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ST CATHERINE OF SIENA FEAST DAY, THE SERAPHIC VIRGIN, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, APRIL 29, 2022


CATHERINE OF SIENA WATERCOLOR (1917) BY ELEANOR FORTESCUE BRICKDALE

St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) was a mystic who endured harsh asceticism and had frequent ecstatic visions. Her writing in the Dialogue was dictated to her by God during one of her ecstasies.

At a very young age she dedicated herself to God and led a monastic life. Her goal was to be holy and realized it would take a lifetime of surrender to God.

She was the surviving twin born on Palm Sunday in 1347, the 23rd child of Giacomo (a dyer) and Lapa Benincasa. She was happy, joyful, intelligent, cheerful and very devout.


At the age of 5 she recited a Hail Mary for each step on a stairway and angels helped her by lifting her up and down so she would not touch the floor.

At the age of 6 she had a vision of Jesus Christ sitting on His imperial throne along with Peter, Paul and John.

Refusing the mother's desire to marry her off, she was given a room of her own where she could pray and meditate.


At the age of 18 she entered the Dominican Third Order and lived in an austere environment. Though wealthy she led an impecunious life. Many, however, flocked to her but as with all messengers of God, she faced cynicism, slander and opposition as she spoke against the world in the Name of Christ.


She was referred by St John Paul II as the "feminine genius" She not only had extraordinary events in her interior life but also in the medieval world. In 1309 she intervened when the papacy moved from Rome to Avignon. She was able to intervene so that the true papacy (there were three popes) returned back to Rome. She also was able to reconcile various warring factions in her homeland. She boldly called for reform through love of prayer and of the Church.


She is known as the Seraphic Virgin. Seraphic resembles an angel. Her writings, all of which were dictated, though she could write, include about 380 letters, 26 prayers, and the 4 treatises of Il libro della divina dottrina, better known as The Dialogue. In The Dialogue of Divine Providence, St. Catherine explains that prayer is a dialogue between God and your soul. By praying through humility and faith, The Dialogue of Divine Providence shows us that anyone can meet God.


For those who don’t know about this book of St. Catherine, her life’s purpose had to do with reform of the Church. Without a pope, the moral state of the secular clergy was in deep degradation. The Holy See in exile lost its ecumenical character and became more and more subservient to the French king. The Roman Church was on the eve of destruction. There were many heretical teachings.

The Dialogue is the essential piece to the work she performed to help rid the Church of bad clergy. It is divided into 4 treatises. The first is Treatise of Divine Providence, (2) Treatise of Discretion, (3) Treatise of Prayer and (4) Treatise of Obedience.


The Dialogue is based on “bad clergy” and Our Lord’s response to that. He often refers to them not as bad clergy but priests who rather “self love” than to love God. God’s speech to St. Catherine defines who follows Christ and those who don’t. St Catherine lived in a very tumultuous time in the Church, when the clergy were leading immoral lives and causing scandal for their flocks. Many good and holy priests, however, lived during that time as well.

In the Dialogue 116, God spoke to St Catherine, "The sins of the clergy should not lessen your reverence for them." Her prayers intensified "her sorrow and compassion and restless longing for their salvation." (108) There should be no criticism nor derision of the priests, but rather we should pray for their souls.


PAPA -Priest Always-Prayer Apostolate-sole reason and purpose is to pray for priests and pray that they will be on fire for Jesus and His Church, the Body and Bride of Christ. Please pray the PAPA prayer for priests.


"There is no sin nor wrong that gives man such a foretaste of Hell in this life as anger and impatience." ~ St Catherine of Siena

(1) St Catherine of Siena, Franciscan Media internet

(2) The Dialogue, Kindle version

(3) The Magnificat



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