St. Catherine of Siena
Feast Day: April 29
Died in 1380
Canonized in 1461
St. Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, Italy, in 1347. Catherine was the 25th child born to her parents, although half of her siblings did not survive past childhood. When Catherine’s sister died, her parents proposed Catherine as a replacement to marry the widower. Catherine was opposed to it and began fasting and cut her hair to mar her appearance. Her fasting and devotion to her family convinced her parents to allow her to live as she desired.
Catherine joined the Third Order of St. Dominic where she could live at home while still associating with a religious society.
At 21 years of age, Catherine experienced what she called her “mystical marriage to Christ.” In her vision, she was told to reenter public life and to help the sick and the poor. Her work attracted many followers who helped her in her mission to serve others.
Catherine became involved in politics and was instrumental in working to keep city states loyal to the pope. She also helped start a crusade to the Holy Land, established a monastery for women and composed more than 400 letters. Catherine is also credited with bringing the papacy back to Rome from Avignon, France.
Catherine was allegedly given the stigmata, but it was only visible to herself.
Patron Saint of fire prevention, illness, the United States, Italy, and nurses