Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church

29 April 2018 | General Interest

The life of Catherine of Siena is an icon of the God of Surprises, a thunderclap that vibrates through the life of each of us. Catherine calls across the centuries with frightening clarity. Catherine of Siena becomes a woman to be reckoned with again. As long as there are poor among us; as long as there is war anywhere; as long as the Church is more an institution than a vehicle of the Gospel; as long as any woman anywhere is demeaned or diminished or dismissed out of hand as foolish or incompetent or less in the sight of God and little in the Church, then Catherine of Siena is a woman to be reckoned with again.


We too must learn to go across the natural inclinations to buy peace at any price, and we must try even harder to derail the war mentality that makes the world poor. We too must learn to trust the insights of the Gospel when education fails to persuade the rich to care for the poor and calls that obscene insensitivity 'the business cycle'. We too must learn to claim Christian feminism when the designs of God for women are obstructed by the state in the name of the law and by the church in the name of the will of God. We, too must learn to be patient when the walls of poverty do not fall, when the wars for resources do not end, and the women of the world are wanted more for their domestic services than for their spiritual powers. Why? Because it is the measure of the things to which we give our allegiance that is the measure of ourselves.

Personal sacrifice, Gospel insight, Christian feminism and patient prophetism is the legacy of Catherine of Siena to the twenty-first century.

Adapted from Joan Chittister, A Passion for Life, Orbis Books, 1996, pp120-124