Dear brothers and sisters, today we celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, one of the great saints and doctors of the Church. Catherine was born in the 14th century in Italy, at a time when the Church and society were in crisis. However, she knew how to respond to God’s call and became a spiritual leader and a prophetic voice for her time.
From a very young age, Catherine felt a strong attraction to prayer and service to others. At the age of sixteen, she entered the Dominican Third Order and dedicated her life to prayer, penance and caring for the sick and needy. But her true calling was contemplation and union with God.
Catherine had profound mystical experiences and became known as one of the great mystics of the Church. In one of those experiences, she had a vision in which Jesus appeared to her and gave her a ring as a sign of her union with him. From that moment on, Catherine felt called to bring the word of God to the world and to work for the reform of the Church.
At a time when the Church was divided by the Western Schism and political conflicts, Catherine became a prophetic voice advocating Church unity and spiritual renewal. She wrote letters to Church leaders and the rulers of her time, exhorting them to conversion and the pursuit of peace and justice.
Catherine was a courageous and determined woman, who was not afraid to stand up to the powerful and denounce injustice. She became an advisor and spiritual guide to many, including Pope Gregory XI, whom she urged to return to Rome from Avignon and restore papal authority.
But what most characterized St. Catherine’s life and spirituality was her love of Christ and her passion for the Cross. For her, the Cross was the way to union with God and the source of salvation. In one of her letters, she wrote: «O Cross, I love you, for in you I find my Spouse. O Cross, you are my paradise, for in you is my God».
Dear brothers and sisters, the life of St. Catherine of Siena shows us that God continues to call courageous and passionate men and women who are willing to respond to his call and work for the renewal of the Church and society. Like her, we can seek union with God through prayer and contemplation, and bring the word of God to the world through our witness of life and our evangelizing action.
Let us ask St. Catherine of Siena to intercede for us and help us to live our faith with the same passion and dedication that she lived hers. May her example inspire us to be true disciples and missionaries of Christ, ready to bring God’s love and truth to everyone.