Presentation of books, conferences and guided tours of the places in the life of Santa Caterina de’ Ricci, co-patron saint of the city of Prato. The program of events promoted by the Diocese and the Dominican monastery of San Vincenzo on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Saint, which took place on April 23, 1522, is truly rich. and the works of Saint Catherine, whose love for the Lord was so strong and unconditional that one day the crucified Christ she had in her cell detached from the cross to embrace her.
The central place of the initiatives will be the basilica that bears her name and the spaces of the monastery in via San Vincenzo, where Alessandra Lucrezia Romola (aka Caterina) spent most of her life.
The program of the «Cateriniano» year it was presented this morning by the prioress of the monastery Sister Annalisa Koepke and by the members of the committee established for the five hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Saint. «For us this is an important occasion – says the Prioress – it is as if the memory of Saint Catherine flourished again. She was a mystic who lived the Passion of Christ every week for twelve years and despite this suffering she was a strong woman who faced any event with joy, even the most painful ». Sister Annalisa does not hide her concern about the vocational crisis that is affecting religious orders, including the community of the Dominicans of San Vincenzo, currently made up of seven nuns: “Looking at her, we entrust our hopes for the future”. The vicar Don Daniele Scaccini spoke on behalf of the Diocese of Prato. “These celebrations are not meant to be just celebratory – underlines the priest -, Saint Catherine was a modern figure who was able to dialogue with the whole world, at a time when the possibilities given to women were rather limited. Today, despite having many possibilities for communication, we find it difficult to express contents that promote man in his relationships and in his spirituality”. This special anniversary also represents an excellent opportunity to discover the basilica of San Vincenzo, one of the churches that best expresses the late Baroque present in Prato, and the beautiful monastic choir, a gift from one of the saint’s spiritual sons, the Florentine Filippo Salviati. «During the guided tours of the monastery it will also be possible to admire the large banner displayed in St. Peter’s in Rome on 29 June 1746, the day of the canonization of St. Catherine. A unique work not usually visible to the public», says Veronica Bartoletti, president of ArteMìa. The rector of the basilica of San Vincenzo was also present from the committee Don Paolo Baldanzi and don Marco Pratesi.
For the first time it will be possible to admire the banner carried by the people of Prato in St. Peter’s Square in 1746 for the canonization of the Saint
The first initiatives. After the triduum of thanksgiving and prayer which culminated on 23 April, on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of Saint Catherine, all the initiatives promoted in her honor now begin. On Saturday 30 April and Saturday 14 May at 10 a guided tour of «The basilica and choir of San Vincenzo and Santa Caterina, the places of the Saint of Prato» is scheduled, curated by ArteMìa.
On 12 May at the Roncioniana library (in Piazza San Francesco) there will be a conference by Angela Tonini, professor at the diocesan school of theology in Prato. The initiatives continue in the following months with conventions and conferences, guided tours, a bicycle ride in the places of the Saint, to end on 23 April 2023 with the solemn closing mass of the 500th anniversary. The complete calendar can be consulted on the Diocese website. For information and reservations: ArteMìa (firstname.lastname@example.org; 340 5101749).
Who is Saint Catherine? Alessandra Lucrezia Romola was born on April 23, 1522 in Florence. At the age of 7 she entered the convent of San Pietro a Monticelli, from where she left at the age of 9 to return to the parental home with the desire to consecrate her life. The monastery of San Vincenzo Ferreri was the place where, once she made her profession of faith on June 24, 1536, she remained until the day of her death on February 2, 1590. And still today her body rests in the basilica of she. From February 1542 the Saint began to be subjected to a series of ecstatic raptures that occurred every week for twelve years. Her devotion to the Crucifix, still preserved in the monastery today, was tireless, as was her ability to know how to lead the community in the decades in which she was prioress. Furthermore, her great gift of maintaining relationships with exponents of the society of her time should be underlined, testified by a precious collection of letters which documents how she was capable of reaching far, while remaining in the cloister of the monastery. Catherine was proclaimed a saint by Benedict XIV on 29 June 1746. Her feast day falls on 4 February.