Church Doctors:

St. Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena, was the 24th of 25 children in her pious family imbued with the love of God.   She had great religious fervor and exercised extreme moments of self-sacrifice.  She ate only bread and raw vegetables and drank only water for her entire adult life.  She reportedly had locutions with God and experienced ecstasies and visions.  She dictated hundreds of letters and books and reflections filled with the most profound spiritual and theological insights.  She used secretaries to write her letter because she was illiterate until the last few years of her life.

Between 1309 to 1376 the seat of the Catholic church was in Avignon, France.  Saint Catherine of Siena fought with all her might for the seat to be returned to Rome.  She wrote and spoke so passionately that she overwhelmed the Pope.   It seemed to she had the gift of prophecy, even knew what the Pope was thinking or had previously thought. In 1376 Pope Gregory XI left Avignon and returned the Papal seat to Rome.

St. Catherine of Sienna died when she was 33.  Although young, she was worn out by her intense penance, her constant travel, and the burden of her intense involvement in the life of the Church.  She was canonized in 1461 and formally recognized for her profound mystical theology in 1970. She became the first laywoman to be declared a Doctor of the Church.