2010-12-29 13:32:22

Pope Benedict on Catherine of Bologna

In the Paul VI Hall on Wednesday, with thousands of pilgrim faithful on hand during the Octave of Christmas, Pope Beneidct XVI held his weekly General Audience, during which he reflected on the life and legacy of St. Catherine of Bologna, a Poor Clare abbess of the fifteenth century, whom the Holy Father described as a woman of great wisdom and culture.

Born of noble stock, Catherine spent her childhood at the court of Ferrara. At fourteen she joined a group of other young women devoted to the common life and eventually became a Poor Clare. In her spiritual journey, Catherine endured her own dark night of the soul, experiencing doubts and temptation, but also great consolations. In her treatise The Seven Spiritual Weapons, she writes of the many graces she received and lists the most effective means of resisting the temptations of the devil.

Pope Benedict went on to discuss how Catherine tells of the visions which led her to understand both the severity of the Last Judgment and, at the same time, God’s infinite mercy.

Catherine’s entire life was a model of humility and obedience; indeed, she saw all disobedience as a sign of that spiritual pride which destroys all virtue.

The Holy Father concluded his reflection by praying that the example and prayers of Saint Catherine of Bologna inspire in us humble obedience to God’s will in our daily efforts to remain faithful to his plan for our lives.

Following the reflection, which continued Pope Benedict’s series of catecheses on great women in Church history, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in many languages, including English, during which he had a special word of welcome for the students of the American College at Louvain…

I greet the seminarians of the American College of Louvain and I offer prayerful good wishes for your studies. May this pilgrimage to Rome be a source of spiritual enrichment as you prepare for priestly ministry in the United States. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience I cordially invoke the joy and peace of Christ our newborn Saviour.

Founded by the bishops of the United States in 1857 as a seminary to train European men called to serve the Church as missionary priests in North America, the American College at Louvain has been for more than a century and a half in the service of the Church in the New World, in recent years forming men from the US for the missionary priesthood and preparing priests with missionary spirit in the sacred sciences.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the American College at Louvain will close its doors in June of 2011.

Listen to Chris Altieri's report: RealAudioMP3

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