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St. Catherine of Sweden

by Katie Hicks

Feast Day: March 22
Patron saint of miscarriages and anti-abortion
Canonized in 1484 by Pope Innocent VIII
Meaning of name: Pure

Claim to fame:
Born in either 1331 or 1332, Catherine was the daughter of St. Bridget of Sweden. At age 14, Catherine married Eggart von Kurnen at the request of her father. She later journeyed to Rome with her mother, and, upon her husband’s death, remained with St. Bridget, taking an active role in her ministry. After St. Bridget’s death, Catherine took over her mother’s convent in Sweden, Wadstena, and formed a community based on rules St. Bridget wrote. She wrote Consolation of the Soul, but no copies of the book remain in existence.

What made her a saint: A beautiful girl, Catherine was constantly surrounded by suitors. She resisted their proposals, however, wanting instead to stay a virgin. It is said that when one Roman noble pursued her, a wild hind chased him away. Catherine spent 25 years in Rome, devoting her life to meditation and service to the poor.

How she died: During the Schism, Catherine went to Rome to promote her mother’s canonization. She ended up testifying before a judicial committee in favor of Pope Urban VI. In return, he gave her a letter of commendation for her Bridgettine order. After five years in Rome, Catherine returned to Sweden, where she died of illness on March 24, 1381.