Catherine of Siena



174.jpgThis window was given by St. Catherine's Guild of St.Andrew's Parish, and represents their patron saint.

Catherine was born in Sienna, Italy, in 1347, daughter of Giacomo Benincasa, a dyer. From her earliest years she had mystic visions and practiced austerities. At the age of 16 she joined the Dominican order as atertiary, and lived at home.

In l370, in response to a vision, shebegan to take part in the public life of her time, sending letters toleaders of her day. She went to Avignon and helped persuade Pope Gregory XI to end the "Babylonian captivity" of the church and return the papal court to Rome, which he did in 1376.

In 1375, she is reported to have received the stigmata, the fivewounds of Christ, which no one saw until after her death, Shebecame the center of a spiritual revival, and gathered a large family of devoted followers.

Though she never leaned to write, she dictated hundreds of letters and a notable mystic work, known as The Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena or A Treatise on Divine Providence.

Catherine died in 1380, at the age of 33. She was canonized in1461, and in 1970 was made a Doctor of the Church (an honorary title given by the Western Church to some 30 persons whose writings and teachings are considered orthodox; two women hold this honor, Catherine and Teresa of Avila). In 1939 she was made patron saint of Italy. Her feast day is April 29.