An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Catherine of Siena, St.

(1347-Apr. 29, 1380). Mystic and spiritual writer. Caterina Benincasa was born in Siena, Italy. She joined the Third Order of the Dominicans when she was sixteen. She gave her life to serving the poor and converting sinners. In 1376 she went to Avignon, where the papacy was in “Babylonian Captivity,” and begged the Avignon Pope, Gregory XI, to return to Rome. She is recognized for her Christocentric spirituality. Catherine was especially devoted to the Precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. She lived an extremely austere life and wore an iron chain around her waist. Catherine was especially gifted in reconciling opponents, including political leaders. Catherine wrote The Dialogue in 1377-1378. She died in Rome. She was canonized by Pope Pius II in 1461. In 1939 Pope Pius XII named her and St. Francis of Assisi the chief patron saints of Italy. In 1970 she was named a Doctor of the Church. Catherine is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Apr. 29.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.