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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Saint Catherine of Siena - April 29 - Doctor of the Church

Saint Catherine of Siena
Seraphic Virgin
Doctor of the Church
(March 25, 1347 - April 29, 1380)

Everything comes from love,
all is ordained for the salvation of man,
God does nothing without this goal in mind
Saint Catherine of Siena

Catherine was born in Siena, Italy on the Feast of the Annunciation, the 23rd child of the Benincasa family. At the age of six she had a vision of Jesus seated on a throne smiling at her. This vision had a great effect upon Catherine and at the age of seven, she promised herself to Jesus, through Mary, giving herself over to a life of chastity. Not knowing of this vow, her parents attempted to have her married, to which she refused cutting off her hair in defiance. It wasn’t until her father saw a white dove hovering over Catherine as she prayed, that her family gave up the idea of her marriage. Soon after Catherine joined the lay affiliate of Dominican women and lived in her family’s home confined to a small room, where she devoted herself to prayer and fasting.

After three years of solitary life, Catherine received a revelation from the Lord that He was calling her to a more active life. Uncertain of what she should do she asked Our Lord “I am but a woman and I am ignorant. What can I do?” Jesus replied: “In My sight there is not man nor woman, not learned nor unlearned. But know that in these last times the pride of the so-called learned and wise has risen to such heights that I have resolved to humble them. I will therefore send unlearned men full of divine wisdom, and women who will put to shame the learning that men think they have.” She was given a vision where she was mystically married to Jesus, Our Lady placed her hand in the hand of Jesus and He placed a ring on her finger which only she could see.

Despite her lack of formal education, God certainly did put learned men to shame through the writings and works of Catherine. During the remainder of her short life she visited hospitals ministering to the sick and dying, in some cases doing more for the sick than the doctor, her prayers and the touch of her hand bringing about miraculous recoveries.

Catherine received many mystical visions of heaven and hell during her lifetime recording much in her prolific writing. Committed to reform the Church and bring her back to the Truth, Catherine was lead to counsel church leaders by rebuking disloyal cardinals who had part in electing an antipope, and was instrumental in exhorting Pope Gregory XI to leave Avignon and return to Rome.

At 28, Catherine was graced with the stigmata, which she kept secret from most due to her humility. Eating very little during her life, with the exception of the Holy Eucharist each day, Saint Catherine died at the age of 33, living the same number of years as her Holy Spouse. One hundred years after her death her body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt.

Real Catholic TV

This program is from

Ecstasy of St. Catherine of Siena - Pompeo Batoni
St. Catherine before the Pope @ Avignon - Giovanni Di Paolo

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