St. Katerine of Siena

She was born in Siena on March 25th, 1347, as a twenty fifth child of Jacob Benicas, wool painter. She was a beautiful child. Everyone called her by her nickname, and adored her. However her desires were heavenly. . Already as 6 years old girl she had a vision of Jesus and the Apostles over a Dominican church. When she was 7 she decided, she would give her entire life to the Lord, because already as a little girl she endeavored to be perfect. She did not go to school, but she taught herself to read and write at home.

Cursing hurt her very much. When once her angry mother welcomed her with cursing, she kindly pleaded: “Mother, if I did something wrong, spank me, only don’t curse, it does not become you, and it hurts me.”

She looked for loneliness; she wanted to be only with the Lord. There was one hiding-cave, her favourite place to pray. As an adult woman her parents and relatives urged her to live a society life, to dress up fashionably, and to prepare for a good marriage. She bared this heavily. She cut her hair and avoided amusements as much as possible.

When her older sister was dying she made an announcement: she promised she would not get married, whatever will be. They could not agree with her, but finally she succeeded and as a 15 year old girl she entered a the Dominican order, and filled her life with prayer, with taking care of the sick and engaging in acts of charity. Her slogan was “Pace, pace” (peace, peace).She often travelled to settle differences and conflicts, and to make peace between princesses.

She often fasted for long periods, and even after fasting she hardly ate. It was enough for her to receive only The Holy Communion. Later the Lord gave such a grace that she did not need to eat, she was sick if she ate. She was a mystical saint.

She was often ill, but she never complained. What she could hardly stand was temptation. She felt, that the Lord left her during temptation. Later when she had a vision, she understood that Jesus never left her; moreover, He was proud of her because she always won. From that time she lived with great spiritual peace.

She took care of the poor; she donated even to the poor who made excessive demands. Her people loving patience was endless. Once when she prayed complaining about the unjust things that happened to her, she had a vision. Christ offered her two crowns: a golden crown with diamonds and a crown of thorns. Choose! One she can wear here on earth the other in the everlasting life. She chose the one with the thorns. She never rebelled any more.

A lot of people asked for her advice and help. She wrote lot of letters. She did not write the letters herself but she dictated them. She was famous even in distant areas. During the 1374 plague epidemic she presented sacrificing love, miracles surrounded her, her visionary ability and great power which could convert even the great sinners made her famous in the whole of Europe. In 1376 she also went to Avigno to discuss with Pope Gregory XI coming back to Rome. She founded a monastery and she took care of people with the plague.

She wanted to help to avoid the Western church schism, she traveled to Rome but she could not prevent it: she got sick and on April 29th, 1380 at the age of 33 she died. Her body rests in Rome in the Santa Maria sopra Minerva church.

At the end of her life she was honoured with getting the stigma of Christ. At the end of her life she also got the grace that for years she did not have to eat anything, her only food was the Blessed Sacrament. She wrote almost 400 letters to famous people, and she wrote a book on the sacramental life. In 1461 pope Pius II announced her as Saint. Pope Paul VI, after the Vatican Council, registered her among the Doctors of the Church in 1970. On October 1st, 1999, she was announced as co-patron saint to Europe

text: Laszlo Gorove