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10 Glorious Facts About Italian Mystic & Doctor of the Church Saint Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena is a 14th-century Italian mystic and theologian.

Here are 10 things to know and share about her life of profound holiness!

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

1) Born in Siena, Italy, in 1347.

She was born on the solemnity of the Annunciation of Jesus (March 25))

2) Said to have had her first visions of Jesus when she was just a child.

Her experiences as a mystic continued throughout her life.

3) Had the nickname “Euphrosyne.”

She was such a joy as a child that she was called “Euphrosyne”, which is Greek for JOY.

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

4) She was NOT a nun.

Motivated by a vision of Saint Dominic, she entered the Third Order of Saint Dominic at age 16.

5) Spent several years of solitude in her cell within her family’s home

…before living a life of service to the poor and sick in Siena.

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

6) Played a role in ending the Avignon Papacy.

She convinced Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome from France!

7) She received the stigmata

…but her wounds were visible to her alone!

8) She had the Gift of Tears.

Pope Benedict XVI explained that this was part of her spirituality – to express an exquisite, profound sensitivity and tenderness.

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

9) She is the only lay Doctor of the Church.

The others are all clergy or religious! Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1970. Her spiritual testament and teachings are found in “The Dialogue of Divine Providence.”

10) She died on April 29, 1380, at the age of 33.

Here is a prayer written by Saint Catherine of Siena:

Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.


And here is a prayer for her saintly intercession:

O Saint Catherine of Siena, God our Father enkindled the flame of holy love in your heart as you meditated on the Passion of Jesus His Son. Moved by His grace, you devoted your life to the poor and the sick, as well as to the peace and unity of the Church.

Through your intercession, may we also come to know the love of Jesus, bring His compassion to all, and work for the unity of His Church. We ask this in Jesus’ Name and for His sake.

God, You caused Saint Catherine to shine with Divine love in the contemplation of the Lord’s Passion and in the service of Your Church. By her help, grant that Your people, associated in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of His glory.


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