Saint Catherine of Genoa

15 September

The full name of St. Catherine of Genoa was Caterina Fieschi Adorno, signifying her family surname and that of her husband, for Caterina was married. She was born in Genoa 1447, the youngest in a family of five children. Her father, Jacopo Fieschi and her mother Francesca di Negro, came from families of nobility. In fact the family was connected to two previous Popes and Jacopo was appointed Viceroy of Naples.
When Caterina was only 13 years old, perhaps following her sister’s example who had become an Augustinian nun, asked her confessor to apply on her behalf for entry into the Augustinian Monastery. She was refused because she was too young. She never tried to enter the monastery again.
When she was 16 years old, her father died. It was at this time that she was married to Giuliano Adorno, who had returned to Genoa after his travels to the Middle East where he was engaged in trade and military service. It was a marriage arranged by her brother most probably to bridge the feud between  the two rival families. This marriage was a bitter experience for Caterina. They never had any children. Giuliano was far from being the ideal husband. He was a spendthrift besides being unfaithtful, a man characterized by outbursts of violent temper. Caterina was miserable, suffering in silence the tragedy of her marriage for five years. When she could not bear it any longer she started looking for alienation outside her marriage. After five years she had reached a point in her life when she started asking God for a sickness that would keep her in bed for the rest of her life.
She disclosed her sad state of mind and heart to her sister, the Augustinian nun, who encouraged her to  approach the confessor of the nuns to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During her confession she experienced “ an overpowering sense of God’s love for her.” Overwhelmed, she left the church without continuing with her confession.
This was her conversion.
Her life changed completely, becoming a life of continuous union with God, in prayer and penance, receiving Holy Communion almost daily, a practice not common in those days. She started to attend to the sick in a hospital in Genoa. This change in her life affected her husband’s way of life. He converted and he even became a Franciscan Tertiary besides  joining her in her selfless, voluntary service to the sick. By this time Caterina and Giuliano were ruined financially as a result of Giuliano’s previous excessive spending. They decided to move and live in a large hospital, the Pammatone, dedicating their lives to the sick, that was heightened during the plague that ravished Genoa in 1496-97. After the death of her husband in 1497, she was appointed treasurer and manager of the hospital. At the same time she continued with her selfless dedication to the sick and to the needs of the hospital, consumed by her love of God.
She died on the 15th September 1510 after  lingering on in suffering ‘hovering between life and death’ exhausted by her full dedication to the poor, the sick and the needy.

March, 26thFind out more about Saint Catherine of Genoa at: #fatima #jesus #pope #holyfatima #ourladyoffatima

St. Catherine of Genoa experienced the love of God for her personally, when she approached the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
– Consider dedicating some time, especially during this season of Lent, to approach the beauty of God’s love and forgiveness for each and everyone of us, with our children.
– Explain how Jesus told stories which we call parables, to teach the people  about the love of God and love for others.
– With the children watch: The Parable of the Prodigal Son

  • Discuss with the children what they would feel, think, do, if they were the son, the father.
  • Listen to their opinion as to what they think Jesus wanted to tell the people who were listening to Him.

Lead them to realize that the message of the parable is that Jesus wanted to show us that God will always continue to love us, to forgive us, when we admit our mistakes and say that we are sorry, whatever we may have done.
– With the children who have started going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation or preparing to receive it, explain how God continues to forgive us through the priest when we go to Confession / the Sacrament of Reconciliation (point out that ‘reconciliation’ in this context means coming close to God again)
– During this Lent propose going to Confession as a family! Treat it as a date-time…… following it with an outing or special activity!

Family Prayer Time:

  • Organize a quiet time of reflection (2 /3 minutes!) 
  • You may decide to create an atmosphere by lighting a candle and having soft music. 
  • Using “we” instead of “you” prompt questions to help children review their behaviour with others, their responsibilities (homework, chores,) lying, answering back, moody without reason, being selfish, teasing in a hurtful way …..
  • Encourage them to verbalize their own “ I am sorry Prayer” 
  • Ask God for help in our weak points and Our Lady  to lead us towards good choices.
  • You may decide to end this time of reflection by exchanging a hug with “I am sorry” with those we might have hurt in some way!       

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.