Feast Day: April 29th
St. Catherine of Siena, originally Caterina Benincasa, was born March 25, 1347, in the town of Siena. She was the twenty-fifth child of her mother although most of her siblings, including her twin sister, did not survive infancy.
At 13 she joined the religious society of The Dominican Sisters of Penitence in Siena. She was renowned for her holiness, spiritual visions, and asceticism.
She was a political activist in the church and influenced the return of the papacy from Avignon, France where it had been since 1309, to Rome in 1377.
She is one of only four women who were named a doctor of the church. She was declared a doctor of the church in 1970. Catherine’s writings, all of which were dictated due to her illiteracy, include about 380 letters, 26 prayers, and the 4 treatises of Il Libro Della Divina Dottrina, better known as The Dialogue.
Catherine died in Rome on April 29th,1380 at the young age of 33, eight days after suffering a stroke that paralyzed her from the waist down. She is the patron saint of illness, the United States, Italy, miscarriages, people ridiculed for their faith, sexual temptation, nurses, and against fires.