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Saint of the Day

St. Catherine de Ricci

February 13
Born in 1522 to the patrician class. Her mother died when Catherine was an infant; she was raised by her godmother, but considered the Blessed Virgin Mary to be her true mother, and developed a great devotion to her. As a child, Catherine could speak to her guardian angel, and the angel taught her prayers for the rosary. At age 6 she moved to the convent school of Montecelli; her aunt was the abbess. Catherine developed a devotion to the Passion. Her father, Peter, objected to her plans to join a convent, then relented, then changed his mind again. Catherine continued her prayers at home, but when he changed his mind she fell ill. It was only when he at last agreed on her vocation that she recovered. Dominican tertiary.

She received visions and had ecstacies, but these caused some problems and doubts among her sisters - outwardly she seemed asleep or dully stupid when the visions were upon her. Catherine thought everyone received these visions as part of their lives with God. She was stricken with a series of painful ailments that permanently damaged her health. Catherine met Philip Neri in a vision while he was alive in Rome; they corresponded. She could bilocate. Said to have received a ring from the Lord as a sign of her espousal to him; to her it appeared as gold set with a diamond; everyone else saw a red lozenge and a circlet around her finger.

Permanent stigmatist. At age 20 she began a 12-year cycle of weekly ecstasies of the Passion from noon Thursday until 4:00pm Friday, often accompanied by serious wounds. Her sisters could follow the course of the Passion, as the wounds appeared in order from the scourging and crowning with thorns. At the end she was covered with wounds and her shoulder was indented from the Cross. The first time, during Lent 1542, she meditated so completely on the crucifixion of Jesus that she became ill, and was healed by a vision of the Risen Lord talking with Mary Magdalene. Crowds came to see her, skeptics and sinners being converted by the sight. The crowds became to numerous and constant that the sisters prayed that the wounds become less visible; He made them so in 1554. Three future popes (Cardinals Cervini, Pope Marcellus II; Alexander de Medici, Pope Leo XI; Aldobrandini, Pope Clement VIII) were among the thousands who sought her prayers.

Novice-mistress. Sub-prioress. Prioress at age 30. Noted reformer of her house. Correspondent with Saint Charles Borromeo and Pope Saint Pius V. Died in 1590.

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