The Crucifix Of St. Catherine Of Siena. 

The Crucifix Of St. Catherine Of Siena. 

The Crucifix of St.Catherine of Siena.

Catherine was one of 25 children born to Jacomo and Lapa Benincasa, Catherine being the 23rd. As a child, Catherine was very pious and possessed wisdom beyond her years. 

During her sixth year, while she was on an errand with her brother Stephen, she had a vision of Our Lord near the church of the Friar Preachers in the Valle Piatta. In the vision, Jesus was clothed in pontifical ornaments, a tiara was upon His head and He was seated upon a throne. Around Him stood St. Peter, St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist. After Stephen roused her from the ecstasy, she cried and said, “O, did you but see what I saw, you would never have disturbed me in such a sweet vision.” It was from this time that she seemed to be no longer a child, and her thoughts, her conduct and her virtues were those of one superior to her age.

It was shortly after this experience that she decided to join the Order of St. Dominic. Despite the vigorous opposition of her mother, she eventually succeeded at the age of 17 in becoming a tertiary in the Third Order of that illustrious company. She remained in the house of her parents dressed in the habit of the Sisters of Penance and spent three years in seclusion and contemplation. Later, however, she devoted herself to the active apostolate, caring for the sick, visiting and converting prisoners, distributing alms and attracting to herself disciples who imitated her life of prayer and penance. During the plague of 1372 and 1373, Catherine cared for the repulsive sick, prepared numerous people for death and buried many of the victims with her own hands. 

St. Catherine is known to have labored tirelessly for the interests of the Church during its time of schism. She is credited with having persuaded Gregory XI to return the papacy to Rome from Avignon, where it had been maintained for 70 years. As a result of her exhaustive travels, she brought many rebellious Italian cities back to the obedience of the Holy See. She corresponded with kings and queens for the causes of the Church and prayed and pleaded for Church unity. 

Catherine may have experienced all the mystical gifts. She is known to have delivered many from diabolical possession, to have performed many miracles of healing, to have levitated frequently during prayer, to have enjoyed an extraordinary intimacy with Our Lord and His Mother and to have experienced the mystical espousal. Her prolonged fasts were divinely transformed into a complete abstinence, and while she subsisted only on the Holy Eucharist, her strength and vitality were spiritually maintained. 

The Saint was also favored with the stigmata, that is, her body received wounds corresponding to the five wounds Our Lord suffered on the Cross. St. Raymond of Capua, the Saint’s confessor and first biographer, was a witness to the extraordinary event when Catherine received the wounds. He writes that the Saint joined him at Pisa where she stayed near the little Church of St. Christina.

After celebrating Holy Mass one Sunday and giving Holy Communion to the Saint, the priest noticed that Catherine remained a long time in ecstasy before a crucifix. St. Raymond and others waited for the end of this mystical favor and while watching her they saw her body, that was prostrated on the ground, rise a little, kneel and extend the hands and arms. Her countenance was inflamed; she remained a long time motionless and with her eyes closed. Then, as though she had received a deathly wound, we saw her suddenly fall, and resume a few moments after the use of her senses. She motioned for me and said in a low tone: 

“Father, I announce to you that, by the mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I bear His sacred stigmata in my body.… I saw my crucified Saviour who descended upon me with a great light; the effort of my soul to go forth to meet its Creator forced my body to arise. Then from the five openings of the sacred wounds of Our Lord, I saw directed upon me bloody rays which struck my hands, my feet and my heart… the bloody beams became brilliant and reached in the form of light these five places on my person.”

 St. Raymond then asked her if the beam of light reached her right side. She replied:

“No, on the left side and directly above the heart. The luminous line that emanated from the right side, did not strike me obliquely but directly.… I feel at these five places, and especially in my heart a pain so violent, that without a new miracle, it appears to me impossible to live in this state.” 

The crucifix before which the Saint knelt when receiving these wounds is reverently kept. St. Catherine ranks among the greatest mystics and spiritual writers the Church has produced. She has also been the inspiration and model for many of the Saints who followed her. 

Venerated as a Saint even during her lifetime, she was solemnly canonized by Pope Pius II in 1461, and in 1939 Pope Pius XII gave to Italy, as its chief patron saints, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Siena. The importance of her writings and spiritual doctrine was officially recognized by the Apostolic See during the solemn ceremonies conducted by Pope Paul VI on October 4, 1970, when she was declared a Doctor of the Church, the second woman to bear this illustrious title.

Subscribe On YouTube

One Reply to “The Crucifix Of St. Catherine Of Siena. ”

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: