St. Catherine of Siena

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By Catholic Digest Staff


St. Catherine of Siena
April 29


Though at the time He said nothing to her, six-year-old Catherine would never forget the encounter she had of Our Lord in 1353. She beheld a vision of Him attired in papal robes and smiling at her from above the church, surrounded by saints. Leading a life of prayer and penance, Catherine cut off her hair to become less attractive and halt her parent’s plans to marry her off. Soon treated as a mere servant in her home, her spiritual life progressed so intensely that Christ called her to serve in the world for Him. Driven by “the dignity of each human person, created and loved by God” she watched over the sick during famines and plagues, caring for their needs. She was so filled with the fire of Christ that she began to preach despite being a woman, and Church officials reported hundreds of people coming to hear her speak, many converting on the spot.  She also devoted her time to the unity of the Church, and peace in Italy, by urging the nobility to not begin a war against the pope for political reasons. “How cruel it is, that we who are Christians, members bound together in the body of holy Church, should be persecuting one another! This must not be;” she wrote while in Pisa, later receiving the stigmata, visible to only her eyes. She deeply loved the Church, and was driven to fight any corruption, materialism, and weakness she came across with in it. She wrote to the pope, calling out faults with in the system, and urging the issues to be remedied. “You are in charge of the garden of holy Church… Plant fragrant flowers in this garden for us, pastors and administrators who will be true servants of Jesus Christ crucified, who will seek only God’s honor and the salvation of souls, who will be fathers to the poor.” Catherine died in 1380, after commending her spirit to the Lord during fasting, in hope that he would take mercy and restore the struggling Church.  

Catholic Digest Staff