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Bologna Italy: Shrine of Saint Catherine of Bologna


About Saint Catherine of Bologna:

In 1427, at the age of fourteen, she left the court to dedicate herself to religious life in a community of young women. Two years later, the leader of this group founded an Augustinian convent, but Catherine and a number of others preferred Franciscan spirituality and transformed the community into Poor Clares.

The saint “made great spiritual progress in this new phase of her life, though she also had to face great trails”, the Pope explained. “She experienced the night of the spirit, tormented even by the temptation of disbelief in the Eucharist.

After much suffering, the Lord consoled her. In a vision He gave her the clear awareness of the real Eucharistic presence”. In another vision God revealed the forgiveness of her sins, giving Catherine a “powerful experience of divine mercy”.

In 1431, the saint had yet another vision, this time of the Final Judgement, which led her “to intensify her prayers and penance for the salvation of sinners. Satan continued to assail her as she increasingly entrusted herself to the Lord and the Virgin Mary. In her writings, Catherine left notes on this mysterious struggle, from which, by the grace of God, she emerged victorious”.

Catherine died on 9 March 1463 and was canonized by Pope Clement XI in 1712. Pope Benedict XVI later wrote “With her words and life, she strongly invites us always to allow ourselves to be guided by God, to do His will every day even if it does not always correspond to our own plans, and to trust in His Providence which never abandons us. In this perspective, St. Catherine also invites us to rediscover the value of the virtue of obedience.”

Her body was discovered to be incorrupt in 1463 and has remained so, although the skin has darkened over the years.

We celebrate her Feast Day on March 9, the day she passed to eternal life.


About the Shrine of Saint Catherine in Bologna:

Officially called Santuario del Corpus Domini, the Shrine has a Baroque interior despite the fifteenth-century exterior of rough brickwork.  The church was badly damaged by bombing during World War II, which and accounts for the fact that half of the vaulted roof is frescoed and the other half just plastered.


Body of St. Catherine of BolognaThe Shrine contains the incorrupt body of Saint Catherine of Bologna: sitting on a throne, along with the skulls and bones of two of her companions.

Another tomb in a side chapel to the right is that of Luigi Galvani, the eighteenth-century physicist who carried out pioneering work in the study of electricity, and gave us the English verb “galvanise”.

Traveling to the Shrine of Saint Catherine of Bologna:

It is near the center of the city about 20 minutes from the train station on foot, or you can take bus #30.

Address: Via Tagliapietre, 21 Bologna

GPS coordinates: 44° 29′ 21.3252” N. 11° 20′ 22.8552” E

Tel: +39 051 331277

Click here for the official website of Santuario del Corpus Domini in Bologna.

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