as well as for his early role in opposing Jansenism.

It has been reported that St. Vincent wrote more than 30,000 letters in his lifetime and that nearly 7,000 had been collected in the 18th century. There are at least five collections of his letters in existence today.

The feast day for St. Vincent, the patron of all charitable societies, is September 27.

Source:catholiconline.org

Sts Cosmas and Damian 


Saints Cosmas and Damian were twins born to Christian parents in Arabia, in the third century. They lived in the region around the border between modern day Turkey and Syria. They were physicians who were renowned for their skill as well as their refusal to charge for their services.

Their charity and Christian witness won many converts to the faith and earned them a place of prominence in the Christian communites of Asia Minor. Therefore, when the Diocletian persecutions began in the latter half of the third century they were of some of the first to be sought out for execution.

In 287, they were captured and ordered to deny their faith in Christ. They refused and underwent a series of tortures, including Crucifixion, from which, miraculously, they remained unscathed. The torturers, weary of what they realized was the impossible task of forcing apostasy from their mouths, finally beheaded them both.

They are invoked in the Canon of the Mass and the Litany of Saints.

Blessed Herman The Cripple~Author of the Salve Regina 


Herman Contractus of Reichenau, (1013-1054) was an eleventh-century polymath―a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning in various, seemingly unrelated areas. But, more importantly, he lived a saintly life.

This particular polymath was also severely disabled.       

Blessed Herman Contractus of Reichenau proves God doesn’t make junk. He was a genius born with spina bifida, a cleft palate and cerebral palsy. Some medical historians have suggested that Blessed Herman suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or spinal muscular atrophy.

He was born in AD 1020 and, at the age of seven, his poor farming family gave him over to the care of the abbot of the Benedictine monastery on Reichenau Island in Lake Constance in southern Germany.

Surrounded by other monk-scholars, Herman mastered all of the available knowledge at the time in a variety of different fields, such as history, music, poetry, math, astronomy and theology, within a few years. In addition, he learned to speak, read and write German, Latin, Arabic and Greek. Within his own lifetime, scholars throughout Christendom called him, “The Wonder of His Age.”

Thus, Herman was a scientist, a theologian, a musician, a poet and our brother.

He was a Renaissance man before the Renaissance ever started. In fact, humanity wouldn’t be blessed with an another intellect like his until Blessed Ramon Llull―the 13th century Catalan inventor of the world’s first computer.

Despite Herman’s physical disabilities, he built fine musical instruments and intricate astronomical equipment by hand. When he became blind at the end of his life, he dedicated himself to pray and poetry. Many Catholics are familiar with his music considering he wrote two of the most beautiful prayers the Catholic Church possesses―the Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater.

In addition to these two songs, Herman also composed the officia for St. Afra and St. Wolfgang. His texts even influenced 20th century Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya―she based three of her symphonies on Herman’s work.

He also wrote a treatise on musicology―the science of music. Herman researched and published his findings on the biological, emotional and psychological effect of music on humans and the brain. Any modern understandings of music in relation to the human condition must acknowledge Blessed Herman’s early contributions to the field.

But his genius wasn’t limited merely to music. He also wrote treatises on geometry, mathematics and astronomy including instructions for the construction of an astrolabe.

Thus, Blessed Hermann contributed to all four arts of the quadrivium―a higher division of the curriculum in a medieval university which included arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy.

Herman also wrote a well-researched and detailed historical chronicle of Western society from the birth of Christ to the 11th century. Berthold of Reichenau, one of his disciples, continued to expand upon it after Herman’s death.

Herman died on September 24, 1054 at the age of 40. He was beatified in 1863.

Source:National Catholic Register 

St.Padre Pio~Mystic and Stigmatist


Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione) was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, in the small farming town of Pietrelcina, Italy on May 25, 1887. Although the Forgiones were poor in material goods, they were certainly rich in their faith life and in the love of God.

Even as a young boy, Francesco had already shown signs of extraordinary gifts of grace. At the age of five, he dedicated his life to God. From his early childhood, he showed a remarkable recollection of spirit and a love for the religious life. His mother described him as a quiet child who, from his earliest years, loved to go to church and to pray. As a young boy, he was able to see and communicate with, not only his guardian angel but also with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In his simplicity, Francesco assumed everyone had the same experiences. Once a woman who noticed his spiritual demeanor asked him, “When did you consecrate your life to God? Was it at your first Holy Communion?” and he answered, “Always, daughter, always.”

When Francesco was fifteen years old, he was admitted to the novitiate of the Capuchin Order of the Friars Minor in Morcone, Italy. He was admired by his fellow-students as well as by his Superiors for his exemplary behavior and his deep piety. One of the novices stated, “There was something which distinguished him from the other students. Whenever I saw him, he was always humble, recollected, and silent. What struck me most about Brother Pio was his love of prayer.”

On August 10, 1910, at the age of twenty-three, Padre Pio was ordained to the priesthood. The celebration of the Holy Mass was for Padre Pio, the center of his spirituality. Due to the long pauses of contemplative silence into which he entered at various parts of the Holy Sacrifice, his Mass could sometimes last several hours. Everything about him spoke of how intensely he was living the Passion of Christ. The parish priest in Pietrelcina called Padre Pio’s Mass, “an incomprehensible mystery.” When asked to shorten his Mass, Padre Pio replied, “God knows that I want to say Mass just like any other priest, but I cannot do it.”

His parishioners were deeply impressed by his piety and one by one they began to come to him, seeking his counsel. For many, even a few moments in his presence, proved to be a life changing experience. As the years passed, pilgrims began to come to him by the thousands, from every corner of the world, drawn by the spiritual riches which flowed so freely from his extraordinary ministry. To his spiritual children he would say, “It seems to me as if Jesus has no other concern but the sanctification of your soul.”

Padre Pio is understood above all else as a man of prayer. Before he was thirty years old he had already reached the summit of the spiritual life known as the “unitive way” of transforming union with God. He prayed almost continuously. His prayers were usually very simple. He loved to pray the Rosary and recommended it to others. To someone who asked him what legacy he wished to leave to his spiritual children, his brief reply was, “My child, the Rosary.” He had a special mission to the souls in Purgatory and encouraged everyone to pray for them. He used to say, “We must empty Purgatory with our prayers.” Father Agostino Daniele, his confessor, director, and beloved friend said, “One admires in Padre Pio, his habitual union with God. When he speaks or is spoken to, we are aware that his heart and mind are not distracted from the thought and sentiment of God.”

Padre Pio suffered from poor health his entire life, once saying that his health had been declining from the time he was nine years old. After his ordination to the priesthood, he remained in his hometown of Pietrelcina and was separated from his religious community for more than five years due to his precarious health. Although the cause of his prolonged and debilitating illnesses remained a mystery to his doctors, Padre Pio did not become discouraged. He offered all of his bodily sufferings to God as a sacrifice, for the conversion of souls. He experienced many spiritual sufferings as well. “I am fully convinced that my illness is due to a special permission of God,” he said.

Shortly after his ordination, he wrote a letter to his spiritual director, Father Benedetto Nardella, in which he asked permission to offer his life as a victim for sinners. He wrote, “For a long time I have felt in myself a need to offer myself to the Lord as a victim for poor sinners and for the souls in Purgatory. This desire has been growing continually in my heart so that it has now become what I would call a strong passion. . .It seems to me that Jesus wants this.” The marks of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, appeared on Padre Pio’s body, on Friday, September 20, 1918, while he was praying before a crucifix and making his thanksgiving after Mass. He was thirty-one years old and became the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. With resignation and serenity, he bore the painful wounds in his hands, feet, and side for fifty years.

In addition, God endowed Padre Pio with many extraordinary spiritual gifts and charisms including the gift of healing, bilocation, prophecy, miracles, discernment of spirits, the ability to abstain beyond man’s natural powers from both sleep and nourishment, the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues (the ability to speak and understand languages that he had never studied), the gift of conversions, the grace to see angelic beings in form, and the fragrance which emanated from his wounds and which frequently announced his invisible presence. When a friend once questioned him about these charisms, Padre Pio said, “You know, they are a mystery to me, too.” Although he received more than his share of spiritual gifts, he never sought them, never felt worthy of them. He never put the gifts before the Giver. He always remained humble, constantly at the disposal of Almighty God.

His day began at 2:30 a.m. when he would rise to begin his prayers and to make his preparation for Mass. He was able to carry on a busy apostolate with only a few hours of sleep each night and an amount of food that was so small (300-400 calories a day) that his fellow priests stated that it was not enough food even to keep a small child alive. Between Mass and confessions, his workday lasted 19 hours. He very rarely left the monastery and never took even a day’s vacation from his grueling schedule in 51 years. He never read a newspaper or listened to the radio. He cautioned his spiritual children against watching television.


In his monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo, he lived the Franciscan spirit of poverty with detachment from self, from possessions, and from comforts. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity, and his behavior was modest in all situations and with all people. In his lifetime, Padre Pio reconciled thousands of men and women back to their faith.

The prayer groups that Padre Pio established have now spread throughout the world. He gave a new spirit to hospitals by founding one which he called “The Home for the Relief of Suffering.” He saw the image of Christ in the poor, the suffering, and the sick and gave himself particularly to them. He once said, “Bring God to all those who are sick. This will help them more than any other remedy.”

Serene and well prepared, he surrendered to Sister Death on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. He died as he had lived, with his Rosary in his hands. His last words were Gesú, Maria – Jesus, Mary – which he repeated over and over until he breathed his last. He had often declared, “After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death.”

In 1971, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the superiors of the Capuchin order, said of Padre Pio, “What fame he had. How many followers from around the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the stigmata of Our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering.”

In one of the largest liturgies in the Vatican’s history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio on June 16, 2002. During his homily, Pope John Paul recalled how, in 1947, as a young priest he journeyed from Poland to make his confession to Padre Pio. “Prayer and charity–this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio’s teaching,” the Pope said.


Drawing approximately eight million pilgrims each year, San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Pio lived and is now buried, is second only to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in its number of annual visitors.

St. Pio’s whole life might be summed up in the words of St. Paul to the Colossians, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.”

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us.

Source:Padrepiodevotions.org

St.Januarius 


Little is known about the life of Januarius. He is believed to have been martyred in the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of 305. Legend has it that Januarius and his companions were thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, but the animals failed to attack them. They were then beheaded, and Januarius’ blood ultimately brought to Naples.
“A dark mass that half fills a hermetically sealed four-inch glass container, and is preserved in a double reliquary in the Naples cathedral as the blood of St. Januarius, liquefies 18 times during the year…Various experiments have been applied, but the phenomenon eludes natural explanation….” [From the Catholic Encyclopedia]

St.Joseph of Cupertino 


Joseph is most famous for levitating at prayer. Already as a child, Joseph showed a fondness for prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventual Franciscans. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. Though studies were very difficult for him, Joseph gained a great deal of knowledge from prayer. He was ordained in 1628.

Joseph’s tendency to levitate during prayer was sometimes a cross; some people came to see this much as they might have gone to a circus sideshow. Joseph’s gift led him to be humble, patient, and obedient, even though at times he was greatly tempted and felt forsaken by God. He fasted and wore iron chains for much of his life.

The friars transferred Joseph several times for his own good and for the good of the rest of the community. He was reported to and investigated by the Inquisition; the examiners exonerated him.

Joseph was canonized in 1767. In the investigation preceding the canonization, 70 incidents of levitation are recorded.

St.Robert Bellarmine 


Born at Montepulciano, Italy, October 4, 1542, St. Robert Bellarmine was the third of ten children. His mother, Cinzia Cervini, a niece of Pope Marcellus II, was dedicated to almsgiving, prayer, meditation, fasting, and mortification of the body.
Robert entered the newly formed Society of Jesus in 1560 and after his ordination went on to teach at Louvain (1570-1576) where he became famous for his Latin sermons. In 1576, he was appointed to the chair of controversial theology at the Roman College, becoming Rector in 1592; he went on to become Provincial of Naples in 1594 and Cardinal in 1598.

This outstanding scholar and devoted servant of God defended the Apostolic See against the anti-clericals in Venice and against the political tenets of James I of England. He composed an exhaustive apologetic work against the prevailing heretics of his day. In the field of church-state relations, he took a position based on principles now regarded as fundamentally democratic – authority originates with God, but is vested in the people, who entrust it to fit rulers.

This saint was the spiritual father of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, helped St. Francis de Sales obtain formal approval of the Visitation Order, and in his prudence opposed severe action in the case of Galileo. He has left us a host of important writings, including works of devotion and instruction, as well as controversy. He died in 1621.

St.Catherine of Genoa~Patron of the Souls in Purgatory 


Born at Genoa in 1447, died at the same place 15 September, 1510. The life of St. Catherine of Genoa may be more properly described as a state than as a life in the ordinary sense. When about twenty-six years old she became the subject of one of the most extraordinary operations of God in the human soul of which we have record, the result being a marvellous inward condition that lasted till her death. In this state, she received wonderful revelations, of which she spoke at times to those around her, but which are mainly embodied in her two celebrated works: the “Dialogues of the Soul and Body”, and the “Treatise on Purgatory”. Her modern biographies, chiefly translations or adaptations of an old Italian one which is itself founded on “Memoirs” drawn up by the saint’s own confessor and a friend, mingle what facts they give of her outward life with accounts of her supernatural state and “doctrine”, regardless of sequence, and in an almost casual fashion that makes them entirely subservient to her psychological history. These facts are as follows:
St. Catherine’s parents were Jacopo Fieschi and Francesca di Negro, both of illustrious Italian birth. Two popes — Innocent IV and Adrian V — had been of the Fieschi family, and Jacopo himself became Viceroy of Naples. Catherine is described as an extraordinarily holy child, highly gifted in the way of prayer, and with a wonderful love of Christ’s Passion and of penitential practices; but, also, as having been a most quiet, simple, and exceedingly obedient girl. When about thirteen, she wished to enter the convent, but the nuns to whom her confessor applied having refused her on account of her youth, she appears to have put the idea aside without any further attempt. At sixteen, she was married by her parents’ wish to a young Genoese nobleman, Giuliano Adorno. The marriage turned out wretchedly; Giuliano proved faithless, violent-tempered, and a spendthrift. And made the life of his wife a misery. Details are scanty, but it seems at least clear that Catherine spent the first five years of her marriage in silent, melancholy submission to her husband; and that she then, for another five, turned a little to the world for consolation in her troubles. The distractions she took were most innocent; nevertheless, destined as she was for an extraordinary life, they had the effect in her case of producing lukewarmness, the end of which was such intense weariness and depression that she prayed earnestly for a return of her old fervour. Then, just ten years after her marriage, came the event of her life, in answer to her prayer. She went one day, full of melancholy, to a convent in Genoa where she had a sister, a nun. The latter advised her to go to confession to the nuns’ confessor, and Catherine agreed. No sooner, however, had she knelt down in the confessional than a ray of Divine light pierced her soul, and in one moment manifested her own sinfulness and the Love of God with equal clearness. The revelation was so overwhelming that she lost consciousness and fell into a kind of ecstacy, for a space during which the confessor happened to be called away. When he returned, Catherine could only murmur that she would put off her confession, and go home quickly.

From the moment of that sudden vision of herself and God, the saint’s interior state seems never to have changed, save by varying in intensity and being accompanied by more or less severe penance, according to what she saw required of her by the Holy Spirit Who guided her incessantly. No one could describe it except herself; but she does so, minutely, in her writings, from which may here be made one short extract: — “[The souls in Purgatory ] see all things, not in themselves, nor by themselves, but as they are in God, on whom they are more intent than on their own sufferings. . . . For the least vision they have of God overbalances all woes and all joys that can be conceived. Yet their joy in God does by no means abate their pain. . . . This process of purification to which I see the souls in Purgatory subjected, I feel within myself.” (Treatise on Purgatory, xvi, xvii.) For about twenty-five years, Catherine, though frequently making confessions, was unable to open her mind for direction to anyone; but towards the end of her life a Father Marabotti was appointed to be her spiritual guide. To him she explained her states, past and present, in full, and he compiled the “Memoirs” above referred to from his intimate personal knowledge of her. Of the saint’s outward life, after this great change, her biographies practically tell us but two facts: that she at last converted her husband who died penitent in 1497; and that both before and after his death — though more entirely after it — she gave herself to the care of the sick in the great Hospital of Genoa, where she eventually became manager and treasurer. She died worn out with labours of body and soul, and consumed, even physically, by the fires of Divine love within her. She was beatified in 1675 by Clement X, but not canonized till 1737, by Clement XII. Meantime, her writings had been examined by the Holy Office and pronounced to contain doctrine that would be enough, in itself, to prove her sanctity.

Source:catholiconline.org