St. Catherine of Siena


Catherine was born in the middle of the 14th Century in the Tuscan city of Siena. From her earliest years at home she appears to have received visions and lived a life of strict prayer and penance. At age 16, she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic and gave herself to contemplation, the service of the needy, and the reconciliation of sinners. After traveling to Avignon to plead with Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome, she returned to Siena where people of all classes of society gathered around her because of her great sanctity. She is known for her extraordinary devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus, her letters (more than 600 of which have been preserved) as well as for her book The Dialogue, which is one of the great spiritual classics of the Latin Middle Ages.  The last months of her life were spent in Rome, at the request of Pope Urban VI who valued her counsel.  She died in Rome in 1380, at the age of 33.  Catherine was canonized in 1461 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. Biography by Dr. Italy