Thought for the Day – 9 March – the Memorial of St Catherine of Bologna OSC (1413-1463)
When Margarita, Catherine’s greatest friend in the Court, became engaged, she invited Catherine to stay with her but Catherine felt called to the religious life and at the age of 14, she joined a Franciscan community. During this time she suffered a spiritual crisis but she had a vision of the Real Presence in the Eucharist that brought her consolation. Spiritual visions consoled and disturbed her at various times in her life, which we know from her work, The Seven Spiritual Weapons.
Catherine artistic heart led her into many pursuits, playing the viola, painting religious pictures (including one of St Ursula that hangs today in a gallery in Venice), copying out and illuminating her breviary (now on display at Oxford), and writing spiritual guides and poetry. She is now the Patron of artists.
Many today might think that her life was a wasted one, when she could’ve been a ‘celebrity’ artist. Appreciating Catherine’s life in a Poor Clare monastery may be hard for us. “It seems like such a waste,” we may be tempted to say.
But Catherine, through prayer, penance and charity to her sisters, drew close to God and He consoled that creative heart in so many ways, for He is the goal of all hearts. Our goal is the same as hers, even if our paths are different.