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Birth: ~1437

Death: 1478


Catherine, the lone survivor of a family from Pallanza, Italy that had perished in the plague, recited the Hail Mary a thousand times every Saturday. Around the age of twenty, deeply moved by a sermon on the Passion of Christ, she prostrated herself before a crucifix and consecrated her virginity to God. Soon afterward, she experienced a vision of Christ Crucified, who told her, “Beloved daughter Catherine…I have selected for you the place called Saint Mary on the Mountain.” Acting upon this, she withdrew to live as a hermitess at an alpine Marian sanctuary near Varese. Remaining devoted to the Passion of Christ, Catherine recited daily Saint John’s Gospel account of the Passion, seeing her mountain sanctuary as an image of both Mount Olivet and Mount Calvary. Her hermitage grew into a religious community under her direction. On her deathbed, Catherine was given a crucifix, which she kissed, saying, “I see my beloved Crucified One.” Her confessor then said, “Behold your Crucified One,” to which she responded, “I have him engraved on my heart.”


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