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Saint Catherine of Siena

AKA: Caterina Benincasa
Catharine of Siena
Katharine of Siena

Born: March 25, 1347 in Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Died: April 29, 1380 in Rome, Italy of a mysterious and painful illness that came on without notice and was never properly diagnosed
Buried in the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome

Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Church

Canonized: June 29, 1461 by Pope Pius II

Feast Day: April 29; April 30 (Dominicans)

Patronages: Against Bodily Ills
Against Miscarriages
Against Temptations
Fire Prevention
People Ridiculed for their Piety
Theta Phi Alpha Society
Places:  Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA

Representation: Cross
Crown of Thorns

The year 1347 witnessed the birth of Saint Catherine, the most remarkable woman of her age.  In her childhood she consecrated her virginity to God.  However, her parents, wishing to see her married, began to thwart her pious inclinations.  She finally became an object of persecution in her own house.  She bore her trials with fortitude and joy, and persevered in her resolution of giving herself entirely to the Divine service.  Eventually her parents relented, and she was left free to follow her pious inclinations.

In 1365, at 18 years of age, she received the habit of the Third Order of Saint Dominic.  In 1374, during the great pestilence, she devoted herself heroically to the care of the infected.  Meanwhile, she was considered to be a power for good, since thousands were converted by her exhortations.

Two years later she went to Avignon to intercede with the Pope for the Florentines, who had been interdicted for joining in a conspiracy against the temporal possessions of the Holy See in Italy.  Through her influence, Gregory XI returned to Rome and she exhorted him to contribute, by all possible means, toward the peace of Italy.

Having lived to see the beginning of the great schism, she wrote to the cardinals who were the cause of it and to several princes, seeking to advert the terrible evil.  The life of the Saint who had been glorified by God with wondrous gifts and miracles was brought to a close on April 29, 1380, at the age of 33.  

Saint Catherine has long been regarded as one of the finest theological minds in the Church, as is shown by her outstanding work, Dialogue, and in 1970 Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.

Prayer:  God, You caused Saint Catherine to shine with Divine love in the contemplation of the Lord's Passion and in the service of Your Church.  By her help, grant that Your people, associated in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of His glory.  Amen.