Saint Catherine of SienaDominican tertiary, Doctor of the Church, co-patroness of Italy and Europe. Siena, 25/03/1347-Rome, 29/04/1380. It is the twenty-fourth of twenty-five children of a Sienese dyer from the Fontebranda district.
• At 12, he refuses an arranged marriage by his parents. She continues to help her mother with the housework, going back, as she writes, to making herself “a cell in my mind from which I never leave.”
• At 16 she became a Dominican tertiary: he lives in great penance and has ecstasy and visions. He dedicates a large part of his life to assisting the sick, especially the lepers. He also tries to reconcile the Sienese families in conflict with each other.
• The fame of her holiness around her a large number of people (“Caterinati”), of which he becomes the spiritual guide and of whom he asks to put God in the place of their own ego. He explains to them that the death of one’s self is the source of true joy.
• He has the good and unity of the Church very much at heart: to help bring Pope Gregory XI back from Avignon to Rome. Try to resolve the schism of the Westfighting for the cause of the true Pope Urban VI: for this reason he moved to Rome, where he later died.
• Although she is not very erudite, leaves important works: IEpistolarycomposed of three hundred and eighty-two letters dictated to her spiritual children (Catherine manages to dictate up to four epistles at the same time); the Dialogue of divine providencemystical work of the highest level, in which he narrates the visions he lives, e the Prayers which, like dialogue, said during ecstasies.
• Some spiritual authors teach it the greatest woman of humanity after the Madonna.
• Nicolò Toldoa young patrician from Perugia, he is sentenced to death in Siena. In prison awaiting execution, blasphemes God who permits his murder and all reject the religious who try to bring him closer to the faith. Catherine not only converts the prisoner, but convinces him of the immense joy that awaits him in the next life, to the point that he cannot wait to be beheaded to meet Christ. The day of the execution he docilely stretches his head on the stump dies and pronouncing two names: «Jesus! Catherine! ».
• He gives his Dominican cloak to a cold beggar. To those who criticize her for this behavior she says: «I prefer to be found without a cloak than without charity».
• Mother Lapa, seriously ill, refuses to go to confession; she agrees to receive her last sacraments: she is convinced that, if it is true that her daughter is a saint, she will certainly heal her. While Caterina is praying in the church, Lapa dies; on her return, the Saint begs the Lord: her mother is revived and lives up to the age of 89.
• For years, from Ash Wednesday until Ascension Day, do not take any food.
He achieves excellent results in various spiritual endeavors for her great resolve, and will energy, She is very active: uses every moment to serve Godthe brothers and the Church.
• As a child, while returning home with her brothers Stefano, sees, on the roof of the church of San Domenico, Cristo Re, seated on the throne between the apostles Peter, Paul and John. Christ smiles at her and he blesses her with a wave of his hand.
• During the carnival of 1367, while Dalvant invokes the crucifix with insistence that his faith be increased, she appears Jesus telling her that he wants to unite her to himself through a mystical marriage. Present are: Our Lady, Saint Paul, Saint John the Evangelist and King David. Jesus places them on the ring finger a ring with a diamondvisible only to her, that reminds her of her immortal Spouse.
• On 18 July 1370 after Communion the Lord appears to her and takes her heart from her breast; two days later she appears to her again e he gives her his heart, with whom Catherine will have to live forever
• 11 August 1370 Jesus makes her drink the blood from his side slashed by the spear.
• In 1375, while in Pisa in the chapel of Santa Cristina, receives the stigmata after Communion. With great difficulty she manages to return home; as soon as he gets there she faints and experience mystical death. She is believed dead, but after a few hours she opens her eyes again: she has contemplated not only the glory of the Lord, but also the eternal punishment of sinners.
• Once, in order to avoid popular unrest, a priest has the order not to give her Communion, the Holy Trinity appears to her and a very white wafer comes to rest between her open lips.
The real protagonist of his life and the real beat of his heart is Jesus. He manages to burn himself completely from himself and from the world to disconnect exclusively on Christ.
On the night of April 29, 1380, he went into agony and must fight against the spirit of darkness. Receives the Anointing of the Sick and he repeats the invocation many times: “I have sinned, Lord, have mercy on me”. He asks his mother Lapa for a blessing, which is close to her. She tries to console her disciples, whom she blesses one by one, addressing them these words: “Know that the only cause of my death is my great love for the Church, which consumes me “and also:” You must not be saddened that I am dying, but rather that you must rejoice with me rejoice, because I leave a place of pains to go and rest in an ocean of peace, in eternal God. I give you my word; after my death I will be of more use to you ”. He dies saying, like Jesus on the cross: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit”. He is just 33 years old. His uncorrupted body is kept in Rome in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva; his head is found in the church of San Domenico in Siena. AND’ canonized by Pius II in 1461 And proclaimed patroness of Italy by Pius XII in 1939. In 1970 Ponly VI the proclamation of the Doctor of the Church and in 1999 St. John Paul II nominated the patroness of Europe.
Taken from the book “The saints of the day teach us to live to die” by Luigi Luzi
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