Poor Clare and mystical writer, born at Bologna, 8 September 1413; died there, 9 March 1463. When she was ten years old, her father sent her to the court of the Marquis of Ferrara, Nicolr d’Este, as a companion to the Princess Margarita. Here Catherine pursued the study of literature and the fine arts; and a manuscript illuminated by her which once belonged to Pius IX is at present reckoned among the treasures of Oxford. After the marriage of the Princess Margarita to Roberto Malatesta, Prince of Rimini, Catherine returned home, and determined to join the little company of devout maidens who were living in community and following the rule of the Third Order of Saint Augustine in the neighboring town of Ferrara. Later the community, yielding to the entreaties of Catherine, adopted the Rule of Saint Clare, and in 1432 they were clothed with the habit of the Second Order of Saint Francis by the provincial of the Friars Minor. The increasing number of vocations, however, made it necessary to establish other monasteries of the Poor Clares in Italy, and in pursuance of the Brief of Callistus III, “Ad ea qui in omnipotentis Dei gloriam”, convents were founded at Bologna and Cremona. Saint Catherine was chosen abbess of the community in her native town, which office she held until her death. The grievous and persistent temptations which in the early days of her religious life had tried her patience, humility, and faith, especially the latter virtue, gave place in later years to the most abundant spiritual consolation, and enjoyment of the heights of contemplation. A large part of Saint Catherine’s counsels and instructions on the spiritual life are to be found in her “Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons”, which contains, besides, an account of the saint’s own struggles in the path of perfection, and which she composed with the aid of her confessor shortly before her death. The body of Saint Catherine, which remains in-corrupt, is preserved in the chapel of the Poor Clares at Bologna. Saint Catherine was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII. Her feast is kept on the 9th of March throughout the Order of Friars Minor.
- Stephen Donovan. “Saint Catherine of Bologna”. . Saints.SQPN.com. 8 March 2013. Web. 27 January 2015. <>