“Since I began to love, love has never forsaken me. It has ever grown to its own fullness within my innermost heart.”
Saint Catherine of Genoa was born into a noble Italian family in 1447. At the young age of 13, Catherine wished to enter a convent but was denied because of her young age. After the denial, she put the idea of becoming a nun aside and married a nobleman at age 16. Her first ten years of marriage proved to be miserable. Her husband was faithless and violent-tempered; he ruined them financially. Their volatile marriage led Catherine away from her holy life until one day she experienced a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit during a confession. This marked the beginning of her conversion.
Following her conversion, Catherine began her works of mercy in a hospital at Genoa. She and husband (who also converted) lived at a large hospital in Genoa and dedicated themselves to works of charity there. Her acts of mercy were in great demand during the plague which ravaged Genoa.
In addition to her corporal works of mercy, Catherine practiced spiritual works of mercy through instruction. She wrote about her conversion and her thoughts on purgatory. Treatise on Purgatory describes her mystical experiences and gives readers a better understanding of the graphic damage sin can do to a soul and how the soul can be restored back to God’s Loving embrace through the participation of the Sacraments. “God illuminated her soul so as to instruct the faithful.”
Catherine’s writings were examined by the Holy Office, and it was decided they contained doctrine that proved her sanctity. Named the patron saint of troubled marriages, Saint Catherine was beatified in 1675 by Pope Clement X and canonized in 1737 by Pope Clement XII.
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