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FOCUS ON THE SAINTS: St. Catherine of Bologna's Spiritual Weapons

By Jennie Guinn, Spiritual Director

When you live your life for God, you can leave a legacy for years to come. One example of this is St. Catherine of Bologna who continues to encourage others in their faith over 600 years later. She was born in 1413 in Bologna, Italy and 300 years later she was canonized a saint. St. Catherine dedicated her life to God by committing herself to prayer, poverty and service. She was recognized for her profound devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary. St. Catherine was also admired for her humility, obedience and love for others, which are traits we each strive for. With her great wisdom and counsel she wrote a timeless treatise, The Seven Spiritual Weapons. This work is still relevant today for all those who seek to know, love and serve the Lord. Here is a brief summary of each of the spiritual weapons and how you can apply them to your life.

  1. Humility: St. Catherine stressed the importance of cultivating humility as a foundational virtue. This means recognizing your own limitations, acknowledging your dependence on God in all areas of your life and allowing yourself to be open to receiving God’s grace and mercy.

  2. Obedience: This word can bring negative connotations, but St. Catherine urged Christians to turn to God for his guidance. The goal is to align your life with His divine plan which is where true joy and peace will be found. Obedience involves sacrificing those things that separate you from God and trusting that He knows what is best for you, even when things aren’t working out the way that you expected.

  3. Faith-filled Reading and Reflection: To nourish and deepen your faith it is crucial to read Scripture, spiritual writings and the lives of the saints to increase your understanding of God’s teachings and to be inspired on your faith journey. These writings will give you an insight in how to center your life around God.

  4. Continuous Prayer: St. Catherine advocated for a life of constant prayer and communion with God. She encouraged others to cultivate an ongoing conversation with him, seek his guidance, express gratitude, and to seek His presence in all areas of life. Constant prayer is directing all areas of your life towards God with a spirit of trust and gratitude.

  5. Mortification: In order to detach yourself from worldly desires so that you can focus more fully on God, you will need to practice self-control and temperance. To grow in your spiritual life you will need to embrace self-discipline and self-denial even when it is difficult and uncomfortable. On the other side you will find freedom, joy and peace.

  6. Spiritual Joy: When you are connected with Christ you are able to find joy even in the face of difficulties. This joy can be found in the presence of God and as you come to know Him on a deeper level. This joy will help you to overcome and push through challenges on your spiritual journey.

  7. Trust in God: By surrendering your worries, fears and anxieties to God you will experience a deep sense of peace and confidence in His loving care for you.

Today, her fully preserved remains dating to more than 500 hundred years ago, are still preserved inside the beautiful Corpus Domini church of Bologna, also known as Chiesa della Santa (literally Church of the Saint).

These spiritual weapons can serve as guiding principles as you seek to deepen your relationship with God, to grow in virtue and journey towards holiness.


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