April 29 – Saint Catherine of Siena
It seemed that Catherine of Siena had everything going against her: she was child number 24 (out of 25), born in a modest family, and never had much of a formal education. Her parents were opposed to her vocation of silence and prayer and wanted her to marry. Catherine died when she was just 33 years old, yet she is the patroness of Europe, doctor of the church, one of the greatest mystics and visionaries of the church, political, diplomatic, and one of the most influential figures of Christianity.
She was born in the 14th century in Siena, Italy, and wanted to dedicate herself to God from a early age. To dis¬suade her, Catherine’s parents forced her to carry out hard domestic tasks. But, with these difficulties, her determina¬tion only grew more. Later, convinced that Catherine’s call-ing truly came from God, her parents allowed her to follow a religious life, as a tertiary Dominican, but from her home. She came out of her cloister to care for victims of the plague and began to have mystical visions, where she was called to intervene in church and political matters. Catherine began writing letters to politicians and even the Pope, who she met and convinced to return to Rome from his voluntary exile in Avignon. She wrote much and with great wisdom and had many mystical gifts.