Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena
St. Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, Italy, the 24th of 25 children born to a wealthy wool dyer and his wife. Catherine began having profound mystical experiences at the age of six which encouraged her in a life of virtue, extreme penance, and total consecration to God through a private vow of virginity. She became a Dominican Tertiary at the age of 16 while continuing to live in the home of her parents. She had regular mystical visits from, and conversations with, Jesus, Mary, and many of the saints.
Catherine had no formal education and was illiterate, yet her theological knowledge acquired through prayer astounded learned theologians. She was especially devoted to working for the unity and spiritual health of the Church. Among her most famous accomplishments was that she persuaded the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon in 1377. She also encouraged him to call for a Crusade to the Holy Land. She was an important political figure in her day, often entering into negotiations between warring rulers through personal visits and dictated letters. Her practical wisdom and profound spiritual insight was widely sought both inside and outside the Church.
St. Catherine was a great mystic and was granted the stigmata which was made visible only after her death. She died in Rome at the age of 33, offering her life to God for the sanctification of the Church, and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970. St. Catherine of Siena is the patron saint of Italy and Europe.
Her feast day is April 29th.
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Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world ablaze.”
– Saint Catherine of Siena
The Crucifix is an open book that all can read. The crucifix is an infinite declaration of love.”
St. Catherine of Siena
What does it mean to be a Doctor of the church?
In the Catholic tradition, a Doctor of the Church, is a saint whose doctrinal writings have special authority. In early Christianity there were four Latin (or Western) doctors of the church—Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory the Great, and Jerome—and three Greek (or Eastern) doctors—John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus. To these Eastern doctors Western Christianity adds Athanasius the Great. Since the 16th century dozens have been given the term doctor by proclamation of the Roman Catholic Church, among them Thomas Aquinas (1567), Bonaventure(1588), Anselm (1720), Leo I (1754), Bernard (1830), Francis of Sales (1877), the Venerable Bede (1899), Albertus Magnus (1931), Anthony of Padua (1946), Teresa of Ávila (1970), Catherine of Siena (1970), Thérèse of Lisieux (1997), and Hildegard (2012).
Saint Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.