Catherine Thomas, St.
CATHERINE THOMAS, ST.
Canoness Regular of Saint Augustine; b. Valdemuzza, Majorca, Spain, 1533; d. Palma, Majorca, 1574. Catherine, orphaned at the age of seven, already showed signs of great piety and gifts of prayer. She went to work as shepherdess for an uncle, who beat and starved her. In spite of this treatment she made great strides in the spiritual life. At the age of 16 she was accepted at the convent of St. Mary Magdalen in Palma, at her confessor's insistence, for she had no dowry. Here she tried to hide her spiritual gifts under a cloak of stupidity. Strange phenomena soon made her the center of controversy. She apparently had the gift of prophecy and also conversed with angels. She was said to have been attacked by devils who filled the cloisters with fearful shrieks and who once tossed her into a cistern full of muddy water. Distinguished visitors came continually to see her. She foretold the day of her own death at the age of 41. She was beatified in 1792 and canonized in 1930.
Feast: April 1.
Bibliography: a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 2:6–7. j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienhereux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes (Paris 1935–56) 4:135–136.
[m. j. dorcy]