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Catherine of Siena Paperback – October 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Undset won the Novel Prize in 1928.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586174088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586174088
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The greatest book ever written by a woman is really three books: KRISTEN LAVRANSDATTER, by Sigrid Undset, and she received the Nobel for this magnificent work. Near the end of her life, however, Undset took up the life of one of the Church's wisest, most courageous, and most lovable saints, Catherine of Siena. The work was published posthumously by Sheed and Ward and then fell out of print. What a tragedy. It is among the best works of hagiography ever; it is my personal favorite. God bless the good folks at Ignatius Press for bringing this masterpiece back into print. If you want to fall in love with this amazing woman, if you want to understand through the life of one of His dearest servants how best to love Jesus Christ, and if you want a beautifully researched and written history of 14th century Tuscany and the 14th Century Church, buy this book and read it often. (Buy additional copies and give them as gifts.)

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.
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I enjoyed this biography. Undset presents the saint's life in its time and location. The book is both meticulously researched and very readable. St. Catherine was strong-minded and driven, and those qualities come through very clearly. The main thing I knew about her before I read this book was that she lived only on the Eucharist for most of her adult life. I can see after reading the book that this was not pathological behavior, as it would be considered now. It was woven intimately into the whole person that St. Catherine was. I recommend this book highly to anyone interested in learning more about St. Catherine and about the time in which she lived.
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Format: Paperback
It takes a great writer to tackle a subject like Catherine of Siena, whose life was such a breathtaking blend of mysticism and involvement in the world. Undset, who once won the Nobel Prize, is beautifully up to the job. The result is this fascinating book, which follows Catherine from her birth as the last child in a well off but unimportant family to her dealings with murderers, kings, and popes.

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.
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Format: Paperback
This biography of St. Catherine of Siena is excellent. It is written by the Nobel Prize winner Sigrid Undset, author of Kristin Lavransdatter and Master of Hestviken (both well worth reading). She is an extremely gifted writer telling the tale of an extremely gifted saint. A page-turner.
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Sigrid Unsted is recognized as one of the outstanding female authors of modern times. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Her biography of Catherine of Siena appeared in English in 1954, after her death in !949. Unsted was noted for her historical novels and Catherine of Siena is the product of a close study of the voluminous documents created by contemporary authors in the mid 14th century. These documents reveal the mind and thoughts of an outstanding female mystic who lived at the time of the Avignon Captivity of the Papacy and the turbulent period in Rome and the northern City-States in Tuscany. It is the story of an extraordinary heroine of the times narrated almost verbatim from the dictated notes of her personal secretaries. I found the book to be absorbing and uplifting. Highly recommended.
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