Catherine of Siena
|Saint Catherine of Siena|
St. Catherine of Siena,
|Virgin; Doctor of Church|
|Died||29 April 1380
||29 June 1461 by
||April 29; April 30 (Roman Calendar, 1628–1969)|
||against fire; bodily ills; diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA; Europe; illness; Italy; miscarriages; people ridiculed for their piety; sexual temptation; sick people; sickness;
Saint Catherine of Siena
She accompanied the chaplain of the Dominicans to the pope in
The Great Schism of the West lead Catherine of Siena to go to Rome with the pope. She sent numerous letters to princes and cardinals to promote obedience to Pope Urban VI and defend what she calls the "vessel of the Church." She died on 29 April 1380, exhausted by her penances. Urban VI celebrated her funeral and burial in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.
The devotion around Catherine of Siena developed rapidly after her death. She was canonized in 1461, declared patron saint of Rome in 1866, and of Italy in 1939.
 First woman declared "doctor of the Church" on 3 October 1970 by Paul VI with
Catherine of Siena is one of the outstanding figures of medieval Catholicism, by the strong influence she has had in the history of the papacy. She is behind the return of the Pope from Avignon to Rome, and then carried out many missions entrusted by the pope, something quite rare for a simple nun in the Middle Ages.
Her writings—and especially The Dialogue, her major work which includes a set of treatises she would have dictated during ecstasies—mark theological thought. She is one of the most influential writers in Catholicism, to the point that she is one of only four women to be declared a doctor of the Church. This recognition by the Church consecrates the importance of her writings.
Since 18 June 1939, Catherine of Siena has been one of the two
Caterina di Giacomo di Benincasa was born on 25 March 1347 in
Catherine is said by her confessor and biographer
When Catherine was sixteen, her older sister Bonaventura died in
Catherine would later advise Raymond of Capua to do during times of trouble what she did now as a teenager: "Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee." In this inner cell she made her father into a representation of Christ, her mother into the
A vision of
Her custom of giving away clothing and food without asking anyone's permission cost her family significantly, but she requested nothing for herself. By staying in their midst, she could live out her rejection of them more strongly. She did not want their food, referring to the table laid for her in Heaven with her real family. 
As social and political tensions mounted in Siena, Catherine found herself drawn to intervene in wider politics. She made her first journey to
After this visit, she began travelling with her followers throughout northern and central Italy advocating reform of the clergy and advising people that repentance and renewal could be done through "the total love for God."
 In Pisa, in 1375, she used what influence she had to sway that city and
Physical travel was not the only way in which Catherine made her views known. From 1375
 onwards, she began dictating letters to scribes.
 These letters were intended to reach men and women of her circle, increasingly widening her audience to include figures in authority as she begged for peace between the republics and principalities of Italy and for the return of the
Towards the end of 1375, she returned to Siena, to assist a young political prisoner, Niccolò di Tuldo, at his execution.
 In June 1376 Catherine went to
Catherine returned to Siena and spent the early months of 1377 founding a women's monastery of strict observance outside the city in the old fortress of Belcaro.  She spent the rest of 1377 at Rocca d'Orcia, about twenty miles from Siena, on a local mission of peace-making and preaching. During this period, in autumn 1377, she had the experience which led to the writing of her Dialogue and learned to write, although she still seems to have chiefly relied upon her secretaries for her correspondence.  
Late in 1377 or early in 1378 Catherine again travelled to Florence, at the order of Gregory XI, to seek peace between Florence and Rome. Following Gregory's death in
In late November 1378, with the outbreak of the
For many years she had accustomed herself to a rigorous abstinence.
 She received the Holy
Catherine died in Rome, on 29 April 1380, at the age of thirty-three,  having eight days earlier suffered a massive stroke which paralyzed her from the waist down. Her last words were, “Father, into Your Hands I commend my soul and my spirit.”