Catherine, who was born a twin to a rather prolific mother who had already borne 22 children (eventually stopping at 25) is known in the Church as a mystic.
She decided at an early age to dedicate her life to Christ.
When she was 16 her older sister died in childbirth and the family wanted Catherine to marry her brother-in-law. She had other ideas however; she went on hunger strike and cut her hair short to make her less attractive to possible suitors.
At the age of 21 she had a mystical experience of marriage with Jesus.
In another vision she was encouraged to go out into the world.
So she went with a group of followers with various aims. They sought to reform the clergy, encourage people to totally devote themselves to God and to bring peace to the warring factions in Italy. She never became a nun, but she did join the lay Third Order of the Dominicans.
Around 1377 she learned to write and began sending letters to important people in the Church and to heads of state to encourage peace and unity.
She also wrote an important spiritual work, The Dialogue of Divine Providence.
In many ways fasting was her special charism. Towards the end of her life it was said that she almost survived by consuming the Eucharist alone.
She eventually died at the age of 33 of a stroke.
She was regarded as a saint in her lifetime, and had many hagiographical lives written about her soon after her death.
1347: Born in in Siena, Italy
Named: Caterina di Jacopo di Benincasa
1461: Canonised by Pope Pius II
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the whole world on fire.”Catherine of Siena
1 Corinthians 1: New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised, Catholic Edition
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6
just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— 7
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8
He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thought for the Day
What are the needs of the world that you feel passionate about?
Are you doing all you can to make the world a better place?