Saint Catherine of Siena
LAY DOMINICAN, VIRGIN & DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Catherine Benincasa was born at 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 pursued a life of prayer and penance as a Sister of Penance of Saint Dominic. She continued in this way of life until 1370 when in a vision God asked her to undertake an active apostolate and become 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 at Avignon, was instrumental in persuading Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome.
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.