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Catherine Benincasa was born in Siena, Tuscany, in 1347. The twenty-third child of Giacomo, a well-to-do dyer, and his wife Lapa, the lively and happy girl grew up in the Benincasa’s spacious house. Their family home is preserved to this day.

At six years of age, Catherine saw Our Lord Jesus dressed as a Pontiff atop the Church of the Dominicans. This vision left such a deep impression upon her that she pledged herself to Christ.

Under family pressure, when she turned twelve, Catherine consented to pay more attention to her appearance and had her beautiful hair dressed to the fashion of the day. Repenting of this “great sin”, she cut it all off and declared she would never marry – a scandal to her family. She was set to menial labor, and harried and scolded continuously in an attempt to break her resolve. One day her father found her praying, a dove hovering over her. From that moment he ordered that she be left alone to a life of prayer.

Received into the Dominican Order as a tertiary in 1366, Catherine had a vision in which Jesus, accompanied by His Blessed Mother, officially betrothed her and placed a ring on her finger.

After this mystical betrothal, she was told that her seclusion was over and she must mingle with her fellow human beings seeking their salvation. Gradually, there gathered around her a group of followers whom she guided in the spiritual life. As her renown for holiness grew and the fame of her miracles spread, former suspicion turned to veneration.

Catherine became the arbiter of a serious feud between Florence and Perugia and the Holy See then at Avignon, France. She visited Pope Gregory XI and convinced him to return to Rome. Finally, through her mediation the cities were reconciled to the Holy See.

Around this time she produced the great work – later entitled “Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena” – which she dictated under the inspiration of God the Father.

With the death of Pope Gregory XI in 1378, and the election of Urban VI, the cardinals in Avignon disputed the choice and elected a rival pope giving rise to the great schism. Catherine spared no effort in establishing recognition of Urban. Far from resenting her help, he called the holy mystic to Rome to profit from her advice.

But early in 1380, thirty-three year old Catherine suffered a strange seizure after she offered herself as a victim for the healing of the Church. On April 29, after much suffering, Catherine gave up her ardent soul to her Divine Spouse.

She was canonized in 1461 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 27, 2021

Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the g...

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January 27

 

Pray with great confidence, with confidence
based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God
and upon the promises of Jesus Christ.
God is a spring of living water
which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.

St. Louis de Montfort


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Angela Merici

Angela was much distressed when her sister suddenly died wit...

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St. Angela Merici

Angela de Merici was born in Desenzano, on the southwestern shore of beautiful Lake Garda, in northern Italy. Left an orphan at the age of ten with an older sister and a brother, they were taken in by an uncle living in the neighboring town of Salò.

Angela was much distressed when her sister suddenly died without the assistance of the last sacraments. At this time she had a vision, the first of many in her life, which set her mind at rest as to her sister’s salvation. In gratitude, she made a special consecration of herself to God, joined the Third Order of St. Francis and began to lead a life of great austerity.

After her uncle died when she was twenty, Angela moved back to Desenzano. Convinced of the need to instruct young girls in the Faith, she converted her home into a school. In a vision, she was shown that she would found a congregation for the instruction of young girls. Angela talked with fellow Franciscan tertiaries and friends who began to help her. Though petite in stature, Angela had looks, charm and leadership. Her school thrived and she was approached about starting a similar school in the larger city of Brescia where she came in contact with leading families whom she influenced with her great ideals.

In 1525 on a pilgrimage to Rome, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her holiness, suggested she found a congregation of nursing sisters in Rome. But Angela who felt called elsewhere and shunned publicity, declined and returned to Brescia.

On November 25, 1535, with twelve other virgins, Angela Merici laid the foundations for her order for the teaching of young women, the first congregation of its kind in the Church. She placed her order under the protection of St. Ursula the patroness of medieval universities and popularly venerated as a leader of women. To this day her followers are known as the Ursulines.

Angela died only five years after establishing the Ursulines, and was canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII.

Photo by: Benoit Lhoest

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a con...

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Our Lady and the Three Dresses

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

One day, their priest-confessor advised them that, as a preparation for the feast of the purification of Mary, they should recite the whole Rosary every day for forty days. The three nuns obediently complied.

On the night before that holy feast day, the Heavenly Mother appeared to the three nuns as they gathered in the choir. To the first of these three sisters she handed a rich garment, embroidered with gold. Holy Mary thanked her and blessed her.

She then handed to the second nun a much simpler garment, and also thanked her. Noticing the difference in the two garments, the second sister asked, "Oh Lady, why have you brought my sister a richer garment?" Mary Most Holy lovingly replied, "Because she has clothed me more richly with her prayers than you have done."

Mary then approached the third nun with a canvas garment. Being an observant young lady, this sister at once asked pardon for the half-hearted way in which she had prayed her rosaries.

A full year had passed when all three fervently prepared for the same feast, each saying her Rosary with great devotion. On the evening preceding the festival, Mary appeared to them in glory, and said to them: "Be prepared, for tomorrow you shall come to paradise."

The following morning dawned, full of promise. Each nun wondered if this would be her last day in this vale of tears. When evening came, would they retire to their modest cells once more, or did Holy Mary have something else in store for them?

The sisters related to their confessor what had occurred, and received communion in the morning. At the hour of compline (evening prayers) they saw again the most holy Virgin, who came to take them with her. Amid the songs of angels, one after the other sweetly expired.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

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