St. Catherine de Ricci was born in Florence in 1522, and was baptized Alexandrina. Her mother died when she was an infant, and when she was six or seven, her father placed in her the Convent of Monticelli to be cared for by her aunt, Louisa de Ricci, who was a nun there.
After her father took her home, Catherine was still drawn to life as a sister, and with his consent, she received the religious veil in the convent of Dominicanesses in 1535, when she was 14. She took the name Catherine.
For two years, Catherine suffered extreme pains, and remedies only seemed to make them worse. She offered her suffering up for Christ, and meditated on the Passion whenever possible. She prayed constantly, making no room for anything but God in her heart and in her life.
When she was very young, Catherine was chosen as mistress of the novices, and then was made sub-prioress. When she was 15, she was appointed as perpetual prioress. Catherine had a great reputation for holiness and prudence, and many bishops, princes, and cardinals (three of whom went on to become popes) came to visit her.
After a long illness, Catherine died at the age of 67 on Feb. 2, 1589. She was beatified by Pope Clement XII in 1732, and canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746.
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