Patroness of Fire Prevention
The year 1347 witnessed the birth of St. Catherine, the most remarkable woman of her age. In her childhood she consecrated her virginity to God. However her parents, wishing to see her married, began to thwart her pious inclination. She finally became an object of persecution in her own house. She bore her trials with fortitude and joy, and persevered in her resolution of giving herself entirely to the Divine service. Eventually her parents relented, and she was left free to follow her pious inclanations.
In 1365, at eighteen years of age, the Saint received the habit of the Third Order of St. Dominic. In 1374, during the great pestilence, she devoted herself heroically to the care of the infected. Meanwhile, she was considered to be a power for good, since thousand were converted by her exhortations.
Two years later Catherine went to Avignon to intercede with the Pope for the Florentines, who had been interdicted for joining in a conspiracy against the temporal possesions of the Holy See in Italy. Through her influence Gregory XI returned to Rome, and she exhorted him to contribute, by all possible means, toward the peace of Italy.
Having lived to see the beginning og the great schism, Catherine wrote to the Cardinals who were the cause of it and to several princes, seeking to avert the terrible evil. The life of the Saint who had been glorified by God with wondrous gifts and miracles was brought to a close on April 29, 1380, at the age of thirty-three. She was canonized in 1461 by Pope Pius II.
St. Catherine has long been fŕegarded as one of the finest theological minds on the Church—as is shown by her outstanding work, Dialogue, as well as some 400 Letters—and in 1970 Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.
PRAYER: God, You caused St. Catherine to shine with Divine love in the contemplation of the Lord’s Passion and in the service of Your Church. By her help, grant that Your people, associated in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of His glory. Amen.