8 things to know and share about St. Catherine of Siena

by jimmyakin

in History, Liturgical Year

St. Catherine of Siena is a saint, mystic, and doctor of the Church. Here are 8 things about her to know and share.

April 29th is the memorial of St. Catherine of Siena.

She is a saint, a mystic, and a doctor of the Church, as well as a patroness of Italy and of Europe.

Who was she, and why is her life so significant?

Here are 8 things to know and share . . .

1. Who is St. Catherine of Siena?

In 2010, Pope Benedict gave an audience in which he discussed the basic facts of her life:

Born in Siena [Italy] in 1347, into a very large family, she died in Rome in 1380.

When Catherine was 16 years old, motivated by a vision of St Dominic, she entered the Third Order of the Dominicans, the female branch known as the Mantellate.

While living at home, she confirmed her vow of virginity made privately when she was still an adolescent and dedicated herself to prayer, penance and works of charity, especially for the benefit of the sick.

Note from her birth and death dates that she only lived to be 33 years old. Nevertheless, a lot happened during her life!

2. What happened after St. Catherine entered religious life?

Quite a number of things. St. Catherine was sought out as a spiritual director, and she played a role in ending the Avignon papacy (when the pope, though still the bishop of Rome, actually lived in Avignon, France).

Pope Benedict explains:

When the fame of her holiness spread, she became the protagonist of an intense activity of spiritual guidance for people from every walk of life: nobles and politicians, artists and ordinary people, consecrated men and women and religious, including Pope Gregory XI who was living at Avignon in that period and whom she energetically and effectively urged to return to Rome.

She travelled widely to press for the internal reform of the Church and to foster peace among the States.

It was also for this reason that Venerable Pope John Paul II chose to declare her Co-Patroness of Europe: may the Old Continent never forget the Christian roots that are at the origin of its progress and continue to draw from the Gospel the fundamental values that assure justice and harmony.

3. Did she face opposition in her lifetime?


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