Daily Martyrology for April 29

In 1380, in Rome, St. Catherine of Siena, doctor of the church. Catherine was born [the] next to the last of 25 children in a prosperous Sienese family. She chose a life of virginity, which so angered her parents that they turned her into a servant. She joined a group of lay Dominicans, but spent much of her time in prayer and soon developed an intense spiritual life. When she was 21 she began to spend more time in charitable work and in preaching. He confessor and friend, Blessed Raymund of Capua, supported her in these endeavors. In 1375 she supported a young political prisoner as he prepared to face execution and knelt with him as he was beheaded. In 1377 and 1378 she wrote her Dialogues, which summarize her spiritual teaching. She worked tirelessly to bring peace among Christian states and to reform the church. She urged Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome from Avignon. She fasted in support of Pope Urban VI, and that may have hastened her death. Whatever the extent of her literacy, she knew the Bible well, and she speaks of the great Christian mysteries with depth and accuracy. In 1970 she was declared a doctor of the Church, the first time the title was given to a lay person.

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Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.