St Catherine of Sweden

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St Catherine of Sweden, Catherine Vastanensis or Catherine of Vadstena (circa 1332 - 24 March, 1381) is the patron saint of protection against abortion and miscarriage. Her father was Ulf Gudmarsson and her mother was the better known St Bridget.

At the age of about 13 she married Eggart von Kürnen with whom she took a vow of chastity. 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" ("Siælinna tröst", or Själens tröst), a dated copy from 1407 is still in existence.

Before her death, Catherine became head of the Bridgittine convent at Vadstena, which was founded by her mother. 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 at her side, which is said to have come to her aid when unchaste youths tried to steal her virginity.

See also: Patron saint

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