St. Catherine of Genoa
High School Youth Ministry

St. Catherine of Genoa
Patron of : people made fun of for their faith, victims of adultery/unfaithfulness, childless people, temptations, brides,
difficult marriages, widows


St. Catherine of Genoa was a mystic visionary and hero of the poor and suffering.  Born in Italy in 1447, a time when the wealthy were more interested in supporting the new Renaissance than the poor and sick, she petitioned to become a nun at thirteen, but was told she was too young. At sixteen she married a local nobleman who was a Casanova of his day; he spent most of his time drinking and cheating on Catherine. She spent the first few years of the marriage in meek submission, then herself tried to find distraction in worldly pursuits. Ten years after her marriage began, at age 26, Catherine experienced an intense vision of the Lord while waiting for Confession. When she knelt down, a ray of Divine light pierced her soul. In an amazing union with God, Catherine became very aware of her sins and all the ways she ignored God, while He still loved her. After this experience she dedicated her life to the love of God and her neighbor. Her self-sacrifice, much like that of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, inspired her husband, Julian, to faith, and he too became dedicated to love of God and helping the poor. Julian's many years of rock star living had left them penniless, so Julian and Catherine moved into a hospital and spent the rest of their lives caring for the sick and the suffering. St. Catherine was a visionary, who spoke most eloquently about her visions of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. She spent the rest of her life, after her first vision, consumed by the love of God, living a life of rigorous penance and prayer, and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. St. Catherine was said to have fasted completely during Advent and Lent, taking only a glass of water with salt and vinegar to cool the raging flame within. St. Catherine wrote at least two books about purgatory, and her spiritual confessor wrote her biography, she survived two outbreaks of the Plague, and finally died of natural causes at the age of 63 in 1510. St. Catherine of Genoa was beatified in 1675, and canonized in 1737 by Pope Clement XII. Some sources site her feast day as March 24, others on September 15.