Five new saints were canonized on Sunday, April 26 in Saint Peter’s Square … and I was there. No, I didn’t go specifically for the Canonization-in fact, I didn’t understand the magnitude of the event until I was ushered onto the steps of the colossal piazza and saw the sea of people that spread before me.
As I tried to focus on Pope Benedict’s Latin-language rituals, my eyes wandered to the five portraits that hung from the front of the church … Geltrude Comensoli, Nuno Alvares Pereira, Arcangelo Tadini, Bernardo Tolomei and Caterina Volpicelli. It was image of the young woman from the final portrait that most mesmerized me, that burned itself in my mind and whose graceful features inspired this five-part series.
I’m talking about Caterina Volpicelli.
Caterina Volpicelli was born on January 21, 1839 into an affluent family in Naples, Italy. Like many adolescent girls of her age and economic class, she spent her days attending plays, ballets and dances and assumed her charmed life would lead to high social standing.
However, at the tender age of 15, her life goals took a dramatic turn. She met Blessed Ludovico of Casoria, who taught her of the Sacred Heart and encouraged her to become a Third Order Franciscan. Upon hearing of the French Sacred Heart Apostolate and discovering a new outlet for her spirituality, Caterina founded a new congregation called the Servants of the Sacred Heart, “in fulfillment of her aspiration ‘to revive love for Jesus Christ in hearts, in families and in society.'”
December 28 was established as Saint Caterina Volpicelli’s feast day.
And that wraps it up … if you are interested in learning more about the Catholic Church’s saints, you can visit The Tail End, a blog that served as a great source of research in my posts.