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Catharine, Saint, of Sweden

CATHARINE, SAINT, OF SWEDEN: Roman Catholic saint; b. in Sweden 1331 or 1332; d. at Vadstena (130 m. s.w. of Stockholm) Mar. 24, 1381. She was the second daughter of St. Bridget, the founder of the Brigittines (see Bridget, Saint, of Sweden). At the age of thirteen or fourteen she married a young nobleman of German extraction named Eggart of Kürnen—the marriage was, however, by mutual consent only nominal, and both parties preserved a lifelong virginity. During the lifetime of her husband, Catherine accompanied her mother on the last-named's first journey to Rome, where through a vision of St. Bridget she learned of her husband's death in Sweden. She then made a pilgrimage with her mother to the Holy Land, but was in Rome with her brother Birger when St. Bridget died there in 1373. She was one of those who escorted her mother's bones to Sweden, and she then took up her abode at Vadstena, the mother house of the Brigittines, where she ruled as the successor of St. Bridget. About the time of the return of the popes from Avignon, St. Catherine again resided for some years in Italy and twice secured papal confirmation of the rule of her order, first from Gregory XI. in 1377 and again from Urban VI. two years later. The day appointed for her feast in the Roman martyrology is Mar. 22. In art her attribute is a hind. She wrote a "Consolation of the Soul," which has been lost. According to the preface, it was a compilation from many books and treated of the ten commandments, the seven benedictions, the seven joys of Mary, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the seven deadly sins.

(O. Zöckler†.)

Bibliography: The early Vita with commentary is in ASB, March, ii. 503–531, and in E. M. Fant, Script. rer. Suecicarum, iii., section 2, pp. 244–275; cf. A. Butler, Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Saints, Nov. 25th, London, 1860; KL, vii. 344–345.

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