Tuesday, March 9, 2010
All three times I visited Bologna, Italy, I made it a point not to go to the church of Chiesa della Santa. As much as I enjoy the basilicas and chapels of Europe and viewing relics of the saints, I simply did not want to come face to face with St. Catherine of Bologna whose mummified body is displayed in a golden throne. There she sits holding a gold cross and a bible. I am content to think of her as lovely saint who once walked this Earth and now lives on.
Her life was one of beauty as an artist and musician. She was born on Sept. 8 (the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary), 1413 to a diplomatic agent of the Marquis of Ferrara. St. Catherine had the opportunity to live a life of royalty but chose her passion, the church.
At age 14, she became a Franciscan tertiary and was later a part of the Poor Clares. She had visions of Jesus and the devil. St. Catherine was a gifted painter and violinist. When she died on March 9, 1463, and was buried without a coffin, miracles happened in her name and a sweet scent came from her grave. Almost three weeks later, her body was exhumed. It was incorrupt.
Canonized: 1712. Her feast day is March 9.