Thursday, April 29, 2010

ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

Today’s saint was a mystic and lay Dominican whom Pope Paul VI named a Doctor of the Church in 1970. She lived at a time when the Church was terribly divided and the Pope lived not in Rome but in Avignon, France. She worked, prayed, and suffered for him to return to Rome. Let us commit ourselves to supporting Pope Benedict and praying for his monthly intentions with the same love for the Pope that St. Catherine had. In 1999 Pope John Paul II wrote the following when he declared her one of the patronesses of Europe:

Catherine was tireless in her commitment to resolving the many conflicts which afflicted the society of her time. … Placing “Christ crucified and sweet Mary” before the parties involved, she made it clear that in a society inspired by Christian values there could never be grounds for conflict so serious that the reasons of force need prevail over the force of reason.

Yet Catherine was well aware that such a conclusion was unthinkable if souls had not first been molded by the power of the Gospel. This was why she stressed the reform of morals to all, without exception. … With the same vigor, Catherine addressed Churchmen of every rank, demanding of them the most exacting integrity in their personal lives and their pastoral ministry. The uninhibited, powerful and incisive tone in which she admonished priests, Bishops and Cardinals is quite striking. It is essential—she would say—to root out from the garden of the Church the rotten plants and to put in their place “new plants” which are fresh and fragrant. And strengthened by her intimacy with Christ, the Saint of Siena was not afraid to point out frankly even to the Pope, whom she loved dearly as her “sweet Christ on earth”, that the will of God demanded that he should abandon the hesitation born of earthly prudence and worldly interests, and return from Avignon to Rome, to the Tomb of Peter.

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