St. Catherine of Siena

I think of saints as my friends. Let me introduce you to my friends, Catherine of Siena. Born in Siena, Italy in 1347 she was one of 25 children, though only 13 lived. In fact, she was a twin but her sister died as an infant. As a child, Catherine was considered a sweet and lovable girl who enjoyed being with others and doing good things. When she was 6 years old she had a vision of Jesus blessing her from heaven.  After that, she became more patient and devoted to praying. She realized she wanted to devote her life to God and not marry. This created tension in the family and CathWoman Doctor of the Churcherine’s mother punished her by having her act as the servant in the home, hoping this would get Catherine to change her mind. It didn’t. In fact, she used this time to go into her “inner cell of self-knowledge” and learn the virtue of humility.

Her writings

Catherine was not literate, which was common at that time. Instead, she has secretaries who wrote as she dictated. We have over 350 of her letters, prayers and her great work, The Dialogue, which is a record of her conversation with God during her mystical experiences.

Her life

Catherine died in Rome in 1380; was canonized in 1461 by Pope Pius II and made a Doctor of the Chruch by Pope Paul VI in 1970. She is one of 4 women saints to hold that honor.

She has much wisdom for us now though she lived over 650 years ago. One point she makes is one I ponder often: she says that knowledge of God leads to love of God, the more we know Him, the more we love Him, and that loving and serving God is what will lead us to loving and serving others. As God said to her, “I take delight in few words and many works.”

 

the not lukewarm challenge

 

This is a mighty quote on prayer from God to Catherine, “Prayer is a weapon with which you can defend yourself against every enemy. If you hold it with love’s hand and the arm of free choice, this weapon, with the light of holy faith, will be your defense.”  This week, when life overwhelms you or you are not sure what to do next, run to prayer. It will help you no matter what is happening.