Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Today: Saint Catherine of Siena O.P., Virgin & Doctor

Born at Siena, 25 March, 1347; she died at Rome, 29 April, 1380.
From her earliest years, Catherine showed a great love towards Christ and his Church. When she was sixteen, she became a Dominican Tertiary. She was a mystic and underwent the mystical experience known as the "spiritual espousal", probably during 1366. She looked after the sick, served the poor, and laboured for the conversion of sinners. All her contemporaries bear witness to her extraordinary personal charm which prevailed over the continual persecution to which she was subjected. She began to gather disciples round her, both men and women, who formed a wonderful spiritual fellowship. She implored the Pope to leave Avignon, return to Rome and reform the clergy.
The tomb of the saint at Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.
Catherine will always be remembered for the book she dictated called "Dialogue", a book of her meditations and revelations.
After a prolonged and mysterious agony of three months, endured by her with fortitude she died aged 33. Her last political work, accomplished practically from her death-bed, was the reconciliation of Pope Urban VI with the Roman Republic.
The works of St. Catherine of Siena rank among the classics of the Italian language, written in the beautiful Tuscan vernacular of the fourteenth century. Her writings consist of the "Dialogue", which treats of the whole spiritual life of man in the form of a series of colloquies between the Eternal Father and the human soul; the "Treatise on Divine Providence"; a collection of nearly four hundred letters; and a series of "Prayers".
This spiritual daughter of St Dominic together with Teresa of Avila was declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI, the first women to be proclaimed as Doctors.
St Catherine speaks:

"You, O eternal Trinity, are a deep sea, into which the more I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek. The soul cannot be satiated in your abyss, for she continually hungers after you, the eternal Trinity, desiring to see you with the light of your light. As the hart desires the springs of living water, so my soul desires to leave the prison of this dark body and see you in truth."

"O abyss, O eternal Godhead, O sea profound, what more could you give me than yourself? You are the fire that burns without being consumed; you consume in your heat all the soul's self-love; you are the fire which takes away cold; with your light you illuminate me so that I may know all your truth. Clothe me, clothe me with yourself, eternal truth, so that I may run this mortal life with true obedience, and with the light of your most holy faith."

"Nails were not enough to hold God-and-man nailed and fastened on the Cross, had not love held Him there."

"To the servant of God . . . every place is the right place, and every time is the right time."
Please offer a prayer for the Parish visiting which starts today.

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