« Catharine, Saint, of Bologna Catharine, Saint, of Genoa Catharine, Saint, the Martyr (Saint Catharine of Alexandria) »

Catharine, Saint, of Genoa

CATHARINE, SAINT, OF GENOA: Roman Catholic saint; b. at Genoa 1447; d. there Sept. 14, 1510. She was the daughter of Roberto Fieschi, who had been viceroy of Naples under René of Anjou. Despite her desire for a life of religion, she was obliged to marry a nobleman of her native city named Giuliano Adorno, whence she is often called Catharina Flisca Adurna. After a life of extravagance her husband died in 1474, but not before he had been converted by his wife's piety and had become a Franciscan of the third order. For the remainder of her life his widow, as a member of the order of the Annunciation of St. Marcellina, was distinguished both for her care of the sick in the Genoese hospital Pammatone (especially during the plagues of 1497 and 1501) and by her extreme asceticism. For twenty-three years during the seasons of Lent and Advent she is said to have fasted absolutely, taking at most a glass of water with salt and vinegar "to cool the raging flame within." She was formally canonized by Clement XII. in 1737, and the following pope, Benedict XIV., placed her name in the Roman martyrology, appointing her feast for Mar. 22. St. Catherine was one of the numerous mystic and prophetic authors of the latter part of the Middle Ages and wrote Demonstratio purgatorii or Tractatus de purgatorio (ed. C. Marabotto and E. Vernazza in their biography of St. Catherine, Genoa, 1551; Eng. transl., London, 1858), Dialogus animam inter et corpus, amorem proprium, spiritum, humanitatem ac Deum, and a treatise on the Christian life (both contained in the edition already mentioned). Her visions were assailed by Adrian Baillet in his Vies des saints (Paris, 1701) from the Gallican point of view, but other Roman Catholic authorities, such as St. Francis of Sales and the modern Jesuit Christian Pesch, have esteemed them highly.

(O. Zöckler†.)

Bibliography: The anonymous Vita with commentary is in ASB, Sept., v. 123–176, and was translated into French by the Abbé Piot, Paris, 1840. Consult: P. Lechner, Leben und Schriften der heiligen Katharina von Genua, Regensburg, 1859; T. de Bussière, Vie et œuvres de S. Catherine de Gênes, Paris, 1873; P. Fliche, S. Catherine de Gênes, Paris, 1880; F. von Hügel, in The Hampstead Annual, 1898, pp. 70 sqq.

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