Caterina da GENOVA (1447-1510)

Caterina Fieschi Adorno by Giovanni Agostino Ratti

Catherina was born into the aristrocatic Fieschi family in Genoa and married into another aristrocratic family, the Adorno in 1463. She lived in a prileged situation an unhappy marriage. Her husband Giuliano were dissolute and unfaithful. She suffere loneliness and depression, but in 1473 she experienced a radical conversion with an overwhelming sense of God’love and mercy. She shared an interior contemplative prayer with a strong need to actively service the sick and poor. Surprisingly, Giuliano ahd an authentic conversion, became a Franciscan tertiary and spet the remainder of his life working alongside Caterina caring for the destitute. Togheter they worked at Genoa’s Pammatone Hospital. The plague in 1493 killed also Giuliano. Catherina converted the outdore area behind Pammatone into additional hospital.
Purgation and Purgatory revealed her refreshing vision of the pure love od God for the souls. She belives our souls freely enters the process of purgation on order to achive the purity necessary for union with God. Her other work The spirituale dialogue,is more a spiritual autobiography, a sory of her inner life (Swam, p118-199)
Her life and teachings were studied by Baron Friedrich von Hügel in the work The Mystical Element of Religion (1908). Alongside this spiritual life, Catherine lived an intense activity of service to the poorest and sickest. She became the director of the hospital, a very rare event for women of the time and a true source of inspiration for the renewal of the Catholic Church of that time. During this activity she also fell ill with the plague, which struck the city since 1493, a disease from which she recovered.
The work of one of his closest disciples, Ettore Vernazza, gave rise to the so-called “Ridotto” in Genoa, the first hospitalization for seriously ill and incurable patients. (Wikipedia)