Catherine was born into a prominent religious family; her father was the viceroy of Naples and two of his family had been popes. In 1463 she married Guiliano Adorno, a wealthy but worldly man with whom she had little in common. After ten years of living a life of worldly vanity, she was converted to the contemplative life. Her husband had lost his fortune so with the remaining income they lived among the poor in Genoa. Guiliano became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, and both he and Catherine worked among the poor and the sick. In 1479 they began working full time in a nearby hospital. A year later Guiliano died, and Catherine became the matron of the hospital.
Catherine of Genoa was a woman whose spirituality ran deep. Her love for God was matched only by her love for others. Though her writings are full of life and fervor, creative and inspiring, she is best remembered for her acts of charity. He main work, Life and Teachings, along with her Dialogues, were her most important literary contributions. She was a woman who had keen insight into pure love of God and the human struggle of accepting that love.