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Catherine of Genoa

1447-1510. She was born Caterinetta Fieschi, daughter of a distinguished Guelph family. For diplomatic reasons her brother arranged her marriage in 1463 to Giuliano Adorni, the headstrong and pleasure-loving son of an equally distinguished Ghibelline family. In 1474 she was suddenly converted and persuaded her husband to release her from the obligations of their marriage. While Giuliano entered the Third Order of the Franciscans, Catherine worked with the Ladies of Mercy in the care of the hopelessly ill in the hospital of St. Lazarus in Genoa. Her teaching, which grew out of her own remarkable spiritual experiences, was recorded in her Dialogues on the Soul and the Body and her Treatise on Purgatory. She fasted regularly and received Communion every day, a practice unusual for lay Christians in the fifteenth century. In her later life she took Cattaneo Marabotto as her confessor and spiritual director. She remained in Genoa as the rector of the hospital, nursing her own husband in his last illness (1497-98). She was canonized in 1737.