St. Catherine of Siena
Lay Dominican, Virgin, and Doctor of the Church | Feast: April 29
Catherine Benincasa was born in Siena, Italy in 1347, the youngest of twenty five children. Inspired by divine grace, she vowed her virginity to God while still a small girl and after overcoming the objections of her family, she pursued a life of prayer and penance as a Sister of Penance of St. Dominic.
She continued in this way of life until 1370 when, in a vision, God asked her to undertake an active apostolate and became involved in the affairs of her age. Several times she was able to bring about peace among the Italian city-states and, while representing the Florentines in Avignon, was instrumental in persuading Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome, ending the so-called Avignon Captivity of the papacy.
On April 1, 1375, by divine favor she received the stigmata. The Dialogue (1378), which she left for her large family of disciples, is a masterpiece of spiritual and theological doctrine and has become a source of riches for the entire Dominican Family.
She died in Rome on April 29, 1380 and was buried in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. In 1970, Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.
Source: Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers (Dominican Province of the Philippines, 2012)