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In what manner, and at what time, she passed from this life to the Lord.—Many persons saw that blessed soul, under different forms, and in different ways, unite itself with God.—What happened to her confessor when he was celebrating the Mass of the Martyrs.
At length, on the 14th of September she had so violent a bleeding that her body seemed deprived of every drop of moisture. All the blood remaining within had been dried up by the fire that was consuming her. Her pulse was hardly perceptible, but her mind was clear. During the night she talked freely, and received communion as usual, continuing in the same state until seven o’clock on the following evening.
On Saturday night, as the morning of Sunday was approaching, she was asked if she wished to receive communion, to which she answered, “Not yet,” when she found that it was not the usual hour. Then, raising the finger of her right hand to heaven, she wished, it would seem, to show that she was going to make her communion in heaven, there to unite herself wholly with her Love, and triumph with him forever; and, as hitherto she had been separated from all earthly things, seeing that her hour had now come, she knew that she should need no more communions on earth; and at that moment this blessed soul peacefully and gently expired, saying, “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,” and took flight to her sweet and long-desired Love.
After her death that yellow tint which before was only seen about the region of the heart, diffused itself over her whole body, which signified that the divine fire had gradually consumed her whole humanity, which was preserved alive in the flesh until every, even the last particle was consumed; and then, free from every pain, she went forth from this purgatory, beatified, to take her place, as we must believe, in the choir of the Seraphim. For so purified was she by the divine fire in this life, it would seem that the Lord must have exalted her to such a glorious elevation.
This, her most happy transit, took place in the year 1510, on Saturday night, December 14th, as the hour of Sunday was approaching when she usually received communion. Among the persons present was one of her spiritual daughters, who saw the soul depart swiftly, and fly to God, without hindrance; and this sight gave her great consolation, and so much light, that she addressed those about her in words of burning love, exclaiming: “Oh! how narrow is the way by which we must pass, to arrive, without hindrance, at our home.”
Another spiritual daughter of the saint, who, by divine permission, was tormented by an evil spirit, suffered dreadfully at that hour, and the spirit being forced to declare the cause, said that he had seen that soul unite herself with God.
Her faithful physician was asleep, and awoke as she departed, hearing a voice saying to him, “Rest in God, for I am now going to Paradise.” At these words he called his wife, and told her that the Lady Catherine had died just at that moment, and it was found to be so.
Another person, who was praying, saw at the same hour Catherine ascending to heaven on a white cloud, and being very spiritual and devout, he experienced such joy and consolation at the sight, that he was like one beside himself, and although at a distance, he was as certain of her death and glory as if he had been present.
A holy, religious lady also saw her in her sleep, clothed in white, with a girdle about her waist. She told her companion that she had seen the soul of the blessed Catherine going to heaven, and in the morning, to her great joy, she found that it was so.
Another religious was at that hour rapt in spirit, and saw Catherine so beautiful, joyful, and content, that she believed herself in Paradise. She called her by her name, and told her many things which prepared her to suffer for the love of God, and determined her to change her life, which she did; and she was after heard to speak of the comfort she received from the memory of that vision.
It would be a long history to relate all the other persons who had the same vision, in various places, and under various circumstances. Her confessor had no notice of her death, on that night, nor the following: but the next day but one, happening to celebrate the mass for many martyrs, and not thinking, at the time, of that blessed soul, he had such a clear vision of her martyrdom, that he knew every word he uttered was appropriate to her sufferings; and his heart was so wounded with compassion and devotion, that he burst into tears, and was hardly able to continue the mass; but in the midst of his weeping he experienced great interior joy and satisfaction at the divine disposal and her repose.
All present at that mass—and they were friends of the blessed Catherine—could not restrain their weeping, so that the confessor himself was overwhelmed with astonishment, and could, with difficulty, finish the service. After it was concluded, he retired, and indulged his tears to relieve the oppression of his heart. So clearly was the great suffering of that chosen soul revealed to his mind, that all he had seen of it with his bodily eyes and known by long experience, seemed as nothing to the reality, and if God had not helped him, he would have died of grief.
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