noun: a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute
Saint Catherine was born in Siena Italy in 1347, the twenty-fourth child of a cloth dyer. She vowed to give her life to God at age seven after having her first vision of Jesus around age five or six.
After a self-proclaimed “mystic marriage” with Christ she experienced the stigmata. She then embarked on preaching. By 1375 she was sharing her message of reform widely. Saint Catherine spoke about peace throughout Italy. She had many followers that supported her urging of The Pope to leave France and return to Rome. He listened. She became the most trusted advisor to his successor, corresponding through an abundance of letters, many of which still survive.
Saint Catherine died in 1380 at the age of thirty three.
She is remembered for her spiritual writings and influence on politics, which were rare for women of that time.
Saint Catherine is buried in Rome where many miracles are known to have occurred at her grave. But the people of Siena wanted her buried in her home town. Several devout followers went to Rome and stole her head, placing it in a bag. When they approached the Roman guards they prayed to Saint Catherine. Opening the bag to the guards it was found to be filled with rose petals. But back in Siena her head returned to the bag. This is why Saint Catherine is often seen holding a rose.
The name Catherine means pure.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
Saint Catherine of Siena