In the midst of these varied occupations, Catherine always found time for prayer, meditation and contemplation. And if the free time of day was not sufficient, she simply shortened her sleep to give more hours to her vigil.
She had been the baker for a considerable period of time when, out of obedience, Saint Catherine accepted the responsibilities as novice mistress. With diligence and care she assumed her duty. She told the novices to address her as Sister Catherine and not the more formal “mother mistress”. She taught them with humility, charity, and mildness yet with sacred fervor.
Their new way of life did not spare Catherine the assaults of the Devil. As she progressed in holiness she received greater trials. Thankfully, also with great favors and visions from God after they ended.
There are two well-known incidents in the saint’s life that are considered quite significant. One of them I have had commissioned in Italy to be artistically rendered, so that we can display that event prominently in our own church.
The first involves Catherine on a Friday evening kneeling before the image of the Crucified Christ. She yearned to understand and deeply feel His suffering. Her desire was answered. Jesus spoke to her telling her about His inner pains, the bitter sorrow He felt for His Mother, the deep, stabbing grief He felt reflecting on the rejection and ingratitude of mankind in response to His love. Catherine understood and was filled with a deeper love and tender compassion for his sufferings.
On the night of Christmas 1445, and all alone in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Catherine was deeply meditating on the mysteries of this feast. She fervently asked God to let her know at what moment His Divine Son was born into this world. Suddenly, shortly before midnight, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her, showing her the Child Jesus, whom she then placed in Catherine’s arms. Trembling with awe and respect, yet still more overcome with joy, Catherine took full advantage of the moment by caressing Him, of pressing Him against her heart, and of bringing His face to her lips. When her face touched the cheeks of Jesus, He disappeared, but leaving her filled with joy. For the rest of her life she carried the trademark of that divine contact imprinted on her, That “mark” is believed to be seen today, found on that portion of her chin which appears whiter in the saint’s preserved body.