St. Catherine of Siena
Born in 1347, this well-known saint is the patroness of Italy, her country. Catherine was the youngest in a family of twenty-five children. Her mother and father wanted her to be happily married. However, Catherine wished only to be a nun. To prove her point, she cut off her long, beautiful hair. She wanted to make herself unattractive. Her parents were very upset and scolded her frequently. They also gave her the heaviest housework to do. But Catherine did not back down. Finally, her parents stopped opposing her.
St. Catherine was very honest and straight forward with Jesus. Once she asked him, "Where were you, Lord, when I had such shameful temptations?" And Jesus answered, "Daughter, I was in your heart. I made you win with my grace." One night, many people of Siena were out on the streets celebrating. Jesus appeared to Catherine who was praying alone in her room. With Jesus was his Blessed Mother. She took Catherine's hand and lifted it up to her Son. Jesus put a ring on the saint's finger and she became his bride.
In Catherine's time, the Church had many problems. There were fights going on all over Italy. Catherine wrote letters to kings and queens. She even went to beg rulers to make peace with the pope and to avoid wars. Catherine asked the pope to leave Avignon, France, and return to Rome to rule the Church. She told him it was God's will. He listened to St. Catherine and did what she said.
Catherine never forgot that Jesus was in her heart. Through her, Jesus helped the sick people she nursed. Through her Jesus comforted the prisoners she visited in jail.
This great saint died in Rome in 1380. She was just thirty-three. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius II in 1461. In 1970, Pope Paul VI declared St. Catherine a Doctor of the Church. She received this great honor because she served Jesus' Church heroically during her brief lifetime.
"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." --St. Catherine of Siena