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Papal audience topic: St. Catherine of Bologna

December 29, 2010

At his weekly public audience on December 29, Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of talks on the great women of Church history, speaking about the 15th-century Poor Clare abbess, St. Catherine of Bologna.

Born into a noble family, St. Catherine spent her early years at the court of Ferrara, but then entered religious life, the Pope said. She experienced a “night of the spirit,” in which she was assailed by doubts, but persevered and received consolation from God.

Later St. Catherine experienced a vision of the Last Judgment, which overpowered her with a belief in both the gravity of sin and the depth of God’s mercy. Continually afflicted by temptations, she wrote a “Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons,” explaining how best to overcome temptations.

Pope Benedict ended his Wednesday talk with a prayer that St. Catherine would serve as model and guide for the faithful, instructing them in humility and in steady daily efforts at prayer.


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