Thursday, January 12, 2017

Our Patron Saint of the Year

Saint Catherine of Genoa

"Our self-will is so subtle and so deeply rooted within us, so covered with excuses and defended by false reasoning that it seems a devil.
When we cannot do our own will in any way, we do it in another, under all kind of pretexts of charity, of necessity, of justice....
from the example of others, or of pleasing someone who is trying to oblige us."

~ Saint Catherine of Genoa

This year, I was granted the name of Saint Catherine of Genoa from the saint name generator. This is the 4th year I've used this wonderful tool to find a patron saint for the year. I've enjoy learning about the saints I have been given and praying for their guidance and intercession. 

I have to admit I had never heard of Saint Catherine of Genoa. I knew plenty of other Saint Catherines but not this one.
So who was this Saint and why was she chosen to be a saint?

Saint Catherine of Genoa was born in Genoa during the year 1447. She was the daughter of nobles. She was the youngest daughter of five children. At an early age, Catherine was very religious. Prayerful and pious, she felt called to the religious life very early in life. At the age of thirteen she tried to enter the convent. Because of her young age, she was turned away. 

At the age of 16, she entered into an arranged marriage with a Genoese noble man, Giuliani Adorno. Unfortunately, he was not a success as a husband. He failed at being a good husband and a good provider. They fell into bankruptcy. He was mean, violent, cruel, and unfaithful to Catherine. The couple was unable to have children leaving Catherine childless. This difficult marriage and life lead Catherine to fall away from her faith and into a deep depression. 

After a few years, Catherine turned to prayer. She prayed for an end to this depression and return to her old self. God heard her prayers! One day she decided to head to the convent where her sister lived to say confession. When she knelt down to confess her sins, a Divine light pierced her soul! The vision showed her revelation of God's love and her own sinfulness. She fell into religious ecstasy. She focused on penance and prayed for the poor souls in purgatory. She was deeply affected by the souls in purgatory and often felt their deep pains in our own soul. 

For the rest of her life, Catherine was devoted to God. She returned home to her husband and helped lead him to the faith. She never gave up. Catherine was able to convert Giuliani before his death in 1497.  Catherine went on to help the poor, homeless, and sick. Worn out from her labors, both body and soul, she passed away on September 15, 1510. She was beatified by Pope Clement X on April 6, 1675, but was not canonized until June 16, 1737 by Pope Clement XII.

Saint Catherine of Genoa is the patron saint for brides, childless couples, difficult marriages, victims of adultery, victims of unfaithfulness, and widows. She is also known as the Apostle of Purgatory.

Want to find out your patron saint for the new year?

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