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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Catherine Adorni

b. 1447, Genoa, Italy; d. 1510, Genoa, Italy

The correct spelling of this name is CATHERINE ADORNO.

Catherine was born into the distinguished Fieschi family of Genoa, who gave her an excellent education but then forced her into an arranged marriage at the age of sixteen. Her husband, Giuliano Adorno, was by all accounts a dissolute and unscrupulous man. Catherine endured ten years of marital unhappiness until one day in 1473 she experienced a mystical religious conversion. From then on, her life was dedicated to penance and service to the poor. She worked in a hospital ministering to the sick, where she was eventually joined by her reformed husband. She recounted her mystical revelations in two theological texts, The Spiritual Dialogue and Treatise on Purgatory, which were published posthumously. Catherine was canonized in the eighteenth century.