Discover more from The Call to Holiness
Today is the Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena
Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Today is the Feast Day of our beloved St. Catherine of Siena.
Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) became a key spiritual figure during a time of struggle for the Roman Catholic Church as the papacy's authority in worldly matters transitioned to emerging western European nations, leading to conflicts like Dante's exile. The early 14th-century papacy crisis caused the relocation from Rome to Avignon, France, between 1309 and 1376. Catherine was instrumental in returning the papacy to Rome and completed missions on behalf of the Pope. She and Teresa of Ávila were the first women declared Doctors of the Church.
Catherine, a Dominican like St. Thomas Aquinas and a stigmatist like Saint Francis, dictated The Dialogue of Divine Providence during a state of ecstasy between October 1377 and November 1378.
As the youngest of 24 siblings and daughter of a wool-dyer, she had a vision of Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John blessing her at the age of seven, leading her to dedicate herself to Jesus. Her parents tried to arrange marriages for her at 12, but she resisted and joined the Dominican order as a tertiary when she was 15. Devoted to aiding the poor and sick, she inspired others to join her.
Catherine experienced a mystical marriage with Christ in a vision and was presented with a wedding ring by the Infant Christ. Her visions inspired her to participate more actively in public life, serving as a counselor and correspondent to Popes Gregory XI and Urban VI. In 1375, she became a stigmatist and lived in Avignon, France in 1376, and Rome, Italy from 1378 until her death. Her confessor and close friend, Blessed Raymond of Capua, supported her journey. She was declared a Doctor of the Church on October 4, 1970.
From the Dialogue of St. Catherine
Tears - #88
It is therefore essential that the soul be constant in her charity for her neighbors and in true knowledge of herself. In this way she will feed the flame of my charity, that is, from the knowledge the soul gained by coming to know herself and my goodness to her, which made her see that I love her unspeakably much. So she loves every person with the same love she sees herself loved with, and this is why the soul, as soon as she comes to know me, reaches out to love her neighbors. Because she sees that I love them even more than she does, she also loves them unspeakably much.
Since she has learned that she can be of no profit to me, nor return to me the same pure love with which she feels herself loved by me, she sets herself to repaying my love through the means I established—her neighbors. They are the ones to whom you must be of service, just as I told you that every virtue is realized through your neighbors. I have give you these to serve, every one, both in general and individually, according to the different graces you receive from me. You must love with same pure love with which I love you. But you cannot do this for me because I love you without being loved by you, even before you existed (in fact it was love that moved me to create you in my own image and likeness) you cannot repay me. But you must give this love to other people, loving them without being loved by them. You must love them without any concern for your own spiritual or material profit, but only for the glory and praise of my name, because I love them. In this way you will fulfill the whole commandment of the Law, which is to love me above all things and your neighbor as your very self.
Note: If you are interested in reading St. Catherine’s Dialogue - read the Suzanne Noffke, O.P. translation.
Litany of St. Catherine of Siena
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Pray for us. (repeat after each line)
St. Dominic, glorious Patriarch,
St. Catherine of Siena,
Benevolent mother of the poor,
Merciful mother of the sick,
Refuge of the sorrowful,
Intercessor for sinners,
Rose of patience,
Model of humility,
Lily of chastity,
Vessel of graces,
Zealous promoter of the honor of God,
Luster of holiness,
Example of mildness,
Glory of the Order of Preachers,
Fruitful mother of spiritual children,
Promoter of peace,
Terror of the evil spirits,
Follower of Jesus,
St. Catherine, who did give the blossoms of your innocent youth to the service of your Heavenly Spouse,
St. Catherine, whom Jesus Himself did feed with His Body and Blood,
St. Catherine, who exchanged her heart with the Heart of Jesus,
St. Catherine, who was blest with His Holy Wounds,
St. Catherine, who was taken to Heaven to the celestial nuptials,
St. Catherine, who did receive a hundredfold, reward for all her labors and merits,
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Pray for us, O glorious Virgin, St. Catherine, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray, O God, who gave St. Catherine, graced with the special privilege of virginity, patience to overcome the assault of evil spirits and to stand unshaken in the love of your Name. Grant we beseech you, that after her example treading under foot the wickedness of the world and overcoming the wiles of all enemies, we may safely pass onward to your glory. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source: Kyrie Eleison — Two Hundred Litanies by Benjamin Francis Musser O.F.M., The Magnificat Press, 1944
Today’s Mass Collect
O God, who set Saint Catherine of Siena on fire with divine love in her contemplation of the Lord’s Passion and her service of your Church, grant, through her intercession, that your people, participating in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of his glory. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
St. Catherine of Siena, Pray for us.