Pastoral Notes 26th April, 2015

St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) along with St Benedict and St Bridget of Sweden have been named by recent Popes as patrons of Europe. St Catherine’s feast-day is on 29th April. She was a citizen of the very beautiful Italian city of Siena and became a member of the lay third Order of St Dominic. For her spiritual writings she has been given the title Doctor of the Church, but was also famous in her life-time for standing by condemned criminals even to the scaffold, helping them make a good death, and for her efforts at peace-making between the Pope and civil rulers in Italy. In her time the Popes had fled Rome and settled in Avignon, France, but St Catherine managed to have an audience with the Pope there and persuade him to do the right thing and return to Rome – a good reason for making her a patron for unity in Europe also today. She is buried in a church near the Pantheon in Rome, and a statue stands at the end of the street facing St Peter’s, remembering her efforts for unity in the Church.