Saint Catherine of Bologna
From Visionaries, Mystics and Stigmatists
Perhaps, one of the greatest Miracles is the incorrupt body of our Saint, seated on a regal throne in a Chapel to the left of the main altar in the Church of Corpus Domini in Bologna. It remains intact, never having decomposed for over five hundred years!
In the beginning, after they realized they could not place her body in the grave, four nuns would carry Saint Catherine’s body to the parlor on a wooden stretcher, every time visitors came to view the body, or the faithful wanted to venerate the Saint. This went on for twelve years! Then the nuns decided that the faithful could view her better if she were seated on a chair. To their amazement, her body which had lost none of its suppleness, rigor mortis never having set in, became stiff, and the nuns could not place her in the chair. It was only when the Abbess ordered her, did Catherine, out of obedience, sit unaided in the chair and in the same position she can be found to this day.
Our Saint wanted to be where all the people of God could venerate her easily, and so she appeared to one of the nuns of the Monastery of Corpus Domini and told her she wanted a Chapel built close to the outer church. Previously, she had been in a Chapel inside the Monastery.
From the very beginning, Saint Catherine’s Miracles and fame have brought people from all parts of the world, not only the simple faith-filled believers who fill and enrich our beautiful Church, but also future Saints, Kings and Queens and scholars. Among the first to come was Queen Isabel of Naples, Italy, who arriving in her regal finery, venerated our Saint and then left her ring as a token of her affection. She was followed by Popes (one of whom was Pope Clement VII), Cardinals (including St. Charles Borromeo who gifted her with a precious vestment), Emperors, Princes and all kinds of personages.
Pope Clement VII granted the nuns permission to say the Office and celebrate Holy Mass in honor of Saint Catherine on March 9th which became her Feast Day. He inscribed her name in the Martyrology of Saints of the Roman Catholic Church. He was followed by other Popes who have granted indulgences and privileges to pilgrims coming to the Sacred place to venerate the saint. The process for her Canonization was started in 1669 and was solemnly concluded on Trinity Sunday, the 22nd of May, 1712 when Pope Clement IX proclaimed to the whole world, to the whole Roman Catholic Church that we had a Saint!
The first time we went to visit Saint Catherine, it was out of holy curiosity; her body was incorrupt! But when we got there, we discovered a very powerful Saint who became very personal to us. We have loved her since 1977, the first time we brought our grandson, all of ten years old, to Europe with us. We hope reading about her that you will turn to her and get to know her with your head and heart, as we have. We love you!
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Every mortal sin is a sin against God.
make amends, restitution
a substance emanating from tar – used for waterproofing and covering roofs
refer to chapter on St. Catherine of Genoa
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