Saint Catherine of Genoa
Saint Catherine of Genoa
Wife, Humanitarian, Christian Model, Mystic
Saint Catherine of Genoa was born into the Fieschi family, at that time, the most influential of the Guelf families of Genoa in the Province of Liguori in the Northern part of Italy. This famous family produced the powerful, very dynamic Pope Innocent IV in 1234 and then his nephew Adrian V as Pontiff (for only a few weeks). The Fieschi family reached the pinnacle of fame and fortune in the fifteenth century, raising up a Cardinal, and a Viceroy James Fieschi.1 James would marry Francesca di Negro of Genoa, of an ancient noble family, linking two strong aristocratic families of Genoa. But the Lord had a greater plan; He was to send Catherine, fifth and last of their children, who would some day become a Saint.
It was 1447. Just as Jesus brought His favored three to Mount Tabor to strengthen them for the next high place, Calvary, so would the Lord raise up a Saint to balance in holiness the devastating blow that another, born in that century, would inflict upon His Church. Catherine Fieschi, later known to the world as Saint Catherine of Genoa, would become a Role Model, not only to the Catholic Church but also a much admired inspiration and unifying force to the entire Christian world, bringing back home those whom Martin Luther, the other child of the fifteenth century, separated from Mother Church.
Saint Catherine of Genoa - Bride of Christ
Saint Catherine of Genoa was destined to be wholly dedicated to the Lord, as His faithful bride, from her youngest years. At eight years old Catherine began to do penance, exchanging her soft luxurious bed for a bit of straw on the hard floor, and her fluffy pillow for a tree stump. She was an obedient child and showed signs of holiness even at that early age.
When she was twelve years old, Saint Catherine of Genoa had her first glimpse of God’s love; He shared with her some of the pain He had suffered during His Holy Passion. At thirteen, she disclosed to her confessor her desire to become a nun. As he was also the confessor of the Nuns of Our Lady of Grace Convent where her sister Limbania was already a canoness regular, Catherine pleaded with him to intercede on her behalf. T
he Superiors rejected Catherine, because it was not their custom to accept girls of such a young age. This greatly hurt Catherine, but she never lost faith in her Lord and His love for her. Then, a year later in 1461, her father died.
A marriage of convenience is arranged for Saint Catherine of Genoa
With the death of Robert Fieschi, political maneuvering was necessary. How does a family keep its position? They marry off their children, uniting two strong families. And so, although Saint Catherine of Genoa must have thought sixteen years of age finally would be a suitable age to enter the convent, she became a political pawn, and a marriage of convenience was arranged for her. Her heart was again broken, but she obeyed and was married to a young noble of the prominent, well-to-do Adorno Family, also of Genoa.
The marriage was certainly not made in Heaven; the young husband Giuliano was the direct opposite from Catherine. Whereas she was holy and religious, he was wild and self-indulgent to the sacrifice of everything and everyone. The first ten years of married life were stark, unadulterated hell! He squandered all their wealth on good times and wild women.
Saint Catherine of Genoa, after suffering five years of loneliness, unable to endure her husband’s infidelity and lifestyle, feeling deserted from everyone, even God, turned to the frivolous life of her class, going to parties and becoming more and more involved with the next party and new dress she would wear. Although her attempts at finding some meaning in life were innocent, they did not bring her the joy and peace she sought so desperately; and so the depression she had attempted to overcome grew worse.
God takes over in Saint Catherine of Genoa’s life, and she is never the same
But God never leaves us alone. It was the Feast of St. Benedict, March 21, 1473. Catherine’s sister Limbania suggested Catherine go to her confessor. The moment she knelt in front of this holy priest, Our Lord overshadowed her and wounded her so powerfully with His unsparingly unconditional Love, she was lost in ecstasy, and was unable to confess her sins.
Saint Catherine of Genoa was suddenly filled with remorse for the life she had been leading. God appeared to be unfurling her life before her, like a film, showing her the many times she had betrayed the love He had for her. But, at the same time, through this Divine Wound as she called it, God revealed the sweet Love that never ended, the Love He had for her and all His children. With this striking contrast of God’s Love and the world’s false gods of empty promises, she became repulsed by all that her society had to offer and cried out: “No more world, no more sin!”
When we are faced with the absolute, unreserved Love, Our Lord has for us, it is as if a giant, brilliant light enters our soul, and even the smallest transgression, compared to God’s generous Love becomes to us, a monumental sin. And who is to contradict the great Saints on this point? Are we not taught: To those who much has been given, much is required?
Saint Catherine of Genoa went home and wept through the night. When the Lord saw how very remorseful she was, He appeared to her, covered with blood, carrying the Cross. As He shared that part of His life and pain, she became deeply filled with His Love and, through that knowledge, a heavy sadness for the last ten wasted years, years she could have spent loving Him. For the next fourteen months, the more the Lord revealed His Love and her sins, the more she desired to be cleansed and lead a new life in Him. As one by one her sins were revealed to her, she repented, and they disappeared, consumed by the flames of His Love, never to reappear.
Saint Catherine of Genoa and the Crucifix
One day, while praying before the Crucifix, Catherine was lifted up to Our Lord’s wounded Heart on the Cross. This Heart, Which had been pierced out of love for all mankind, was on fire, glowing with the same flames that burned inside her own heart; it was the same fire that He had enkindled in her, the same blaze which had consumed her sins, never to resurface. This so affected Catherine she relived it for years, crying out: “(I) Have no longer either soul or heart; but my soul and my heart are those of my Beloved.”
Saint Catherine of Genoa was changed! She became totally absorbed in Her Savior. No longer did she need or desire the world and its trappings. After Our Lord appeared to her on the Cross and drew her up to Him, after she felt herself like John the Beloved resting her head on His precious Chest, she saw everything through His Eyes. She no longer had to decide what was right or wrong; rather how it was revealed in the Light of God. How would Jesus feel? What would Jesus do?
Saint Catherine of Genoa made a general confession on March 24th (three days after her prior confession) and her new life began!
Saint Catherine of Genoa and Purgatory
Jesus reveals Purgatory and Hell to Saint Catherine of GenoaThrough the Divine fire Which burned inside Catherine, while she was still on earth, she was able to understand the state of souls in Purgatory.
The Lord had purified her soul, in the furnace of His Love, as gold is refined of all its impurities, by fire! Cleansing her of every stain of sin while she was still in the flesh, he was perfecting her on earth, so that when Catherine passed to the next world, she would be ready to appear before Him.
God told Saint Catherine of Genoa that the soul is like gold; once all the impurities are burned away, no matter how great the fire is, it can do it no harm to the soul. God said He keeps the soul in the flames of His Divine Love until every stain of sin is burned away and the soul reaches the highest perfection it is capable of (each according to its own vocation and capacity), and once this is accomplished, the soul rests completely in Him.
He further told her that, as the sun cannot penetrate a covered surface (like a dark shade) so as to allow light to flow into a room, not through any defect in the sun but simply from the blockage of the covering, so it is with the rust of sin which darkens the soul; it blocks the Son’s Love from coming through.
In Purgatory, the compassionate flames burn away all the rust of sin, layer by layer, allowing the Divine rays of God’s Love to come through, the rust of sin decreasing as God’s Love increases.
This does not take away the torment which no one can ever truly describe, nor anyone truly understand. The vision of Purgatory that the Lord revealed to Catherine so impressed her, she could not wipe it from her mind and heart.
God revealed to Saint Catherine of Genoa:
On Sin: “The source of all suffering is either original or actual sin. God created the soul pure, simple, free from every stain, and with a certain beatific instinct toward Himself. It is drawn away from Him by Original Sin, and when actual sin is added afterwards, this (actual sin) draws the soul still farther away from God; and as the soul removes itself more and more from Him, its sinfulness increases and its communing (or communication) with God decreases, till there is less and less of Him and more and more of the dark shade of sin blocking the soul from Him.”
On Hell and the Soul: “As the purified spirit finds no repose but in God for Whom it was created, so the soul in sin can rest nowhere but in Hell, which by reason of its sin has become its end.”
On Purgatory: “The same thing is true of Purgatory: the soul leaving the body, and not finding in itself that purity in which it is created, and seeing also the hindrances which prevent her union with God, conscious also that Purgatory only can remove from them, casts herself quickly and willingly therein. And if she did not find the means ordained for her purification, she would instantly create for herself a hell worse than Purgatory, seeing that by reason of this impediment she is hindered from approaching her end, which is God; and this is so great an ill that in comparison with it the soul esteems Purgatory as nothing. True it is (as I have said), like Hell; and yet in comparison with the loss of God it is as nothing.
More on Saint Catherine of Genoa - see below.
Saint Catherine of Genoa book - dvd - cd
Ebook available $4.95 - 32 pages biography
She had great experiences with the Souls in Purgatory. St. Catherine
lived for many years on the Eucharist alone. Come to
Genoa, Italy, to the Church which was built over her home.
Learn about her mystical gifts and experiences. She is
respected by Catholics and non-Catholics.See her Incorrupt body.
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