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Catherine of Bologna (1413–1463)

Catherine of Bologna (1413–1463)

Italian saint and artist. Name variations: Caterina da Vigri; Caterina de' Vigri; Caterina dei Vigri. Born on September 8, 1413, in Bologna, Italy; died at Bologna on March 9, 1463; never married; no children.

A revered holy woman, Catherine of Bologna was recognized as much for her relationship to God as for her artistic works. Details of her early life are unknown. She entered a convent of Poor Clares (Franciscan nuns) in Bologna and eventually her education and piety led her to become its abbess. Acting as the convent's administrative and spiritual director, she was also an instructor of novices.

Catherine's primary expressions of faith were revealed through her art. She painted miniatures on manuscripts produced in the convent scriptorium and worked as a calligrapher. The abbess, who earned a widespread reputation for her great learning and intelligence, also showed talent in the field of music; she wrote numerous songs for the nuns to sing during services and played several instruments herself. In her later life, Catherine began receiving visions, descriptions of which were published for the spiritual benefit of others. Catherine was extraordinarily popular. Soon after she died in 1463, at age 50, her followers pressed for sainthood, leading to her canonization in 1492.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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