St Catherine was born March 25 in 1347. One of the youngest in a beautifully large family, Catherine grew up to be a healthy girl, despite the black death ravaging Italy at the time.
From a young age, Catherine was blessed with visions of Christ. She was accustomed to saying the Hail Mary on each step as she mounted stairs, and consecrated her virginity to God when she was seven years of age.
At fifteen her parents allowed her to join The Third Order of St. Dominic, though for the next three years she resided in her father’s shop, combining the life of a contemplative with the life of active charity.
She was a staunch defender of the true Pope. When some of the cardinals in the church set up anti-popes, Catherine travelled to Avignon, where the Pope of that time, Gregory XI, was residing, and bade him return to Rome. She sternly rebuked the disloyal cardinals who had assisted in the election of the antipopes.
Accompanied by three confessors, she travelled through Italy, bringing entire cities to the obedience of the Holy See. She was the counsellor of Urban VI.
Near the end of her life a terrible schism sept the city, a schism she herself had foretold. The devil prowled through the city, inciting the people against the Pope. Spiritually, Catherine saw legions of demons tempting the people to take the life cf Christ’s Vicar. Through prayers and weeping Catherine did much to forestall the tempter, even enduring hell’s rage as the devils vented their malice by scourging her.
She died at Rome, in 1380, at the age of thirty-three.