How cool, how quotable is St. Catherine of Siena? Have a look.

The other day, 30 April, was in the traditional calendar the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctrix of the Church. In the Novus Ordo her feast falls on 29 April (her dies natalis). She was canonized by a favorite of mine, Pius II, in 1461. Her feast started out on 29 April, her death date, but because that conflicted with the feast of St. Peter Martyr (of Verona), and since he was a really hot saint at the time, Catherine’s celebration was moved to the 30th. However, since the veneration of saints with time will ebb and flow, and as interest in St. Peter Martyr waned, in 1969 Catherine resumed her feast on her birth date into heaven, 29 April.

She is a distinguished saint, a Third Order Dominican, showered with honors and with marks of confidence by the Church. For example, Bl. Pius IX made Catherine of Siena co-patroness of Rome, along with Sts. Peter and Paul and St. Philip Neri. Ven. Pius XII made her patroness of Italy along with St. Francis of Assisi. St. John Paul II named her Patroness of Europe together with with St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and St. Bridget of Sweden. Most of all, in 1970 Paul VI named her Doctrix of the Church.

Among her accomplishments in life was the prompting of Pope Gregory XI (de Beaufort) from Avignon to Rome. Her biographer says that when she was a child she had visions of Christ and she vowed her life to God. At 21 she experienced what was called a “mystical marriage” with the Lord, which is a common way of depicting here in art. She also received the stigmata. She travelled widely in her time and was enormously influential. Catherine wrote extensively to authorities. Eventually in Rome, she would die at 33 years of age. Her written The Dialogue of Divine Providence, dialogues with God, was probably dictated in a state of ecstasy, not unlike the writings of St. Veronica Guiliani.

The other day I posted something from St. Catherine’s Dialogue, God describing how even though demons incite the sin of same-sex acts, those acts so offend the angelic intellects of the demons that they won’t remain present while they are being committed. That stirred the predictable screeching and puerile personal attacks on me from Twitter twits, presumably because those who were screeching engage in those acts or at least condone them. Sorry, twits. Take your case up with God.

I bring all this up about St. Catherine because my friend Ann Barnhardt, at her place, offered a terrific post with sayings of this great saint. I’ll give you a sample and then you can visit her place for the full blast experience:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Yes, Ma’am.

“Start being brave about everything. Drive out darkness and spread light. Don’t look at your weaknesses. Realize instead that in Christ crucified you can do everything.”

Yes, Ma’am.

“You are rewarded not according to your work or your time but according to the measure of your love.”

Yes, Ma’am.

He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely.

Yes, Ma’am.

Preach the Truth as if you had a million voices. It is silence that kills the world.

Yes, Ma’am.

A soul cannot live without loving. It must have something to love, for it was created to love.

Yes, Ma’am.

It is only through shadows that one comes to know the light.

Yes, Ma’am.

To the servant of God… every place is the right place, and every time is the right time.

Yes, Ma’am.

Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.

Yes, Ma’am.

We are of such value to God that He came to live among us… and to guide us home. He will go to any length to seek us, even to being lifted high upon the cross to draw us back to Himself. We can only respond by loving God for His love.

Yes, Ma’am.

We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence.

Yes, Ma’am.

Strange that so much suffering is caused because of the misunderstandings of God’s true nature. God’s heart is more gentle than the Virgin’s first kiss upon the Christ. And God’s forgiveness to all, to any thought or act, is more certain than our own being.

Yes, Ma’am.

You must believe in truth that whatever God gives or permits is for your salvation.

Yes, Ma’am.

Do not be satisfied with little things, because God wants great things!

Yes, Ma’am.

And of what should we be afraid? Our captain on this battlefield is Christ Jesus. We have discovered what we have to do. Christ has bound our enemies for us and weakened them that they cannot overcome us unless we so choose to let them. So we must fight courageously and mark ourselves with the sign of the most Holy Cross.

Yes, Ma’am.

Enrich your soul in the great goodness of God: The Father is your table, the Son is your food, and the Holy Spirit waits on you and then makes His dwelling in you.


There’s more there, but I’ll cut off after this mention of the Holy Spirit, for whom the Church prepares once again to greet at Pentecost.

St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Liz says:

    I love this! Thank you.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    So inspiring. I would like to read her writings now. I know little about her.

  3. Scott Woltze says:

    Amazing quotes.

    The painting attributed to Reni is actually following the long tradition of painting the mystical marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

  4. SaintsSQPNcom says:

    Links to some of her writings, biographies, letters and other material –

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  6. Julia_Augusta says:

    I recommend the book written by Sigrid Undset about Catherine of Siena. After reading that book, I began praying to St. Catherine.

  7. Adoremus says:

    Here’s from a feminist theologian:
    My heart sank, and I groaned when I pulled up today’s readings on the USCCB’s website for this memorial feast day of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church. Why does the USCCB (or whoever does their liturgical calendar) continue to include the status of virgin for the women? What does virginity have to do with Catherine’s faithfulness and witness to her call, her political activism, her preaching, and letter writing? A quick perusal of some male Doctors of the church indicates that their ecclesiastical position bears mentioning – priests, bishops, and abbots, but not their sexual status for example, as married or virgin. The contrast of virgin for the women is especially striking when we consider Augustine. Augustine, who had a child with a woman he lived with but did not marry, is not named as an unwed father, but Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Meanwhile, Hildegard of Bingen’s role as Abbess is overlooked, while Bernard of Clairvaux is recognized as Abbot. When will we retire the double standard that straight men’s sexual histories can be unnamed in favor of their positions in the church and their faithful witness, while for women and LBTGQAI+ members their status as virgins or celibates all too often takes precedence over their service in the church and their faithful witness?

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