A Catholic Monthly Magazine

May Saints

Saint1Blessed Caterina Cittadini (1801-1857)

Caterina Cittadini was born on 28 September 1801 in Bergamo, Italy, and baptised two days later. When she was seven, her mother died and her father abandoned her and her young sister, Guiditta. Accepted in the orphanage of the Conventino of Bergamo, Caterina developed a strong faith, a big sister’s sense of responsibility and a devotion to Our Lady and St Jerome Emilian.

After completing an elementary teaching diploma, she and her sister left the Conventino to live in Calolzio with their cousin priests, Giovanni and Antonio, who provided for them strong spiritual guidance and an active pastoral environment. Caterina became a teacher at a girls’ public school in Somasca. The sisters both felt the call to religious life, but their spiritual director told them to stay in Somasca and become the foundation of a new congregation.

In 1826, they bought a house, furnished a building, and in October opened a boarding school for girls. Caterina taught religion, managed the school, and instituted the oratory style of education for her girls. Giuditta directed this and the other two schools they opened until her sudden death in 1840. The following year Caterina’s cousin Antonio and her spiritual director both died, leaving her effectively without support. Critically ill herself , she was cured miraculously through the intercession of St Jerome Emilian.

Caterina quit her public teaching position in 1845 to manage the schools, care for the orphans, and guide the three companions who helped her. To organise the work and the lives of her companions, she wrote a new rule similar to that of religious orders. In 1850 she obtained permission to build a private oratory to keep the Blessed Sacrament at her boarding school. The following year she applied for approval of her new religious family, the Ursuline Sisters of Somasca. The bishop, while encouraging her to write her rule, rejected her first attempt. Without being discouraged, Caterina prepared another one, which was eventually approved after her death.

While she waited for the approval, the difficulties, worries and sufferings took their toll on Caterina and her health deteriorated. Always clear thinking and in continuous prayer, she exhorted her companions to accept with serenity the will of the Lord. After a day of agony, she died serenely and in a holy manner on 5 May 1857.

Blessed Caterina, help me to persevere in doing good.

(Source: Internet – various)

Saint2Saint Matthias
(d. 1st century)

Matthias was the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:21-26). Little is known of his missionary labours, but tradition states that he preached in Judaea (modern Israel), Cappadocia, and on the shores of the Caspian Sea. He was stoned to death in Jerusalem. Saint Helena brought his relics to Rome, and some were transferred to Trier, Germany.

Matthias is not mentioned by name anywhere else in the New Testament.

Saint Matthias, teach me to be a true apostle of Jesus.

(Encyclopedia of the Saints, Matthew, Margaret & Stephen Bunson.1998 Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, Indiana)

Saint3Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (1566-1607)

Born in Florence on April 2, 1566, to a distinguished Florentine family, Mary Magdalene was taught mental prayer when she was nine years old at the request of her mother. At twelve years old she experienced her first ecstasy while looking at a sunset which left her trembling and speechless.

With this foundation in prayer and in mystical experience, she entered the Carmelite monastery of St. Mary’s of the Angels. A month after being refused early religious profession, she fell deathly ill. Fearing for her life, the convent had her professed from a stretcher at the altar.

At the age of nineteen she started five years of dryness and desolation in which she was repelled by prayer and tempted by everything. All she could do to fight back was to hold on to prayer, penance, and serving others even when it appeared to do no good.

Far from enjoying the attention her mystical experiences brought her, she was embarrassed by it. For all her days, she wanted a hidden life and tried everything she could to achieve it. Mary Magdalene’s wisdom and love led to her appointment to many important positions at the convent, including mistress of novices.

In 1604, headaches and paralysis confined her to bed. For three years she suffered, before dying on May 25, 1607 at the age of forty-one.

Saint Mary, help me to attain a personal relationship with Jesus.   

(Encyclopedia of the Saints, Matthew, Margaret & Stephen Bunson.1998 Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, Indiana)


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