Catherine of Bologna vs. Catherine of Genoa

Finally! We’ve nearly made it to the end of the Round of 32. But not before we take care of today’s saintly business, the highly anticipated Battle of the Deli Meats. Take a number and get ready to cast your vote between two 15th century saints, Catherine of Bologna and Catherine of Genoa. Anybody hungry for an Italian sub?

Yesterday, in the penultimate matchup of the first round, Ives of Kermartin routed Jacapone da Todi 77% to 23%. No word yet on whether Jacopone will appeal the decision.

Catherine of Bologna
If Advent is—as some have called it—a “little Lent,” you’ll want to remember this saint in your nativity scene later this year. After all, it was Catherine of Bologna who the Virgin Mary asked to hold baby Jesus, not the little drummer boy.

Born Catherine de’Vigri in 1413, in Bologna, Italy, Catherine joined her father in the court of Ferrara as a companion to the Marquis of Ferrara’s daughter, Margaret d’Este. There, Catherine was educated alongside Margaret, learning to read, write, and paint. Catherine also felt called to religious life.

At thirteen, she joined a semi-monastic community of women following an Augustinian rule in Ferrara—but that didn’t last long. The community split over whether to continue following the Augustinian rule or adopt a more austere Franciscan rule. In the end, Catherine and several others founded a convent of the Order of Poor Clares, following the first rule created by a woman, Saint Clare of Assisi. Like the order founded by her companion, Saint Francis of Assisi, the order named for Clare emphasized poverty. Later, Catherine was invited to become abbess of another new convent in Bologna.

As a nun, Catherine continued to paint, even illustrating her own breviary with portraits of the saints and about 1,000 prayer rubrics. She also wrote her most famous treatise, The Seven Spiritual Weapons Necessary for Spiritual Warfare. She wrote, “Whoever wants to go to God through sweetness and consolation is deceived.” She also detailed several visions, including seeing Mary place her infant “graciously and with great kindness” into Catherine’s arms.

During Lent 1463, Catherine became ill and died. People visiting her grave reported a sweet scent and miracles they attributed to her intercession. Her body was exhumed eighteen days later, discovered incorrupt, and placed in the chapel of the Poor Clares in Bologna. There, you still can find her, dressed in her habit and sitting on a golden throne.

Catherine was canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in 1712. Her feast day is March 9, and she is the patron saint of Bologna (the city, not the lunchmeat), artists, liberal arts, and against temptations.

Collect for Catherine of Bologna
Almighty God, who gave to your servant Catherine special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant that by this teaching, we may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—Emily McFarlan Miller


Catherine of Genoa
Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) came from a life of luxury, but her path veered from her noble upbringing and toward the heights of heaven itself.

Growing up in a family connected to two popes, Catherine heard the call of God early in her life. At the age of thirteen, she attempted to enter a convent and become a nun but was denied because of her age. Her life then followed a well-trod path for women of her time and station: she entered into a marriage of political convenience.

Catherine’s marriage was a train wreck, and her husband was a louse. Catherine was forced to endure his financial irresponsibility and infidelity, even as she remained childless. Continually hurt by her marriage, Catherine sought escape in pleasure and indulgence. Then at the age of twenty-six, after ten years of unhappy marriage, everything changed for Catherine. While in confession, Catherine experienced a mystical vision of God. Thereafter, Catherine continued to experience an inner relationship with God—directly communing with the divine without many of the formal institutional structures of religion and spirituality of the time. In addition, she took up the rare practice of receiving the sacrament of Holy Eucharist daily.

Catherine described her relationship with the divine in her Dialogues on the Soul and the Body, and her writings and visions influenced generations of mystics. She said, “On your part (God), you will grant your pure love, which will extinguish all other loves in me and will annihilate me and busy me so much with you that I will have no time or place for anything or anyone else.”

Meanwhile, Catherine’s husband declared bankruptcy. As he hit rock bottom, he discovered a new relationship with God. Together, Catherine and her husband began work with the poor and sick of Genoa. In 1478, at the beginning of a terrible four-year spike of the plague in Italy, Catherine and her husband moved into the hospital in Genoa. They not only cared for the sick, but also they lived among them. Catherine was so devoted to this work that she eventually was made manager and treasurer of the hospital.

Catherine’s deep spirituality and the physicality of her service to those in need stand as an example to all who seek to remain connected to the divine while living out our faith on this earth.

Collect for Catherine of Genoa
Gracious God, reveal to your church the depths of your love; that, like your servant Catherine of Genoa, we might give ourselves in loving service, knowing that we have been perfectly loved by you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

David Hansen


Catherine of Bologna vs. Catherine of Genoa

  • Catherine of Genoa (65%, 4,376 Votes)
  • Catherine of Bologna (35%, 2,335 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,711

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Catherine of Bologna: Getty Center / Public domain
Catherine of Genoa: Giovanni Agostino Ratti / Public domain

112 Comments to "Catherine of Bologna vs. Catherine of Genoa"

  1. Catherine Linberg's Gravatar Catherine Linberg
    March 10, 2021 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    It’s a tie at 8:02. This Catherine calls it Kick me, Kate! Hoping for Catherine of Genoa for my bracket’s sake.

  2. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 10, 2021 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    When St. Catherine’s nobleman spouse
    Turned out to be kind of a louse
    First, she huddled in bed;
    Then, repenting, instead
    Did the healing of others espouse.

    • LJ Cat's Gravatar LJ Cat
      March 10, 2021 - 11:53 am | Permalink

      I wanted Bologna because it sounds like the food and that’s funny

  3. Julianne's Gravatar Julianne
    March 10, 2021 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. Both Catherines are deserving. In the end I went with Catherine of Genoa for the utterly trivial reason that the visual of a saint’s corpse, dressed and enthroned, gave me the creeps.

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      March 10, 2021 - 8:32 am | Permalink

      Julianne- I agree, but it is a common practice in Europe’s oldest Roman Catholic churches.

  4. Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
    March 10, 2021 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    It’s Bologna for me!

  5. Claire from Quincy MA's Gravatar Claire from Quincy MA
    March 10, 2021 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Go Catherine of Bologna. This one is too easy for me as an artist named Claire! Glad to have a break from my hand wringing over my choices.

    • Ed's Gravatar Ed
      March 10, 2021 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

      As a fellow artist, I had to go with Catherine of Bologna too.

  6. Gillian's Gravatar Gillian
    March 10, 2021 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    As an artist who is currently struggling to put my portfolio together to start a new art career, I am voting for the patron Saint of artists! Here’s to hoping she’ll bless my work and help me nail this interview!

    • March 10, 2021 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      Best wishes and a prayer that your light will shine as you interview!

    • Amy Leeson's Gravatar Amy Leeson
      March 10, 2021 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Make that two prayers for Gillian, and her effort to start a new art career!

    • Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
      March 10, 2021 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Keep working Gillian! May God bless and multiply your talents, creativity, and perseverance! You can do it!

  7. Samantha in DioSoVA's Gravatar Samantha in DioSoVA
    March 10, 2021 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Votes for the artist Catherine of Bologna!!!

    • Amy Cook's Gravatar Amy Cook
      March 10, 2021 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Catherine of Bologna too!!! thinking of her as an artist, a writer, and a mystic convinced me. And yes, the corpse thing is rather creepy… but in a cool way as well. Why don’t we talk about incorruptible corpses any longer?!?

  8. Chris D Eggert-Rosenthal's Gravatar Chris D Eggert-Rosenthal
    March 10, 2021 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    What I am loving about this is that more often than not I choose the loser in the daily face off, but what is so marvelous is that I am learning about sSaints I didn’t know and understand we are ALL right with our choices each day.

    • Robyn Coffey's Gravatar Robyn Coffey
      March 10, 2021 - 12:02 pm | Permalink


  9. Amy Clayton's Gravatar Amy Clayton
    March 10, 2021 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Soul and Body…Body and Soul; a transformation of th world through the work of Incarnate Spirit. Catherine of Genoa exemplifies how God uses us where we are.

  10. Catherine Moore-Broatman's Gravatar Catherine Moore-Broatman
    March 10, 2021 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Tough choice for sure today, especially as I share a name with both saints. In the end I chose Catherine of Bologna because of her identifying “spiritual weapons” to guide us in struggles with spirituality. I’ll look up that treatise to learn more.

  11. Steve D's Gravatar Steve D
    March 10, 2021 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Another contest where it’s hard to vote against the one who goes “all in” to care for the sick and dying. In this of all years, I have to go with Genoa.

    • Pamela D's Gravatar Pamela D
      March 10, 2021 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

      I went with Genoa for the same reasons Steve D

  12. March 10, 2021 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    What a terrific matchup! Go Catherine!

  13. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 10, 2021 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Genoa. did anyone else find it mildly creepy about a dead person dressed and sitting on a throne? saint or not…

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 10, 2021 - 9:28 am | Permalink

      Relics were big business and could “make” a holy site. An entire corpus in situ must have been a “godsend” for the poor Clares. The Capucin monks in Palermo have an entire catacomb filled with the mummies of their brethren and benefactors, including children, all preserved and still on view.

      • Karen B Mills's Gravatar Karen B Mills
        March 10, 2021 - 10:29 am | Permalink

        THAT is so creepy. Yikes!

  14. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 10, 2021 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    For me, this was the hardest contest of the whole Round of 32. I will be happy with whichever Catherine goes on to the next round.

  15. V-L Nelson in Almonte, Canada's Gravatar V-L Nelson in Almonte, Canada
    March 10, 2021 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    I go for Catherine of Bologna because of her connection with the Poor Clares. This order continues its good works to this day and has its roots in the Franciscan ideals.
    Imagine what these 2 Catherine’s might have done Together! The husband louse might have been overwhelmed sooner for one thing and this threesome could have achieved awesome good works.

  16. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 10, 2021 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    As a Genoese-American I must vote for the local girl. Impressive bio, too.

  17. madameseñora's Gravatar madameseñora
    March 10, 2021 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Catherine of Bologna all the way – liberal arts majors are being slashed in colleges and universities across the US and could surely use Catherine’s intersession!

  18. March 10, 2021 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Voting for Catherine of Genoa during the week of International Women’s Day. Both she and her husband (following her example) worked tirelessly to heal during a plague but they ended up making HER the manager and treasurer of the hospital! How wonderful to have her talents and hard work valued!

    • Jenny Wall's Gravatar Jenny Wall
      March 10, 2021 - 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Considering her husband’s history with money, they made a wise choice!

  19. Juanita Janeczko's Gravatar Juanita Janeczko
    March 10, 2021 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Finally! We have a woman who was married, stayed married, had a deep relationship with God, and devoted her life to doing good works. Genoa gets my vote.

  20. Micah Walter's Gravatar Micah Walter
    March 10, 2021 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for the beautiful collect for Catherine of Bologna—it borrows from the same wording as Tallis’ GORGEOUS anthem “O Lord give thy Holy Spirit”. Worth listening to this Lent or, for that matter, Pentecost.

  21. leyton's Gravatar leyton
    March 10, 2021 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    chicken strips

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 11, 2021 - 1:54 am | Permalink

      And the 2021 Lenty for the Most Random Comment goes to . . .

  22. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 10, 2021 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Catherine of Bologna. Let’s hear it for the liberal arts!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 10, 2021 - 9:09 am | Permalink

      In Bologna’s case, it’s the literal arts. You can actually search for images of her corpse online, where she, like Jeremy Bentham, has joined the canon of the undead.

  23. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 10, 2021 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    I cannot bring myself to vote for the mummy, even if the mummy of baby Jesus let her hold him. I much prefer Catherine of Genoa’s interior relationship with the divine, and I’m intrigued by the fact that when her husband did hit rock bottom he joined her in service and didn’t just abandon her for alcohol. I hope his sticking around was real penitence and, possibly, affection. Plus, bonus points: plague! As we too try to give faithful service during plague, perhaps Catherine of Genoa will intercede for us.

  24. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 10, 2021 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Unique among the revered saints one who stayed married and worked as a team with her spouse. 21st Century Christians need that example and inspiration. My spouse is gone, but continuing to keep a family working for Christ together is a goal for me.

  25. Marian the Lutheran's Gravatar Marian the Lutheran
    March 10, 2021 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    She (Catherine of Genoa) said, “On your part (God), you will grant your pure love, which will extinguish all other loves in me and will annihilate me and busy me so much with you that I will have no time or place for anything or anyone else.”, “On your part (God), you will grant your pure love, which will extinguish all other loves in me and will annihilate me and busy me so much with you that I will have no time or place for anything or anyone else.”
    Good grant that I be so annihilated.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 10, 2021 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
      As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend.
      You and John Donne.

  26. Merry's Gravatar Merry
    March 10, 2021 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Both Catherine’s are deserving. Others’ comments are inspiring. I closed my eyes, and to my surprise, I tapped on a Catherine of God’s calling.

  27. Marilyn Bromley's Gravatar Marilyn Bromley
    March 10, 2021 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I was real happy to see a worthwhile husband join the contest, about time! So Genoa has my vote.

  28. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 10, 2021 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Genoa it is, for the sticking with the world, though it handed her lemons, and for working in a hospital during plague—how fitting for this time! Plus, our preference is for Lebanon bologna! (Must look up her writing, though, help battling sins is always needed.)
    Aside: Lent Madness has managed to turn my iPad keyboard purple! Some clever HTML or php, there!

  29. March 10, 2021 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    I just can’t go with anyone who calls it “spiritual warfare.” To me that’s oxymoronic and completely missing the point. If you have to war with either yourself or others in order to reach the divine, you’re just not doing it right. Catherine of Genoa for me! Besides, I appreciate that she was able to stick by her husband, even when he didn’t deserve it, only to come out the other side with a partner in healing the sick.

    • Gaye Johnson-Cowell's Gravatar Gaye Johnson-Cowell
      March 10, 2021 - 10:39 am | Permalink

      Hi Anita. The idea of spiritual warfare has its roots in scripture. Consider Ephesians 6: 10-20.

      • March 10, 2021 - 10:45 am | Permalink

        Oh, I understand that it’s all over the scriptures. I simply think calling anything “spiritual warfare” and referring to “weapons” when talking about spirituality is wrong. I rarely, if ever, vote for saints who believed they had to purge themselves of all of their humanity. Like I said…it’s missing the point. Just my opinion.

        • Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
          March 10, 2021 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

          I have a lot of women friends who call themselves “Prayer Warriors” so that makes me lean toward C of Bologna. It works better for me than “self annihilation” as C of Genoa prays above.

          C of Bologna should’ve had me at the violin and the liberal arts– but I have to give credit to C of Genoa for working in the hospital and getting her husband to do the same.

  30. Henry R Cooper Jr's Gravatar Henry R Cooper Jr
    March 10, 2021 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    A hard choice to make, but in the end I decided for Bolonese over Genovese. I may have been swayed by “la cucina”…

  31. Ren's Gravatar Ren
    March 10, 2021 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for the Catherine whose feast day is my birthday (yesterday)

  32. March 10, 2021 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I have to say the Catherine of Genoa is more deserving, with all that hospital work and assorted charities, but I have dreams of going to Emilia Romagna, and should I ever get there, I am going to see Catherine of Bologna in person!

  33. March 10, 2021 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    I fancy myself an artist and vote for Catherine of Bologna. My Google search finds 8 other saint named Catherine including a Mohawk, an American and a doctor.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 10, 2021 - 10:46 am | Permalink

      St. Kateri Tekakwitha is also American; her mother was a Christian Algonquin.

  34. Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
    March 10, 2021 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    Please don’t hold it against Catherine of Bologna that folks chose to display her body after her death. The number of saints whose parts are on display somewhere or other is probably greater than the number of them undisplayed. For saints of this time period it is a common thing and has nothing to do with the saint’s choice (and might not be the actual saint’s remains anyway).

  35. Lee W.'s Gravatar Lee W.
    March 10, 2021 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    As a liberal arts graduate, I’ve had to work hard to convince folks that a well-rounded education isn’t just a lot of baloney. Hurrah for Catherine of Bologna!

  36. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 10, 2021 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks to St. Celia for her punny comment at “9:06 am” above.

    I wonder where I can find English translations of both The Seven Spiritual Weapons Necessary for Spiritual Warfare and Dialogues on the Soul and the Body. Anyone know?

    Whilst Catherine of Bologna hasn’t missed a liturgy in 558 years, I’m quite impressed that Catherine of Genoa was a daily communicant.

    I was quite impressed with Bologna until the part about them digging her up and placing her upon a golden throne. I suspect she would have preferred a seat more befitting a nun of the Poor Claire’s or better yet to be left to rest in peace, socially distancing below ground.

    I once knew a miniature Dachshund named Oscar Mayer, so I was strongly tempted to vote for his middle name, but I think a Golden Halo on top of someone who already has a golden throne would be a little too ostentatious for a num, especially of her order, so my vote goes to Genoa. Maybe someday her city will be known more as the home of one of the Saints Catherine than as the birthplace of the founder of the North Atlantic slave trade.

  37. Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
    March 10, 2021 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    I was drawn to Catherine of Bologna for her writing and illustrating, but I decided to vote for Catherine of Genoa because it’s very tough to resurrect a marriage when trust has been lost and negative patterns have become habitual. It’s hard to put your heart back into the relationship and have hope of change. It was pretty cool that she and her husband ministered together and found their way back to their marriage through this ministry. Catherine also broke bad habits of escapism through self-indulgence (like many other saints, I do realize). I think she’s a good example in Lent.

    By the way, there is a photo of Catherine of Bologna’s mummy on her throne at her Wikipedia entry, and it is definitely creepy!

  38. Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
    March 10, 2021 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    I am struck by the double story here of Catherine of Genoa and her husband… who found through and with each other a new life in God. Part of what is so attractive is that, rather a than story of going off to a convent, it is a story of staying .. … and redemption.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 10, 2021 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Len, for the perspective of staying rather than leaving. Catherine of Genoa it is.

    • Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
      March 10, 2021 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Hi Len! Yup, this couple’s story definitely got my vote. Marriages that work despite multiple reasons to disintegrate. Loved it. I was sure she’d ditch him and found a nunnery (or monastery) as seems to occur too frequently in the lives of saints we’ve come across over the years. Love to you and Lindsey.

  39. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 10, 2021 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Catherine is my middle name after my mother’s twin sister. Five family members have been named after my aunt. She was such a wonderful lady, adored by her grandchildren and her friends. She once told me she felt better when I was in town, even if she didn’t see me. She was the person in my life who loved me unconditionally. I don’t care which Catherine wins today. My Catherine will always be my guardian angel. Thanks for the sweet memories of my wonderful aunt.

  40. Carolyn Hartman's Gravatar Carolyn Hartman
    March 10, 2021 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Is the treatise, The Seven Spiritual Weapons Necessary for Spiritual Warfare in print? She wrote, “Whoever wants to go to God through sweetness and consolation is deceived.” Think about that for a minute. Catherine of Bologna must be a strong woman, not another battered wife.

    • Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
      March 10, 2021 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

      I liked that line as well. May stitch it into a sampler

  41. Martin Goshgarian's Gravatar Martin Goshgarian
    March 10, 2021 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    When in Massachusetts, visit St. Catherine of Genoa Church in Somerville. It is noted for its beauty.

  42. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 10, 2021 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    I grow weary of the Saints who think they have to lock themselves up in monasteries or convents or worse in order to live a Christian life. Much prefer those who live out their Christianity in the world, caring for the sick and dispossessed. Isn’t that what Jesus did? Catherine of Genoa it is!

  43. Jane of Brampton's Gravatar Jane of Brampton
    March 10, 2021 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    For all you sailors out there… To fly a Genoa is a team sport…
    As with my second husband, or in Catherine’s case, renewed husband they finally found their spirit filled pace in the world among the people.

  44. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 10, 2021 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Since I attend St. Clare’s, I had to vote for the Poor Clare. However, to be honest, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gone for Catherine of Genoa.

  45. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 10, 2021 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Both worthy, and a wonderful pairing by the SEC. I’m in for Catherine of Bologna because she was a Poor Clare. In our Parish dedicated to Francis, we have pictures of both Francis and Clare on either side of the altar.

  46. Martha Shea's Gravatar Martha Shea
    March 10, 2021 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    Who’s the winner of today?
    It’s spelled B-O-L-O-G-N-A.

    • marie's Gravatar marie
      March 10, 2021 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Gee thanks. Now I will have the Oscar Meyer song in my head all day. LOL

  47. A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
    March 10, 2021 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    Bologna – all about the preserved meat. Ew on so many levels.
    But I voted for who she was in life, not death. Love her toughminded assessment of the God journey.
    (Excellent write-up, Emily!)

  48. Catherine Schuyler's Gravatar Catherine Schuyler
    March 10, 2021 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    Lunch meats? I thought this was the battle of the Catherines. I expect to win.

  49. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    March 10, 2021 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Genoa’s biography just reached off the page to me, and I didn’t second guess myself today.

    • Richard Laughman Jr's Gravatar Richard Laughman Jr
      March 10, 2021 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

      During our pandemic, her service struck me as continually relevant.

  50. Bea Fosmire's Gravatar Bea Fosmire
    March 10, 2021 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    David Hansen persuaded me to vote for Catherine if Genoa when he wrote. “she continued experiencing an inner relationship with God.” also “her deep spirituality and the physicality of her service to those in need are an example to all who seek to be connected to the divine while living out our faith on this earth.” Shouldn’t this be our heart’s desire?

  51. MARY ROSA's Gravatar MARY ROSA
    March 10, 2021 - 12:24 pm | Permalink


  52. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 10, 2021 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Bologna it is, for me today! I love a good mystic, and one who can return to a formerly terrible husband and work tirelessly with him among the mortally ill is that much more deserving – IMHO!

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      March 10, 2021 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Genoa! I meant Genoa!

      • Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
        March 10, 2021 - 5:25 pm | Permalink


  53. Ed Totten's Gravatar Ed Totten
    March 10, 2021 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Catherine of Bologna, artiste,
    was talented, to say the least.
    She founded a convent,
    to which many nuns went,
    and sits on a throne, though deceased.

  54. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 10, 2021 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Catherine of Genoa for her fidelity to her marriage vows and her God, for her work among the sick and the poor, and for her example which led to the redemption of her husband. (And I agree with all those who get the shivers thinking of Catherine of Bologna sitting on that throne for 500 and some years. How tacky is that?)

  55. Wendy Webster Coakley's Gravatar Wendy Webster Coakley
    March 10, 2021 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    As an alumna of a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts (Williams College, founded in 1793), I had to vote for the patron saint of the liberal arts, Catherine of Bologna – although, like many of you, the notion that she resides corpus in situ elicited an initial dry heave.

    Voting. It’s not for the faint of heart (or of stomach!).

    • Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
      March 10, 2021 - 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Three cheers for Williams. Our daughter graduated in 1988. We were so happy she chose Williams, partly because it meant trips to Williamstown for us, and visits to the Clark Museum of Art.

  56. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 10, 2021 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Painting in Sister Catherine’s life was key
    as was the memory of holding baby Jesus on her knee,
    but though she taught her fellow nuns the arts
    and both pastels and tempera were dear to all their hearts,
    they displayed her corpse after death, to which I say baloney!

  57. Amy Leeson's Gravatar Amy Leeson
    March 10, 2021 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Catherine of Genoa seems to have the combined spirituality of Mary AND Martha – Direct mystical union with God AND extreme service to the poor and sick. I have absolutely no artistic gifts, but nonetheless my vote goes to Catherine of Bologna, because (A) I spent the summer of 1978 studying Italian in Bologna and loved it, and (B) she is way behind in the voting at this point in the day (1:20PM EST) and I like to see the voting come out closer to even. (Yes, I know, trivial-seeming reasons, but after all, both are saints so really both should attract our love, even if we can vote for only one under SEC rules.

  58. Donald MacLeod's Gravatar Donald MacLeod
    March 10, 2021 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    My primary criterion is continuing impact. The lasting contribution of the Poor Clares causes me to vote for Catherine of Bologna. She had no control over her final resting place.

  59. March 10, 2021 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Found a picture online of Catherine of Bologna, upon her throne. Supposedly she’s incorrupt “except for the ravages of time.” What else is there?

  60. Claudia McKee's Gravatar Claudia McKee
    March 10, 2021 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    After reading and thinking about both saints, I realized Catherine of Genoa did not actually plant/belong to a religious order, although her piety is not to be denied. And once her husband realized they were better off if she was in charge of the money, they risked their lives caring for those struck by the pandemic. That really hit home in today’s world.

  61. Susan McFeatters's Gravatar Susan McFeatters
    March 10, 2021 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

    This was another tough match-up. I finally went for Catherine of Bologna. I thought she was brave to make such a decision at age 13 — especially since she received an education and enjoyed the arts. I was also entranced that a sweet aroma rose from her grave. Of course, I immediately had to look for a photo of her sitting on her golden throne.

  62. Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
    March 10, 2021 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I know I am in the minority but this is all I needed to decide my choice: “She wrote, ‘Whoever wants to go to God through sweetness and consolation is deceived.’”
    St. Catherine of Bologna for me. (The sentimental side of me especially liked the concept of her receiving the Baby Jesus from Mary instead of the little drummer boy.)

  63. Laura Graf's Gravatar Laura Graf
    March 10, 2021 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I remembered this after I cast my vote for Catherine of Genoa; this memory is completely unrelated to today’s match-up.

    In the 1980s, my former husband had a business trip from St. Louis to Milan with a change of planes in New York. He called from New York to tell me his flight had been delayed and instructed me to call TWA (that long ago) to see if the flight had arrived yet. (N
    What he thought this would accomplish, I don’t know, but I called.)

    The young man who answered informed me that due to heavy fog in Milan, the flight had been diverted to “Gweeno,” and passengers were transported to Milan by bus.

    I told him I was unfamiliar with an Italian town named Gweeno and asked him to spell it. He replied, “G-E-N-O-A.” I told him, “Genoa. You flew my husband to Genoa.”

  64. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 10, 2021 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Having just carefully combed through my first round picks, I see that I have a rousing score of 3 picks that made the cut, with the potential of a fourth after today. I am truly humbled, if not numbled! And now, in the next round, Marianne Cope will be up against Henriette Delille…

  65. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    March 10, 2021 - 3:11 pm | Permalink

    St. Catherine of Bologna is one of the few potential winners on whose head we could literally place a golden halo! (pending cooperation from the church in Bologna). I had to vote for the saint that I actually might visit someday. In the meantime, I found a web site with photos of her and her chapel that I’ll share:

  66. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 10, 2021 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I can already predict that someone who took care of sick people is going to win over someone who used her artistic gifts. But we need both! Physical health is ahead in the hierarchy of needs, sure, but without the arts, life is infinitely poorer. And that includes spiritual life. So my vote goes to Catherine of Bologna.

    I’ll add here that I appreciate in both today’s and yesterday’s match-ups that the SEC has taken great care to match saints with many similarities in their lives including the time period in which they lived.

  67. JoJo's Gravatar JoJo
    March 10, 2021 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh Bologna I can’t paint even with numbers to go by and I love a good fried bologna sandwich (salami not by itself but w/other meats in a Jersey Mike’s Italian)
    Catherine of Genoa gets my vote in this plague time of COVID!

  68. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 10, 2021 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, another tough choice between two wonderful accomplished women. Admirable and needed as the example of Catherine and her husband are, I vote for Catherine of Bologna, may she intercede for all those in the arts who are struggling so much during this challenging time.

  69. Margaret Sacht's Gravatar Margaret Sacht
    March 10, 2021 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Today I must vote for the first violist on your list, Catharine of Bologna. Since it was the viola she played, she has doubtless always been unrated. It’s about time she was accorded the recognition due her.

    • Margaret Sacht's Gravatar Margaret Sacht
      March 10, 2021 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

      underrated, not unrated

  70. Brenda's Gravatar Brenda
    March 10, 2021 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I am intrigued with the ups and downs in the life of Catherine of Genoa. She just “got on with it” and was a blessing to so many including her louse of a husband who eventually repented and helped others. I like her example.

  71. Laura S's Gravatar Laura S
    March 10, 2021 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Catherine of Genoa, through her faith and perseverance, inspired her wayward spouse to be transformed and find his True calling. She did all this through a four-year plague!! Yikes and here we are griping about one year in the US. Amazing!

  72. Jamie Glock's Gravatar Jamie Glock
    March 10, 2021 - 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Both were wonderful Italians but since the family name on my grandmother (Nonna) ‘s side of the family is Bologna there was no other choice to be made.

  73. Carrie's Gravatar Carrie
    March 10, 2021 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m enjoying my first Lent Madness and appreciate the efforts of those who put this together. The comments made by participants also adds to this educational exercise. Thanks to all.

  74. Bobbie's Gravatar Bobbie
    March 10, 2021 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Genoa because she was able to minister to the sick, allow her husband to craft his life without nagging, and at the same time develop a strong relationship with God. I once heard it said that the vertical part of the cross represents our relationship with God and the horizontal branch of the cross represents our relationship with others here on earth. She fostered both.

  75. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    March 10, 2021 - 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Must cast my vote for Catherine of Bologna because of the work her order, the Poor Clares, do among older people and others in need.

  76. Sylvia Miller-Mutia's Gravatar Sylvia Miller-Mutia
    March 10, 2021 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Catherine of
    Exciting saint
    Nursed the ill through the plague
    Offered comfort and care
    Alongside her husband, who had changed his ways

    (St. Mark’s, ABQ members & friends)

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