Catherine Ulfsdotter was born in 1331 in Sweden to Bridget (later St. Bridget). She was the fourth of eight children. When Catherine was only fourteen years old she married Eggard von Kurnen. Because Catherine was deeply devoted to God, she convinced her new husband to join her in a vow of chastity.
Catherine’s mother, Bridget, went to Rome shortly after her husband’s death. Catherine went to visit her mother and decided to extend her visit. While there, her own husband, Eggard, died. Eggard’s death had been prophesized by Bridget. Catherine, being close to her mother, turned down several suitors who proposed marriage and remained unmarried for the rest of her life. For twenty-five years she was her mother’s constant companion until Bridget’s death in 1373. After her mother’s death, Catherine returned to a monastery Bridget had founded in Vadstena, Sweden. Catherine took her mother’s body there to be buried.
Catherine then took over management of the Bridgettines, an order of women started by her mother. After five years, she was able to secure approval of the order from Pope Urban VI. Catherine died at Vadstena after a long illness on March 24, 1381.
In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII canonized Catherine Ulfsdotter, now known as Saint Catherine of Sweden. Her mother, Bridget, is the Patron Saint of Sweden.
Dear Father, may we spend what remains of our earthly lives not on our own desires. Like Saint Catherine and Saint Bridget, may we spend our lives devoted to You and helping others. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
- St. Gabriel the Archangel, Patron of Telecommunications and Diplomats
- St. Simon of Trent (1475), Martyr
image: Erik Salvén, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons