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St. Catherine of Sienna - Essay Example

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St. Catherine, one of the first women doctors of the church, was born in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She had a twin sister who died after her mother, Lapa, gave birth to her. Catherine was born at a time the Black Death was sweeping over Europe…
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St. Catherine of Sienna
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St. Catherine of Sienna St. Catherine, one of the first women doctors of the church, was born in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She had a twinsister who died after her mother, Lapa, gave birth to her. Catherine was born at a time the Black Death was sweeping over Europe. According to the website Doctors of the Catholic Church, “Siena had lost 80,000” people to the Black Death by the time Catherine was “weaned” (Anonymous 6).
Catherine was the youngest of the 25 children of Giacomo and Lapa. While Catherine was growing up, she suddenly had a vision while she was walking home with her brother from a visit to the home of her married sister. Catherine saw in the sky a vision of Jesus Christ seated with the apostles Peter, Paul ,and John. After having experienced this vision, Catherine decided to devout her life to prayer and solitude. Her father, Giacomo, took notice of the child’s love for prayer and gave her a special room in their house where she could spend time for meditation and prayer. By the time that she was twelve, her mother kept reminding her to pay attention to her appearance so that she would be able to attract the right man to be her husband. At first, Catherine obeyed but declared later on that she would not marry. In spite of her family’s attempts to convince Catherine to change her mind, her father finally gave up and allowed his child to continue devoting herself to prayer, meditation and fasting. At the age of 18, Catherine was allowed to wear the black habit of a Dominican tertiary. She did not speak to many people except to her confessor and the only place she visited was the nearby church of St. Dominic. It was only after her last vision of Christ that Catherine went out of her room and began to mingle with the people around her. As a Dominican tertiary, she helped the sick and started to attract a good number of followers. People started to take notice of this and some of them started to think that Catherine was a fanatic although others thought of her as a saint. She was called to appear before the general chapter of the Dominicans in Florence. After charges against her were disproved, she returned to Siena to help the victims of another plague. Catherine is well known for having convinced Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome after an uprising against the Holy See forced the Pope to take refuge in Avignon, France. But Catherine’s work did not stop here. She pleaded for unity in the church during the Great Schism which took place after Pope Gregory XI’s death. Catherine died on April 21, 1380 after suffering from a paralytic stroke.
One learns from the life of St.Catherine of Siena that God suddenly calls on any of his children to take up a task or mission to fulfill. As a child, St. Catherine did not have an inkling that God would call on her to prepare for a special task or mission. When God calls on any of his children, it is a call that is difficult to resist. In the case of Catherine, after her vision while walking home with her brother, she suddenly devoted herself to prayer and discarded things that are worldly. However, doing God’s work does not come without a price. She had to endure the disdain coming from other people who did not understand what she was doing. She had to struggle and exert a lot of effort as she did God’s will of convincing Pope Gregory XI to return to church and convince Ope Urban during the Great Schism. All of these for the love of God. One also learns from St. Catherine that one’s efforts in doing His will does not escape the sight of God. When God gives an individual such as St. Catherine an important task to fulfill, He provides the person with the necessary grace and strength to accomplish the task.
One may say that St. Catherine’s act is a difficult act to follow. But with God’s guidance and providence, nothing is impossible.
Works Cited
McColman, Carl. The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality. Hampton Roads Publishing: Virginia. 2010. Read More
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