Incredible Catherine of Siena! UPDATED

“If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire”
– St. Catherine of Siena

Our dear nun-friends at Moniales bring us this video in honor of the incredible St. Catherine of Siena, the Dominican Tertiary and Doctor of the Church whose remarkable life gives lie to the silly charge that the Catholic church has held women back:

Write the nuns:

Her writings, The Dialogue and The Letters of St. Catherine are easily available in excellent translations and well worth taking the time to read because they are as relevant today for our growth in holiness and union with God as they were 600 years ago.

Reviewing Edmund G. Gardner’s The Road to Siena: The Essential Biography of St. Catherine for First Things, I wrote:

She ventured out into a city still processing a plague that spared less than fifty percent of the population, and—amid skirmishes between mercenaries and family syndicates, petty strife, brutal living, and intemperate carousing—she began to serve the poor and the sick. Because her nature was pleasing, she was quickly sought out and before long, this maiden raised to humility was advising her own priests and the surrounding noblemen in forthright and uncompromising language: “Instead of a woman,” she wrote to Queen Giovanna of Naples, “you have become the servant and slave of nothingness, making yourself the subject of lies and of the demon who is their father.” This was a woman wielding power, influence and wisdom to which Hillary Clinton can only aspire.

From her humble Tuscan beginning, she traveled to Florence, Pisa, Rome, and, eventually, even to Avignon, all at the behest of powerful churchmen who recognized her tough but fair-minded brilliance and who trusted her passionate desire to effect a peaceful resolution to a ruinous schism. The question of Papal succession may not have been settled in her lifetime, but that Catherine succeeded in bringing the fretful Pope Gregory XI back to Rome at all stands as a remarkable achievement, given the pontiff’s dithering nature.

Though I am a Benedictine, not a Dominican, I’m a big fan of Catherine and her studious daughters and sons, who are as bold a she was.

Celebrating another Dominican “Doctor” are the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor; Sr. Mary Elizabeth successfully defended her doctoral dissertation in electrical engineering at the University of Michigan:

Sister’s project was entitled “A Three-Dimensional Bidirectional Interface for Neural Mapping Studies”, and she worked in the Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. She was involved in creating a neural array to stimulate and record neural (brain) signals. Some of the possible practical applications for this work in the future include potential treatments for a variety of afflictions, including hearing loss, blindness, and Parkinson’s disease.

Meanwhile, five graduates of Walsh University in Ohio will be heading to Dominican communities by summer’s end.

Catherine would be proud. And she’d tell them to be what they were born to be. Good advice for all.

Crescat says this is something else the Protestants just won’t get about us Catholics. That’s not the best picture I’ve seen of Catherine. I think I prefer this one:

Whispers in the Loggia: has more on Catherine and on St. Gianna Berette Molla, physician and mother, (another “held back” Catholic!) whose feast was yesterday!

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: A Pic
Caitlin O’ Rourke: On Catherine
Frank Weathers: For all the Saints: Catherine
The Saintmaker

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