Tuesday, April 12, 2011

St. Catherine of Siena

Today's Woman of Peace is St. Catherine of Siena. 
her name in Spanish
"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze." St. Catherine

This woman of God did set the world ablaze. She often spoke of the fire of God. Fire "symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions." (Catechism 696) And she became a living flame so much so that she bore the wounds of Christ invisibly during her life and visibly after her death.

She lived in Siena, Italy in the fourteenth century and died at the young age of thirty-three years. So she accomplished all her good works within a short period of time. People knew her as a miracle worker and called on her in their difficulties. This wasn't just friends and acquaintances, it was Sienese people in general. And it grew to all of Italy.

Always ready to act as a peacemaker, St. Catherine was a renowned arbitrator among people helping them settle disputes and age-old feuds. She was even called upon by rulers of Italian cities to mediate with the Pope during civil unrest.

Can you imagine a young woman with these God-given abilities helping a Pope establish peace in a country?

"I shall give thee such speech and wisdom that no one shall be able to resist. I shall bring thee before Pontiffs and rulers of the Church."

These were prophetic words of Our Lord to St. Catherine which came to pass. She corresponded with Pope Gregory about the crusade to wrest the Holy Sepulchre from the Turks. When she arrived in Avignon to help him, the Pope said, "I desire nothing but peace, I place the affair entirely in your hands, only I recommend to you the honor of the Church." Upon returning home, Catherine continued to correspond with Gregory entreating him to labor for peace.

The Great Schism in the church grieved St. Catherine. She tirelessly labored to heal this terrible breach in Christian unity.

"I have no other desire in this life save to see the honor of God, your peace, and the reformation of Holy Church, and to see the life of grace in every creature that hath reason in itself." St. Catherine

May we see her heartfelt desires fulfilled in our days on earth--
  • God's honor,
  • God's peace,
  • Unity in the Church,
  • Every person filled with grace

St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!
Feast Day: April 29

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