Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Catharine of Sweden, Virgin
SHE was daughter of Ulpho, prince of Nericia in Sweden, and of St. Bridget. The love of God seemed almost to prevent in her the use of her reason. At seven years of age she was placed in the nunnery of Risburgh, and educated in piety under the care of the holy abbess of that house. Being very beautiful, she was, by her father, contracted in marriage to Egard, a young nobleman of great virtue: but the virgin persuaded him to join with her in making a mutual vow of perpetual chastity. By her discourses he became desirous only of heavenly graces, and, to draw them down upon his soul more abundantly, he readily acquiesced in the proposal. The happy couple, having but one heart and one desire, by a holy emulation excited each other to prayer, mortification, and works of charity. After the death of her father, St. Catharine, out of devotion to the passion of Christ, and to the relics of the martyrs, accompanied her mother in her pilgrimages and practices of devotion and penance. After her death at Rome, in 1373, Catharine returned to Sweden, and died abbess of Vadzstena, or Vatzen,1 on the 24th of March, in 1381.2 For the last twenty-five years of her life she every day purified her soul by a sacramental confession of her sins. Her name stands in the Roman Martyrology on the 22nd of March. See her life written by Ulpho, a Brigittine friar, thirty years after her death, with the remarks of Henschenius.
Note 1. The great monastery of our Saviour at Wasten, or Vatzen, in the diocess of Lincopen, was first founded by St. Bridget, in 1344; but rebuilt in a more convenient situation in 1384, when the nuns and friars were introduced with great solemnity by the bishop of Lincopen. This is called its foundation in the exact chronicle of Sweden, published by Benzelius. Monum. Suec. p. 94. [back]
Note 2. St. Catharine of Sweden compiled a pious book, entitled, Sielinna Troëst, that is, Consolation to the Soul, which fills one hundred and sixty-five leaves in folio, in a MS., on vellum, mentioned by Stiernman, Sur l Etat des Sciences en Suède, dans les temps reculés. The saint modestly says in her preface, that as a bee gathers honey out of various flowers, and a physician makes choice of medicinal roots for the composition of his remedies, and a virgin makes up a garland out of a variety of flowers, so she has collected from the holy strictures and other good books chosen rules and maxims of virtue. [back]