Saint Catherine of Siena is a Catholic saint born in Italy during the beginning of the Renaissance. She was a member of the Dominican order who born either March 17th or March 25th, 1347 in Siena, Italy and died April 29th, 1380 in Rome. Saint Catherine, like all saints, is a beautiful example of what a life in service to God looks like. Saint Catherine submitted her life to the will of God and served all others as if she was serving him. Her life is a true testimony to the power of a single woman to bring peace to her corner of the world.

The Times

The 1300s in Rome was the birth of the Renaissance in Europe. The Renaissance began in northern Italy, where Catherine was born and lived for her entire life, and later spread throughout Europe. The Renaissance was one of the most momentous periods of change and transformation in the history of our world. This was time of great transition, great change and a resurgence in creativity and a return to ancient knowledge. The time period before the Renaissance was marked by the warring mindset of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance ushered in a renewed interest in humanitarianism and peace. There began an increased interest in spreading knowledge about the Greek and Roman ways of life. The Middle Ages had been a time of intense piety, it was a mark of faith to wear simple rough cloths and eat very little. The Renaissance men and women began transformational relationships with God. They felt they could still honor God and enjoy life. It was a time of increased enjoyment of worldly pleasures, increased interest in the arts and the merging on many levels of secular and religious life.

Saint Catherine’s Early Life

Saint Catherine came from a lower middle class family. Her father was a dyer, her mother the daughter of a poet. She began to see visions and practice extreme austerities from early childhood. She decided to be a virgin for Christ at age 7. She became a member of the Dominican Order at age 16. For 3 years she had celestial visitations and conversations with Christ which ended in a mystical marriage. A mystical marriage is a mystical union with God which is the most exalted condition attainable by the soul in this life. It is also called a “transforming union”, “consummate union”, and “deification”. After this experience she returned to her family and began to care for the sick, the poor, and to bring about the conversion of “sinners” to God’s path.

Saint Catherine’s Service

Saint Catherine lived her entire life in Italy. She was known to have suffered most of her life through great physical pains. She would practice extreme austerities such as fasting on nothing but the blessed sacrament (the small wafer given in Catholic mass). She was known to have great personal charm, described as, ‘radiantly happy’ and ‘full of practical wisdom no less than the highest spiritual insight’.

Saint Catherine had a series of divine revelations which ended in a kind of mystical death, in which she had a vision of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven and heard a divine command to leave and enter into a public life in the world. She then began a massive letter sending campaign to men and women all over Italy. She began to write to different political leaders and she advised the pope to reform the clergy and to design the beginnings of the crusades to bring God’s name to the world. She strived to bring peace to her corner of the world. She later become an ambassador of peace sent by the pope to warring Italian states to bring about reconciliation.

Perhaps the greatest contribution that Saint Catherine left our world was her writings. She describes the states of divine ecstasy and service and surrender to God with such simple and powerful words, that you remember how God’s love transcends all time.

The following passage is an amazingly beautiful and deeply true message from Saint Catherine of Sienna.  This passage speaks of God’s love and the mutuality of all love…

“I require that you should love Me with the same love that I love you. This indeed you cannot do, because I loved you without being loved. All the love which you have for Me, you owe to Me, so that it is not of grace that you love Me, but because you ought to do so. While I love you of grace, and not because I owe you My love. Therefore to Me, in person, you cannot repay the love which I require of you, and I have placed you in the midst of your fellows, that you may do to them, that which you cannot do to Me, that is to say, that you may love your neighbor of free grace, without expecting any return from him, and what you do to him, I count as done to Me…”

Want to Learn More?

Saint Catherine of Siena studied and gave herself to the teachings and living heart of Jesus Christ. One of the most powerful ways that I have come to reconnect with Jesus Christ after my Catholic upbringing has been A Course in Miracles. A Course in Miracles brings Jesus’s teachings in a way that totally opened my mind to understanding his message and the path to eternal life through submission to God, Jesus Christ and the will of the Holy Spirit. It is a beautiful journey to take and consists of 365 daily lessons to help to retrain your mind to open to God’s love and become a miracle worker. Click here to begin reading my A Course in Miracles articles. I was blessed to be gifted a book of the writings on the Christian mystics when my grandfather passed away. The Soul Afire, Revelations of the Mystics  was my first introduction to Saint Catherine, I highly recommend it if you are guided to live in sacred union with God and the divine 🙂   The factual details of Saint Catherine’s life were taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia’s biography of St. Catherine of Siena.

This post is an excerpt from a book I am writing titled, Divine Feminine Wisdom.

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