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April 23, 1522, a baby’s cry cut through the quiet of the palace and onto the streets of Florence,Italy and Alexandrina, who would someday be known as Saint Catherine de’ Ricci, was born. She came from a prominent family of the nobility. Although they were not particularly known for their holiness, her piety and spirituality was evident from an early age. Therefore, it was no surprise to her family and friends when, at age thirteen, she entered the convent of San Vicenzo in Prato, a small town outside of Florence.
She immediately embraced her Dominican Community. She took the name Catherine as her religious name, in honor of her mentor, St. Catherine of Siena, a powerful Dominican Saint of the Fourteenth Century. As with her predecessor and namesake, she suffered greatly all her life. Saint Catherine de’ Ricci was a virtuous young girl, never complaining or trying to bring attention to herself through an illness which would be with her the rest of her life. Like the Saint she was to become, she turned her afflictions into redemptive suffering, and used these sufferings to develop even stronger virtues. She exercised patience beyond the limits of human frailty, especially considering the severity of her physical afflictions. She was able to overcome the debilitating consequences of her illnesses by uniting her suffering with Her Lord’s Passion, her eyes and heart constantly contemplating her Spouse Jesus as He agonized on the Cross.