Caitlin O’Rourke on Catherine of Siena

Jimmy Pochowski makes me so mad and he still calls me Fatty Catty even though Aunt Margaret says I’m stretching out a little and then he didn’t believe me when I said that Caitlin was the Irish form of Catherine and so today was my name day then he told me something really gross about Saint Catherine of Siena which I don’t think is true because it is so gross he said that Saint Catherine of Siena used to suck up pus from the sick people who she used to work with because she never ate anything else but the Eucharistic and he said she must have been some kind of crazy nut and I said no she was not she was a saint who changed the world just like Sister told us in school today and she wrote letters to the Pope and told him to stop being lazy and Sister said you can still see her head in a box with a light under it in a church in Italy and she showed us a picture but it was yucky because it was hundreds of years old like a mummy and another thing I told him was that even if it was true that Saint Catherine used to drink pus I didn’t care and he said she did lots of other things like beat herself with chains and not eat anything for a long time and I was talking about it with Flora at lunch and Flora said she thought maybe Saint Catherine was crazy and I didn’t know what to say and started to cry a little bit then stopped because I thought Saint Catherine wouldn’t cry at such a little problem then at recess when I was walking around the playground by myself and thinking which is something I do pretty much every day I thought that Aunt Jules who is a lawyer in California who divorced her husband for the money does lots of things that seem crazy to me like she runs everywhere all the time and never eats anything but a lettuce leaf once a day and Aunt Margaret said she had an operation to have pretend boobies put in and she had an operation to make her face look younger and other stuff too and Aunt Margaret says she now looks like a clown which is right because she always was a fool anyway so if Aunt Jules does all that so she can look like a Barbie doll why is it crazy for Saint Catherine to do stuff that people think is crazy to be more like Jesus and when I saw Jimmy coming in from recess I was going to tell him but changed my mind because Aunt Margaret says I shouldn’t cast my pearls before swine.

Mantilla the Hon on the Use of Incense
Mantilla the Hon on the Cappa Magna
New Guest Blogger Flora Harper
Mantilla the Hon on the Crystal Cathedral
  • Joe (Defend Us In Battle)

    Stellar!I think I read that entire post without breathing. Lil ole' Cait makes me laugh… and she teaches a good lesson too!I just need to remember to breathe :)

  • shadowlands

    She sucked puss? Oh my goodness, that is really stomach churning. Your posts remind me, of being with my older brother and his mates, telling us stuff, to scare us. That would have topped all the freaky stories. Did she spit the puss out? Never mind, won't even go there. Boy, the images you put in my head Father.

  • Richard Ballard

    Link to a photograph of the reliquary with the head of St. Catherine of Siena:

  • Karen

    Wow, you've outdone yourself today, Father. I really enjoyed the backstory on Aunt Jules. The thought of this post should help get me through the torturous trial of teaching 7th grade CCD tonight

  • StevieD

    I was just getting over the first reference to 'pus eating' when you did it again. Perhaps, if you ever find yourself doing RCIA on April 1, you might mention that this is an essential part of Easter Duties – should separate the wheat from the chaff.

  • Victoria

    Re the gross stuff about St Catherine I read exactly the same on a website for St Peter Claver. He apparently did it as a penance because he didn't really like handling people with running sores etc (I'm a bit that way myself but I think I would prefer to beat myself with chains! )

  • Stephanie A. Mann

    Caitlin may not know much (anything?) about punctuation, but she has some insights into the human heart, doesn't she? Well done Father Longenecker!

  • Jonathan

    The thing is, so many of the crazy things that Catholic saints were supposedly doing were actually true to Scripture. Catherine, for example, in despising her pride enough to lick the sores of the sick people, was probably seeing the truth of the Gospel (Luke 16:21), and putting herself more squarely into it (Mark 7:27-28)than many a Bible thumping preacher.

  • ramlod

    A memorable piece, laughter and tears. Swept me back sixty years to my Catholic gradeschool. And the picture! Caitlin is as Irish as Paddy's—umh. Brilliant, dear Father.R.A.M.