Despite the passage of time, Catherine of Siena is an extraordinarily modern mystic. If we are about to ask ourselves: what is St. Catherine of Siena known for? The answer is that she is undoubted of all times because she lived outside of time. St Catherine of Siena is most known for her experiences on the borderline between life and death. She lived long before Raymond Moody was born. Left her in tears for many days: “I did not want to return to this dungeon that is the physical body.”
According to historians, Saint Catherine of Siena is known for asking to be received into the ranks of the Third Dominican Order and finally leaving her parental home. Saint Catherine organized aid for the needy. Entered hospitals and performed work reserved for older men and women. She bent down and kissed his disfigured legs when she came across a foul-smelling leper. To overcome the repulsion that had overcome her.
The history of humanity and the Church knows the emergence of geniuses. People endowed with extraordinary gifts, who intervened, sometimes even from childhood, in various fields of activity and brought about profound changes: St Catherine of Siena is most known for being a kind of genius in the spiritual life and history of the Church.
Who was Catherine of Siena?
She has been seen levitating on several occasions in ecstasy. St Catherine of Siena is most known for she is one of the greatest mystics in the history of the Church. Much more misogynistic in that era than today. She bequeathed us her famous dialogues with God and Jesus. Gitta Malasz’s Dialogues with the Angel is a true gem with only one equivalent.
St Catherine of Siena was a woman who dedicated herself to the Benedictine Order. She was born on March 25, 1347, the 24th child of James and Lapa Benincasa, humble boyars of Siena. Her parents gave her the name Catherine. At seven, she showed a premature knowledge of the realities. And dangers of life, she vowed to know no other love than Christ: this is called the “mystical marriage of Catherine.” That this act was not the fruit of a childish fantasy will be proven throughout her life.
Although she did not live long, 33 years, her entire existence was bathed in the supernatural: stigmata, visions, ecstasies. Levitation and encounters with angels. She explained at one point that she didn’t see the faces of people who visited her because she saw their souls. At one point, there were eight priests around her at all times. Because everyone who spoke to her shortly afterward was profoundly transformed, it is no accident that the memory of such a saint as Catherine of Siena has spanned six centuries of history.
Biography of St. Catherine of Siena
|Full name:||Caterina Benincasa|
|Year of birth:||1347 AD|
|Year of death:||1380 AD|
|Place of birth:||Sienna, Italy|
|Spouse:||Giovanni di Paolo|
|Death cause:||Massive Stroke
What is St Catherine of Siena most known for?
Catherine, convinced that only people renewed by the Gospel could renew the Church, dedicated herself with all her efforts to reform the monks of the Order of St Dominic, to which her tertiary status bound her. In this order, she already had many spiritual sons on whom she could count. Before her death, she made them promise that, in the first chapter, they would elect Brother Raimondo da Capua as their superior general, as was to happen.
Catherine of Siena’s heroism reaches its peak, and through it, she becomes well known during the plague of 1374. When she refuses to leave the city, along with twenty-seven other women, with whom she cares for the plague victims. She carries the bodies of the dead on her back and helps to bury them. When the scourge has ceased, her fellow citizens reward her work. And her jet setting with taunts and malicious insinuations.
It was the last gem in Catherine’s crown of merit. Christ, the Saviour, appears to her in a vision and engraves the marks of His wounds on her hands, feet, and ribs; Catherine will bear these wounds until her death. Then he says to her, “From now on, you will leave your cell, town, and country. I will be with you and take you to speak to the whole world. I want to send you to the Bishops, the leaders of the Church and Christendom, so that a weak woman may shame the pride of the strong.”
Read also: Who was Dante?
What is Catherine the patron saint of?
Catherine’s letters, so full of wisdom, circulated among her disciples, and the spiritual movement growing around her person began to preoccupy the people of the Church.
According to historians, Catherine of Siera is declared to be the patron saint of poor people, condemned to death and persecution. Her love for the poor and sick, her assistance to those sentenced to death. And the conversions that soon followed attracted the attention. And the enthusiasm of the simple people who considered her a saint, as well as slander and persecution from her critics.
Numerous personalities of the time, men and women, politicians, cardinals, monks, and lay people, were moved by her charisma. And gathered around Catherine, choosing her as their mother and teacher turning to her for advice not only for their signification but also in essential matters of public life.
What miracles did Catherine of Siena do?
On a Sunday in August, her body took on the color of a corpse, and after a few hours, her loved ones concluded she was dead; they placed her in an open coffin to pay their last respects. But eventually, Catherine opened her eyes, frightening the sisters guarding her. “What happened?” asked her confessor Raimond de Cape. “Were you dead?” “My heart exploded. It split from top to bottom. My body was separated from my soul. I don’t know how long this lasted; the sisters say four hours.
According to historical accounts, the greatest miracle Catherine of Siena performed was that she rose from the dead and saw the mysteries of God and the glory of the saints to come on earth.
She claims to have seen the mysteries of God (Vidi Arcana Dei). I did not see the divine essence itself, but I saw the glory of the saints, the pains of sinners in hell, and those of souls purifying themselves in limbo. My memories are no longer apparent. And then I have no words to describe those things. Oh, how sad to come back down here. But the Lord told me, “The happiness of many depends on your return to earth where you will no longer live as before, locked up in a cell.”
What memorable thing did Catherine of Siena say?
The Pope had the opportunity to get to know Catherine’s work well. And wanted to give her a sign of his recognition by granting her special privileges. Such as the portable altar gave the priest the right to celebrate Mass for her in any place and confirmed Brother Raimondo da Capua. As her patron and confessor. He entrusted her with three other priests who had full faculties. Could accompany her anywhere to listen to the confessions of the penitents. Who converted in large numbers at her passing.
According to historical records, St Catherine of Siena later said to her disciples, immersed in many earthly activities, “Make for yourselves a cell in your minds from which you can never come out again.”
While Catherine of Siena was engaged in this work of moral cleansing, a group of cardinals sabotaged the election of Urban VI and elected Clement VII as antipope. Catherine ran to Rome to defend the legitimate pope. At the pontiff’s invitation. She spoke in the consistory of the remaining faithful cardinals and wrote letters to Queen Giovanna di Napoli. And other heads of state rallied them all to the defense of Christ’s sole vicar and called the leaders of the Christian communities in Rome to unity. She was stirring them with her words, forming a wall of defense around Urban VI.
- Catherine of Siena felt the first pains of the Passion of Jesus in 1373 with the crown of thorns around her head, followed two years later by five other wounds that appeared on her body, painful but at the same time invisible to others as she requested (they were, however, visible after her death).
- The mystic nun left this world at 33, like her husband, on 29 April 1380; that is also when her stigmata appeared.
- Catherine of Siena’s body was displayed after her death for three days. During this time, thousands of people visited it. Believers and nobles alike were all attracted by her intimacy with God. It was not until 1385, five years later. That her body was dug up to recover her bones or relics.
One evening in 1337, while she was caught up in prayer, Jesus appeared to her and gave her the following discourse: “Since out of love for me you have renounced pride. The pleasures of the flesh, and given all the beauty of your heart to me. And now, when all the rest of the house is rejoicing, I have decided to celebrate the wedding of your soul. And to take you as my wife as I promised you.”
Then, after this declaration, the Apostle John, Mary, St. Paul, and St. Dominic materialized in her little cell to be witnesses. Mary took Catherine’s hand and brought the young virgin to her Son. Who placed a gold ring with a diamond and four pearls on her finger: “Here I, your creator, a savior, or, marry you to me in faith. Keep this faith without blemish until you come to me in heaven; celebrate this wedding without end. From this moment, My daughter, be firm and unwavering in all that I will ask you to accomplish by My grace. Thus armed with the strength of faith, you will defeat all enemies. And be happy.”
This ring became invisible to everyone except Catherine, who saw it all the time, except when she admitted blushing when she offended her groom. For the divine wedding to which she was called, she was declared a Saint.
- Curtayne, A. (1993). Saint Catherine of Siena. Tan Books.
- Espi Forcen, F. (2013). Anorexia mirabilis: The practice of fasting by Saint Catherine of Siena in the late Middle Ages. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(4), 370-371.
- Jørgensen, J. (2012). Saint Catherine of Siena. Wipf and Stock Publishers.
- Murk-Jansen, S. (2008). The saintly politics of Catherine of Siena. By F. Thomas Luongo. Pp. xvii+ 233. Ithaca–London: Cornell University Press, 2006.£ 20.95 ($39.95). 13 978 0 8014 4395 4; 10 0 8014 4395 4. The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 59(2), 324-325.
- Parsons, G. (2017). The Cult of Saint Catherine of Siena: A study in civil religion. Routledge.