Saint Catherine of Genoa
Also known as
• Apostle of Purgatory • Caterina Fieschi Adorno • Caterina of Genoa • Caterinetta
Daughter of Jacopo Fieschi and Francesca di Negro, Geonese nobles; she was related to Pope Innocent V and Pope Adrian V, and her father became viceroy of Naples, Italy. Youngest of five children. A pious and prayerful girl, she early felt a call to religious life, tried to enter a convent at age 13, was turned away because of her youth. At 16 she entered into an arranged marriage with a young Genoese nobleman, Giuliano Adorno. They were a childless couple, he was careless and unsuccessful as a husband and provider, often cruel, violent and unfaithful, and reduced them to bankruptcy. Catherine became indifferent to her faith, and fell into a depression.
In 1473, while going to Confession in a convent in Genoa, Catherine was struck down by a vision, the revelation of God's love and her own sinfulness, and fell into a religious ecstasy; her interior state, and her contact with the truth she had received in the vision, stayed with her the rest of her life. She returned home, helped lead her husband to the faith, and the two lived together chastely the rest of their lives, working with the sick and poor till the death of Julian in 1497. She became a Franciscan tertiary, serving as a tertiary directress in 1490. Caught and survived the plague in 1493. Spiritual student of Father Cattaneo Marabotti in 1499, and he helped her to write and arrange descriptions of what she had seen and learned in her visions. It is her writings that have continued her fame today; during her canonization inquiry, the Holy Office announced that her writings alone were enough to prove her sanctity. Online and downloadable versions are linked below.
1447 at Genoa, Italy as Caterina Fieschi Adorno
15 September 1510 at Genoa, Italy of natural causes
6 April 1675 by Pope Clement X
16 June 1737 by Pope Clement XII
• against adultery; victims of adultery or unfaithfulness • against temptation • brides • childless people • difficult marriages • people ridiculed for their piety • widows
If it were given to a man to see virtue's reward in the next world, he would occupy his intellect, memory and will in nothing but good works, careless of danger or fatigue. - Saint Catherine of Genoa