Catherine of Siena could barely read, but by the time she died she had written 400 letters and a book. She has been honored with the title "doctor (teacher) of the church." Catherine of Siena was the 23rd child in her family. In those times, girls were told by their parents whom they would marry and where they would live. But Catherine convinced her parents that she must not marry. She willingly took on the duties of a maid within her own home. She became a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. While still living at home, she prayed, cared for the sick and visited people in prisons.
Although she was young, she developed a reputation for being wise. Priests, politicians, and nobles came to her for guidance. She called them all her family and built them into a group of spiritual and social workers who influenced the whole region. Italy was loaded with quarreling families. The church itself was badly divided. More than one person claimed to be pope. Catherine and her spiritual companions worked to restore peace.
Catherine spent two years in Rome working to make peace in the church. The stressful situation affected her health. She suffered two strokes and died. Catherine’s deepest love was for reflective prayer. Yet she also achieved much good in the world. In her brief lifetime of 33 years, she counseled popes, healed divisions within her country, and shaped the church of time.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.