Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Saint Catherine of Ricci
Alexandrina was born into the Ricci family of Florence, Italy. Her mother died when she was a baby. Although she was raised by her Godmother she loved Our Lady and considered her as her true mother.
As a child she could talk with her guardian Angel and her Angel taught her how to pray the Rosary. When she was six she entered the convent school of Montecelli where her aunt was the Abbess.
When she was thirteen, Alexandrina joined the Dominican order as a nun and she chose the name Catherine. Even at that young age, Sister Catherine had a deep love for the passion of Jesus Christ. She used to think about Our Lord's sufferings often. Jesus gave her the great honor of receiving in her own body the marks of his wounds.
For twelve years every week from Thursday afternoon until Friday afternoon she would suffer the five wounds of Jesus. She was happy to accept all the pains of these wounds.
Catherine also felt very sorry for the poor souls suffering in purgatory. She realized how they longed to be with God in heaven. She realized, too, that this time in purgatory seemed to drag on endlessly. Catherine prayed and did penance for them. Once God let her know that a certain man was in purgatory, so great was her love that she offered to suffer for him. God listened to her prayer and she suffered greatly for forty days.
Thousands of people came to see her and ask for her prayers including three future popes. After a long, painful illness, St. Catherine died on February 2, 1590, at the age of sixty-eight.