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Catherine of Siena Paperback – October 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
And if you think St Catherine was some kind of protofeminist because she scolded popes and negotiated with princes, read this book and understand that her motives had nothing to do with breaking glass ceilings. All that she did, from her least act of corporal charity, to her diplomatic efforts on behalf of her beloved Siena, to the dictation of one of Western spirituality's most mystical works, her DIALOGUE, was done for the same perfect motive: burning love of Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. It is a common slur that the Roman Catholic Church oppresses women. As Undset beautifully explains though the life of this glorious soul, the Church gave to women the liberty to live to the potential that God desired for them. Few figures, even among the saints, rival this little Tuscan woman in that regard. When one learns the life of St. Catherine, one doubts that there is a hagiography that can do it justice, and yet Undset does, tenderly and magnificently.
I give this book my highest recommendation.
This review was written by Christopher Check, Vice President of The Rockford Institute and writer and lecturer on Catholic history and ideas.
Like Padre Pio, Catherine experienced a vision as a child. It was only the smallest of beginnings, because Catherine later experienced many visions. She also felt the wounds of the stigmata, although they were not visible to others. Not, at least, until she died, when the wounds were suddenly apparent. She ate nothing other than the Eucharist for the last half of her life.
After taking the Eucharist, she fell into an ecstasy for hours. Annoyed clerics sometimes dragged her stiff figure from the church and tossed her outside. Once, a young woman "stuck a large needle in Catherine's foot to see whether it was true that she felt nothing" (p 184). Catherine didn't move during the ecstasy. For two days later, however, she couldn't put her foot down.
There were miracles galore in her adult life. Some were humble miracles, such as the ones recounted by her spiritual child and later biographer, Fra Raimondo, who recalled how the Host would quiver in his hand before he would give it to Catherine. "Once, moreover, he was convinced that a piece of the consecrated Host had left the altar in a quite inexplicable way, and had been brought to Catherine without the help of human hands" (P 153).
Some of the miracles were quite spectacular, such as when the black plague swept through Europe, and Catherine healed many.
Most famously, Catherine worked to return the pope to Rome. Rome, at the time, was a virtual wasteland, surrounded by gangs of bandits, and wholly without appeal to anyone living in France, as the pope was at the time. She scolded, prayed for, and advised, scores of kings, and many popes.
Her life is spectacular, her achievements immense.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unbelieveable ... has changed my spiritual life.