1 ©1998 Peregrina Publishing Co. Peregrina Translations Series no 25; ISBN 0-920669-34-4.
2 We are grateful to one of these scholars, Isobel Burke of University College, Dublin, for sharing information with us.
3 In her edition of Le sette armi spirituali (Padova: Antenore, 1985) Foletti discusses its manuscript and printing history (93-110) and the sources for Catherine’s life (1-15). She also devotes considerable effort to identifying the families of Catherine’s father (16-40). Serena Spanò, “Per uno studio su Caterina da Bologna.” Studi medievali, ser. 3, vol. 12, no. 2 (1971) 713-759, surveys the ample archival materials available regarding Catherine and suggests lines of research. The list of sources may be summarized as follows. When Catherine died in 1463, a circular letter was sent to other Poor Clare convents notifying them of her death and the existence of her book. Sisters made copies of the book before its first published edition in 1475. Sr. Illuminata Bembo wrote a first vita (ed. F van Ortroy, “Une vie italienne de S. Chaterine de Bologne,”Acta Bollandiana 41  386-416), probably before her more influential Specchio de illuminatione (1469), which deals with saint’s birth, death, and events after death of saint. The second and third parts of the Specchio reproduce substantially the circular letter and first vita and constitute only one-sixth of the work. Bembo’s work is much like the Vitae patrum which were much read then. She provides static examples of virtue, not a chronological biography. Bembo’s work had limited circulation in manuscript before it was first printed in 1787. The biography of Catherine which had the greatest success in 15th and 16th c. is that of Sabadino degli Arienti which was inserted in Gynevera de le clare donne (1472). He mined Bembo’s Specchio, but rearranged the contents chronologically. Annexed to the first printing of the Seven Spriitual Weapons was a biography in verse attributed to Pietro Azzoguidi, canon of S. Petronio. He is first to invoke Catherine as patronness of Bologna. In 1502 appeared the first separately printed biography of the saint. It was written by Dionisio Paleotti, a Observant Friar Minor and confessor at Corpus Domini. He added four chapters on miracles. This remained the standard life for a century. Catherine’s work had its greatest popularity in the sixteenth century when there were seven editions of Le sette armi spirituali in Italian as well as a French and a Latin translation. The last significant contribution to Catherine’s biography is that of Giovambattista Melloni, a follower of the Bollandists. His work is the most comprehensive and fundamental still today. The following summary of Catherine’s life, except where the notes indicate otherwise, is based on Maurizio Muccioli, OFM, Santa Caterina da Bologna, Mistica del Quattrocento (Bologna: Antoniano, 1963).
4 van Ortroy, 389, for texts about how these two siblings were helped by Catherine’s prayers.
5 The Apostolic Clerics of St. Jerome were founded by Bl. John Colombini about 1360. They were called “Gesuati” because they liked to begin and end their sermons with the cry “Praised be Jesu” or “Hail Jesus.” For the introduction of the new devotion to the Holy Name in England see Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars (New Haven: Yale, 1992) 45, 113-116, 236.
6It seems Catherine penned other writings besides Le sette armi spirituali. There is, for example, a Breviarium whose artistic decoration is attributed to her. See Lucius Nuñez, “Descriptio Breviarii Manuscripti S. Catharinae Boniensis, O.S.Cl.,” Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 4 (1911) 732-747; Hans Vollmer, ed., Thieme-Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler, (Leipzig, Seemann) 34: 359. Isobel Burke sent us a copy of Gilberto Sgarbi’s edition of Catherine’s I Dodici Giardini (Bologna: Sintesi, 1996), but we did not receive it in time to use in this work. Sgarbi’s edition of Catherine’s short work is accompanied by a modern Italian translation and several prefaces on Catherine’s life and mystical teaching. The work itself traces the stages of a person’s growth toward mystical union with God.
7Seven Spiritual Weapons, VII (95-96).
8 Ibid., VII (110).
9 Ibid., IX (2), VII (110).
10 Ibid, IX (2).
1110 Ibid, IX (2), VII (67), and perhaps X (4).
12 Ibid, VII (8) + Preface (1). The events described in VII (69-70) and VII (98-99) do not seem to be autobiographical.
13 Ibid, VII (38).
14 Ibid, VII (100-102, 108).
15> Ibid, VII (94).
16 Illuminata Bembo was the daughter of Lorenzo Bembo, a member of a wealthy Venice family. She entered religious life in 1430. She was with Catherine from then until the latter’s death. Sr. Illuminata was abbess at Corpus Domini in Bologna after Catherine. She died in 1493. Her Specchio d’Illuminazione is an important source for Catherine’s life and character (see note 2). Muccioli relies on it heavily. See Muccioli, pp. 215-217.
17 Muccioli, 129. For other guidelines for prayer, see pp. 131, 153-157.
18 Muccioli, 158-162.
19 Cecilia Foletti, ed., Le sette armi spirituali, 165-177.
20 Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff, Body and Soul: Essays on Medieval Women and Mysticism (New York: Oxford, 1994) 110-130.
21 Petroff, 161-177.
22 See John Coakley, “Introduction to Creative Women” in Medieval and Early Modern Italy: A Religious and Aritistic Renaissance, ed. E. Ann Matter and John Coakley (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), 11, 13.
23 Seven Spiritual Weapons, VII (10), VII (15), VII (28).
24 Ibid., VII (37).
25 Ibid., VII (110).
26Ibid., X (1,3).
27 Ibid., VII (30-33).
28 Ibid., VII (34-36).
29 Ibid., X (15).
30Ibid., X (1-2).
31In this section, written by Marilyn Hall, it seemed better to include the chapter and paragraph numbers in the text.
32(Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association) 320, 327.
33 John 8.12. Biblical and liturgical quotations are in Latin in the original text. Catherine occasionally quotes from others sources, espcially Jacopone da Todi. All our translations are based on the quotations as they appear in Foletti’s text.
34The antecedent of this seems to be “to do whatever good you can.” A century later the Council of Trent spoke of the same situation: Session 6, Decr. de justificatione, c. 14 (DS #1542-#1544).
35Jacopone da Todi, Laude 78, vv. 132-134. Foletti numbers the Laude according to the edtion of F. Mancini (Rome-Bari, 1974). This differs from the more traditional numbering used by Serge and Elizabeth Hughes in their American translation (New York: Paulist, 1982).
36PL 73: 911-912.
37The modern Italian “manna” has the more general meaning of “blessing.”
38St. Francis, Admonitions 3.
39Roman Breviary, Antiphon for Vespers, November 22.
40Here and below “colpa” (literally, “fault”) seems to refer to the practice of “culpa,” a regular disclosure of faults against the rule of their community which religious made to their superiors or at a community meeting. See the article A. Gauthier, art. “Colpa,” in Dizionario degli istituti di perfezione (1975) 2:1237-1239.
41See previous note.
42Jacopone da Todi, Laude 92, vv. 341-344.
43St. Bernard, Sermon 2 on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Opera, ed. J. Leclercq and H. Rochais (Rome: 1968) 5: 190.6; also, The Sayings of Brother Egidius (Detti di frate Egidio in Mistici del Duecento e del Trecento), ed. A. Levasti [Milano, 1960] 131).
44Palladius, Historia lausiaca, ed. W. K. Lowther Clarke (London, 1918) 22 (PL 73: 1126).
45 Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, tr. Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger (New York: Longmans, Green, 1941) 317-318 (June 18) and 539-543 (September 11).
46Detti di frate Egidio, 123.
47St. Bernard, Sermon 5 on the Festival of All Saints, 9, ed. Leclercq, 5: 8-10.
48Detti di frate Egidio, 128.
49Here and in IX.14 “fraternidade” is translated sisterhood.
50This paragraph, partly in Italian and partly in Latin, is not easy to interpret: “Ma chi de zò ne ssia caxone, saperasse nello rendere delli debiti, conzosiacossa che li soprastanti alcune volte, inganati sub enomine et vochabulo sensualitatis si impendunt altissime caritatis, ponendo innanci a le greze loro