Catherine of Bologna

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Mary and the baby Jesus with fruit, Catherine of Bologna (around 1440)

Katharina von Bologna , also Katharina von Vigri (born September 8, 1413 in Bologna ; † March 9, 1463 ibid) was an Italian Poor Clare , mystic and painter . She is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church .


Katharina von Vigri was the daughter of the Ferrarese nobleman Giovanni de 'Vigri and the Bolognese nobleman Benvenuta Mammolini. One of her biological sisters later joined one of the convents founded by Katharina . Katharina's father was Niccolòs III's ambassador . active. As a result, she enjoyed a humanistic education in subjects such as music, art, calligraphy and Latin at the court of Niccolò's daughter Margherita d'Este. During this time she also began to paint pictures herself. From 1422 she finally became d'Este's maid of honor for two years .

In 1426 they joined due to the marriage of Margherita d'Este with Galeotto Roberto Malatesta , the murder of Niccolò III. to his wife and son in 1425, as well as through the death of their father the following year, a small Corpus Domini group in a neighboring town near Ferrara. This religious order , founded by Bernardina Sedazzari in 1406, was continued after the death of the founder in 1425 by Lucia Mascaroni, the daughter of Giovanni Mascaroni.

The community followed the rules of the Augustinians . As Lucia of the Rule of St. Clare of Assisi wanted to follow from the year 1253, conflicts arose for the first time in relation to the leadership and the status of the association. Lucia Mascaroni was then excluded from the community by the Bishop Pietro Boiardi of Ferrara, with the consent of the Ailisia de Baldo - a sister of the community who did not want to renounce the Augustinian rules. Ailisia left Corpus Domini in 1426 and was appointed abbess in the Augustinian monastery by Ludovico Barbo in 1430 .

To end the disputes, the bishop decreed that the sisters should leave the monastery and live with their families again. Reluctantly, Katharina left the community. A few days later, she returned to the monastery with five other women. In 1431 she founded a Poor Clare convent there and another in Bologna in 1456, which she presided over until the end of her life.


Several miracles are attributed to Catherine. Her relics have been in a reliquary in the Poor Clare Church in Bologna since 1463 . On May 22, 1712 Pope Clement XI spoke. Catherine of Bologna holy .


Sette armi spirituali , 1475


St. Catherine of Bologna turned mainly to miniature painting , but she is also credited with some great works of art, including the depiction of St. Ursula . The pictures of St. Katharina can be found in Spanish and Italian picture galleries, such as the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice and the La Pinacoteca Nacional in Bologna.


  • Le set armi spirituali
  • Laudi, Trattati e Lettere
  • I dodici giardini
  • Rosarium
  • I sermoni


Little is known about the musical activity of Caterina de Vigris, but a small viola has been preserved in Bologna to this day.


  • Marco Bartoli: Caterina, la Santa di Bologna , EDB 2003
  • Illuminata Bembo: Specchio di Illuminazione, Vita di S. Caterina a Bologna , 1469
  • Whitney chadwick: Women, Art and Society , Thames and Hudson, London 1994
  • Elizabeth Fries Ellet: Women Artists In All Ages And Countries , New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1859
  • Silvia Evangelisti: Nuns: a history of convent life, 1450–1700. Oxford University Press, 2007
  • Vera Fortunati; Claudio Leonardi (ed.): Pregare con le Immagini, Il breviario di Caterina Vigri . Ed. del Galluzzo, Ed. Compositori, 2004
  • Urte Krass : From the most beautiful sacred body in the world to the mistress of the snakes. Enlivening and visualization of the body of Caterina Vigri of Bologna (d. 1463). In: Thomas Macho , Kristin Marek (ed.): The new visibility of death. Wilhelm Fink, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-7705-4414-1 , pp. 263-293.
  • Serena Spanò Martinelli: Il processo di canonizzazione di Caterina Vigri . 2003
  • Giulio Morina: Vita della Beata Caterina da Bologna. Descritta in pittura . Ed. Pazzini, 2002
  • Renzo Ricciardi: Santa Caterina da Bologna . Ed. Tipografia del Commercio, Bologna 1979
  • Walter Shaw Sparrow (Ed.): Women Painters of the World from the Time of Caterina Vigri 1413–1463 to Rosa Bonheur and the Present Day . Hodder & Stoughton, London 1905
  • Paola Rubbi: Una Santa, una Città, Caterina Vigri, co-patrona di Bologna . Ed. del Galluzzo 2004
  • Santa Caterina da Bologna. Dalla Corte Estense alla Corte Celeste . Ed. Barghigiani, 2001
  • Caterina Vigri, la Santa e la Città, Atti del Convegno . Bologna, November 13-15, 2002. Ed. Galluzzo, 2004
  • Jürgen Seidel:  KATHARINA of Bologna (C. Bononsiensis / Caterina Vigri, Nigri, Negri /). In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 3, Bautz, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-035-2 , Sp. 1217-1218.
  • Catharina Bononiensis, p . In: Johann E. Stadler , Franz Joseph Heim, Johann N. Ginal (Eds.): Complete Lexicon of Saints ... , Volume 1 (A – D), B. Schmid'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Augsburg 1858, p.  582 -583 .
  • Stephen Donovan:  St. Catherine of Bologna . In: Catholic Encyclopedia , Volume 3, Robert Appleton Company, New York 1908.
  • Elisabeth Bäbler, Susanne Ernst, Elisabeth Zacherl: Katharina Vigri of Bologna (1413–1463), life and writings . Franciscan Research Center, Munster 2012, ISBN 978-3-8482-1026-8

Web links

Commons : Catherine of Bologna  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. In her edition of Le sette armi spirituali ("Sieben Geistliche Waffen", Antenore, Padua 1985) Foletti explains the work and its printing history as well as the sources on Katharina's life (1-15)
  2. Ibid., VII (110).
  3. Sette armi spirituali , VII (95-96)