The feast day of St. Catherine dei Ricci is celebrated on Feb. 13. She is the patron saint of the sick.
St. Catherine was born in 1522 in Italy. Her baptismal name was Alexandria, however she took the name Catherine when she joined the Dominican Order. As an infant her mother died and she was raised by her godmother. As a child she was known for her love of praying in solitude. She also talked to her guardian angel and learned to pray the rosary. At the age of six her father placed her in a convent in Florence, Italy, where her aunt was the Abbess.
Alexandria joined the Dominican nuns at Prat in Tuscany when she was 14 taking the name of Catherine. By he age of 25 she was the perpetual prioress. She had a great reputation for sanctity. Although they never met, she corresponded to St. Philip Neri, also known as the Apostle of Joy.
St. Catherine had a great devotion to the Passion of Christ. In 1541 she had a heartbreaking vision of the crucifixion which confined her to bed for three weeks finally recovering on Holy Saturday by a vision of St. Mary Magdalene and the risen Jesus. For 12 years she experienced ecstasy every Thursday from noon until Friday at 4 p.m. During the visions she received the stigmata, the wound in the left side and the crown of thorns. She offered her suffering for the Holy souls in Purgatory.
Many people came to witness her ecstasy, even though she did not like the attention it caused. One of her visions was of receiving a ring from the lord as a sign of her espousal to him.
Three popes were known to have asked her for her prayers; Pope Marcellus II, Pope Leo XI and Pope Clement VIII.
St. Catherine is the patron saint of sick people because she cared for the sick while living in the convent. She died after a long illness at the age of 68 in 1590.
“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.”
Quote of St. Teresa of Calcutta; Feast day Sept. 5
February is the Month of the Passion of the Lord