SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA
Catherine Benincasa was one of many children in a family of Siena, in northern Italy. At the very early age of 6, a vision of the Lord appeared to her and Catherine became very spiritual and dedicated her life to God. Catherine was encouraged to marry, but she chose to become a Dominican tertiary at the early age of 16.
In 1366, a vision of Christ, Mary and the heavenly host appeared to Catherine and He placed a ring upon her hand, arming her with faith to overcome all evils and temptations. During a later vision, Christ gave to her the stigmata which was only visible after her death.
After years of solitude and prayer, Catherine served the sick and poor and became very strong in leading others in the area of spirituality. Catherine was well known for her abilities and was judged by some to be a saint and others to be a fanatic. Because of the division of public opinion, she appeared before the chapter of the Dominicans and was not found to be a hypocrite.
During her life, Catherine facilitated the Pope's to return to Rome and wrote many letters in effort to obtain peace within the church. Catherine wrote a book of doctrine which was dictated to her by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, texts of spirituality, prayers and letters that addressed the needs of people, political life and the love and care of God. Catherine became well known for her intelligence and leadership in spirituality and faith. This brave young woman died at the early age of 33 and was canonized in 1461. In 1070 Pope Paul VI granted her the title of Doctor of the Church. We celebrate her Feast Day on April 29.