Monday, February 4, 2013

St. Catherine de' Ricci

St. Catherine de' Ricci O.P. (23 April 1522 – 1 February 1590) was an Italian Catholic saint. Born in Florence, her birth name was Alessandra Lucrezia Romola de' Ricci. At age 13, her father put her in the Monticelli convent near their home where she received an education. After a short time outside the convent, at 14, she went to the Dominican convent of San Vincenzo (St. Vincent) in Prato, Tuscany. By age 25, she had risen to the post of perpetual prioress. She lived at San Vincenzo until her death in 1590 after a prolonged illness.

As the perpetual prioress of San Vincenzo, she developed into an effective and greatly admired administrator. She was an advisor on various topics to princes, bishops and cardinals. She corresponded with three men who were destined to become popes: Pope Marcellus II, Pope Clement VIII, and Pope Leo XI. An expert on religion, management and administration, her advice was widely sought. She gave counsel both in person and through exchanging letters. It is reported that she was extremely effective and efficient in her work, managing her priorities very well.

It is claimed that her meditation on the passion of Christ was so deep that she spontaneously bled as though scourged, and that during times of deep prayer a coral ring, representing her marriage to Christ as a nun, appeared on her finger. She was a very prayerful person from a very young age.

It is reported that she wore an "iron chain" around her neck, engaged in extreme fasting and other forms of penance and sacrifice, especially for souls in Purgatory. She also bore the Stigmata. One of the miracles that was documented for her canonization was her appearance many hundreds of miles away from where she was physically located.
She was canonized by Benedict XIV in 1746. Her feast day falls on 4 February.

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