Catherine of Vadstena
|Saint Catherine of Sweden|
Saint Catherine in Trönö Old Church
|Born||1331 or 1332|
|Died||24 March 1381|
|Roman Catholic Church|
|Canonized||1484 (cultus confirmed) by Innocent VIII|
|Attributes||A hind at her side|
|Patronage||Protection against abortion and miscarriage|
Saint Catherine of Sweden, Katarina av Vadstena, Catherine of Vadstena or Katarina Ulfsdotter (c. 1332 – 24 March 1381) has been called the patron saint of protection against abortion and miscarriage. Her father was Ulf Gudmarsson, Lord of Ulvåsa, and her mother was Saint Birgitta (known as Birgitta Birgersdotter of Finsta in her lifetime).
At the age of twelve or thirteen she married Lord Eggert van Kyren, a very religious young nobleman of German descent whom she persuaded to take a vow of absolute chastity, and both lived in a state of virginity. Catherine accompanied her mother to Rome in 1349, and soon upon arrival heard news of her husband's death. Catherine is said to have written a devotional work entitled Consolation of the Soul (in medieval Swedish Siælinna tröst, or Själens tröst in modern Swedish), a dated copy from 1407 is still in existence.
She stayed on with her mother, accompanied her on several journeys, including one to the Holy Land. At the death of Bridget, Catherine returned to Sweden with her mother's body, which was buried at the great monastery of Vadstena.  Catherine became head of the Brigittine convent at Vadstena Abbey, founded by her mother. Catherine took on the task of forming the community in the rule her mother had written and directing the Order of the Holy Savior, or Bridgettines. After some years, she returned to Rome to work for her mother's canonization. She stayed there five years and formed a close friendship with Catherine of Siena.
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII gave permission for Catherine's veneration as a saint and her feast was assigned to 22 March in the Roman martyrology. St. Catherine is generally represented with a hind (female red deer) at her side, which is said to have come to her aid "when unchaste youths sought to ensnare her".
In 1488, Pope Innocent VIII gave permission for the translation of her relics in Vadstena. The formal beatification and canonization process, which also documented the required miracles, was never completed because of the Protestant Reformation.
- "Katarina av Vadstena". NationalEncyklopedin. Retrieved 21 February 2014. (in Swedish; subscription required)
- Kirsch, Johann P. (1908). "St. Catherine of Sweden". In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- Stevens, Clifford. "St. Catherine of Vadstena". The One Year Book of Saints. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. Retrieved 21 February 2014. Hosted at EWTN.com.
- Beyer, Jürgen (1999). "On the Transformation of Apparition Stories in Scandinavia and Germany, c. 1350–1700". Folklore (Taylor & Francis Online) 110 (1–2): 39–47. doi:10.1080/0015587X.1999.9715979. Retrieved 21 February 2014. Fee required for full article.
- "Katarina Ulfsdotter". Nordisk Familjebok (1910). pp. 1281–1283. Retrieved on 21 February 2014. (in Swedish)