I spent some time in Valldemossa and would be very interested to know the story of Saint Catalina Tomas.
Her picture was on every house and I would like very much to know about her life and her importance to those who live in this outstandingly beautiful town.
Thanks for your help.
Sincerely, John S. Foulds
St Catalina Tomas (or Thomas) is the only Majorcan raised to sainthood to date.
She was born in Valldemossa in 1531 and orphaned at an early age. She learned to read and write while working as a servant for the Fortesa Tagamanent family in Palma, and she used to spend long periods in the countryside in Raixa because of delicate health. She joined the convent of Santa Magdalena in Palma in 1552, taking her vows the following year.
She was both intelligent and realistic and people such as the Viceroy and the Bishop often sought out her advice.
She died in the convent in 1574.
There are three processions in her honour every year: In Valldemossa towards the end of July, in Santa Margalida on the first Sunday in September and in Palma at the end of October.
She is usually portrayed by a six to eight year old child in Palma and Valldemossa, and as a young nun in Santa Margalida.
All three processions have their origins in celebrations marking her beatification in 1792. She was canonised in 1930.
Another Majorcan, Fray Junipero Serra, founder of the California missions, was born in Petra. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II and the case for making him a saint is still being studied.
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