She was the member of an aristocratic family and the daughter of a diplomat to the Marquis of Ferrara. Catherine received a wonderful education while being raised at the court of the Duke of Ferrara as the companion to the Marquis’ daughter, Princess Margarita.
After Margarita married, Catherine felt a calling to the religious life and left the court.
In 1426, she entered the convent of Corpus Domini at Ferrara and became a Franciscan Tertiary.
Catherine was determined to live a life of perfection and was admired by her companions for her holiness.
In 1432, Catherine and other young women of Ferrara founded a monastery of the Order of Poor Clares.
The reputation of the Community for its holiness and austerity became widespread.
In 1456, Catherine returned to Bologna with her superiors and the governors requested she found a second monastery of the same Order and be the Abbess of the convent.
Catherine continued to paint and write beautiful spiritual guides and poetry. She wrote the Treatise on the 7 Spiritual Weapons Necessary for Spiritual Warfare. And, her painting of St. Ursula remains on display in a Venice gallery.
Throughout her life, Catherine experienced visions of both Jesus Christ and Satan. In one instance, she had the baby Jesus placed in her arms by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During the Lenten season of 1463, Catherine became seriously ill, and on March 9th she passed away.
She was buried without a coffin and her body was exhumed eighteen days later because of many cures attributed to her at her graveside and the sweet scent coming from her grave. Her body was discovered incorrupt and remains so today.
Catherine is dressed in her religious habit seated upright on a golden throne behind glass in the chapel of the Poor Clares in Bologna.
Saint Catherine was beatified in 1524 by Pope Clement VII and canonized on May 22, 1712, by Pope Clement XI. She is the patron saint of artists, the liberal arts, against temptations and of Bologna.
Her feast day is celebrated on March 9.
To learn more about St. Catherine of Bologna: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=111