Celebrating Saints—Caterina Volpicelli—December 28

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Caterina lived in Italy with her family. As a teen she enjoyed going to plays and dances with friends. When Caterina was 15 she met a priest named Fr. Ludovico, and that meeting changed her life. He encouraged her to be a person of prayer and follow God’s will for her life, and she decided to do just that.

Faced disappointment

When Caterina was 20, she wanted to become a religious sister and devote her life to God. She was heartbroken when she had to leave the convent after a short time because she was ill. She prayed that God would show her another way to serve others. Her example reminds us to face challenges in our lives with prayer.

Invited others to join her

She decided to ask people to join her in prayer at her home. They also went out to help people in need. She wanted “to revive love for Jesus Christ in hearts, in families, and in society.” She started a religious order, the Servants of the Sacred Heart, in 1874. She and the sisters opened a place to care for children without families. They also tended to the sick
in the cholera epidemic.

Saw Jesus in all people

Caterina saw Jesus in all people and devoted her life to serving others. She lived the gospel in her life and offered everything she did each day to God. We, too, are called to witness to God’s love for all people by our words and actions. St. Catarina Volpicelli was canonized in

What we can do

Talk about her life. What did Caterina want to do? Why was she disappointed? What did she do then? What should we do when we face challenges? Why is prayer important in our lives? What was her new plan? How did she and the sisters in her order reach out to others?
Help people in need. Encourage children to think of ways to serve others as St. Caterina did. Ideas for the Christmas season include donating toys to a children’s shelter,
calling someone who is sick to cheer them, or praying for people who send us Christmas cards. Ask children to draw pictures of what they will do.
Remember to pray. Explore with children how we can pray to God in our own words. Let children know that prayers do not have to be long. We can pray a sentence prayer, such as, “Lord Jesus, help me to follow your way of love today.”


God of all people, we thank you for your unending love for each one of us. May we be open to the needs of others and share your love with other people like St. Caterina. We pray to see the face of Jesus in people in need as she did. Give us the courage to live the gospel in
our lives each day. Amen.


Patricia Mathson, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She has authored many books, including her latest: 33 Mass Lessons and Activities for Children from Twenty-Third Publications.

This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, November/December 2018.

Image credits: Beata Caterina Volpicelli, dipinto di Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio, public domain

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