St. Catherine of Siena
By: Elizabeth Arnold and Brandon Tucker
About St. Catherine of Siena
St. Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the youngest of a large family and grew up as an intelligent, joyful and intensely spiritual person. When she was very young she began having visions. One day when she was with her brother on the way home from a visit to her sister, when suddenly she stopped in the road, gazing up into the sky. She did not hear the constant calls of the boy, who had walked on ahead. Only after he had gone back and seized her by the hand did she wake as from a dream. She burst into tears, her vision of Christ seated in glory with the Apostles Peter, Paul, and John had faded. A year later at age 7 she made a secret vow to give her whole life to God. After dedicating her life to God she lived an amazing and holy life.
Saint Catherine of Sienna entered the third order of Dominicans, the branch known as the Mantellate. She played a role in ending the Avignon Papacy. She was very important because she had experiences with angels when she was a young child. When she was sixteen she became a Dominican tertiary. St Catherine of Siena was acclaimed a person of holiness and virtue. She was made a saint in 1460. St Catherine died at the age of thirty-three. The people of Siena wished to have her body. A story is told of a miracle whereby they were partially successful: Knowing that they could not smuggle her whole body out of Rome, they decided to take only her head which they placed in a bag. When stopped by the Roman guards, they prayed to St Catherine to help them, confident that she would rather have her body in Siena. When they opened the bag to show the guards, it appeared no longer to hold her head but to be full of rose petals. Once they got back to Siena they reopened the bag and her head was visible once more. Due to this story, St Catherine is often seen holding a rose.
St. Catherine’s life is very inspiring. When Catherine was 16 years old, motivated by a vision of St. Dominic, she entered the Third Order of the Dominicans, the female branch known as the Mantellate. She was canonized in 1461. We celebrate her on April 29th. We celebrate her by honoring her on her feast day and reading about the legacy she left behind. We also follow her example as a faithful worshipper of God. The most impressive thing about her is the faith she had as a little girl to see those visions and to trust in Jesus.
Catherine was always such a happy child that she got the nickname, “Euphrosyme” which is a Greek word for joy.
Her father owned a leather and dye shop underneath their home, in Siena Italy. Her parents were Jacopa and Lapa Benincasa.
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