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One of the many things I love about Lent is that it is packed full of opportunities to practice and grow in virtue. Not only does the Church factor this in when she lovingly sets us Lenten boundaries and limits via sacrifice and fasting, but somehow moments requiring virtuous responses seem to just come out of the woodwork.
Humility is definitely one of those that seems to show up regularly. And although I pray often to grow in this challenging virtue, my sister-in-law reminded me the other day that I should be sure to ask God to "be gentle" in His lessons when He helps me to grow in humility. For certain, with God we do have to be careful what we ask for! :)
St. Catherine of Bologna's feast day is today. And what a perfect example of humility she is!
Born wealthy, St. Catherine was the daughter of a diplomat and received a formidable education that included art, singing, writing and reading. She eventually became an excellent painter and was on her way to a lifestyle that the world would have considered great.
However, her own soul viewed greatness very differently, calling her to give up a life of ease and notoriety to become a Franciscan Tertiary. Eventually, she founded several monasteries of the Order of Poor Claires.
Although she did continue to use her gifts of painting and writing, including the Treatise on the 7 Spiritual Weapons Necessary for Spiritual Warfare, she purposely chose the "lower" roles in the convent, including caretaker of animals and laundress.
A truly inspiring saint, St. Catherine of Bologna's body was found incorrupt, a sign to the world that she is a loving disciple of Christ whom we should emulate and set as a beautiful example of Christ's love.
This Lent, as we work on those opportunities for virtue that keep popping up around us, let's remember the humility that St. Catherine exemplified daily. And, not to be cliche, but perhaps we can even ask the question, "What would St. Catherine do?" when the situation arises.
Even better yet, why don't we just ask her? If we listen well, we will very likely feel her tugging on our hearts, guiding us and showing us the way.
Photo attribution: Simon Vouet (1590-1649), Common Domain
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