St. Catherine of Siena
Feast Day: April 29
Catherine’s parents lived in Siena, Italy, and had 25 children. Catherine, who was born in 1347, was number 23. From an early age she loved to pray and at the age of seven already knew she wished to remain chaste and unmarried to devote her life to God. By the time of her death in 1380—when she was only 33—she had touched the lives of many people.
Who were these people? One was Pope Urban VI. In 1378, two men both claimed to be pope. This schism tore the Church apart. Catherine helped Christians realize that Urban was the true pope.
Catherine also helped prisoners. She walked to the gallows with them. She nursed people made ill by a plague. She worked in hospitals. Always, she gave people a simple message that God had taught her in prayer.
What was this message? That we grow into holiness. Through our words, actions, and choices, we grow closer to God. Daily we can choose, as Catherine did, to work for God’s kingdom. Her letters to others are considered great spiritual writings.
She was canonized by Pope Pius II in 1461. Sometimes you will see symbols for Catherine that include a lily and book, a crown of thorns or a heart. She was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970 and is one of two patron saints of Italy.
Connecting to Be My Disciples®
Grade 1, chapter 3
Grade 2, chapter 11
Grade 5, chapters 3, 18
Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
Grade 2, unit 5
The Story of Our Church, unit 4