Dominican Saints 101: Bl. Catherine of Racconigi

September 4, 2012

Just as the Carmelites have their many famous Teresas so too do the Dominicans have their Catherines: St. Catherine of Alexandria (by adoption as patroness of the Order), St. Catherine of Siena, St. Catherine de Ricci, Bl. Catherine Jarrige, and Bl. Catherine of Racconigi (1486-1547, feast – September 4). Most of these Catherine’s were espoused to the Lord. Many of them received crowns of thorns. They all showed the greatness of God’s grace to draw hearts close to Him.

Tomb of the incorrupt body of Bl. Catherine, with the words Jesus spes mea on the pillow under her body
Aside from being espoused to the Lord at the age of five and aside from receiving the stigmata and a crown of thorns, Bl. Catherine of Racconigi is a prime example of Christ drawing hearts close to Him. Several times the Lord appeared to her and took her heart so that He might cleanse and beautify it. Moreover, as the tradition holds, the words Jesu, spes mea–“Jesus, my hope!”–were inscribed on her heart in letters of gold. Christ loves His virgin brides. The tokens that He has given them, especially to the saintly Dominicans cloistered nuns and active sisters, shows that He desires nothing but union with souls. Sometimes this means sharing in the hardships of His Passion. For Bl. Catherine, this meant a life of destitute poverty, abandonment by many friends at death, and even the challenge of being deprived of her confessor before she died. Yet, through it all, her Hope–Christ the Lord, drew her to Himself, where she is now in perfect happiness in heaven. O Lord, our Hope, who didst enrich with an abundance of celestial gifts the heart of Blessed Catherine, already filled with Thee, grant, through the intercession of that glorious Virgin, that He may be wholly fastened to our hearts, who for our sakes was wholly fastened to the cross, Christ our Lord. Amen.

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