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Full text of "The life of St. Catharine of Sienna"

INSTITUTE OF MEDIAEVAL STUDIES 



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THE LIFE 

OF 

ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

BY HER CONFESSOR 

THE BLESSED RAYMOND OF CAPUA. 



3&lt|j Htt 
CONTAINING TESTIMONIES OF HER DISCIPLES, ETC. 

ftranslateb from t^e <Jfiu^, 
BY A MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF THE SACRED HEART. 



WITH APPROBATION OP 
THE RIGHT REV. BISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA ; 



JAMES DUFFY AND CO., LIMITED, 
15 WELLINGTON QUAY. 



DUBFJN J 

$}rinlib bj) (Ebmunb $urfce nnb Co. 
61 & 62 GREAT STRAND STEBKI. 




CONTENTS, 



POEyACH TO THB AMERICAN EDITION, 
THB FRENCH EDITION, 



FIRST PART. 

CHAPTERI. Of Catharine's parents and their worldly condition, 1 

CHAPTER 2 Birth of Catharine - Her Infancy Wonderful cir- 
cumstances that takes place, .... 3 

CHAPTER 3. Of Catharine's Vow of Virginity, and a circum- 
stance of her early years, .... 9 

CHAPTER 4. Of a relaxation of fervour, which God permitted 
in order to augment her grace, and of the great 
patience of Catharine hi supporting persecutions 
for the love of Jesus Christ, li 

CHAPTER 5. Her austere penance? and the persecutions of her 

Mother, 23 

CHAPTER 6. Of her self-conquest at the Baths, and her clothing 

with the Holy Habit of St. Dominick, - - 29 

CHAPTER 7. Of the origin and establishment of the " Sisters of 
Penance" of St. Dominick, and of their mode o 
life, 34 

CKAPTKU 8. Of Catharine's admirable progress in the ways of 

God, and of some particular graces she received, ;-7 

OHAPTIIR 9. Of the admirable doctrines taught her by our 

Lord, and which she adopted as her rulo of life, 4.4 

OHAPTEE 10. Of the Admirable victories which shegainf-d over 
temptations, and her extraordinary inti&icy with 
our Lord, ........43 

CEAWiit 11. Of the marriage with our Lord, and of the mira- 
culous rinjf that^she received, - 67 



SECOND PART. 

Page 

CHAPTER l.-Our Lord commands Catharine to employ herself 

for the good of her neighbour, - -60 

CHAPTER 2. Of some wonderful things that occurred at the com- 
mencement of Catharine's relations with the 
world, and of her exertions in supplying the ne- 
cessities of the poor, 05 

CHAPTER 3. Of the wonderful things Catharine performed 

when serving the sick, ..... 76 

CHAPTER 4. Of her manner of living and of the reproaches 
which were made her concerning her complete 
abstinence, 05 

CHAPTER 5. Of Catharine's wonderful ecstasies and of the greajt 

revelations which she received from God, - 109 

CHAPTER 6. Of miracles wrought by Catharine's intercession 

for promoting the salvation of souls, - - 145 

CHAPTBB 7. Of some miracles obtained by Catharine for the 

life or health of the neighbour, - - - 107 

CHAPTER 8. Of miracles performed by Catharine for deliver- 
ing such as are possessed by the Devil, - - 187 

CHAPTER 9. Of Catharine's gift of Prophecy, and in what man- 
ner she delivered several persons from danger 
which threatened their souls and bodies, - - 195 

CHAPTER 10.'- Of the miracles our Lord produced by means of 

Catharine, on things inanimate, - - - 210 

CHAPTER 11. Of Catharine's frequent communions, and of 
the miracles produced by Almighty God, for her, 
relative to the Holj Eucharist and the relics of 
the Saints, -221 

THIRD PART. 

CHAPTiru 1. -Concerning the witnesses present at Catharine's 
death, and who related the attendant circum- 
stances to the author, ----- 238 

CHAPTER 2. Of circumstances which happened a year and a 
half before the death of the blessed Catharine, 
and of the martyrdom that Satan caused her to 
undergo 24 



PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION. 



THE providence of God in the government of the world, 
but especially the divine economy with regard to the chil. 
dren of his Church, is best learned from the study of the 
lives of His faithful servants. The world, with its own 
views, and means, and end, being always antagonistic to 
the Spirit of God, must not be taken as a standard or as 
a testimony of God's providence towards his people. The 
Apostle St. Paul warns us " not to be conformed to the 
world," and St. James urges the motive " that the world 
is the enemy of God." Profane history even is often 
elucidated by this principle, whilst its light is almost always 
necessary to follow correctly the path which sacred 07 
ecclesiastical history points out. 

The life of St. Catharine of Sienna by the Blessed Eay- 
mond of Capua, is now, for -the first time, presented to the 
American reader in the English language. Its perusal will, 
at times, be sustained with interest by remembering the 
time, and circumstances in which that wonderful woman 
lived and acted. And it is not unlikely that the reader, 
may perchance, become startled at some of the facts nar 
rated by her biographer. A closer acquaintance, however, 
with the history of the times in which she lived, and the 
circumstances in which she acted, and by which, we may 
say, her conduct and history became a portion of the his- 
tory of the Church, will, in a great degree, verify her actions, 
by revealing the providence of God, in tae government of 



Vl PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION. 

The commencement of the fourteenth century saw the 
Church surrounded by difficulties, at oace the consequence 
and source of many evils. The wild ambition of princes 
and the lawlessness arising from habitual warfare, which 
then disturbed the heart of Christendom, exercised an un- 
happy influence on the interest and possessions of the Church. 
Men of worldly views, either themselves desired, or by the 
interests of their families were urged to seek preferment in 
the Church ; and the records of that period but too fre- 
quently exhibit the sad and fatal consequences. The spirit 
of the world had, in many instances, stained the holiness 
of the sanctuary: and the virtues of ecclesiastics were 
diminished or destroyed by the dangerous contact with 
worldly interests. Amidst the conflict of such opposing 
elements it is not to be wondered that a wily and ambitious 
prince, conceived the idea, and was enabled to carry it into 
execution, of transferring the venerable See of Peter from 
Rome to Avignon. 

It was during this melancholy and eventful period of the 
Church, whilst the seventy years' captivity of the Roman 
Pontiffs was being endured, that a simple daughter of a 
wool dyer, was practising in the retirement of her father's 
house, virtues of self-denial and penance, that were, one 
day, to manifest the sublime power of prayer and enlighten 
3ven the councils of the Princes of the Church. That St. 
Catharine was raised up a simple and uneducated female, 
to confound the wisdom and direct the actions of those 
to whom God confided higher destiny need not now be 
doubted. Nor does the divine economy require that the 
guidance of the bark of Peter should not be directed by 
the holy and required warnings of a saintly woman. Her 
prudence and persevering energy in reconciling the Floren- 
tines with the Sovereign Pontiff, induced the devoted 
Urban VI., to seek, and in essential political arrangement*! 



PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION. Til 

to adopt the salutary counsel of St. Catharine ; and the 
restoration to the holy city of the residence of the Papacy 
in his person, and by the continuation of his successors, 
may in no small degree justify the assertion, that to the 
inspired wisdom of the wool dyer's daughter, Rome was 
indebted for the return andfperpetuity of the successors of 
St. Peter. 

A word may here be said regarding her biographer, the 
blessed Raymond of Capua. Ample opportunity was af- 
forded him, for years, as her Confessor, to become ac- 
quainted not only with her actions and mode of thinking, 
but also of most perfectly understanding her motives, and 
the sincerity of her conduct. He was himself, moreover, a 
man of sober thought, of respectable theological knowledge, 
and of no rash and precipitate judgment. His frequent 
reference to the testimony of living witnesses and his own 
not unfrequent difficulty of belief, sufficiently testify his 
appreciation of the responsibility he was assuming in nar- 
rating facts open to the doubts, and startling to the faith 
of many. It was beside mainly from the facts mentioned 
by him, and by reference to the testimony which he so often 
and so urgently quoted, that the act of her canonization 
was produced. That he states many things of a most 
wonderful character upon the sole testimony or conviction 
of St. Catharine is true, but matters though bearing strong 
interior evidence of their truth, by no means constitute 
subjects of divine faith, and may be taken or set aside, as 
their evidence will appear sustainable or otherwise to the 
judgment of the reader. And yet, perhaps, ii would 
savour of rashness, if not of deep presumption to reject 
asunfounded, facts thathave been thought worthy of credit 
by many wise and prudent men, possessing means of form- 
ing judgment which are not now &t our ocronand. 



Viii PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITIOH. 

The pious reader will find in her life much to console 
and strengthen his conviction, that the providence of God 
deals wonderfully in his Church, with the actions and in- 
tegrity of her children, whilst the less credulous may dis- 
cover some difficulty in rejecting consequences which cor- 
rectly flow from facts sustained by respectable testimony. 
No one, however, is required to give to purely historical 
facts a credence beyond that demanded by merely human 
testimony, and even the more timid will be shielded by the 
remark of the learned and critical De Feller, in his " His- 
torical Dictionary," speaking of St. Catharine, that " The 
canonization of the Saints does not ratify either their opi- 
nions or their revelations," and he quotes the remark of 
Gregory the Great, " That Saints the most favoured by 
God frequently deceived themselves, by mistaking for a 
divine light, that which was merely the effect of the acti- 
vity of the human soul." St. Jerome well remarks upon 
this point, " That they are nevertheless the effect of a piety 
to be always much respected, both in its principle and in 
its object." 

The confidence extended, both in Italy and France, to 
this life of St. Catharine, should recommend it to the Eng- 
lish reader ; and the fact that the venerable author has 
already received from the Church the title of blessed tes- 
tifies that the pages of the volume are free from serious or 

obnoxious doctrines. 

J. P. D. 



PREFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION. 



ONE of our most dearly cherished hopes, is that of 
beholding Science consecrated to the glory of HIM 
who is its life and light an historical edifice of which 
Divine Providence has disposed the elements from the 
beginning, God himself having traced its plan, and im- 
mortal Truth fashioned its immoveable foundations. 
Every age, and every people will be represented; each 
exterior or interior stone will be a name or an event 
placed with order and with j ustice. Those deeply ob - 
scure beginnings, those different tongues and defined 
nationalities, those rapid revolutions, those elevations 
and those falls, so unforeseen, will appear in magnifi- 
cent unity, and the Church taking possession of that 
temple which Science will have prepared for her, will 
give within it a last and most solemn lesson to man. 

The materials of that majestic edifice are already 
preparing throughout the world. God, like Solomon , 
employs on it foreign hands ; the workmen of Tyre and 
Sidon, though far distant, carve the stones and cut the 
cedars. The Protestant and the unbeliever draw forth 
from the heart of ages past, the most precious metals, 
and daily present to knowledge the admirable fruits of 
their criticism and their studious labours. Historical 
studies have never been so active or so complete. Every 



X PREFACE TO TEE FRENCH EDITION. 

ruin is explored, all monuments are studied, traditions 
are interrogated, inscriptions are deciphered ; Asia con- 
ceals not her doctrines, Egypt explains her mysteries, 
and Nineveh opens to our inspection the annals and 
gigantic remains of her civilization. 

Man, in presence of these wrecks of ages and of em- 
pires, inquires what power produced those revolutions, 
and vivified that dust; he perceives that doctrines ani- 
mated those people and fashioned those monuments, 
and he discovers in their relation with truth, the causes 
of their grandeur and decay. Then, beyond time, ap- 
pears to him Eternity, in which God reigns and go- 
verns all things. Life, light, and power emanate from 
his throne, and the Church distributes them to intelli- 
gent creatures. All those laws written and effaced, 
those forms of government that are modified, those dy- 
nasties which pass, are exterior phenomena which have 
profound causes. The inner life of humanity is in Re- 
ligion, and her saints are the true princes of the world. 
Providence gives them to mankind according to its ne- 
cessities, and charges them with the execution of its 
will. Hence they occupy an important place in the 
field of history, and whosoever wishes to explain events, 
without considering their agency, will necessarily fall 
into grave errors. 

St. Catharine of Sienna was to the fourteenth cen- 
tury, what St. Bernard was to the twelfth ; that is, the 
light and support of the Church. At the moment in 
which the bark of St. Peter is most strongly agitated 
by the tempest, God gives it for pilot a poor young girl 
who conceals herself in the poor shop of a Dyer. Ca- 
tharine Bflte foot in the territory of France, to lead the 



PREFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION. xi 

Sovereign Pontiff Gregory XI. from the delights of 
his native land ; she brings the Popes from Avignon to 
the tomb of the Apostles, the real centre of Christi- 
anity. Her zeal is inflamed at the view of the disor- 
ders which are preparing the great schism of the West, 
and she displays an extraordinary activity in order to 
avert it. She addresses herself to cardinals, princes, and 
kings; she negociates peace between the nations and 
the Holy See, brings back to God a multitude of souls, 
and communicates by her teaching and examples a new 
vigour to those great Religious Orders which are the 
living, vibrating pulse of the Church. Urban VI. 
claims her counsels; she hastens to Rome, sustains by 
her word the Sacred College, alarmed by the threaten- 
ing storm ; and in presence of the evils which over- 
turn the heritage of Christ, she offers herself to God 
as a victim, and terminates her sacrifice, at thirty- 
three years of age, by a painful martyrdom. 

To write the life of St. Catharine was a task beyond 
our strength; but God who watches over his own glory, 
has preserved all the documents that justify that great 
historical miracle, and we have only filled the part of 
translator. Instead of judging of facts through the 
prejudices of our time, and thus tinging them perhaps 
with a false and fading hue, we have been so happy as 
to meet with a contemporary author who describes 
them with incontestable fidelity. The life of St. Ca- 
tharine by the Blessed Raymond of Capua, her Con- 
fessor, is a work that may be compared to those cjmrchea 
of the middle ages, which charm us as much by their 
general harmony, as by the richness of their details. 
The soul reposes within, far from the contests of the 



Xii PREFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION. 

world ; she is sensible too of the presence of God which 
invites her to prayer, and excites her to become better. 
We had besides another motive for selecting this book, 
which we are happy to make known. The Sovereign 
Pontiff, Pius IX., condescended himself to name it 
for our "Dominican Library," and. we were delighted 
to follow an indication so paternal and so august. 

The Blessed Raymond of Capua presents the most 
precious qualities that could be united in a historian. 
He is not a simple and credulous man whose imagina- 
tion can be easily seduced, but a Religious of profound 
knowledge and renowned sanctity, who relates to tho 
Church what he saw and heard ; and he does it with all 
the conditions which oblige his testimony to be accepted. 
A descendant of the celebrated Pierre des Vignes, 
Chancellor of Frederick II., he employed eminently 
better than his ancestor, the activity of his mind and 
the splendour of his talents. Entering betimes into tho 
Order of St. Dominick, he exercised its most important 
offices. After directing during four years, the Monas- 
tery of Montepulciano, he became Professor of Theo- 
logy at Sienna, and was the confessor of St. Catharine, 
whom he accompanied in her journeys to France and 
Italy. Urban VI. confided to him the most delicate 
and the most difficult affairs. In 1380, he was named 
General Master of his order, which he governed during 
nineteen years. Schism and plague had enfeebled the 
children of St. Dominick ; the Blessed Raymond re- 
stored its ancient vigour, and it was under his agency 
that was developed in the order of Friar Preachers, 
that epoch so fruitful in virtues and talent. The Blessed 
Jean de Dominici, Antoine Nearrot, Constantde Fab- 



PREFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION. xiii 

riano, Pierre Capucci, Saint Antonino, Fra Angelico, 
Fra Benedetto, are sons of that reform which he estab- 
lished in the convent.s of Lombardy, Tuscany, Sicily, 
Hungary, Germany, Spain, and France. He died in 
the midst of his work, in 1399, at Nurembnrg, and hia 
body was transported to Naples where it now reposes 
amid the splendours of the church of St. Dominick. 
The fatigues of his apostolate did not prevent him 
from leaving precious writings behind him. Besides 
the life of St. Agnes of Montepulciano and that of St. 
Catharine, he translated into Latin, the spiritual trea- 
tises of her of whom he was at once the Confessor and 
Disciple. He composed an admirable commentary on 
the Magnificat, the Office of the Festival of the Visita- 
tion, a treatise on reform, and a great number of very 
remarkable letters.* All his contemporaries laud hia 
science and his virtues; the Sovereign Pontiffs wished 
to raise him to the highest dignities of the Church, but 
his humility opposed it. Urban VI., in the briefs which 
he addresses to him, styles him his head, eyes, and 
mouth, his feet and his hands ; he claims for him the 
veneration of the Emperor, of kings, cardinals, and 
people. 

This is the eminent man whom God promises for Con- 
fessor to Catharine, as a special favour; he becomes the 
witness of her life, and the depository of all the secrets 
of her soul ; he writes what he saw and what he heard; 
he addresses himself to those who could be capable of 
contradicting him and carefully discusses the facts 
which he relates ; he confesses his constant hesitations 
and all the means that he adopts in order not to b? 
* Echard. Scriplores ord. prced. 1. v., p 



Xiv PEEFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION. 

deceived. He requests, through the intercession of 
her whom he fears to be in illusion, an extraordinary 
contrition for his sins; and when he has obtained that 
abundance of tears which the spirit of darkness can 
never bestow, he still doubts ; then he meets on the 
countenance of Catharine, the threatening looks of 
our Lord himself. The manner in which he exposes 
the miraculous abstinence of Catharine, her spirit of 
prophecy, and her frequent communions, shows that 
he brings to the examination of the facts all the lights 
of theology, and all the guarantees of prudence. Infine, 
there isin the recital such a simplicity of language, such 
an evidence of sincerity, that it seems impossible not 
to believe in his testimony ; God will never allow 
falsehood thus to assume the garb of truth. 

The life of St. Catharine, written by the Blessed 
Raymond, has been confirmed by all the depositions 
of his contemporaries ; it has served as the basis of the 
process of canonization, and the bull of Pius II. recalls 
its most extraordinary facts. We will not, therefore, 
discuss the doubts that might be conceived by a timid 
faith. The miracles are proved by testimony, and as 
soon as the Church admits them, we believe them as 
easily as the most simple phenomena of nature ; they 
emanate from the same Infinite Power. 

It may perhaps be found that the Blessed Raymond 
does not sufficiently bring forward the social action of 
St. Catharine. It is true that he scarcely speaks of it ; 
he shows it rather in its principle than in its effects. 
Saints are not statesmen who draw their plans in form 
and combine their mean s. They act under the imme- 
diate direction of God, and have no other policy than 



PREFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION. XT 

his Providence. Prayer, word, and example, render 
them powerful in heaven and on earth. They triumph 
over justice itself, and change ita most vigorous de- 
crees into treasures of mercy. It was thus that St. 
Catharine influenced the events of her time. 

After having made known Saint Catharine in the 
verity of her life, we hope to cause her to be admired 
in the beauty of her doctrine, and in the greatness of 
her action. If God permit we shall give to the public 
her spiritual dialogues, which contain the sublimity 
of her teaching ; and her letters, which will lead to 
the comprehension of her extended power. 

Our translation has been taken from the text of the 
Bollandists. We have striven to preserve the simple 
and poetic form of the recital ; at the risk of being pro- 
lix, we would not retrench any fact, or any pious re- 
flection. We have given but one of the author's pro- 
logues, the other appeared useless to us, and indeed 
not in harmony with the work. We have preferred 
adding to the narrative of the Blessed Raymond, the 
testimonies of other disciples of St. Catharine, who 
weresummoned to depose before the Bishopof Venice.* 

The Dominicans were accused of celebrating the 
feast of St. Catharine before the decision of the Holy 
See. They explained triumphantly the honours rJiat 
they rendered to her memory, and the documents of 
the processes, that God permitted, for the glory of 
his spouse, to be used in her canonization. 

* We havo translated by " Eveque de Venise," the 
title of Episeopiis Castellensis. " Caatello is one of the 
quarters of Venice, of wnich the bishop of the city took 
the title, tintil the extinction of the Patriarchs of Grade, 
their metropolitans." 



XVI PREFACE TO TttE FRENCH EDITION. 

In fine, desiring to render our work more com- 
plete, we resolved, before terminating the impression 
of this volume, to see Italy again, and the localities 
consecrated by the presence of our beloved saint. 
We have followed her footsteps to Rome, to Sienna, 
to Florence, and to Pisa; we there venerated her 
relics and her memory ; we sought in tho ancient 
monuments of Christian art, the tradition of her por- 
trait, and we offer to those who desire to know them, 
the result of our studies and of our pilgrimage. 

We dedicate this volume to our Brethren and Sis- 
ters of the Third Order of St. Dommick, who have, 
in France, chosen St. Catharine for their patronness. 
May the examples and teachings of that great saint, 
develope in our hearts the love of the Church which 
inflamed her burning heart 1 May France by her de- 
votedness to the Holy See, ever merit to be blessed 
among the nations! 

Sienna, April 29*A, 1853. 



LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 



PROLO GUE. 

DAVID, the Prophet of Christ, son of Isai, the sweet 
singer of Israel, said, when speaking of the coming of 
the Messiah , ' ' Let these things be written unto another 
generation : and the people that shall be created shall 
praise the Lord." The holy man Job, desirous to an- 
nounce the Resurrection, exclaimed, "Who will grant 
that my words may be written ? Who will grant me 
that they may be marked down in a book? with an 
iron pen and in a plate of lead, or else be graven with 
an instrument in flint-stone." These passages of Holy 
Writ prove to us that whatever can glorify God and 
edify men, ought not to be related in one age and in 
one locality, but should be written down and taught to 
those who live, o who will live hereafter. Solomon 
said, Generatio prseterit et generatio advenit, (Eccl. i. 
4.) " One generation goeth, and another cometh." It 
is not just that one generation should alone possess 
what may be useful to all, and that the works of 
divine wisdom, which are worthy of never-ending 
praise, should obtain a transient eulogiuin. Moses also 
wrote of the beginning of creation and the history of 
the human race, until his own epoch; Samuel, Esdras, 
and the other prophets, continued hia sacred recitals, 
and twi religiously preserve their s&cred words. The 



LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

Evangelists are, by their dignity, entitled to the first 
rank among historians ; not only did they announce 
the Word of God, but they preserved and fixed it by 
committing it to -writing : and a great voice said to one 
of them, Quod rides, scribe in Hbro. " What thou seest 
write in a book." (Apoc.l 11.) 

I, therefore, brother Raymond of Capua, called in 
the world Delia Vigne, humble master and servant of 
the order of Friar Preachers, in the justifiable astonish- 
ment, excited by the wonders I have seen and heard, 
am resolved to write (after having proposed them with 
the living voice to the admiration of the faithful,) the 
deeds of a holy virgin, named Catharine, to whom 
Sienna, a city of Tuscany, gave birth. The present 
age as well as future ages, on becoming acquainted 
with the prodigies that Almighty God produced 
through this womun, must praise him in his Saints, 
and bless him according to the multitude of his great 
works, and excite themselves to loving him with all 
their strength and above all things, as well as to serve 
him interiorly and exteriorly without ceasing. 

I assure all the readers of this book, in presence of 
the God of truth, that there is in my narrative neither 
fiction nor falsehood, and that the facts are as faith- 
fully reported as my weakness would allow. In order 
to satisfy even the least credulous, I will cite, in the 
different Chapters, the witnesses of what I relate; and 
it will be clearly seen from what source 1 have drawn 
what I offer to refresh the soul. And as I purpose 
doing ALL in the name of the adorable Trinity, I have 
divided the book into three parts. Thefast will con- 
tain the birth, infancy, and youth of Catharine, until 



LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. XIX 

the mystic nuptials with our Blessed Lord. The se- 
cond, her relations with the world from that period 
until her happy death : the third, the latter days of 
her life and the miracles which accompanied and suc- 
ceeded her death. I do not pretend to tell all : it 
would not only make too voluminous a work, but my 
lifetime would not suffice for its accomplishment. 
May God allow me the privilege of accomplishing this 
task, and others that I purpose concerning her doc- 
trine and devotions to the glory of the ever Blessed 
Trinity, to whom be all the glory now and for ever- 
more. Amen. 



PROTESTATION. 

In obedience to the decrees of Urban VIII. I protest 
that of the miraculous deeds and gifts ascribed in this 
work to certain servants of God, and not already ap- 
proved by the Holy See, I claim no other belief than 
that which is ordinarily given to history resting on 
mere human authority, and that in giving the apella- 
tion of Saint or Blessed to any person not canonized 
or beatified by the Church, I only intend to do it ac- 
cording to the usage and opinion of men. 



FIRST P AKT. 



CH AFTER 1 

Of Catharine's Parents and their worldly condition. 

THERE lived in the city of Sienna, in Tuscany, a 
man named Jacomo, who was descended from the fa- 
mily of the Benencasa, a man simple, loyal, fearing 
God, and separated from every vice. After losing 
his parents he married a countrywoman called Lapa. 
This woman had none of the defects so common at the 
present day ; she was industrious, prudent, well-versed 
in domestic affairs, and as she still lives, those who are 
acquainted with her may still render her this precious 
testimony. The good couple dwelt peaceably together, 
and although of the humbler class, they possessed a 
certain position among their fellow- citizens, and be- 
sides enjoyed a considerable fortune for their rank. 
God blessed them with a numerous offspring, which 
they reared in the ways of eminent virtue. 

As Jacomo has, as we have every reason to believe, 
gone to the abodes of the blest, I can with propriety 
make his eulogium here. Lapa has assured me that he 
was so mild and moderate in his words that he never 
gave way to anger, notwithstanding the numerous oc- 
casions which might have led him to do so ; and when 
ever he saw any member of his household becoming 
vexed and speaking with violence, he would try to 



2 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIEtiSA* 

calm the person, saying cheerfully, " Now, now, do 
not say anything wrong, so that God may grant you 
his blessing." On one occasion a fellow-citizen had 
injured him very considerably, by claiming a sum of 
money from him unjustly, and employing the influ- 
ence of his friends, and falsehood also to bring about 
the ruin of poor Jacomo. Still he would not hear his 
enemy spoken of in any way that could detract from 
him, and as Lapa thought it no fault he gently re- 
proved her, saying: "Let him alone, dear, let him 
alone, and God will bless you ; he will show him his 
error, and will become our defence." This soon took 
place ; the truth was discovered almost miraculously ; 
the guilty man was condemned, and acknowledged the 
injustice of his persecutions. 

The testimony of Lapa is above suspicion ; all who 
are acquainted with her will easily credit her : she is 
an octogenarian, and is so simple that even would she, 
she could not invent anything false. The friends of 
Jacomo can also testify to his simplicity, uprightness, 
and virtue ; he was so reserved in his speech that his 
family, especially the female portion of it, could not 
support the least irregularity in conversation. One of 
his daughters, named Bonaventura, had married a 
young man of Sienna, named Nicholas. This young 
man received at his house friends of his own age, and 
their conversation sometimes savoured of levity. Bo- 
naventura became so depressed in spirits on this ac- 
count, that she fell into a languishing state of health, 
and sensibly wasted away. Her husband inquired the 



CATHARINE'S PARENTS, 3 

cause of her illness ; she replied," I have never been 
accustomed to hearing in the house of my father, lan- 
guage such as I hear in yours ; my education has been 
widely different, and I assure you that if these unbe- 
coming discourses continue, my life must soon ter- 
minate." 

This reply inspired the husband with a great respect 
for her and her family. He forbade his guests to pro- 
nounce in the presence of Bonaventura any words that 
could possibly displease her ; they obeyed, and thut} 
the correct government in the household of Jacomo, 
corrected the licence of the house of Nicholas, his 
son-in-law. 

Jacomo's occupation was the preparation of colours 
employed in dying wool ; hence his surname of the 
dyer. The daughter of this virtuous artisan was des- 
tined to become the spouse of the King of Heaven. 

The above account I have obtained either from Ca- 
tharine herself, from her mother, or ftom some reli- 
gious and seculars who were neighbours, friends, or 
relatives of Jacomo. 



CHAPTER II. 

Birth of Catharino her infancy wonderful circumstances thati 
take place. 

LAPA became the mother of two delicate daughters 
at a birth (1347) ; but the weakness of their bodies wo 
not destined to impair the energy of their so^ls. Tlxa 
mother not being able to nouriak both, vuw\ heasjjf. 



4 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA* 

obliged to confide one of them to the care of a strau^i; 
God willed that the infant she herself retained, should 
be her whom he had chosen for his spouse ; and when 
the infants received baptism, the mother's choice was 
called Catharine, and the other Jane. Jane soon bore 
to heaven the name and grace that she received in 
baptism ; she lived but a few days, and Catharine re- 
mained alone to save, in after years, a multitude of 
souls. Lapa consoled herself on the death of her 
daughter, by tending more carefully the one that was 
left, and she frequently acknowledged that she loved 
her more tenderly than all the others, probablybecause 
she had been able to nurse her herself, for it was the 
only one out of the twenty-five children, with which 
God had blessed her, to whom she had been able to 
give this maternal attention. 

Catharine was educated as a child that belonged to 
God. As soon as she began to walk alone, she was 
loved by all who saw her, and her conversation was 
so discreet, that it was with difficulty her mother could 
keep her at home ; her neighbours and relatives would 
bring her to their houses in order to listen to her child- 
like reasonings, and enjoy her infantine sweetness. 
They found so much consolation in her company, that 
they did not call her Catharine, but Euphrosyne, which 
signifies joy, satisfaction. Perhaps they were igno- 
rant of tliis meaning, and did not know what I learned 
later, that Catharine had resolved to imitate St. Eu- 
phrosyne ; and it may be, also, that in her childish 
phrases she uttered some words resembling Euphrosyne > 



TSZ FIRST VISION* 5 

and those who repeated her words gave her this name. 
Her youth realized the promises of her early infancy : 
her words possessed a mysterious power which inclined 
the soul to God. As soon as one conversed with her, 
sadness was dispelled from the heart, vexations and 
troubles were forgotten, and a ravishing peace took 
possession of the soul, so extraordinary indeed that one 
could only imagine it to resemble that enjoyed by the 
Apostles onMountThabor, when one exclaimed "It 
is good for us to be here !" Bonum est nos hie esse. 
She was scarcely five years old when she would recite 
an Ave Maria, on each step of the stairs on going up 
and coming down, acompanying it with a genuflexion, 
and she has since assured me that she thus strove to 
raise her mind from things visible to things invisible. 
The mercy of God deigned to recompense this pious 
being, and encouraged her by a wonderful vision, thus 
lavishing the dews of his heavenly grace on this tender 
plant which was destined to become a towering and 
magnificent cedar. 

Catharine was six years of age when her mother 
sent her with her little brother Stephen, to the house 
of their sister Bonaventura, either to carry something, . 
or obtain some information : their commission being 
executed, the children were returning by the valley 
known as the Valley Piatta, when Catharine, raising 
her eyes to heaven, saw, opposite to her, on the gable- 
end of the Church of the Friar Preachers, a splendid 
throne occupied by our Lord Jesus Christ clothed in 
pontifical ornaments and his sacred brow adorned 



6 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

with a tiara. At his side were St. Peter, St. Paul, 
and St. John the Evangelist. Catharine stood still 
ravished with admiration and contemplation with love 
to Him who thus manifested Himself to her in order 
to captivate more fully her devoted heart: the Saviour 
gave her a look of serene majesty, smiled upon her 
with benign tenderness, and then extending his hand 
gave her his blessing in the form of a cross, as is cus- 
tomary with Bishops. But whilst she was looking at 
our Lord, her little brother Stephen, continued de- 
scending, fancying that she followed him, while on the 
contrary he had left her far behind. Turning around , 
he perceived his sister looking up to heaven ; he called 
her with his utmost voice, but she made no reply ; 
until at length he went to her, and taking her by the 
hand, said, " Come on, why do you -stay there ?" 
Catharine appeared to awake from a profound sleep, 
looked at him an instant, and then said : " O ! did you 
but see what 1 see, you would never have disturbed me 
in such a sweet vision," and her eyes again turned 
towards heaven, but all had vanished, to the great 
grief of Catharine, who wept and reproached herself 
for having lowered her eyes. From this moment Ca- 
tharine seemed to be no longer a child ; her virtues her 
manners, and her thoughts were superior to her age, 
and would have done honour to men of mature years. 
The fire of divine love inflamed her heart and enlight- 
ened her understanding; her will srengthened, her 
memory developed, and her every action became con- 
formed to the rules of the Gospel. She disclosed to 



SHE SEEKS THE DESERT. 7 

me since, that the Holy Spirit then taught her, -with- 
out any human teaching, and without any reading, 
the life pursued by the Fathers of the desert, and pro- 
posed to her the imitation of some saints, particularly 
of St. Dominick. She experienced such an ardent de- 
sire to follow their example, that she could not dwell 
upon any other thought ; and to the astonishment of 
all, she sought retired spots in order to scourge her 
feeble body with a little discipline. Her meditation 
and prayersbecame continual, and to accomplish them 
she forsook all the ordinary amusements of her age ; 
she became daily more silent, and diminished her food, 
contrary to the habit of growing children. Catharine's 
example attracted other little girls who wished to hear 
her pious discourses, and imitate, as far as possible, 
her devout practices. They assembled in an apart- 
ment remote from the house, practised corporal austerL. 
ties with Catharine, and said as many times the Pater 
Noster, and Ave Maria, as she prescribed to their. 
This was only a prelude of the future. 

Our Lord deigned to encourage these acts of virtue 
by sensible graces. Her mother informed me, and 
Catharine was obliged to acknowledge it to me, that 
when purposing to mount the staircase she was borne 
up to the top without touching the steps with her f eet s 
and such was the rapidity of her ascentthat the mother 
trembled least she should fall. This favour happened 
to her when she shunned little assemblies, above all 
when persons of the other sex v;ere present. 

The knowledge of the life of the Fathers of the De* 



8 LIFE OF ST, CATHARINE OP 

eert, wMch Catharine had received from heaven, also 
determined her to withdraw into solitude ; but she was 
ignorant how to accomplish her project; and God, who 
destined her to another mode of life, did not furnish 
her the means, and left her to the dreams of her imagi- 
nation. One morning, she set forth in search of the 
desert ; after having prudently provided herself with 
a loaf of bread, she directed her course towards the 
residence of her married sister, who lived near one of 
the gates of Sienna. She left the city for the first time 
in her life, and as soon as she perceived the valley, and 
the habitations a little more distant from one another 
she thought she was certainly approaching " the de- 
sert." Having found a Tdnd of grotto underneath a 
shelving rock, she joyfully enteredit, convinced that she 
was now in her much desired solitude. She knelt, and 
adored Him who had condescended to appear to her 
and bless her, and God who accepted the pious desires 
of his spouse, but who had other designs over her, 
would testify to her how agreeable her favour was to 
him. She had scarcely begun her meditation, than 
she was elevated little by little to the very vault of the 
grotto, and remained thus to the hour ef None. Ca- 
tharine, presuming that this was a snare of Satan to 
distract her, and turn her from her holy purpose, in- 
creased the ardour of her prayers. 

At length, about the hour in which the Saviour com- 
pleted his sufferings on the cross, she descended to the 
earth, and God revealed to her that the moment of 
sacrifice had not yet come, and that she was not to 



HER VOW OP VlRGlNITr,, 9 

quit the house of her father. On leaving the grotto 
she became anxious on finding herself so far from the 
town, and dreaded the trouble that would arise in the 
hearts of her family who would imagine her to be lost ; 
she recommended herself to God, and suddenly the 
holy child was transported, in the twinkling of an eye, 
to the gates of Sienna, whence she speedily returned 
home, and never disclosed this circumstance to any but 
her confessors, of whom I am the last and the most 
unworthy.* 



CHAPTER III 

Of Catharine's row of virginity, and a circumstance of her early 
years. 

THE apparation of our Lord exerted such a powerful 
influence over the heart of this devout child, that the 
germs of self-love were destroyed, and it became in- 
flamed with the sole love of Jesus Christ and of the 
glorious Virgin Mary. All besides appeared to her only 
misery and corruption, and her supreme desire was to 
be united to the Saviour. The Holy Spirit gave her 
grace to understand that purity of soul and body is 
necessary for pleasing the Creator, and she sighed 

The Blessed Author has faithfully fulfilled his pro 
raise given in the prologue, of scrupulously naming his 
informants and authority, but we think it irrelevant to 
put them in this translation, on account of the reverence 
due to him, and the faith of the Catholic reader ; besides 
it would increase the volume beyond the intention of the 
zealous publisher. TEANSLATOB. 



10 LIFE OF ST. CATHAniNE OF SIENNA* 

after the treasure of perpetual virginity. She implored 
the Queen of Angels, and of virgins, to be so kind as 
to obtain from God, the lights which were necessary 
for accomplishing what would prove most acceptable 
to his divine majesty and the most conducive to her 
soul's salvation, expressing to her merely the extreme 
desire she felt of embracing on earth an angelic mode 
of life. At length heavenly prudence bade her no 
longer stifle the holy emotions produced in her soul 
by the Spirit of God, and being one day retired quite 
solitary in prayer, she knelt down and invoked the 
Blessed Virgin, concluding her prayer thus "I pro- 
mise thy Son and I promise thee, never to accept any 
other spouse, and to preserve myself to Jbhe best of my 
ability pure and unspotted " 

Catharine did indeed obtain her divine Spouse, and 
was strictly united to him by her vow of virginity : the 
blessed Mother of Jesus performed the nuptial cere- 
mony which was miraculously celebrated, as we shall 
see in the course of our narrative. 

After lids perpetual vow, Catharine advanced ra- 
pidly in sanctity; in imitation of Jesus Christ, she 
crucified her innocent body, and she resolved to deny 
herself as far as possible, all nutritious aliments. When 
meat was served to her, she secretly gave it to her bro- 
ther Stephen, or put it secretly away ; she continued 
and augmented her disciplines, either alone or in con- 
cert with her youthful friends. She felt a burning zeal 
for the salvation of souls, and entertained a special de- 
yotion towards such sainte had laboured most dili 



HER vow OF vmGnm-r, 11 

gently in promoting it ; she chiefly loved St. Dominick, 
whose apostolical charity God had made known to her. 
The child advanced in age, but faith, hope, and cha- 
rity were developed far before her tender years, and 
her daily conduct commanded the respect of her seni- 
ors. The following instance Lapa often related. 
Catharine had scarcely attained the age of ten, when 
Lapa, desirous of having a mass said in honour of St. 
Anthony, sent her to the curate of the parish to ac- 
quiesce in her wishes, and to offer a certain number 
of candles on the altar, and present a sum of money 
mentioned. The pious child joyfully fulfilled her 
mother's commission, but would profit by adding her 
own prayers to what she felt was promoting God's 
glory. She therefore remained in the Church until 
the end of Mass, and did not return home until the 
Office had terminated. Her mother, persuaded 
that she should have come home after having spoken 
with the priest, found her absence too much prolonged, 
and reproached her in away common among "thepeo 
pie' 1 for her slowness. " Cursed" said she, "be the 
tongues that pretend that thou shouldst not have re- 
turned !" The child listened to these words without 
making any reply, but a few moments after, she invited 
Lapa aside, and said to her with as much gravity as 
humility, " D ear mother, whenever I commit any fault, 
or execute your orders badly, punish me, beat me even, 
if you will, to force me to do my duty better ; but, I 
entreat you, never to curse any one on my account, 
for it is unbecoming your years, and gives me great 






12 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

pain." The mother was greatly surprised at this les- 
son from her child, and more edified than surprised 
when she discovered that she had remained to offer the 
Holy Sacrifice, instead of loitering by the way as she 
had hastily judged. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Of a Relaxation of Fervour, which God permitted in order to aug- 
ment her grace, and of the great patience of Catharine in sup- 
porting persecutions for the love of Jesus Christ. 

THE increated Wisdom, which governs all things, 
sometimes permits the fall of his Saints, so that they 
may afterwards arise and serve him with much greater 
ardour, and tend with greater prudence towards per- 
fection, and gain more splendid victories over the ene- 
mies of their salvation. 

When Catharine, whohad consecratedher virginity 
to God, had attained the age of twelve years, she never 
left thepaternal roof alone, according to the usage esta- 
blished for all unmarried females. Her father, mother, 
and brothers, who were ignorant of her solemn promise, 
thought of finding her a suitable partner. Her mother 
who desired f or her'a husband worthy of her merit, and 
who knewnotthatshehadalreadyselected a spouse far 
above all human alliances, took great pains in adorn- 
ing her interesting daughter ; she caused her to have 
her hair dressed, and her head covered with ornaments, 
while her neck, face, and arms were attempted to be 
displayed in a manner calculated to please such as 
irjglifc oak her hand in marriage, Catharine enter- 



HEU DOMESTIC TRIALS. 13 

tamed other thoughts, but she concealed them from 
her parents, fearing to afflict them ; she submitted un- 
willingly to the wishes of her mother, seeking to please 
God rather than men. Lapa was pained at the oppo- 
sition she could not help observing ; she summoned to 
her aid her married daughter Bonaventura, and 
charged her to persuade her sister to assume the orna- 
ments suited to young persons of her age. She was 
well aware of Catharine's tenderness towards her sis- 
ter, whose influence was able to produce the success 
of her projects. She was not deceived, God suffered 
the victory of Bonaventura's little manoeuvres ; she 
influenced Catharine by her conversations and exam- 
ples to devote herself to the occupations of her toilette, 
without, however, prevailing upon her to renouncehef 
vow. She accused herself of this fault with so many tean 
and sobs, that one would have supposed she had com- 
mitted some great crime. And now that this lovely 
flower is transferred to the parterre of heaven, I may 
disclose the secrets that will redound to God's glory, 
and expose what passed between us on this subject. 
There was a question of it in all her general confessions, 
and it was always with signs of the liveliest contrition. 
I knew well that holy souls frequently fancy they 
discover faults where there is none in reality, and ex- 
aggerate much the imperfections they commit. But a? 
Catharine appeared to believe she deserved eternal 
misery, I thought it my duty to inquire if she had 
thought of renouncing her vow of virginity, when act- 
ing thus. She answered me no, and that such an idea 



14 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

never even approached her heart. I then enquired 
whether, without wishing to infringe her vow of vir- 
ginity, she had sought to please men in general, or any 
one man in particular ; her reply was that nothing 
was more painful to her than to see men or to find herself 
with them. When her father's apprentices, who lived 
in the house, came where she was, she fled as though 
she had met with serpents, to the astonishment of all. 
Neither would she ever take her place at a door or in 
a window, in order to look at those who passed by. 
But then, said I to her, how can you believe that the 
care you took in your toilette can cause you to merit 
hell; above all if there was nothing excessive in your 
attire ? She said that she had loved her sister too well, 
by preferring her pleasure to God's will, and then re- 
commenced her tears. On my deciding that there 
might be imperfection, but that there was no violation 
of a formal precept, she exclaimed, "O, dear Lord, 
see ! my spiritual father excuses my sins. Can a crea- 
ture so vile and contemptible, who has received so 
many graces from her Creator, without having ever 
merited them, have thus passed her precious time in- 
nocently in adorning her miserable body, and that to 
please a mere creature ?" 

This conversation proves how that beautiful soul was 
ever preserved from mortal sin, that she guarded her 
riginity spiritually and corporally, and never tar- 
nished her purity either by word or action. In all her 
general confessions, and in all her particular ones, I 
havo found no other faults than those which I have 



HEB DOMESTIC TRIALS, 15 

Just related. Her whole time was consecrated to 
prayer, meditation, and the edification of her neigh- 
bour. She granted herself but a quarter of an hour of 
Bleep daily. During her repast, (if the litttle food she 
took could be called by that name,) she prayed and 
meditated on what our Lord had taught her. I know, 
and can attest before the Church, that during the 
period of my acquaintance with her, it was more pain- 
ful for her to take food, than it is painful for one who 
is fainting with hunger to be deprived of it, and that 
she suffered more when she took any, than others en- 
dure in a violent fever hence eating became to her a 
cruel penance. It would be difficult to imagine what 
fault a soul could commit which was so continually 
occupied with God, and yet she accused herself with 
so much sorrow, and succeeded in finding so many im- 
perfections, that a Confessor who did not know her 
mode of life, might be deceived and fancy there was 
evil where none in reality existed. I have dwelt at 
length upon this fault of Catharine in order to shew to 
what a high degree of perfection grace had raised her. 
Bonaventura who had succeeded in occupying her 
with her toilette, had not inspired her with a wish to 
please the world, yet her fervour in prayer and medi- 
tation had abated. Our Lord would no longer permit 
that his chosen spouse should thus be separated from 
his heart, and he destroyed the obstacle that prevented 
this holy union. Bonaventura, who had led Catharine 
in the path of vanity, died in childbed, and in the 
flower of her age and her death caused Catli/jxiue to 



1C LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

comprehend more deeply the vanity of earth, and she 
devoted herself with new ardour to the service of her 
divine spouse. At this epoch she dates her devotion to 
St. Magdalen, of whom she asked a contrition similar 
to hers; this devotion always increasing, our Lord and 
the Blessed Virgin gave her Mary Magdalen for mis- 
tress and Mother, as we shall hereafter see. 

The enemy of salvation, perceiving that his snares were 
overthrown, and that she whom he was desirous of des- 
troying, had sought refuge with more love than ever 
in the bosom of her spouse, determined to excite ob- 
stacles in her house, and bind her to the world by the vio- 
lence of his persecutions. He inspired her relatives with 
the determination of obliging her to marry so as to fill 
the void created in the family by the death of Bona- 
ventura. Catharine, enlightened from above, only in- 
creased her vocal prayers her meditations and aus- 
terities avoiding the society of men, and proving in 
every way the inflexibility of her resolution never to 
give to a simple mortal the heart that had been ac- 
cepted by the King of kings. 

Her parents left no means untried of overcoming 
her resistance, and addressed themselves to a Friar 
Preacher, whom they besought as a friend of the 
family to do all that he could to procure the consent 
of Catharine. He promised to second their views, but 
when he conversed with her, and found her will so firm, 
his conscience obliged him to sustain her, and instead 
of contending with her, he said to her: " Since you 
have decidei to consecrate yourself to God, and those 



HER DOMESTIC TRIALS. 17 

who surround you oppose it, prove to them that your 
resolution is not to be shaken. Cut off your hair, en- 
tirely ; perhaps they will then let you enjoy tranquil- 
lity." Catharine received this advice as coming from 
heaven ; she took her scissors and joyfully cut off her 
beautiful tresses, now become hateful to her, because 
she supposed them to have been the cause of her com- 
mitting a fault. She then covered her head, contrary 
to the custom of youthful maidens, whom however the 
Apostle recommends never to go forth without a veil. 
When Lapa saw this veil, she asked her the reason of 
wearing it ; Catharine neither dared to tell a falsehood 
nor avow the truth, and spoke in as low a tone as pos- 
sible. Her mother then seized the veil, and in re- 
moving it discovered her head shorn of its beautiful 
locks. " Ah ! daughter, what have you done ?" cried 
she, but Catharine quietly resumed her veil and with- 
drew. At the mother's shriek the whole family met, 
and when they learned what had been done, all in 
unison gave way to violent anger. 

This was the occasion of a new persecution for Ca- 
tharine, and more terrible than the former ; she tri- 
umphed over it by the aid of heaven, and the means 
they adopted for separating her from our Lord, served, 
on the contrary, to unite her more closely to him 
They loaded her with injurious words and harsh treat- 
ment, telling her that her hair should be allowed to 
grow notwithstanding the revolts of her heart, and that 
she should enjoy no peace until she consented to ba 
Tarried in obedience to their determinations. It ww 

Q 



18 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

also decided, that she should perform all the menial 
work of the house, and that no leisure should be left 
her for conversing with God. So as to humble her to 
the utmost, they even dismissed the kitchen -maid, and 
forced Catharine to fulfil her functions. Every day 
they loaded her with affronts such as are most sensible 
to a woman's heart and at the same time proposed to 
her a highly honourable connexion, and took every 
possible means to induce or constrain her to accept it. 
But the devil was again vanquished; Catharine, instead 
of yielding, became stronger with the help of grace, 
and gave way to no trouble in this storm : the Holy 
Spirit had taught her to erect a little cell in the in- 
terior of her soul, whence she resolved never to come 
forth, notwithstanding her pressing exterior occupa- 
tions. When she was privileged with a room, she was 
often obliged to leave it, but, nothing could oblige her 
to leave this interior retreat eternal truth has de- 
clared that tlie kingdom of God is within us Regnum 
Dei intra nos est, (Luke xvii. 21.,) and the prophet pro- 
claims that "all the glory of the King's daughter is 
within." Omnis gloria filix greisab intus. (Ps. xliv. 14.) 
The Holy Ghost also inspired Catharine with a 
means of supporting affronts and of maintaining in 
every crisis the joy and peace of her soul. She ima- 
gined that her father represented our dear Saviour, and 
that her mother took the place of the Blessed Virgin. 
Her brothers and other relations were the Apostles and 
disciples of our Lord to her ; hence she served them 
\j5Ui a delight and ardour that astonished every one; 



HER DOMESTIC fi^HtS. 19 

thismeans assistedher to enjoy her divine spouse whom 
she believed she was serving ; the kitchen became a 
sanctuary to her, and when she seated herself at table, 
she nourished her soul with the presence of the Sa- 
viour. O richness of Eternal Wisdom, how numerous 
and admirable are the ways thou hast for delivering 
those who hope in thee ! Thou canst draw them out of 
every danger, and conduct them to the port through 
the most difficult and dangerous channels. 

Catharine considered that recompense which the 
eternal Spirit promised her, and suffered all these trials 
with joy rather than patience, and her soul was inun- 
dated with the sweetest consolations, while fulfilling 
her duties. As she was not allowed an apartment to 
herself, but was ordered to share one with another, she 
chose that of her youthful brother Stephen, who was 
unmarried : because she could profit by his absence 
during the day, and his profound sleep at night, to 
devote herself to her practice of prayer; thus she con- 
tinually sought the presence of her spouse, and was 
never weary of knocking at the door of his sacred 
tabernacle. She implored God to deign to protect her 
virginity, repeating with St. Cecilia this verse of the 
Psalmist. Fiat Domine cor meum et corpus meum im- 
maculatum. (Ps. cxviii. 80.) Her spirit of recollec- 
tion and her hopes gave her such strength and energy 
that with her trials her spiritual joy increased ; and 
her brothers who witnessed her constancy, said to one 
another, "We are vanquished 1" Her father, who 
was better than the others, examined her conduct fa 



20 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

silence, and comprehended daily more and more that 
she was doing the will of God, and not following the 
fancies of a capricious maiden. 

One day, while the servant of Jesus Christ was 
praying fervently in her brother's room, the door being 
open, because her parents had forbidden her to shut 
it, her father entered to take something that he needed 
in the absence of his son. While looking about, he 
saw his daughter who was kneeling in one corner of 
the chamber, and having a snow-white dove reposing 
on her head ; at his approach it fled, and seemed to 
disappear through the window. He enquired of his 
daughter what dove that was that just flew away ; she 
replied that she had not seen a dove or any other bird 
in her room. This occurrence filled him with astonish- 
ment, and awakened serious reflections in his mind. 

Catharine felt an increasing desire to accomplish a 
project which she had entertained indeed from her in- 
fancy ; namely, to be clothed with the habit of the 
order founded by the illustrious St. Dominick, hoping 
she could thus more easily accomplish her holy vow. 
Sheprayed continually to God, through the intercession 
of that saint, who had displayed such an impassioned 
zeal for the salvation of souls. Our Lord, seeing this 
young and generous athlete combating in the arena, 
encouraged her by the following vision. During her 
deep, she seemed to behold all the Founders of the 
various orders, and among them St. Dominick, whom 
she recognized by a lily of dazzling brightness which 
he bore in his hand, and which was burning without 



HER DOMESTIC TRIALS. 21 

being consumed. They each and all engaged her to 
select an order, so as to serve God in higher perfection ; 
she turned towards St. Dominick, whom she saw ad- 
vancing towards her and presenting her with a habit 
of the Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick, who are 
very numerous in Sienna, He addressed her in the 
following consoling words "Daughter, be of good 
heart, fear no obstacle, excite your courage, for the 
happy day will come when you shall be clothed in the 
pious habit you desire." This promise filled her heart 
with joy, she thanked the great St. Dominick with an 
effusion of tears, which awakened her, and restored 
her to her senses. 

This vision so comforted and strengthened her, that 
on that very day she assembled her father and mother 
with her brothers, and with great assurance declared 
to them ; "During a long time you have resolved that 
I should marry, and have endeavoured to force me to 
do so ; you are aware that I hold this project in horror ; 
my conduct must have convinced you of this. I have 
not, however, explained myself, on account of the re- 
spect due to my parents, but duty obliges me to be 
silent no longer. I must speak candidly with you, and 
declare to you an engagement I have assumed, which 
is not novel, since I contracted it in my infancy. Know 
therefore, that I have taken a vow of virginity, not 
through levity, but deliberately and with full know- 
ledge of what I was doing ; now that I have a maturer 
age and a more perfect acquaintance with the nature 
cf my actions, I persist, with the grace of God, in my 



22 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

resolution, and it will be easier to dissolve a rock 
than to induce me to change my will; renounce there- 
fore these projects for an earthly union; it is quite im- 
possible for me to satisfy you on this point, because it 
is better to obey God than man. If you desire to re- 
tain me as a domestic in the house, I will render you 
cheerfully all the services in my power, but if you de- 
sire to oblige me to leave it, know that I shall remain 
immoveable in my resolution ; my spouse has all the 
riches of heaven and earth, his power can protect me 
and provide abundantly for my every necessity." 

At these words all present melted into tears ; the 
sobs broke forth in such vehemence that no one could 
respond to her words; there were no longer any means 
of opposing the accomplishment of her vow. The hi- 
therto timorous and silent maiden had declared calmly 
and firmly her resolution ; she was ready to qu'.t the 
home of her infancy and all the delights of social inter- 
course rather than be wanting to it. When the emo- 
tion of the listeners had subsided a little, the father, 
who loved his daughter devotedly, and who feared God 
more, recalling to mind the mysterious dove and other 
remarkable circumstances, gave her this reply ' * God 
preserve us, dearest child, from longer opposing the re- 
solution with which he inspires you ; experience proves 
It and we clearly perceive that you have not been ac- 
tuated by levity, but by a movement of divine grace. 
Accomplish freely therefore the vow you have taken, 
do all that the Holy Spirit commands you; henceforth 
V70 will no longer oppose your pious exercises ; only 



HER AUSTERE PENANCES. 23 

pray for us that we may become worthy of the pro- 
mises of that Spouse who chose you at so tender an 
age." Then turning to his wife and children he 
added, "Let no one presume to contradict my dear 
child or seek to turn her from her saintly resolution ; 
let her serve her Saviour as she will, and render him 
propitious to us. We can never find a more beauti- 
ful and honourable alliance ; for it is not a mortal 
man whom we receive into our family, but a man- 
God that never dies," After that, some still wept, 
especially the mother who loved her daughter too 
sensibly. Catharine on the contrary rejoiced in tho 
Lord, and thanked him for rendering her thus vic- 
torious ; she humbly thanked her parents also, and 
disposed herself to profit in the best possible manner 
by the liberty that had been granted to her. 



CHAPTER V. 

Her austere penances, and the persecutions of her Mother: 

As soon as Catharine had the liberty of serving GcxJ 
conformably to her desires, she set to work in an ad- 
mirable manner ; she procured a small apartment se- 
parate from the others, in which she could erect a soli- 
tude, and torment her body at will. It is impossible to 
describe the austerities that she practised and the ar* 
dour with which she sought the presence of her Spouse. 

From her infancy, Catharine seldom touched meat ; 
she interdicted herself so completely at that time, and 



24 LIFE OF IS 1 /. tAfHAKINE OF SIENNA. 

BO habituated herself to this privation, that in the end, 
she could not smell the odour of it without her sto- 
mach being offended. One day as I found her in a 
state of extreme weakness, because she had taken 
nothing to sustain her strength, I caused a bit of sugar 
to be put into the water that she was drinking ; when 
she perceived it, she said to me: " I see that you are 
anxious to extinguish the remnant of life that I yet 
have." As I asked her why, she replied that she had 
become so accustomed to taking unsavoury dishes, that 
whatever was sweetened sickened her ; it was the 
same thing in reference to animal food : as to wine she 
mingled it so, that at the time in which she dwelt in 
her cell, it had neither taste or odour, and hardly pre- 
served the rich colour of the wine of that region. At 
the age of fifteen she renounced it entirely, and drank 
only pure water, and by daily retrenching some new 
article of diet, she terminated by taking only a little 
bread, and some uncooked vegetables. 

Her body was weighed down with infirmities, and 
subject to insupportable indispositions ; her stomach 
was incapable of performing its functions, and yet the 
want of nourishment did not diminish her physical 
strength. Her existence was a miracle, for medical 
men assured me that it was quite inexplicable to 
them. During the whole time that I had the privi- 
lege of being witness of her life, she took no food, 
and no drink that was capable of sustaining her, and 
this she supported, however, joyously, even when 
undergoing sufferings and extraordinary fatigue. 



HER AUSTERE PENANCES. 25 

We must beware of supposing that tkls was the 
natural consequence of a certain diet and graduated 
abstinence ; it is quite evident that her strength was 
maintained by the ardour of her soul, for when the 
spirit superabounds in the body and is satiated with 
heavenly food, the body easily endures the torment 
of hunger. 

Her bed was composed of a few planks without any 
covering : she sat on them when meditating and knelt 
on them when praying, and then extended herself on 
them for sleeping, without laying aside any portion of 
herclothing, which was wholly composed of wool. She 
wore a hair-cloth, but as she cherished exterior neat- 
ness as a figure of interior purity, she exchanged this 
hair- cloth for a chain of iron, which she drew around 
her person with such force that it entered her flesh : 
this I learned from her companions, who were obliged 
to change it on account of the profuse perspirations, 
which caused her fainting fits. When her weakness 
increased towards the close of her life, I obliged her, 
in virtue of holy obedience, to quit this chain, which 
occasioned her great pain. At first she prolonged her 
vigils until the hour of Matins ; afterwards she over- 
came sleep so entirely, that she gave a short half hour 
to sleep every other day, and she did not allow herself 
that repose, but when the feebleness of her body 
forced her to do it. She acknowledged to me that no 
victory had cost her so dearly, and that she had under- 
gone great combats in this triumphing over sleep. 

Had she found persons capable of understanding 



26 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

her, she would willingly have passed the days and 
nights in talking of God, and her discourses, instead 
of weakening her, on the contrary rendered her more 
joyous and appeared to fortify her, for while she spoke 
of holy things, she seemed to be redolent with the 
vigour of youth, and when she ceased, she became 
languid and without energy. Sometimes she spoke 
to me of the profound mysteries of God, and as she 
never wearied, and I did not possess her sublime ele- 
vation of soul, I would fall asleep. But she, absorbed 
in God, would not perceive it, and continue talking, 
and when she discovered me asleep, she would arouse 
me with a louder tone of voice, and recall to my mmd 
that I was losing precious truths and considerations 
in thus allowing her to converse with the walls. 

Peruse the lives of the fathers of the desert ; run 
over the pages of the Sacred writings, and in vain will 
you seek any similar instance. You will see that Paul 
the Hermit lived a long time in the wilderness, but a 
raven daily brought him half of a loaf. The celebrated 
St. Anthony practised astonishing austerities, but he 
had gathered, like odorous flowers, the example of 
the other anchorites whom he visited ; for St. Jerome 
relates that St. Hilarion, during his youth, had gone 
to find St. Anthony, and had taught him the secrets 
of solitude, and the means of acquiring victory. The 
two Saints Macarius, Arsenius, and numerous others, 
had masters who led them in the paths of the Lord ; 
all these lived amid the peace of solitude and in the 
protecting shade of some monastery ; whilst this wor- 



HER AUSTERE PENANCES. 27 

thy daughter of Abraham was neither in a convent 
nor in the wild, but in the bosom of her family, with- 
out the help of spiritual direction, and surrounded by 
obstacles of every sort ; and yet she attained a degree 
of abstinence that no Saint besides had ever attained. 
True, Moses fasted twice during a period of forty 
days ; Elias did it once, and the Gospel teaches us that 
the Saviour deigned to give us the same example, bub 
these are not fasts during consecutive years. When 
John the Baptist was conducted by the Spirit of God 
into the wilderness, it is written, th&t hig f cxxi was the 
locust and wild honey ; but this was not an absolute 
fast; there is none but St. Magdalene of whom his- 
tory, and not the Gospel, writes that she fasted during 
thirty-three years on a rock which is still pointed 
out, and therefore we may conclude, that the holy 
examples I have cited give us to understand with 
what magnificence and inexhaustible bounty God en- 
riches his saints and bestows on themneu? perfections. 
They should also prove the admirable virtue of Ca- 
tharine, and that the Church may say of her, without 
injury to her other saints : " We find none like her P 
Non est inventus similis illi. The infinite power of Him 
who sanctifies souls, can give them, when it seems 
to him good, a particular glory. 

One more faet will recapitulate all I have said of 
Catharine, and will give you to comprehend to what 
point she had weakened her body and subjected her 
mind. Her mother informed me that her daughter, 
before her penances, possessed such physical strength, 



28 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

that she could easily take on her shoulders a weight 
sufficient for a horse, and carry it with speed up two 
flights of stairs, that is to the attic on top of the house. 
Her body was twice as strong and twice heavier than 
at her twenty-eighth year of age, and she became so 
weak that a miracle was necessary to sustain her. 
When I was acquainted with her, the spirit had so ex- 
hausted her physical energies, that we always believed 
her end was approaching, and yet she was filled with 
an admirable ardour, especially when there was ques- 
tion of the salvation of souls ; then she forgot all her 
infirmities, and, after the example of her holy patro- 
ness St. Magdalen, she suffered in herbodyand prayed 
by her soul, which communicated to her exhausted 
membeis, the superabundance of its strength. 

The old serpent whom she had vanquished, did not, 
however, renounce his efforts to torment her ; he ad- 
dressed himself to Lapa, whom ne knew to be a true 
daughter of Eve, and succeeded, by means of the love 
which led her to consider Catharine's body more than 
her soul, in inspiring her with the thought of hinder- 
ing her penance. When she found Catharine lying on 
simple planks, she conducted her forcibly into her 
room, and obliged her to share her own bed. Then 
Catharine, docile to the lessons of wisdom, would fall 
on her knees before her mother, soften her by words 
full of humility and sweetness, entreating her to calm 
herself, and promising to repose by her side in accord- 
ance with her wishes. She would then lie down on the 
extreme edge of the bed, and there meditate with fer- 



HEK SELF-CONQUEST AT THE BATHS. 29 

your ; and when she found her mother was asleep, she 
would softly arise and return to her devout exercises. 
It would not be long ; for Satan, provoked by her con- 
stancy, would awaken Lapa. Then Catharine sought 
a means of satisfying her love of austerities, and of 
leaving her mother in tranquillity ; she managed to slide 
one or two planks under the sheets in the place she was 
to occupy, but after some days her mother perceiving 
it said : " I see that all my endeavours prove futile ; 
at least do not try to conceal it from me, and sleep now 
as you wish." She yielded to such perseverance, and 
permitted her to follow the divine inspiration. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Of her self-conquest at the Baths, and her clothing with the holy 
habit of St. Dominick. 

CATHARINE resumed her pious exercises, and was 
continually speaking to her parents of her desire to 
give herself more fully to her divine Spouse. She also 
solicited the " Sisters of Penance, of St. Dominick," 
who are denominated Mantelees, to condescend to re- 
ceive her among them, and allow her to wear their cos- 
tume. Her mother, afflicted at these requests, dared 
not, however, refuse her, and so as to try to distract 
herfromher austerities she, withoutprecisely knowing 
it, became the accomplice of Satan, by proposing to go 
to the Baths and to take Catharine with her. The 
spouse of our Lord, combated with invincible anna, 
and all the attacks of the devil turned to her adyan- 



30 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

tage. She found a method of torturing her body ; for, 
under pretext of bathing herself better, she approached 
the canals by which the sulphurous waters enter the 
Baths, and she endured the burning heat, on her un- 
covered and delicate flesh, to such a degree, that she 
suffered more than when scourging herself with iron 
chains. "When her mother told me this fact, Catharine 
told me that ahe had asked to bathe after the depar- 
ture of the others, because she was well assured that 
she would not be suffered to do this ; and when I in- 
quired how she could support such extreme torture 
without dying, she answered me with dovelike simpli- 
city " When there, I thought much on the pains of 
Hell, and of Purgatory : I besought my Creator, whom 
I had so often offended, to deign to accept for the tor- 
ments I had merited, those that I then voluntarily 
underwent and the thought that his mercy consented 
to it, filled my soul with such heavenly consolation 
that I was happy in the midst of my pain." 

On their return Lapa tried in vain to obtain from 
Catharine a relaxation in her austere practices ; her 
daughter turned a deaf ear, arid only implored her, day 
by day, to go and press the " Sisters of Penance," to 
no longer refuse her the holy habit for which she lan- 
guished. Lapa, overcome by her importunities con- 
sented to it. The sisters replied that it was not their 
custom to give their habits to young maidens, but to 
widows of mature age, who had consecrated themselves 
' to God ; that they kept no enclosure (or cloister J but 
that each Bister must be capable of governing herseK 



THE HOLY HABIT OF ST. DOMINICE. 81 

at home. Lapa returned with this answer, which was, 
we may presume, less painful to her, than to her pious 
daughter. 

The spouse of Jesus Christ was not however 
troubled ; she trusted in the promise she had received 
from heaven, and solicited anew its accomplishment. 
She told her mother that she was not discouraged, 
and that she must insist with the sisters, and Lapa 
yielded at length to her earnestness, but returned 
home without any better success. 

In the meantime Catharine was seized with a malady 
common to young persons in her country. Providence 
had his designs. Lapa loved all her children with 
tenderness, but this one in particular. The poor mother 
sat by her bed-side, giving her every imaginable re- 
medy and seeking to console her ; but Catharine, 
amidst her sufferings, only pursued with new ardour 
the object of her desires, and strove to profit by a mo- 
ment in which her anxious and lovin g mother was ready 
to accord to her any thing she requested. She said to her 
sweetly " Dearest mother, if you wish me to recover 
my health and strength, try to obtain for me the habit 
of the * Sisters of Penance.' I am convinced that God 
and St. Dominick, who call me, will take me from you, 
If I wear any other religious dress." 

Lapa gave way to sadness on hearing these words, 
but as she feared losing her daughter, she once more 
addressed herself to the Sisters, and was so importu- 
nately persuasive that they were shaken in their reso- 
lutions. They answered" If she be not handsomej 



32 tIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

nor of a beauty too remarkable, we will receive her, on 
her account and yours, but if she be too pretty, we are 
bound to avoid the inconvenieaoes that might spring 
from the malice of men of the present period." Lapa 
invited them to come and judge for themselves. Then 
three or four of the sisters, selected among the most 
enlightened and prudent, accompanied her to see Ca- 
tharine and examine her vocation. They could not 
judge of her personal appearance, for her whole body 
was covered with a kind of eruption consequent on her 
malady, which quite disfigured her, besides her beauty 
was not excessive : but they heard her express herself 
with so much fervour, and remarked in her such a 
profound wisdom that they were quite enchanted ; 
they comprehend that the maturity of her mind re- 
deemed the fewness of her years, and that there were 
not very many aged persons who were as rich in vir- 
tues before God. 

They retired filled with pious joy and edification, 
and rendered an account of their visit to their asso- 
ciates. These after having taken the opinion of the 
monksof the Order, assembled and received Catharine 
unanimously. They announced to her mother that, 
as soon as she would be recovered from her illness, she 
might repair to the church of the Friar Preachers, to 
take the habit of St. Dominick, in presence of the 
Brethren and Sisters, with the customary ceremonies. 
At this happy news, Catharine shed tears of joy, and 
gave thanks to her heavenly Spouse and to St. Dorni- 
alclc, Ti'bo cce.lizod nt last his promise. She implored 



THE HOLT HABIT OF ST. DOMINICK. 83 

her restoration to health, not in order to be released 
from sufferings, but so as to accomplish more promptly 
the first and strongest wish of her heart. She was 
heard, and became quite well in a few days, for how 
could our Lord refuse her when she asked him to re- 
move an obstacle in the way of his greater glory, and 
the service of one who loved him so devotedly, 

The mother now sought to retard the happy day of 
her reception, but in vain ; she was obliged to yield to 
the pressing solicitations of Catharine and repair to 
the Church, where in the presence of many Sisters of 
the Order who rejoiced at it, and the Friar Preachers 
who directed them, Catharine was clothed with their 
habit which, by its black and white draperies, repre- 
sented humility and innocence. It seems to me that 
the habit of no other Order would have been so suit- 
able for her ; had it been wholly white or wholly black, 
the signification would have been incomplete : gray, 
which results from their mixture could indeed have 
represented her mortification, but not her triumph over 
poisonous natural pride, nor the bright purity of her 
virginal innocence. Catharine was the first virgin 
that was ever received, in Sienna, among the Sisters 
of Penance, but many followed her, and the words of 
David may appropriately be applied to her Adducen- 
tur regi, viryines post earn, (Ps. liv. 15.) In her train 
virgins were presented to the Lord. Had the Sisters 
reflected more seriously I presume they would not have 
refused her request, for she was more worthy than they 
to wear a habit given to the Church to svmbolize inno- 



34 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

cence, and the innocence of virginity is assuredly 
superior to the chastity of womanhood. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Of the origin and establishment of the "Sisters of Penance," of 
St. Dominick, and their mode of life. 

THE following particulars I have drawn from manu- 
scripts which I' consulted in Italy, from informations 
taken from the seniors of the Order, and the members 
of it most worthy of trust, and the history of our 
blessed Founder St. Dominick. That gloriousdef ender 
of the Catholic Faith, that valiant soldier of Jesus Christ 
combated so victoriously the heresies that arose in Tou- 
ouse and in Italy, that by himself and his disciples, 
it was proved at his canonization that his doctrine and 
his miracles had converted, in Lombardy alone, more 
than a hundred thousand heretics. 

However the poison of error had corrupted minds 
to such a degree, that all the benefices of the Church 
were usurped by laymen, who transmitted them in 
regular inheritance. The Bishops, obliged to beg for 
their own , subsistence, had no means of reforming 
these abuses, and could not, in accordance with their 
charge, provide for the wants of regulars nor of the 
poor. St. Dominick who had chosen poverty for his 
own portion, did not wish however to see it in such a 
degree in the Church and he resolved to strive to re- 
store to her her wealth. He collected some laymen, 



THE SISTERS OF PENANCE. 35 

whom he knew to be filled with the fear of God, and 
organized from amongst them a pious soldiery, for re- 
covering the riches of the Church, defending them, 
and resisting the injustice of the heretics this plan 
succeeded. Those who enrolled themselves, swore to 
do all in their power for the attainment of their ends 
proposed, and to sacrifice, if necessary, their fortunes 
and their persons ; but as their wives might sometimes 
offer obstacles, St. Dominick induced them to promise 
never to hinder their husbands, but, on the contrary, 
to assist them as far as possible. These associates took 
the title of Brethren of the Militia of Jesus Christ. The 
holy founder desired to distinguish them among other 
laymen by an exterior badge and assign them some par- 
ticular obligations. He prescribed to them the colour 
of the habit of his order ; the garments of the men and 
women, whatever might be their shape, were to be 
black and white, as emblematic of innocence and hu- 
mility. He imposed on them the recitation of a pre- 
scribed number of Pater and Ave, which were to sup-. 
ply the canonical hours, when they could not assist at 
the divine office. 

Later, when our Blessed Father St. Dominick had 
quitted the earth and soared away to heaven, and his 
numerous miracles had decided the Church to inscribe 
his name in the catalogue of her Saints, the Brothers 
and Sisters of the Militia of Jesus Christ wished to ho- 
nour their glorious founder by taking the title of Bro- 
thers of Penance of St. Dominick; besides, the merits 
of St. Dominick and the apostolical laboiurs of his Ordsr 



36 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

had almost banished heresy : exterior combats were no 
longer necessary, but it remained yet to overcome by 
penance the interior enemy of the soul, and hence the 
new appellation was more becoming than the old one. 
When the number of the Friar Preachers had aug- 
mented, and Peter, (virgin and martyr,) had shone 
among them as a radiant star, in triumphing over his 
enemies, still more by his death than by his life, the 
troop of foxes that wished to ravage the vineyard of 
the Lord, was completely destroyed, and God restored 
peace to his Church. The reasons which zed to the in- 
stitution of the Militia of Jesus Christ no longer ex- 
isted, the association therefore lost its military charac- 
teristic. When the men who were members of it died, 
their widows, accustomed to the religious life which 
they had observed, renounced marriage, and perseve- 
red in their holy practices until death. Other widows 
who had not contracted the same engagements, but 
who would not marry again imitated the Sisters of 
Penance and adopted their rule in order to purify 
themselves from past faults. By degrees their number 
increased in the different cities of Italy, and the Friar 
Preachers directed them according to the spirit of St. 
Dominick. But as there was nothing settled in this 
direction a Spanish Friar, called Brother Munie, a 
Religious of saintly memory, who had governed the 
whole Order, committed the rule to writing, and it 
still exists. This rule is not absolutely a religious rule, 
because it does not require the three vows, which are 
the foundation of every religious order. 



HER PROGRESS IN THE WATS OP GOD. 8i? 

The Sisters of Penance continually increasing in 
numbers and sanctity, the sovereign Pontiff Honoriua 
IV., in consideration of their merit, granted them by a 
bull, the permission to hear the offices in the churches 
of the Friar Preachers, even during the period of the 
interdict ; John XXII., after having promulgated the 
bull Clementina against the Beguines and the Begards, 
declared formally that his prohibitions did not extend 
to "St. Dominick's Sisters of Penance" which existed 
in Italy and in whose rule there was nothing that 
needed change. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Of Catharine's admirable progress in the ways of God, and of some 
particular graces she received. 

CATHARINE did not pronounce the three Vows of 
Religion on taking the habit of St. Dominick, but she 
took the resolution of obsej ving them perfectly there 
could be no deliberation concerning that of chastity, 
because she had already taken the Vow of Virginity. 
She promised to obey all that the father Master of tho 
Sisters of Penance prescribed her, and also the orders 
of their Prioress. During her whole life she was BO 
faithful to this engagement, that she was able to de- 
clare to her Confessor on her death-bed : that she could 
not remember having failed even once in obedience. 

Catharine also observed the Vow of Poverty per- 
fectly. When she lived in her father's house end plenty 



38 LIFE OF ST, CATHARINE OF SIENtfA, 

reigned in it, she took nothing for herself ; only she 
bestowed alms on the poor, for her father had given 
her full latitude on this point. She loved poverty so 
much, that she acknowledged that nothing could con- 
sole her for not finding it in her family. She asked 
God ardently to deign to render her parents poor : 
" Lord," said she, " is it not better that I ask for my 
parents and brothers, the goods of eternity ; I know 
that those of earth are accompanied with ills and 
dangers, and I wish that they may not be exposed to 
them." God heard her prayer ; extraordinary circum- 
stances reduced her parents to extreme poverty, with- 
out any fault on their part, as can be easily proved by 
those who know them. After laying such foundations, 
Catharine began to raise the edifice of her perfection : 
like an industrious bee she profited by every occasion 
of advancing, and took every means possible of living 
a more retired life and one more closely united to her 
divine Spouse. She proposed, in order to preserve 
herself unsullied by the world, to observe the most 
rigorous silence, and never to speak except when she 
went to confess her gins. Her Confessor who preceded 
me, declared and wrote that she observed this resolu- 
tion during three years. She remained in her cell 
continually except when she went to church ; not even 
leaving it to take her food, which was, as we have 
already said the veriest trifle ; again, she bedewed her 
repasts with her tears, and never commenced one with- 
out offering to God the tribute of her grief. Who can 
recount her vigils, her prayers, her meditations, and 



HER PROGRESS IN THE WATS OF GOD. 83 

her sighs, in the solitude which she had found in her 
own house and amid the noise of the city ? She had 
arranged her time so as to watch while the Domini- 
cans, whom she called her brothers, were sleeping, and 
when she heard the second toll for Matins, she said to 
her divine Spouse "Lord, my brethren who serve 
you, have slept until now, and I have watched for them 
in thy presence, praying thee to preserve them from 
evils and the wiles of the enemy. Now that they are 
rising to offer thee their praises, protect them and 
suffer me to take a short repose" and then shewoul<k 
lie down on her planks, using a piece of wood for he* 
pillow. 

He whom she loved, smiled upon her ardour and en- 
couraged it by new graces; he was unwilling that so 
faithful a lamb should be destitute of a pastor, and a 
pupil so desirous of impro vementwithout a g ood master; 
.but he gave her neither an angel nor a man, but ap- 
peared to her himself in her little cell and taught her 
whatever might prove useful to her soul. "Be sure, 
father," said she to me, " that naught that I know 
concerning the ways of salvation was taught by mere 
man ; it was my Lord and Master, the cherished spouse 
of my soul, our Lord Jesus Christ, who revealed it to 
me by his inspirations and by his apparitions. He 
spoke to me, as I now speak to you." She owned to 
me that, in the beginning of her visions, when she per- 
ceived them by her exterior senses, she dreaded being 
deceived by Satan ; our Lord, far from being offended, 
extolled her prudence. The traveller, said he to her. 



40 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

should be ever on his guard, for it is written" Blessed 
is the man that liveth in fear." (Prov. xxviii. 14.) 
" If thou wilt I will teach thee, how thou canst discern 
my visions, from the visions of the enemy." And as 
Catharine begged him earnestly, our Lord continued, 
" It would be easy to enlighten thy soul directly and 
how thee how to distinguish at once the origin of thy 
visions ; but for thy utility and the benefit of others, 
I will tell thee what the doctors teach, to whom I 
have made known my truth ; my visions commence by 
terror and continue in peace ; their arrival or presen- 
tation is attended with a certain bitterness which little 
by little changes into sweetness. Thecontrary happens 
in the visions of the bad spirit ; they begin with a 
certain joy, but always terminate by plunging the soul 
into trouble ; and this is just, for our ways are widely 
different. The way of penance and my command- 
ments at first appears rude and painful ; but as the 
soul advances, it becomes easy and delightful; in the 
way of evil, on the contrary, the first moments are 
agreeable ; but trouble and danger soon show them- 
selves. I will give thee one more, and an infallible 
sign. My visions render the soul humble, by giving 
it the grace of comprehending the truth of its unwor- 
thiness. But as the demon is the father of falsehood 
and the prince of pride, he can only give of what he 
possesses ; his visions always engender in the soul a 
certain self-esteem which excites it to vanity. Exa- 
mine thyself, therefore, with care, and see whether thy 



HER PROGRESS IN THE WAYS OF GOD. 41 

visions proceed from the truth, or the opposite; truth 
excites humility, falsehood creates pride." 

From this moment, her heavenly visions and com- 
munications multiplied to such a degree, that the most 
active conversation between two friends, wouldnot suf- 
fice to illustrate the exchange of thoughts between Ca- 
tharine and her divine Spouse. . Her prayers, medita- 
tion, and spiritual reading, her vigils and her short re- 
pose, all were blessed with the same divine presence. 
These supernatural relations are the origin and cause 
of her abstinence, her admirable doctrine, and her mira- 
cles, of which God rendered us witnesses duringher life. 

In the beginning of my acquaintance with her, I had 
heard so many marvellous things concerning her, that 
I hesitated in believing them ; God permitted it for 
greater good. I sought in all possible ways to discover 
some means of assuring myself, whether these pheno- 
mena came from God or from some other source 
whether they were true or false. I have found many 
deluded souls, especially among females, whose heads 
are easily turned, and who are more exposed to the se- 
ductions of Satan. Certain remarks troubled me, and 
I desired to be satisfied by him, who can neither de- 
ceive nor be deceived, when suddenly the thought 
came to my mind, that if I were to obtain from God, 
by Catharine's prayers, a contrition for my sins supe- 
rior to that which I felt habitually, it would be an evi- 
dent sign that all that occurred came from the Holy 
Spirit, for no one can have a true contrition except by 
the Holy Spirit, and although we are igncrcat whether 



42 LITE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

we are worthy of love or of hatred, contrition of heart 
is a proof that we are ID the grace of God. I did not 
say a word of these thoughts which occupied me ; but 
went to Catharine, and earnestly asked of her to 
please to obtain from God the remission of my sins. 
She answered me with a joy replete with charity, that 
she would most willingly comply, and I then added, 
that to satisfy my desire I must have a satisfactory 
evidence, namely, an extraordinary contrition for my 
sins. She assured me that she would obtain it, and on 
the morrow she was conversing with me, when her dis- 
course insensibly turned on God and on the ingrati- 
tude with which we offend his goodness. Whilst she 
spoke, I had a sudden vision of my sins, of surprising 
accuracy and distinctness : I saw myself divested of 
all things, in the presence of my Judge, and I felt that 
I merited death, as do malefactors when stricken by 
the justice of men ; I saw also the bounty of my Judge, 
who by his grace took me into his service and replaced 
death by life, fear by hope, sorrow by joy, and shame 
by glory. These mental visions so triumphed over my 
hardness and obduracy of heart, that I began to shed 
torrents of tears over my sins ; and my griefs became 
BO profound that I thought I should die of it. 

Catharine, whose end was accomplished, keptsilence, 
and left me to my tears and sobs. Some moments after 
in the midst of my surprise at these interior disposi- 
tions, I remembered my request and the promise she 
had made me on the eve ; I turned towards her, and 
said, " Is not this the gift I asked for yesterday?" 



HER PROGRESS IN THE WATS OP GOD. 48 

" The same," answered she, and added, " Remember 
the graces of God." My companion and myself were 
filled with gladness and edification and I exclaimed 
with the incredulous Thomas "My Lord and my 
God" Dominus meus et Deusmeus. (St. John xx. 28.) 
I received another proof of Catharine's sanctity 
which I relate to her honour and my own confusion. 
She was detained by sufferings in her bed and she sent 
me notice that she desired to speak with me concern- 
ing some revelations. I went and approached her couch; 
she began then, notwithstandingthe fever whichburned 
in her veins, to discourse to me of God, and to explain 
to me all that had been revealed to her during the day : 
the things were so extraordinary, that I forgot what 
had just happened to me, and I asked myself, " must 
I believe what she says ?" Whilst I hesitated and 
looked at her, her countenance suddenly changed into 
that of a stern man who was regarding me fixedly, and 
who filled me with terror ; her oval face indicated the 
plenitude of life ; her scanty beard was the colour of 
wheat, and her whole countenance bore the impress of 
that majesty which revealed the holy presence of God. 
It was impossible for me to perceive any other counte- 
nance than hers. I was thoroughly terrified, and ex- 
claimed, with lifted hands "Oh! who looks at me 
thus?" Catharine answered, " He that is!" The vision 
disappeared, and I again saw the face of Catharine, 
which I could not distinguish before. My understand- 
ing was enlightened with such an abundant light, 
chiefly upon the subject of our discourse, that 1 then 



44 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA 

comprehended that word of our Lord, when promising 
the coming of the Holy Ghost "Et quse ventura sunt 
annuntidbit vobis" (St. John xvi. 13.) 



CHAPTER IX. 

Of the admirable doctrine taught her by our Lord, and which 
she adopted as her rule of life. 

LET us now examine the spiritual edifice of Catha- 
rine's perfection, with the grace of Him who is its cor- 
ner-stone and foundation ; and as faithful souls find 
their life and their strength in the word of God, let 
us first dwell upon the lessons that she received directly 
from the beloved Master. In the beginning of her 
visions, Catharine related to her Confessors, that our 
Lord appeared to her, whilst she meditating, and said 
to her: "Know, my daughter, what thou art and what 
I am ; if thou learnest these two things, thou shalt be 
truly blest ; thou art what is not, and I am the great I 
AM ; if thy soul is deeply penetrated with this truth, 
the enemy cannot deceive thee, and thou wilt avoid all 
his snares ; thou wilt never consent to do any thing 
Against my commandments, and thou wilt acquire 
without difficulty, grace, truth, and peace." In this 
short and simple doctrine, do we not find the "length, 
breadth, and height" of which St. Paul speaks to the 
Christians of Ephesus? Our Lord also said to her in 
another apparition : l * D aughter, think of me and I will 
think continually on th ee " Ca tharin ^ comprehended 



HER PROGRESS IN THE WAYS OF GOD. 45 

this saying to mean, that God commanded her by this, 
to banish all her own thoughts from her heart, and 
keep no thoughts but his, without being anxious about 
herself and her salvation, so that no distraction could 
enter into it for God knows all, and can do all, and 
he will watch and provide for the necessities of such 
as meditate on him and find ir; it supreme happiness. 
Hence when we entertained any fear concerning our- 
selves or our Brethren, she would often say u What 
do you wish to do with yourselves ; let Providence 
act : amid your greatest dangers the divine eye watches 
over you ; and it will ever protect you." This virtue 
of hope her divine Spouse had infused into her soul, 
when he said to her I will think on thee. 

I remember that, being on board of a ship with her 
and many other persons, the wind lowered into a dead 
calm to wards midnight, and the pilot became extremely 
anxious. We were in a dangerous channel ; if the wind 
had taken us sideways, we might have been thrown 
on some neighbouring island or floated into the open 
sea. I gave notice to Catharine of our danger. She 
answered in her ordinary tone : " Why do you annoy 
yourself with that, or suffer yourself to be distracted?'' 
I remained silent and became re-assured ; but soon the 
wind veered in the direction dreaded by the pilot ; I 
mentioned it to Catharine ; "Let him change the 
helm, in the name of God," said she, " and let him sail 
in the direction of the wind that heaven willsendhim." 
The pilot obeyed and we returned backward, but sJie 
prayed with her head bent forward, and we had not 



46 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIEIsTTA. 

advancedfarther than a bow shot, when the favourable 
wind that had forsaken us blew freshly, and we arrived, 
at the hour of Matins, at the desired port, while sing- 
ing the Te Deum. This narrative should not be placed 
here, in the order of time, but I relate it because it 
serves and explains my subject. Yes, whoever re- 
flects, must see that the second verity follows as a con- 
sequence from the first ; if a soul recognises that she 
is nothing in herself, and that she exists solely by God, 
she will not confide in herself in any action, but in the 
agency of God alone. She will put all her trust in the 
Lord, and "place all her thoughts in him," according 
to the words of the Psalmist. This does not hinder 
her from doing all that is possible to her, because this 
holy confidence proceeds from love love produces 
in the soul a desire of the object beloved ; that de- 
sire provokes to the performance of all acts that are 
capable of satisfying it. Activity is in relation with 
love, but that does not hinderher giving her confidence 
to God and rejecting all self-reliance, as she is taught 
by the knowledge that she has acquired of her own 
nothingness and of the perfection of her Creator. 

She frequently spoke to me of the state ot a soul 
which loves her Creator, and she told me that " that 
stful finished by no longer perceiving herself, and for- 
getting herself together with all creatures." As I re- 
quested an explanation, she told me : " The soul that 
comprehends its nothingness, and is convinced that all 
its good comes from the Creator, resigns itself so per- 
fectly, and plunges itself so totally in God, that all its 



HER PROGRESS IN THE WAYS OF GOD. 47 

activity is directed towards him, and exercised in him. 
She is unwilling to come forth from the centre in which 
she has found the perfection of happiness ; and 
that union of love which daily augments in her, trans- 
forms her, so to speak, into God, so that she is incapa- 
ble of entertaining other thoughts,\or other desires, or 
other love than love of him, indeed the remembrance 
of all things else forsakes her. This is the lawful love 
of ourselves and of creatures, a love that cannot err, 
because the soul of necessity follows the divine will, 
and does nothing, and desires nothing out of God." 

In this union of the soul with God, Catharine found 
another verity, which she taught continually to those 
whom she directed : " The soul united to God," said 
she, u loves him as much as she detests the sensual 
part of her being. The love of God naturally en- 
genders a hatred of sin, and when the soul discovers 
that the germ of sin is in her senses, and that in 
them it takes its root, she cannot avoid hating her 
senses, and endeavouring, not indeed to destroy them, 
but to annihilate the vice that is in them, and she 
cannot attain to this but by great and continued ef- 
forts ; the root of faults will indeed always exist ; 
for, according to St. John, " if we say that we have 
no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in 
us." (St. John, 1 Ep., i. 8.) 

*' O, eternal bounty of God," exclaimed Catharine. 
" what hast thou done ? From faults spring virtue, 
from offence pardon, and in contempt love puts forth 
its blossoms. O then, my children, endeavour to pos- 



48 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

sess that holy hatred of self ; it renders you humble, it 
will give you patience in tribulations, moderation in 
prosperity, restrain in your deportment, and you will 
become agreeable to God and man." And she added, 
*' Woe, woe to the soul which has not this holy hatred 
for where it does not exist, self-love must reign, and 
self-love is the cause of all sin, and the root of all vices." 
The same doctrine is found in the words that the 
Apostle heard in Heaven, when he prayed for deliver- 
ance from temptation. "Strength is perfected in 
weakness ;" and he added, " I glory in my weak- 
nesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in 
me." We may, therefore, conclude that the doctrine 
of Catharine had for its foundation the firm rock of 
virtue which is Jesus Christ. 



CHAPTER X. 

Of the admirable victories which she gained over temptations, 
and her extraordinary intimacy with our Lord. 

THE pacific king had erected the fortress of Liba- 
nus, for protecting Jerusalem against Damascus. The 
haughty prince of Babylon, the enemy of peace, was 
enraged; he collected his armies against it, and wished 
to overthrow it. But he who gives and preserves peace 
surrounded his fortress by magnificent and impregna- 
ble ramparts. Not only the darts of the enemy were 
powerless, but they returned against those who 
launched them, and gave them death. So, when the 
old serpent eaw Catharine, BO young, mounting to 



HER ADMIRABLE DOCTRINE. 49 

such a high degree of perfection, he feared lest, with 
her salvation, that of many others would be secured ; 
and that she might assist the Church by her virtues 
and her teaching. He therefore sought in his infernal 
malice, every means of seducing her ; but the God of 
mercy, who permitted these attacks, in order to aug- 
ment the glory of his spouse, gave her such excellent 
weapons wherewith to combat, that the war proved 
more profitable to her than peace. He first inspired 
her with the thought of asking God for the gift of for- 
titude ; she did so continually during several days ; 
and God to recompense her prayer, gave her the fol- 
low ing instructions : 

" Daughter,if thou wilt acquire fortitude, thou must 
imitate me. I could have, by my divine power, arrested 
the efforts of Satan, and have taken other means of 
overcoming them, but I was desirous of instructing 
thee by my examples, and teaching thee to overcome 
by means of the cross. If thou wishest to become 
powerful against thy enemies, take the Cross for thy 
safeguard. Hath not my Apostle told thee that I rar 
with joy to the cruel and ignominious death of Mt 
Calvary, (Heb. xii. 2.) Choose, therefore, to have 
trials and afflictions; endure them not only with pati- 
ence, but embrace them with delight ; they are lasting 
treasures, for the more thou wilt suffer for me, the more 
thou wilt be like me, and according to the doctrine of 
the Apostle, the more thou wilt resemble me in suffer- 
ings, the more, also, thou shalt be like unto me in grace 
and glory. Regard, therefore, my beloved child, on, 

B 



50 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

my account, sweet things as bitter, and bitter things 
as sweet, and be certain them shalt always be strong." 
Catharine profited so well by this lesson, and after it 
received trials with so much joy that she acknowledged 
to me that nothing exterior consoled her so much as 
pains and afflictions ; she suffered when she was de- 
prived of them, because she felt that they were the 
gems which would enrich her heavenly crown. 

When the King of heaven and earth had thus armed 
her who was destined to defend his cause, he permitted 
the enemy to advance and assail her. The devils at- 
tacked her on every side, and made unheard of efforts 
to overthrow her ; they commenced by the most humi- 
liating temptations, and presented them to her imagi- 
nation, not only during sleep, but in exciting phantoms 
which might have defiled her eyes and ears, and they 
tormented her in a thousand ways. These combats are 
horrible to relate, but the victory which followed them 
ought to be a source of joy to pure souls. Catharine 
combated courageously against herself, by mortifying 
Lxer flesh with a chain of iron and shedding an abun- 
dance of blood. She augmented her vigils so far as to 
deprive herself of all sleep. 

Her enemies refused to retire they assumed the ap- 
pearance of persons who came to pity and advise her ; 
" Why, poor little one, will you thus torture yourself 
and so uselessly ? Why use all these mortifications 
do you suppose you can be able to continue them will 
you not thug destroy your body and become guilty of 
It is better to renounce these follies ero vou 



HER VICTORIES OVER TEMPTATIONS. 51 

become their victim, you can yet enjoy the world, you 
are young, and your body would speedily recover its 
strength. You desire to please God, but there are 
many among the saints who were married, as Sarah, 
Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel, why be so imprudent as 
to select a mode of life in which you cannot perse- 
vere ?" To all these discourses Catharine only op- 
posed prayer, and as to perseverance she simply re- 
plied, " I trust in the arm of the Lord, not in mine." 
The devils could never obtain more. She gave as a 
general rule against such temptations, never to dispute 
with the enemy, for he relies very much on van 
quishing us by the subtilty of his reasons. 

Then Satan laid aside his reasonings and adopted a 
new method of attack ; the devils pursuing her with 
screams and inviting her to partake of their abomina- 
tions. In vain did she close her eyes and ears, she could 
not banish these horrible spectres, and, to crown her 
affliction, her divine Spouse, who had usually come to 
visit and comfort her, seemed to abandon her without 
any relief visible or invisible; hence her soul was plunged 
into a profoundmelancholy, without, however, obtain- 
ing from her the cessation of her austerities, or her men- 
tal prayer, and she gave this following maxim to soula 
which she conducted, " When the Christian soul per- 
ceives her fervour diminishing on account of some fault 
or some temptation permitted by Providence, he 
ought to continue her spiritual exercises and even mul- 
tiply them, instead of forsaking or lessening them." 

Catharine, faivhf'il to tae inspirations of God, ex" 



52 LIFE OF ST. CATIIAKINE OF SIENNA. 

cited a holy hatred against herself " Oh, thou vilest 
of creatures," said she to herself, " art thou worthy of 
receiving any consolations ? recall to mind thy sins, it 
will be a great favour if thou dost avoid eternal wrath 
by supporting during a lifetime those pains and this 
obscurity. Why then be afflicted ; shouldest thou 
escape hell, Jesus Christ can console thee during all 
eternity ; it was not for present enjoyment thou didst 
resolve to serve him, but in order to possess him in 
heaven : arise then, abandon none of thy pious prac- 
tices, and celebrate in a more animated strain the 
praises of thy Creator." Thus by her humility she 
confounded the prince of darkness, and drew strength 
from the precepts of Wisdom. Her apartment seemed 
to be infested with those impure spirits she therefore 
left it, and stayed as long as possible in the church, be- 
cause these infernal obsessions tormented her less 
when there. 

This trial continued during several days, when on re- 
turning from the church, being engaged in prayer, a 
ray of the holy spirit beamed upon her soul and recalled 
to her memory that she had requested, a short time 
previous, the gift of fortitude, and that God had indi- 
cated to her the means for obtaining it. She instantly 
comprehended the c^use of this dreadful temptation 
and resolved to bear it with holy courage, as long as 
it pleased her divine Spouse. Then one evil spirit, 
jnore malicious than the others, said to her, "Poor 
miserable soul, what art thou about to undertake 
canst thou pass thy whole life in this state wewiU 



HER PROGRESS IN SANCTITY. 53 

torment thee to death, unless thou dost obey us." Ca- 
tharine, remembering the advice she had received, an- 
swered, " I have chosen sufferings for my consolation ; 
not only will it not be difficult for me, but even de- 
lightful to undergo similar afflictions and even greater 
ones, for the love of my Jesus, and as long as his ma- 
jesty wills." 

Instantaneously the demons fled in overwhelming 
shame, and a great light from above descended into her 
room filling it with heavenly brightness ; in the midst 
of its brilliancy appeared our Lord Jesus Christ, such 
as he was on the Cross, when he opened heaven with 
his sacred Blood. " Catharine, my daughter," said 
he, " consider how I have suffered for thee, and it will 
never be painful for thee to suffer for me." Then he 
assumed a less dolorous" form in order to comfort Ca- 
tharine, and he spoke to her of the victory that she had 
just gained ; but she, like St. Anthony, said to him 
" Lord, where wast thou, when my heart was so tor- 
mented ?" "I was in the midst of thy heart." " Ah ! 
Lord, thou art the everlasting truth, and I humbly 
bow before thy majesty ; but how can I believe that 
thou wert in my heart, when it was filled with such 
detestable thoughts?" "Didthese thoughts and tempt- 
ations give thee pleasure or pain ? " An excessive 
pain and sadness." " Thou wert sad and in suffering 
because I was hidden in the midst of thy heart. Had 
I been absent, these thoughts would have penetrated 
thy heart and would have filled thee with joy ; but my 
presence rendered them insupportable to thee : tho:> 



54 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

didst wish to repel them because thou didst hold them 
in horror, and it was because thou didst not succeed 
that thou wert borne down with sadness. 1 acted in 
thy soul, I defended thee against thy enemy ; I was in 
the interior and I only permitted these attacks from 
without, inasmuch as they could prove useful to thy 
salvation ; when the period which I had determined 
for the combat had elapsed, I sent my beams of light 
and the shades of hell were dissipated, because they 
could notresist the light. Is itnotl, infine, who giveth 
thee to comprehend that these trials were serviceable 
to thee for the acquisition of strength, and that it was 
thy duty to support them cordially, according to my 
good pleasure ? Because thou hast accepted them with 
thy whole heart, thou art delivered from them by my 
presence ; what pleases me is not trouble, but the will 
that supports it courageously. I created thee in my 
own image and likeness, and I have assimilated myself 
to thee, in taking thy nature. I never cease render- 
ing thee like to me, so long as thou dost offer no ob- 
stacle, and what I did during my mortal lif e, I strive 
to renew in your soul as long as your pilgrimage en- 
dures. Therefore, beloved daughter, it is not by thy 
virtue, but mine, that thou hast so generously com- 
bated, and merited such an abundant grace ; now I 
will visit thee oftener and more familiarly than ever." 
The vision disappeared and Catharine remained ab- 
Borbed with a joy and sweetness that words cannot ex- 
press ; her heart was especially inebriated with the way 
in which our Lord addressed her " Catharine, my 



HER PROGRESS IN SANCTITY, 55 

daughter 1 When relating to her Confessor what she 
tLen experienced, she besought him to employ the 
same expressions, in order to renew in her soul their 
ineffable sweetness. 

From that moment the heavenly Spouse visited her 
with a familiarity which would appear incredible, were 
we ignorant of what has preceded. But the soal that 
knows by experience thatthe goodness of God is above 
all that we can imagine, will see in the following only 
things very possible and very probable. The Lord ap- 
peared to her frequently and remained a long time with 
her ; sometimes bringing with him his holy Mother, 
sometimes St. Dominick, and occasionally both to- 
gether ; then St. Mary Magdalen, St. John the Evan- 
gelist, St. Paul, and other saints, separately or in com- 
pany, according to his good pleasure. But he cams 
alone most commonly, and conversed with her as ona 
friend with another, when on the most intimate terms. 
She blushingly avowed to me that our Lord recited 
Psalms with her, while walking in her room, just aa 
two Religious when reciting their Office. The infinite 
benevolence of God varies his gifts in each of his saints, 
so that his magnificence may be made manifest in de- 
tails as in combination. 

Since I have mentioned the recitation of the Psalms, 
I must inform my readers that Catharine knew how 
to read without having learned from any one. She 
narrated to me herself, that having resolved to learn 
to read so as to recite the Hours and follow the Offices, 
she had studied the alphabet with one of her com- 



56 LIFi, OF ST. CATiiAftL!(jJ, OP Sl2NN A 

panions. But after having uselessly consumed several 
weeks in this labour, the thought came to her to ob- 
tain from heaven the grace to lose no more time. One 
morning while engaged in prayer, she said to Almighty 
God " Lord, if it be agreeable to thee that I know 
how to read, in order to be able to recite the Office 
and sing thy praises, have the goodness to teach me 
what I cannot learn alone. If not, thy will be done ; 
I will remain without regret in my ignorance, and I 
will employ with joy, in meditation, the time that thou 
wilt leave me." Before the end of her prayer, our 
Lord taught her so well, that when rising from her 
knees she knew how to read every kind of manuscript, 
as rapidly and as perfectly as the most highly educated 
persons. What astonished me the most was, that she 
read easily, but without being able to spell her words, 
when she was asked to do so ; she scarcely .knew her 
letters ! Catharine at once procured the " Office 
books," and read all the Psalms and whatever enters 
into the composition of the canonical hours. She was 
particularly fond of the Verse and its response. Deus 
in adjutorium meum intende, etc. She translated it and 
continually repeated it. She soon made such progress 
in contemplation, that she gradually omitted her vocal 
prayers, and her ecstasies became so frequent, that she 
could scarcely recite the Lord's Prayer without being 
ravished out of her exterior senses, by a heavenly 
favour which we will relate hereafter. 



MIRACULOUS MAEEIACT^ 57 



CHATTER XL 

Of her marriage with our Lord, and of the Miraculour. rlnp that 
she received. 

THE soul of Catharine became daily more enriched 
with the grace of the Saviour. She flew rather than 
walked in the paths of virtue, and she conceived the 
holy desire of arriving at so perfect a degree of faith, 
that nothing would henceforth be capable of separating 
her from her divine spouse, whom her heart aspired 
alone to please. She therefore besought God to aug- 
ment her faith, and render it sufficiently strong to re- 
sist any and every enemy. Our Blessed Lord an- 
swered her, u I will espouse thee in faith." And each 
time Catharine renewed her prayer, Jesus Christ re- 
peated the same answer. One day, at the approach 
of the holy season of Lent, when Christians celebrate 
the Carnival, or a foolish adieu to the viandt which 
the Church is on the eve of prohibiting. Catharine 
withdrew into her cell there to enjoy her Spouse more 
intimately by fasting and prayer ; she reiterated her 
petition with more fervour than ever, and our Lord 
answered her "Because thou hast shunned the 
vanities of the world and forbidden pleasure, and hast 
fixed on me alone all the desires of thy heart, I intend, 
whilst thy family are rejoicing in profane feasts and 
festivals, to celebrate the wedding which is to unite 
me to thy soul. I am going, according to my promise, 
to espouse thee in faith." Jesus Christ thei? spoke 
stvce more, when the Blessed Virgin appeared ; and 



58 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

with his glorious Mother, St. John the Evangelist, the 
apostle St. Paul, St. Dominick, founder of her Order, 
and with them the prophet David who drew from his 
harp tones of heavenly sweetness. The Mother of God 
took in her holy hand the right hand of Catharine, in 
order to present it to her Son, asking Him to deign to 
espouse her in Faith. The Saviour consented to it 
with love, and offered her a golden ring, set with four 
precious stones, in the centre of which blazed a magni- 
ficent diamond. He placed it himself on Catharine's 
finger, saying to her " I, thy Creator and Redeemer, 
espouse thee in Faith, and thou shalt preserve it pure, 
until we celebrate together in Heaven the eternal 
nuptials of the Lamb. Daughter, now act courage- 
ously; accomplish without fear the works that my 
Providence will confide to thee ; thou art armed with 
Faith, thou shalt triumph over all thy enemies." The 
vision disappeared, and the ring remained on the fin- 
ger of Catharine. She saw it, but it was invisible to 
others! She acknowledged to me, while blushes 
mantled her cheek, that it never left her, and that she 
was never weary with admiring it. There was already 
one Catharine, queen and martyr, who, after baptism, 
espoused our Lord. We have here a second, who, 
after many victories won of the flesh and the devil, 
celebrated also her regal espousals with Jesus Christ. 
Let us admire the beauties of her ring, and observe 
its mysterious meaning. What is there stronger than 
diamond ? it resists everything by its hardness and 
penetrates the most solid bodies ; nothing but lamb's 



HER MIRACULOUS MARRIAGE. 59 

blood can cause it to sparkle. In like manner, the 
faithful heart triumphs over all difficulties by fortitude, 
and only yields to the Blood of Jesus Christ. The four 
precious stones indicate four kinds of purity practised 
by Catharine, purity of intention, purity of thought, 
of word, and of action. This marriage seems to me to 
be a confirmation of divine grace ; the ring was a visi- 
ble pledge of it for her, but not for others. Amid the 
waves of the sea of life, she was destined to save a great 
number of souls, by confiding them to the succour of 
heaven and without dreading for herself either ship- 
wreck or tempest. The holy Doctors explain why God 
often, by a special favour, reveals to his predestinate 
that they will persevere in his love and in his grace. 
It is because he wishes to send them into the midst of 
a corrupt world, for the glory of his name, and for the 
salvation of souls. On the day of Pentecost, the 
Apostles received a striking evidence of their mission ; 
it was also said to St. Paul, "my grace is sufficient for 
thee." Sufficit tibi gratia mea. (2 Cor. xii. 9.) Ca- 
tharine although a woman, was to be an apostle in the 
world and convert many souls ; she received a sensible 
sign of grace in order to accomplish with more courage 
the divine work that was entrusted to her. What was 
most surprising in Catharine, is that the token of 
grace, transient for others, was permanent and ever 
visible to her ; I think that God bestowed it on her be- 
cause of the weakness of her sex ; the novelty of her 
mission, and the perversity of our time were to present 
dificulties greater than any other ; and it was necessary 



60 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

that she should be continually sustained in her holy 
undertaking. 

With this first part of her history terminates her 
silent and retired life. We shall see in the second 
what she did among men for the glory of God and for 
the salvation of souk. Her guide was always our Lord 
Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and 
Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen. 



SECOND PART. 



CHAPTER I. 

Our Lord commands Catharine to employ herself for the good of 
her neighbour. 

OUR blessed Lord had lavished on his favourite 
Spouse the sweetness of his grace. He had exercised 
her soul in combat and in victory ; he had bestowed on 
her admirable instructions and enriched her with 
superior virtues. So shining a light was not destined 
to remain hidden, but to display its rays abroad. The 
spouse was about to return with interest the talents 
that the Lord had entrusted to her: "open to me," 
was said to her, open to me, by thy zeal, the door of 
souls, so that I may enter ; open the way by which my 
sheep will go to seek pasture. Open to me, for my 
honour, the celestial treasure or* truth and of grace, so 
astoslied it upon the faithful. "Open to me, my 



CHARITY TOWARDS THE NEIGHBOUR. 61 

sister, ' ' by conformity of nature ; my friend , by interior 
charity; my dove, by simplicity of spirit; my imma- 
culate one, by purity of soul and body. And Catharine 
responded to this call, yet, she often acknowledged to 
me that every tiine that our Lord ordered her to quit 
her cell and converse with men, she experienced so 
lively a sorrow, that it seemed to her, her heart must 
break. 

After the n^stic alliance that our Lord deigned to 
contract with Catharine, he gradually introduced her 
to the "active life." He did not, however, deprive her 
of his heavenly communications, but, on the contrary 
augmented them, so as to lead her to a higher degree 
of perfection. Frequently in his apparations, after 
speaking to her of his Kingdom, and revealing to her 
some of its secrets, after having read or recited Psalms 
with her, he added: "Go quickly, this is the hour ot 
repast, thy parents are going to take their places at tha 
table, thou wilt stay there with them; and then thou 
wilt return to me." At these words, Catharine would 
break forth into sobs tk lf I have off ended thy Ma- 
jesty, behold my wretched body, punish it immediately. 
I cheerfully except everything; but spare me the grief 
of being separated from thee, even for one instant, O 
my beloved! What will I do at taUef thou knowest 
full well that I partake of a food that those whom thou 
commandest me to seek, know not. Is it in bread onlj 
that man finds strength? do not the words that issue 
from thy mouth better impart vigour and energy to the 
soul of the pilgrim? Thou knowest far better than I 



62 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

that I fled the society of creatures to find thee, my Lord 
and my God. And now that I have obtained thy grace, 
notwithstanding my un worthiness, must I resign this 
inestimable treasure, to mingle anew in worldly affairs 
to fall again into my former ignorance, and perchance 
become odious to thee? Ah no, no, thy infinite good- 
ness will never command any thing which can separate 
the soul from thee." Sobs would interrupt her, and 
she would cast herself at our Lord's feet, in hopes of 
winning his consent to remain. Then our Lord would 
speak, I do not say in these very words, but in this mea- 
ning: "Calm thyself, beloved daughter, thou must ac- 
complish all justice, and cause my grace to fructify in 
thee and in others ; far from being desirous of separating 
from thee, I desire to become more closely united to thee 
by charity towards thy neighbour. Thou knowest that 
my love has two commandments ; to love me, and to love 
thy neighbour; now I wish thee to observe these two 
commandments. Forget not that in thy youth, zeal for 
souls, which I had placed and developed in thy heart, 
went so far as to give to thee the idea of disgusing thy- 
self so as to become a Friar Preacher, and labour for 
the conversion of souls. Why, therefore, wonder and 
complain that I conduct thee where thou desirest to go 
and for which thou didst assume the habit of St. Do- 
minick, that zealous founder of an order for promoting 
the salvation of souls." Then Catharine said, " Lord, 
not my will but thine be done ; I am only darkness, and 
thou art all light; I am nothingness, and thou art; I 
am ignorance and thou art the wisdom of the Father; 



CHARITY TOWARDS THE NEIGHBOUR. 63 

but, Lord, suffer me to inquire how I sliall execute thy 
commands iny sex presents an obstacle, for women 
have no authority over men, and propriety interdicts 
frequent relations with them." Our Lord answered, 
like the Archangel Gabriel, that all things are possible 
with God! "Am I not he who formed both man and 
woman? my spirit breathes where it will; to me there 
is no difference of sex or condition, it is as easy for mo 
to create an Angel as the lowest insect, and a worm of 
the earth as a new firmament ; it is written of me, that 
I do what I will, (Ps. cxiii. 3.) and nought that the mind 
can conceive is impossible to me. I know it is humi- 
lity and not a disobedient spirit that prompts thee to 
speak thus, and now 1 wish thee to know that in this 
age, the pride of men has become so great, especially 
among such as believe themselves to be learned and dis- 
creet, that my justice can no longer endure them, and 
is about to confound them by a just judgment ; but be- 
cause mercy is the gentle attendant of all my works, I 
design at first to give them a salutary confusion, in 
order that they may acknowledge and humble themselves 
like the Jews and Gentiles, when I sent them stupid 
persons whom I filled with my divine wisdom. Yes, 1 
will give them women, ignorant and weak by their na- 
ture, but prudent and powerful through my grace, to 
confound their arrogance. If theyrecognise their folly, 
if they humble themselves, if they profit by the instruc- 
tions which I will offer them in these frail but conse- 
crated vases, I will be full of mercy towards them ; but 
should they contemn this salutary disgrace, I will send 



64 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

them so many humiliations, that they will become the 
scoff of every one. This is the just chastisement which 
I administer to pride the more the proud aim at ex- 
altation the lower will I abase them, even beneath them- 
selves. For thee, delay not to obey me, for I wish 
thee to appear publicly ; I will accompany thee on all 
occasions, I will continue to visit thee, and will direct 
thee in all that thou must do." 

After these words Catharine prostrated herself with 
filial obedience at the feet of our divine Redeemer ; she 
immediately went forth from her cell, joining her 
family at table as God commanded her. 

Catharine was corporally with creatures, but spiri- 
tually she never quitted her divine Spouse. All that 
she sawand heard was burden some to her; thestrength 
and ardour of her love rendered like long years, the 
hours that she passed with men, and she returned into 
her cell as quickly as she could, in order to meet there 
Him whom her soul cherished then she would honour 
him, and adore him with renewed fervour. Catharine, 
who was favoured with an ever-increising desire of 
being united to the object of her love, took the resolu- 
tion of receiving him in holy communion as frequently 
as she could and God prepared her daily for the rela- 
tions she was destined to hold with men for the salva- 
tion of souls. When she drew near to her family again, 
she determined not to remain unemployed, and began 
to devote herself to the duties of the household. 



HER SELF-SACRIFICING CHARITY. 65 



CHAPTER II. 

Of some wonderful things that occurred at the commencement of 
Catharine's relations with the world, and her exertions in sup- 
plying the necessities of the poor. 

CATHARINE resolved, in conformity with the will of 
her divine spouse, to live in a manner that would ren- 
der her useful to her neighbour, and capable of inclin 
ing him to virtue. She therefore devoted herself to 
practices of humility, and by degrees consecrated her- 
self to works of charity, without, however, permitting 
these to interfere with her fervent prayers and extra- 
ordinary penances. She performed the most menial 
services of the house, as sweeping, washing the dishes, 
and even the work that strictly appertains to the 
kitchen department. When the servant was sick, she 
entirely supplied her place, and also found means to 
attend to her wants during her sickness ; yet these so 
multiplied occupations did not make Catharine neglect 
her heavenly Spouse. She was so intimately united to 
him, that no exterior act nor corporal fatigue was capa- 
ble of disturbing their delicious interior conversations 
Her ecstasies became even more frequent. As soon 
as the thought of Jesus penetrated her mind, the soul 
appeared to retire from the sensual part, and the ex- 
tremities became cold, contracted, and insensible. 
During her ecstasies, she was often lifted above the 
earth, her body pursuing her soul, in order to shew 
the power of the spirit that attracted her. 

Knowing that the surest means of pleasing the di- 

v 



66 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

vine Spouse was to be charitable towards her neigh- 
bour, her heart burned with the desire of relieving him 
in all his wants. But having promised to observe the 
three Vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, she 
would no longer dispose of what belonged to others 
without their consent. She therefore sought her father, 
and asked him if she might deduct, according to her 
conscience, the share of the POOR from the riches that 
God had deigned to accord her family. The father 
Dheerfully consented, because he saw clearly that his 
daughter was walking in the way of perfection, and 
he was even so considerate as to announce to every 
one in the house, the permission he had accorded. 
" Let no one," said he, " prevent my beloved child 
from bestowing alms. I grant her full liberty: indeed 
she may, if she will, dispense all that is in the house." 
Catharine used almost literally the permission she had 
received ; however, she had the gift of discernment, 
and gave only to those whom she knew had a real need, 
and then she did not wait for such individuals to ask. 
She was acquainted with some poor families, in her 
neighbourhood, who were in great distress, but who 
were ashamed to solicit alms. She therefore imitated 
Saint Nicholas, rising early in the morning, so as to 
carry corn, wine, and oil, with whatever else was ne- 
cessary for them. She went unattended to the houses 
of the unfortunate persons. God would open the door 
for her in a miraculous manner, while she would shut 
ifc quickly, and glide stealthily away, having deposited 
heir provisions is the house. 



HER' SELF-SACRIFICING CHARITY. 67 

One day as she was sick and suffering from head to 
foot, and felt that it was impossible for her to rise 
from her bed, she learned that a poor widow in the 
neighbourhood was in absolute destitution, having not 
evenaloaf of breadforherlittle children. Her heart bled, 
and during the whole night she was begging her divine 
Spouse to render her sufficient corporal strength to go 
to the relief of this unhappy woman. She arose before 
day -light, ran over the house, filled a little sack with 
meal, took a large bottle of wine, a jug of oil, all the 
aliments that she could find prepared. She succeeded 
in gathering these articles together into her cell; but 
it appeared impossible for her to carry them, all at 
once, to the widow's house. She succeeded, however, 
in her pious undertaking assisted by a supernatural 
strength. 

Her maladies followed not the order of nature ; God 
governed them according to his will, as we shall see in 
the sequel. Catharine imitated several times, notwith- 
standing her infirmities, the matinal charity of St. 
Nicholas. In the following incidents we shall see how 
she renewed the beautiful alms of St. Martin. 

One day while she was in the Church of the Friar 
Preachers of Sienna, a poor man came to beg an alms 
" for the love of God." She had not at that moment 
any thing to give him, as she carried neither gold nor 
silver. She besought the poor person to accompany 
her as far as the house, promising to assist him as much 
as she could. But he, who was undoubtedly poor in 
*ppeirance, answered her "If you have any thing to 



68 LIFE OF ST. CATHABINE OF SIENNA. 

give me, give it directly, I entreat you, for it is im- 
possible for me to wait," Catharine would not afflict 
him more, and sought some means of relieving him. 
Her eyes fell upon a little silver Cross which was at- 
tached to one of those little cords trimmed with knots, 
on which the Lord's Prayer is recited, and called on 
that account a " Pater Noster." Catharine instantly 
broke the cord and offered the little silver Cross to the 
poor person, who joyfully accepted it, and withdrew 
at once as though he had not come to ask any thing 
else. The night following, whilst Catharine was pray- 
ing according to her custom, the Saviour of the world 
appeared to her, holding in his hand the little silver 
Cross all enriched with precious jewels, and he said to 
her "Daughter, dost thou recognise this Cross?" 
" Perfectly well," replied Catharine, ** but it was not 
o handsome when it belonged to me." *' Yesterday," 
said our Lord, ".thy heart gave it to me, an offering 
of love, and these precious stones represent that love. 
And I now promise thee, that on the day of judgment, 
in presence of the angels and of men, I will return it 
to thee such as it now is, so that it may become thy 
glory ; and at that solemn moment in which I will 
manifest the justice and the mercy of my Father, I will 
not conceal it, and will never permit that what thou 
hast done for me shall be forgotten." He disappeared 
after these words, and left Catharine wholly absorbed 
with gratitude, and ready to continue similar alms, as 
ve shall soon see. 

Our Lord, ravished wjth the charity of his faithful 



HER SELF-SACRmCHJIG CHABITT. 69 

Spouse, tempted her for our example, and urged her on 
to great things. One day Tierce having being recited, 
every body left the Church; Catharine alone remained 
with one of her companions to pray longer, and when 
she descended from the chapel of the Sisters, intending 
to return home, our Lord appeared to her under the 
form of a young man only half clad he appeared to be 
a stranger, and aged about thirty-two or thirty-three 
He implored her, in the name of God, to condescend 
to give him some clothing. Catharine, more and more 
ardent in alms-giving, said to him " Wait here a 
moment, my friend, until I return from the chapel, 
and I will give you what you ask." And going back 
into the chapel, she took off, without uncovering her- 
self, aided by her companion, a garment without 
sleeves, which she wore under her dress to protect he? 
from the cold, and went joyfully to offer it to the poor 
person. The latter was not satisfied and said to her 
u Madam, you have given me a woollen garment, but 
can you not also give me something of linen to cover 
me?" "Follow me," answered Catharine immediately, 
"and you shall be content." Our Lord followed his 
Spouse, without any mutual recognition ; when they 
arrived at the house, Catharine ran to the place in 
which her father and mother put their linen, took two 
under garments and carried them quickly to the poor 
mendicant, who appeared still dissatisfied. "But, 
Madam," said he, " what shall I do with this garment 
that has no covering for the arms? give me some sleeves 
and you will have furnished me with a complete suit.'* 



70 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

This demand, far from importuning Catharine, aug- 
mented her zeal. She ran over the whole house in 
search of sleeves; she found at length hanging on the 
wall, a new dress belonging to the domestic ; she took 
it down, and hurriedly removed the sleeves and carried 
them to the man. 

But he who tried Abraham still insisted, and said 
to her, " Now, Madam, you have dressed me, and I 
thank you, in the Name of him for whom you did it ; 
but I have at the hospital one of my companions who 
is in need of clothing : could you not give him some 
article that I might take to him on your part ?" 

The multiplied demands had not yet chilled the cha- 
rity of Catharine, and she sought the means of cloth- 
ing also the other necessitous person who was at the 
hospital. But she remembered that all the inmates of 
the house, her father excepted, complained of her do- 
nations, and put what they had under lock and key, 
so that she might not distribute them unto the poor. 
She had already given the sleeves that belonged to the 
domestic who was far from being in good circum- 
stances ; she durst not take the whole gown ; t/hen she 
began to examine seriously, whether she ought not to 
give the sole dress that she had reserved ; charity whis- 
pered yes, modesty said no. Charity triumphed over 
itself love for souls was victorious over love for the 
body. She thought that, if she went out not having 
on any dress, those who might see her would be scan- 
dalized, which must be especially avoided. She there- 
fore answered the poor man thus" See now, good 



HER SELr-SACKlFlCING CHATmT. 71 

friend, were it possible for me to remain without this 
dress, I would most cheerfully give it to you ; but as I 
cannot and I do not find any other just now, I pray you 
not to wish it of me. If I could, I should be delighted 
to give you all that you request," The poor man smiled, 
and said to her " Yes, I see that you give me most 
cordially whatever you possibly can ; farewell." As he 
was leaving, Catharine fancied that she recognised by 
certain signs that it was the heavenly Guest who so fre- 
quently appeared to her, and who deigned to converse 
familiarly with her. Her heart was at once troubled 
and inflamed, but humility persuaded her that she was 
unworthy ot such a favour, and then she continued her 
usual daily exercises. 

The night following, whilst Catharine was praying, 
the Saviour of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, ap- 
peared to her, under the figure of the destitute man, 
holding in his hand the garment that she had given 
him, richly embroidered with pearls and glittering witn 
precious stones. " Beloved daughter," said he Lord 
to her, ' ' dost thou recognise this garment ?" And when 
she replied affirmatively, but that she had not given it sc 
richly adorned, our Saviour added, ** Yesterday, thou 
gavest me this article with great love; thy charity 
clothed me, and preserved me from ignominy. Now, 
I will bestow on thee, from my own body, a garment 
that shall be invisible to men, but perceptible to thee, 
because it will preserve from cold both thy soul and thy 
body, until the day in which I will clothe thee with h o 
nour and glory before the saints a^d aagels," Aud iin- 



72 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

mediately he drew from the wound of his adorable 
Heart a vestment tinged with the purple hue of his 
precious blood and beaming with light. He put it on 
her with his own sacred hands, saying to her "I give 
thee on earth this vestment with its exclusive right, as 
a symbol and pledge of the hope of glory that shall be 
thine in heaven 1" The vision disappeared. The effi- 
cacy of this divine garment was such, not only for her 
soul, but also in reference to her body, that, from that 
moment, Catharine wore neither in summer nor in win- 
ter, more than one robe, and never added to it even in 
the most severe cold. She has even acknowledged to 
me, that she did not feel cold her miraculous garment 
preserved her, so that she did not think it possible for 
her to require more. 

Let us remark the merit of that faithful servant of 
God. She follows in her secret alms-deed, the foot- 
steps of St. Nicholas, and imitates in giving her very 
personal clothing, the glorious St. Martin. Not only 
did our Lord appear to her and return her thanks, but 
the infallible Truth also gave her a formal promise of 
an eternal recompense, and bestowed on her a sensible 
And perpetual sign of the joy her alms had caueod 
Him, who is of all alms-givers the best. He also as- 
mres her of final perseverance, and distinctly makes 
known to her the secret of her predestination and the 
splendour of her reward. He did not accord similar 
revelations to the Saints that we have mentioned above, 
and who had done many, very many charitable deeds- 
such favours are not to be lightly esteemed; they givo 



HER SELF-SACRIFICING CHAPITY. 78 

the soul a certainty of salvation, and an inexpressible 
joy and comfort. The surety of possessing heaven ei- 
cites her to the practice of every virtue ; it augments 
patience, fortitude, temperance, zeal for pious works, 
with the theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Charity 
What appeared difficult becomes easy, the soul " can 
do all things" for the love of Him who discloses to her 
a predestination to glory and fortifies her continually. 
We have already had striking proofs in the relations 
just given ; the proofs are about to become more nu- 
merous and more striking. 

At another time, Catharine, always inflamed with 
the fire of compassion, learned that a poor person, who 
had voluntarily divested himself of his wealth, for the 
love of God, was on the point of dying with hunger ; 
she desired again " to feed" Jesus Christ in his poor, 
and filled with eggs a linen sack which she had sewed 
under her dress. When approaching the residence of 
the poor person, she paid a visit to a church ; as soon 
as her soul found itself in the house of prayer it rose 
towards Him, to whom it was continually united ; she 
fell into an ecstasy, losing the use of her senses ; her 
body sunk down precisely on the side which bore the 
sack filled with eggs, and weighed on it so heavily, as 
to crush a large thimble of metal that was in the same 
pocket, into three pieces, whilst the eggs, which charity 
had deposited therein, suffered no injury ; they bore 
the weight of Catharine during several hours, without 
their shells being in the least impaired. 

O&tharine's charity afeo glorified God by miracles. 



74 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

The following wonderful fact, which was witnessed by 
about twenty persons, I heard from her mother, Lapa, 
from Lysa, her sister-in-law, and from Friar Thomas, 
her first confessor. At the period in which she used 
largely her permission to give to the poor whatever she 
wished, & happened that the wine of a hogshead which 
the family i> v as using at table was found to be spoiled. 
Catharine, who in respect to wine, bread, and all kinds 
of food, desired to give to the poor, in honour of God, 
what was the best in its kind, drew some good wine 
from another hogshead, that no one had yet touched, 
and distributed it daily. This cask, according to its 
dimensions, could suffice for the family for fifteen or 
twenty days, by closely economising. Before the family 
had touched it, Catharine had distributed it plentifully 
during a long time no one in the house had leave to 
prevent her. The one charged with the wine-cellar 
began also to draw from the cask for the common use, 
and Catharine was not at all remiss on her side ; she 
even aiigmented her donations of it, presuming there 
would be less complaint when every one partook of it. 
Not only fifteen days, but twenty and even a month 
elapsed, without the hogshead suffering any apparent 
diminution in its contents. Catharine's brothers and 
the domestics told this to her father, and all were de- 
lighted to see the same wine answering so long the 
daily wants of the family. Not only it lasted well, but 
none of them ever remembered to have tasted any so 
good or BO pleasant. The quantity and the quality 
were equally amazing. Each and *11 profited by it, 



HER SELF-SACRjnCING CHAETTY. 75 

without being capable of explaining the phenomenon ; 
Gatharine who was alone in the secret of the Benefactor, 
drew continually and gave to all the poor that she 
could find; yet the wine continued to flow, and its 
flavour was unchanged. A second month passed, and 
a third, and yet there was no difference. At length 
the vintage-time arrived, and casks were to be prepared 
for the reception of new wine. The persons in charge 
were anxious to empty the inexhaustible hogshead in 
order to fill it with the wine that already flowed from 
the press; but the divine munificence was not wearied, 
other vessels were prepared and filled, but all were in- 
sufficient ; then, a young man who was conducting the 
vintage gave orders to empty that hogshead, and bring 
it to the wine press ; they answered him that on the 
previous evening, a large vessel full had been drawn^ 
and that the wine was very strong and very clear, and 
that consequently there must yet remain a considerable 
quantity. Annoyed at their perseverance, he replied, 
" Draw out whatever wine may be in it, open the cask, 
and prepare it for the reception of the new wine, be- 
cause we cannot wait any longer." They, therefore, 
opened the cask, whence on the eve, wine beautifully 
clear had flowed ; but it was so dry, that it seemed an 
impossibility that any liquid could have been drawn 
from it for a length of time. Astonishment seized them 
all ; for they remembered the abundance and the qua- 
lity of the wine which it had afforded, and they veri- 
fied the extreme dryness of the hogshead from which 
it had been drawn. Thi5 miracle was known to all the 



70 LIFZ OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

city of Sienna ; it is attested by the persons then resi- 
dent in the house of Catharine, and I have mentioned 
above the individuals who related it to me. 



CHAPTER IIL 

Of the wonderful things Catharine performed when serving 
the sick. 

CATHARINE was wonderfully compassionate to the 
wants of the poor, but her heart was even more sensi- 
tive to the sufferings of the sick. To relieve them, she 
accomplished things apparently incredible, but this is 
no reason for suppressing them, and I shall therefore 
relate them to the glory of Almighty God. I have, for 
proof, the written and verbal testimony of Friar Tho- 
mas, .whom I have already named, of St. Dominick of 
Sienna, doctor of divinity, and prior provincial of the 
Roman Province. I could also cite Lapa and Lysa 
with several respectable ladies who have affirmed the 
same things to me. 

There was at Sienna a poor sick woman named Tecca ; 
her indigence was so extreme, that she was forced to 
seek in an hospital the remedies she needed, and which 
she was unable to procure. The hospital in which she 
entered was barely able to furnish what was strictly 
necessary. Her disease grew worse and worse, so that 
the leprosy covered her whole body ; the smell arising 
from her disease repelled every one, so that no person 
had courage to take care of her, and preparations were 



HER SERVICE TO THE SICK. 77 

made to remove her outside of the city, as is custom- 
ary in such maladies. When Catharine heard this, her 
charitable heart was touched; she hastened to the hos- 
pital, visited the leper, kissed her, and offered not only 
to supply all her necessities, but also to become her ser- 
vant during the remainder of her life. Catharine lite- 
rally fulfilled her promise ; every morning and every 
evening, she visited the patient in person and gave her 
whatever was necessary ; she contemplated in this poor 
leper the spouse of her soul, and assisted her in every 
possible way and with an indescribable respect and love. 
The exalted virtue of Catharine, however, only in- 
spired the leprous woman with pride and ingratitude; 
this is quite usual with minds destitute of humility ; 
they exalt themselves when they ought to humble them - 
selves, and offer insults in return for benefits that de- 
serve thanks. Catharine's charity and humility ren- 
dered Tecca arrogant and irritable. When she saw 
Catharine so solicitous in serving her, she considered 
the charitable attentions due to her, and scolded her 
benefactress with injurious words, when every thing 
did not conform to her wishes. Often the servant of 
our Lord prolonged her morning devotions in the 
church, and hence came later than usual to the hospi- 
tal. On such occasions Tecca would display her ill- 
temper, in phrases like this: *' Good morning, my Lady, 
Queen of Fonte-Branda (this was the name of the sec- 
tion of the city in which Catharine resided ;) your Ma- 
jesty takes pleasure in staying the livelong day in the 
Church of the Friars ; it ip there you have wasted all 



78 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

this forenoon I am sure, my fine lady ; you are never 
weary of the dear Friars !" She strove to irritate her 
by such words ; but Catharine, always calm, appeased 
her in the best way she could, and answered with as 
much meekness and humility as if she had been her 
own mother begging her to be quiet for the love of 
our blessed Lord * ' I have been a little late it is 
true, but soon all your little wants shall be attended 
to ;" and quickly lighting the fire and putting on wa- 
ter, she would prepare her food, and arrange every 
thing with such promptitude that the ill- tempered sick 
woman herself would be in surprise. This continued 
a considerable time, her patience and zeal never dimin- 
ishing. Every body was in admiration except Lapa, who 
complained " Certainly, my daughter, you will take 
the leprosy ; I desire that you will not serve that sick 
person." But she, who placed all her confidence in 
God, appeased her mother by assuring her that she 
had nothing to fear, because Providence had confided 
this work to her, and would never forsake her. Thus, 
her charity triumphed over all obstacles, and pursued 
what it had commenced. Satan then had recourse to 
other means. Our Lord permitted her hands to be- 
come covered with leprosy, in order to render the tri- 
umph of his faithful spouse the more striking ; her fin- 
gers which had touched the body of Tecca contracted 
the infirmity, and it became evident that Catharine had 
t&ken her contagious malady. This misfortune did not 
arrest her, she preferred being covered with leprosy to 
renouncing Ler charitable functions; her body she 



HEtf SERVICE TO THE SICK. 79 

looked upon as dust ; she was not anxious concerning 
what might happen to it, if what she did were agree- 
able to our Lord. The leprosy lingered a long time, 
but divine love hindered her from perceiving it. At 
last He who heals when striking, who exalts in abas- 
ing, and who renders all profitable to those who love 
him, after rejoicing in the courage of his handmaid, 
would try her no longer. Tecca died, and Catharine 
happily assisted her in her last agony. Her body was 
frightful to behold. Catharine carefully washed it, 
clothed it, exposed it, and buried it herself. When 
this last act of charity was terminated, the disease dis- 
appeared from Catharine's body suddenly ; her hands 
seemed to be whiter than the rest of her person, as 
though the leprosy had imparted additional delicacy 
to them. Let us pause and admire the assemblage of 
virtues which adorned Catharine in this deed. Charity, 
their Queen, prompted it ; humility accompanied it, 
rendering her the servant of this unfortunate woman ; 
patience led to her support with joy the violence of the 
leper's temper as well as the disgusts inseparable from 
that loathsome malady ; the strength of her faith shows 
to her in this diseased subject, the beloved Spouse whom 
she desired to please, and hope never abandoned her, 
as is shown by her perseverance to the end. A mira- 
cle crowns all these virtues, for our Lord healed in- 
stantly those hands that had been attacked with leprosy, 
in serving Tecca during life and after death. 

There was also in Sienna, at the time in which Ca- 
thariiie devoted herself to the service of the sick and 



SO LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

indigent, a Sister of Penance of St. Dominick, named 
Palmerina, and who had publicly consecrated herself 
with all her wealth to works of mercy. Notwithstand- 
ing these two reasons for belonging entirely to God, 
the devil made her his captive. A secret envy and a 
remnant of pride had inspired her with a profound 
hatred towards Catharine : not only did she find it dis- 
agreeable to see her, but she could not even hear Ca- 
tharine's name pronounced without being thrown into 
a paroxysm of vexation ; she even denounced her in 
public, and was so blinded by passion, that she went 
so far as to calumniate and execrate the devoted ser- 
vant of God. 

Catharine employed all the resources of meekness 
and humility in endeavouring to calm her, butall these 
advances were despised. Catherine therefore addressed 
herself to her divine Spouse as usual; by fervent 
prayers she " heaped coals of fire on her head," (Rom. 
xii. 20,) for these prayers soaring like flames towards 
God, implored at once his justice and his mercy. Ca- 
tharine only asked mercy, but God, who cannot sepa- 
rate these two attributes, first manifested justice, and 
then accorded to the prayers of his faithful spouse a 
more striking proof of mercy. He afflicted Palmerina's 
body, so as to heal her soul, and combated her rude 
obstinacy by the sweet charity with which she had en- 
riched his spouse. He also augmented Catharine's 
zeal for the salvation of others, by revealing to her the 
ineffable beauty of that soul which was condemned by 
her own fault, but which she had miraculously saved 



flER SERVICE TO THE SICK. 81 

Dy ner merits and her prayers. Palmerina's illness did 
not cure this disposition ; on the contrary, her hatred 
only increased. Catharine tried every means of soften- 
ing it ; she frequently proffered her assistance ; sought 
to console her by testimonies of affection, and rendered 
her all the services she could imagine ; but Palmerina 
obdurately remained insensible to words and deeds 
prompted by such tender charity ; Catharine's eager- 
ness to serve her even seemed to render her odious, and 
violent hatred at last provoked her to chase Catharine 
from the house. Then the supreme Judge laid his hand 
of justice on that enemy of charity ! strength suddenly 
forsook her, and without being able to receive the last 
Sacraments, Palmerina found herself in presence of 
death, and of eternal condemnation ! 

As soon as Catharine learned this, she shut herself in 
her own apartment and fervently conjured her Spouse 
not to allow a soul to perish on her account "Lord," 
said she, " shall I, a wretched creature prove the occa 
sion of loss to a soul created in thy image ? is that the 
good thou wilt use me to effect ? no doubt my sins have 
caused the whole, and yet I will continue to claim thy 
mercy until my sister see her error, and thou eavest the 
soul of that beloved one from death." 

Whilst Catharine thus prayed, more with the heart 
than with the lips, God, so as to excite a still more in- 
flamed desire for succouring that perishing soul, made 
known to her Palmerina's faults and the danger thai 
menaced her : and when our Redeemer declared that ha 
could not endure that a hatred so unjust and so impla- 



82 LIFE OF ST. CATHARISTE OF SIENNA. 

cable should remain without chastisement, Catharine 
buried herself anew in profound supplication, and im- 
plored our divine and mercciful Saviour not to suffer 
the soul of Falmerina to depart until she had been re- 
conciled with God and her neighbour. 

Her prayer was so effectual that the patient could 
not die; her agony endured three days and three 
nights : all were astonished and suffered on seeing this 
last combat so prolonged. Catharine was, however, 
continually interceding, and the humility of her tears 
triumphed over the Omnipotent. A ray of light from 
heaven mercifully penetrated that soul in the midst of 
her agony, discovered to it this fault, and gave it all the 
graces necessary for salvation. Catharine knew it by 
revelation, and hastened to the house. As soon as 
Palmerina saw her, she bestowed on her every mark 
of joy and respect ; she accused herself of her fault 
aloud, and died shortly after, having received the 
Sacrament, with signs of the deepest contrition. Our 
Lord showed this soul as saved, to his spouse. Our 
Lord then suggested to his beloved spouse that if He, 
the source of all beauty, was so captivated with the 
loveliness of souls, as to descend to earth, and shed for 
them His precious Blood, how much more should we 
diligently labour for each other, so that a creature so 
Bxlmirable perish not. " If I have exhibited this soul 
tothee," said our Divine Saviour, " it is to awaken in 
thee a more inflamed desire of promoting the salvation 
of souls, in proportion to the grace that I have given 

tkflO." 



HER SERVICE TO THE SICK. 83 

Catharine thanked our Lord with effusion of heart, 
and humbly entreated him to deign in future to show 
her the beauty of the souls who might have relations 
with her, so that she could become more devoted to 
their salvation. God granted this favour, saying 
" Because thou hast despised the world, to attach thy- 
self wholly to me, who am the perfect Spirit ; because 
thou hast prayed with faith and perseverance for the 
salvation of that soul ; behold I endow thee with su- 
pernatural light, which will show thee either tho 
beauty or the deformity of all the souls that thou wilt 
meet. Thy interior sense will perceive the condition 
of minds, as thy exterior senses perceive the state of 
the body. And that will take place not only in respect 
to persons present, but for all those whose salvation 
may form the object of thy solicitude and thy prayers, 
even though they be absent, and thou hast never as yet 
Been them." The efficacy of that grace which God 
granted her was such, that from that moment she actu- 
ally saw more distinctly the souls than the bodies of 
persons who approached her. 

One day I rebuked her in private for not preventing 
those who approached her from bending the knee be- 
fore her, she thus answered me, " God is my witness 
that I frequently do not perceive the actions of those 
who surround me ; I merely occupy myself with their 
souls, without paying any attention to their bodies.'* 
Then I said to her * Do you perceive their souls ?" 
" Father," answered she, " I acknowlege that my Sa- 
viour deigned to accord me that grace, when he hear4 



84 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

my prayers, on withholding from eternal flames a soul 
that was precipitating herself into them by her own 
fault. He then clearly showed me the ravishing 
beauty of that soul, and since that time, it is rare for 
me to see any one, without directly becoming acquain- 
ted with their interior state." And she added " O 
Father, could you bisfc see the beauty of a rational soul, 
you would sacrifice your life a hundred times, were it 
necessary, for its salvation. Uo, nought in this mate- 
rial world is comparable to its beauty.' ' I then reques- 
ted her to give me a full account of that transaction, 
and in consequence she gave me the above narrative ; 
only, that she softened as far as possible, the injuries 
which the Sister had offered to her. Others of the 
Sisters worthy of confidence, who were witnesses of it, 
acquainted me with its grievousness. 

I will add one fact, which will complete these re- 
marks. I frequently served as interpreter between 
Gregory XI. and Catharine ; she did not understand 
Latin, and the Sovereign Pontiff did not speak Italian. 
In one of these interviews Catharine asked why she 
found in the court of Rome, in which all the virtues 
ought to bloom, nothing but the contagion of disgrace- 
ful vices. The Sovereign Pontiff asked her if it were 
long since she arrived at the Court, and on being in- 
formed that it was merely a few days since, he said to 
her ' ' How have you so soon learned what occurs here ? ' ' 
Then Catharine, quitting her humble posture in order 
to assume an air of authority, which astonished me, 
pronounced the following words " I must decUre to 



HER SERVICE TO THE SICK. 85 

the glory of Almighty God, that I have perceived more 
distinctly the infections of the sins that are committed 
in the Court of Koine, while yet in my native city, 
than those even who committed them, and are still 
daily committing them." The Pope remained silent 
I could not overcome my surprise, and shall never 
forget the tone of authority with which Catharine 
spoke to that great Pontiff. 

It often happened to me and to those who accom- 
panied her in journeys, to be found in her company in 
places that we have never seen, and also to see for the 
first time, persons of honourable and respectable ap- 
pearance, but who were in reality addicted to vice. 
Catharine knew their interior directly, and refused to 
look at them or give any answer when they addressed 
us; and if they would insist, she would say, " First, 
let us purify ourselves from our faults and become 
delivered from the bondage of Satan, then we will 
converse about God." She would by this means soon 
disencumber us of their presence, and we would very 
soon discover that these persons were plunged in incor- 
rigible profligacy. 

The enemy of mankind, beholding the great merit 
that Catharine was acquiring, and the good she effected 
in souls by taking care of the sick, sought new means 
of turning her from it ; but his malice was again de- 
feated. He desired to render sterile that tree planted 
by the running waters ; yet never, on the contrary, did 
its branches bear more fruit. There was at that time a 
Sinter of Penance of St Dorninick, called Andrea, who 



86 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

was extremely ill with a cancer in the breast which con- 
sumed and gnawed away gradually her whole chest ; 
the odour from this wound was so disgusting that it was 
impossible to approach her without closing firmly the 
nostrils, and there was scarcely any one to be found 
that was willing to pay the unfortunate Sister a friendly 
visit. Directly Catharine knew this, she comprehended 
that God reserved to her this poor forsaken one ; she 
hastened to comfort her with a cheerful countenance, 
and offered to assist her so long as that dreadful illness 
might last. The sister accepted her offer the more 
easily as she found herself neglected by all others. 

Behold, therefore, the Virgin serving the widow, 
youth succouring old age, and her who languished with 
the love of God, devoted to one who languished with the 
sorrows of earth. Cath arine omits no attention , although 
the stench becomes more and more insupportable ; she 
remains by the bedside continually using no precaution, 
uncovers the wound, cleanses it and changes the linens, 
and never exhibits the slightest repugnance, whatever 
be the length of time required or the difficulty in the 
dressing. The patient admires that constancy and 
f ullness of charity in one so youthful. The enemy of 
all good, irritated at such exalted virtue, has recourse 
to artifice, worthy of himself. One day as the saint 
uncovered the wound, a suffocating odour issued 
f remit; her will, reposing on that of Jesus Christ, 
is not moved ; but her stomach turns and endangers 
vomiting. As soon as she perceives it, she becomes 
angry with herself, reproaching herself with tills 



HER SERVICE TO THE SICK. 87 

weakness. " What," said she, " thou art disgusted at 
thy Sister who is redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ I 
Mayest not thou also fall sick, and become in even a 
worse condition thou shalt not remain unpunished.' 
And immediately, stooping down over the breast of the 
cancerous woman, she applied her mouth to the ulcer, 
until she was sensible of having overcome her disgust, 
and triumphed over that natural revolt. The sick 
woman cried out, " Cease, daughter, dearest child, I 
cannot endure that you should thus poison yourself with 
that horrible corruption." Bub Catharine would not 
rise until she had vanquished the enemy, who then left 
her in tranquillity for a little while. Perceiving that 
he could effect nothing with Catharine, he charged hii 
batteries against the unhappy patient, who was not oil 
her guard. This sower of tares commenced with in 
spiring a certain wearisomeness of Catharine's services, 
and ended at length by changing it into an inveterate 
hatred. As no one except Catharine was capable of 
continuing these cares, she attributed her perseverance 
to a species of pride, in desiring to do more than 
others ; and as hatred easily believes evil of those that 
it pursues, this wretched woman, more diseased in mind 
than body, listened to the devil to such a degree, as at 
last to suspect Catharine's purity, and to believe that 
she was committing some great sin when she was ab- 
sent. Catharine remained firm as a column ; she only 
saw her Spouse and continued with joy, before his eyes, 
the work of zeal that she had commenced strong in pati- 
ence : she laughed at the enemy whose snares she recog- 



88 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

nised, and she took delight in provoking his anger oy 
practising charity which is insupportable to him. Then 
the devil blinded more and more the mind of the old 
woman, and succeeded in irritating her so far, that she 
publicly calumniated Catharine in the most shameful 
manner. 

These accusations spread abroad among the Sisters, 
and some of the more advanced who directed the others, 
came to visit the sick woman, and examine whether 
these reports had any foundation. Andrea replied 
whatever the devil suggested to her ; the Sisters being 
extremely provoked, called Catharine, and, after hav- 
ing addressed to her cruel and cutting reproofs, at last 
asked her how it was possible that she had suffered 
herself to be seduced and so lose her virginity. Ca- 
tharine, always humble and patient, contented herself 
with answering " I assure you, Ladies and dear Sis- 
ters, that by the grace of Jesus Christ, I am still a vir- 
gin." And when they renewed this absurd falsehood, 
her whole defence consisted in repeating " Indeed I 
am & virgin indeed I am a virgin !" 

This circumstance did not change her conduct at all. 
However her heart grieved at this frightful calumny, 
she continued to serve with the same love the author 
of it ; but in the secret of her chamber, she took refuge 
in prayer "My omnipotent Saviour, my beloved 
Spouse, thou knowest the delicacy of a female's repu- 
tation, and how carefully thy spouses should preserve 
their honour from the slightest reproach. For this 
cause thou didst confide thy glorious Mother to St. 



HER SERVICE TO THE SICK. 89 

Joseph. Thou art acquainted with the efforts of the 
* father of lies,' to deter me from what thy love has 
urged me to undertake ; help me then, my Lord and 
my God, for thou knowest that I am innocent, and 
suffer not the old serpent to prevail against me." While 
she thus poured out before God her tears and prayers, 
the Saviour of the world appeared to her he held in 
his right hand a crown of gold enriched with precious 
jewels, and in his left a crown of woven thorns u Be- 
loved daughter," said he to her, 4 ' know that thou must 
bear successively, these very different crowns ; choose 
the one that thou dost now prefer. If thou takest the 
crown of thorns for this life, I will reserve the other 
for thee after thy death ; but if now thou takest tho 
precious one^ hereafter thou shalt wear the thorns.' 1 
" Lord," replied Catharine, " I have long since re- 
nounced my own will, and have promised to follow 
thine in all things : hence I have no choice to make 
but if thou wilt have me to answer, during this life, I 
desire to be conformed to thy blessed Passion, and find 
my chief delight in suffering with thee." Saying this 
she took the crown of thorns with both hands, as the 
Saviour presented it to her, and pressed it on her head 
with so much violence that the thorns entered on all 
sides. She felt the wounds sensibly after the vision, as 
she herself informed me. Then the Lord said, " I am 
all-powerful, and if I have allowed this scandal to oc- 
cur, I can cause it to cease instantly. Complete tho 
work that thou hast commenced, yield not to Satan 
who would prevent thoe ; I will give thee a manifest 



90 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

victory over him ; all that he has prepared against tliee 
shall turn to his shame and thy glory." The servant of 
God remained filled with consolation and with courage. 
However, Lapa, her mother, became acquainted with 
the reports that the sick woman had spread among the 
Sisters ; and being quite certain of the innocence of her 
daughter, she, indignant at the attempts of Andrea, 
and in great anger said to Catharine, " How often have 
I begged thee to leave that wicked woman ! this is the 
recompense that she bestows on thee, dishonour before 
all the Sisterhood ; if thou servest her again, if thou 
dost even approach her, I will no longer call thee my 
child." This was a new snare of the demon for arrest- 
ing Catharine ; but she, on hearing her mother, kept 
silent a moment ; and then approaching and kneel- 
ing before her, she humbly said to her, "My be- 
loved .mother, does the ingratitude of men prevent 
God from daily exercising his mercy towards sinners ? 
])id not our Saviour accomplish the salvation of the 
world on the Cross, without heeding the insults offered 
him ? You are so kind, dear mother, and you know 
very well that were I to abandon that sick person, no 
one would take care of her, and. she would die for want 
of assistance ; would we not indeed become the cause 
of her death ? She is deceived by Satan, but God may 
enlighten her and lead her to acknowledge her error." 
She thus appeased her mother, who blessed her, and she 
returned to the diseased woman, and served as cheer- 
ful v as though she had said nothing against her. An - 
drea was surprised at seeing no appearance of trouble ; 



HEK SERVICE TO THE SICK... 91 

she could not deny that she was overcome, and she be- 
gan to repent interiorly, and much more as she per- 
ceived the zeal of her benefactress augumenting daily. 
God at length took compassion on that misserable 
woman and sent her, so as to glorify his spouse, the fol- 
lowing vision. One day as Andrea was in bed, it seemed 
to her that the moment in which the servant of Jesus 
Christ entered the room and approached the bed (on 
which the sick woman was laid,) a great light came 
down from heaven, surrounded her and filled her with 
such sweetness and joy, that she, so to speak, forgot 
her sufferings; she did not comprehend this new state, 
and looked about on all sides, when she saw the coun- 
tenance of Catharine so changed and transfigured, that 
she no longer beheld the daughter of Lapa, but the ma- 
jestic figure of an angel, and the brilliancy that sur- 
rounded her, enveloped her as a garment. At this spec - 
tacle, regret for her fault, increased in her heart, with 
bitter self-reproach for having so basely caluminated so 
holy a person. This vision which she contemplated with 
her corporal eyes, lasted a long time, and when it disap- 
peared, it left the sick woman at once sad and consoled. 
Her sadness was that which, according to the Apostle, 
accomplishes justice. 2 Cor. vii. 10. She instantly asked 
pardon of Catharine, amid tears and sobs, accusing her- 
self of having sinned against her, and calumniated her. 
The exterior light which she had seen, illuminated her 
soul, and caused her to recognise the imposture of the 
demon. Catharine embraced the poor penitent, and 
consoled her the best she could, assuring her that she had 



92 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

not for a moment even thought of abandoning her, cr 
retained the slightest ill -feeling towards her : ' ' Beloved 
mother," said she to her, " I knew perfectly well that 
the enemy of our salvation was the originator of those 
scandals, and that he had deceived you by his grievous 
malice. I do not accuse you but him. I thank you, on 
the contrary, for the kind affections which induced you 
to be so anxious concerning my virtue." After thus 
comforting her, she administered to her the usual atten- 
tions, and quickly returned home so as not to lose time. 
But Andrea, wholly penetrated with the conscious- 
ness of her fault, caused those persons before whom she 
had calumniated Catharine to be called ; she confessed 
with moans her deep guilt, and how fearfully the devil 
had deceived her ; she proclaimed aloud that she of 
whom she had uttered so much evil, was not only inno- 
cent, but that she was a saint filled with the Spirit of 
God, and that she has now a proof of it. And as they 
demanded an explanation, she responded that she had 
never felt nor comprehended what were spiritual sweet- 
ness and consolation before having seen Catharine trans- 
figured before her and environed with light. This testi - 
mony increased Catharine's reputation with the public, 
and the devil who had endeavoured to tarnish it, served 
on the contrary, through the intervention of the Holy 
Spirit, to glorify it. But our Saint remained as calm in 
triumph as in trial ; she pursued her charitable work, 
applying at the same time to the study of her own no- 
thingness. He who alone exists by his own power 
charged himself with honouring her ; but the implaca- 



HER SERVICE TO THE SICK. 93 

blo enemy who may be indeed vanquished, but never 
destroyed, returned to the charge, and determined 
again to conquer, by the revolt of nature. 

One day as the servant of God uncovered the horrible 
ulcer to wash it, the infected odour which arose from it 
inspired a violent disgust which the devil strove to in- 
crease. Her stomach bounded with nausea. This re- 
pulse was so much the more painful to her, as, just then, 
the new victories which she had gained by the grace of 
the Holy Spirit, had helped her to acquire new virtues. 
Filled with a holy anger against herself, she said, " thou 
shalt wallow what inspires thee with such horror : and 
immediately, collecting in a saucer the water in which 
she had washed what flowed from the wound, she went 
aside and drank the whole. I recollect that one day, 
when others related this circumstance in her presence, 
she said to me in an undertone, " Father, I assure 
you, that in my whole life, I never tasted any thing 
so sweet and so agreeable." 

I found in the writings of Friar Thomas, her first 
confessor, that the same thing happened to her when 
her mouth was applied to the ulcer, she acknowledged 
to him that she then perceived a delicious odour. In 
the night that followed this last victory, the Saviour of 
men appeared to Catharine while she was praying ; he 
showed her the five sacred wounds that he received for 
our salvation on the Cross. " Beloved," said he to her, 
" thou hast sustained for me great combats, and, with 
my assistance, thou hast remained victorious. Never 
hast thou been dearer or more pleasing to me yester- 



9 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

day in particular thou didst ravish my heart. Not only 
didst thou despise sensual pleasures, disdain the opi- 
nions of men, and surmount the temptations of Satan, 
but thou didst overcome nature, by joyfully drinking 
for my sake a loathsome, horrible beverage. Wall, since 
thou hast accomplished an action so superior to nature, 
I will bestow on thee a liquor above nature." And plac- 
ing the right hand on Catharine's neck, he drew her to 
the wound of his sacred side, saying to her, " Drink, 
daughter that luscious beverage which flows from my 
side, it will inebriate thy soul with sweetness and will 
also plunge in a sea of delight thy body, which thou 
didst despise for love of me." Catharine, thus placed 
at the very fountain of life, applied her mouth to the 
sacred wound of the Saviour ; her soul drew thence an 
ineffable and divine liquor ; she drank long and with 
us much avidity as abundance ; in fine, when our bles- 
sed Lord gave her notice, she detached herself from 
the sacred source, satiated, but still eager, because she 
experienced no repletion at being satiated, nor pain at 
still desiring. O ineffable mercy of the Lord, how de- 
lightful thou art to those who love thee ! how delici- 
ous to such as taste thee ! Alas, Lord, I, and those who 
have not experienced it, cannot comprehend it ; the 
blind cannot judge of the beauty of colours, nor the 
deaf the charms of harmony. So as not to be ungrate- 
ful, we contemplate and admire, as far as we are able, 
the great favours thou dost accord to thy saints, and 
although they far surpass us, we thank thy divine 
Majesty for them in proportion to our strength. 



HER MIRACULOUS MANNER OF LIVING. 95 

Dear reader, observe the wonderful virtue of Catha- 
rine. Admire that inspiration of charity which inclines 
her to perform an act so repugnant to nature : consider 
the zeal which influences her, notwithstanding the re- 
volt of her senses ; remark that amazing courage that 
cannot be intimidated by the shocking calumny and 
odious ingratitude of the sick woman; contemplate, in 
fine, that soul which derives its strength from God, 
which praise cannot render haughty, and which gains 
over the flesh a last triumph, by drinking what it shud- 
dered with horror merely to see. All this is noble, and 
there are very few, especially in our day, who would 
perform similar deeds. But consider also the reconv 
pense. After Catharine had subdued her thirst at the 
side of our blessed Redeemer, grace so superabounded 
in her soul that her body experienced its effects ; it 
became impossible for her to take even the insignificant 
amount of nourishment which she took before. I will 
give a full account of it ere long, but it is time to ter- 
minate this important chapter, which I could not well 
diminish in length. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Of her manner of living and of the roprosiehes which were made 
her conceiniing her complete abstinence. 

THE incomparable Spouse of souls had tried his be- 
loved daughter in the furnace of great tribulations; he 
taught her to overcome the enemy of souls in every va- 



96 LIFE OF ST, CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

riety of combat : it only remained for him to crown her 
in a manner worthy of his own divine munificence ; but 
the souls she was destined to succour in their pilgrim- 
age had not yet profited by her virtues as much as the 
Saviour desired and had promised, and it was requisite 
that Catharine should remain in the world, receiving 
in it the pledges of her eternal reward. Our Lord made 
known by revelation, to his faithful servant the celes- 
tial life that she was to lead in this valley of tears. 

One day while she was praying in her little chamber 
he appeared to her, and announced to her the kind of 
new miracle that he was going to operate in her 
" Learn my sweetest daughter, that henceforth thy life 
will be filled with prodigies so amazing that ignorant 
and sensual men will refuse to believe them. Many 
even of those persons who are attached to thee, will 
doubt them and fear an illusion caused by excess of love 
to me. I will diffuse in thy soul such an abundance of 
grace, that thy body itself will experience its effects and 
will live no longer except in an extraordinary manner 
thy heart shall become so ardent for the salvation of 
thy neighbour, that thou shalt forget thy sex and its 
reserve ; thou shalt no more avoid as formerly the con- 
versation of men, but thou shalt expose thyself to every 
species of fatigue in order to save their souls; thy con- 
duct will scandalize many, who will contradict thee and 
accuse thee publicly. Be not alarmed, and be not anxi- 
ous; I will be ever with thee, and I will deliver thy soul 
from the deceitful tongue and from the lips that speak 
falsely. Follow therefore courageously the inspiration 



HER MIRACULOUS MANNER OF LIVING. 97 

which will enlighten thee ; for I shall draw, by thy aid, 
numerous souls from the gulf of hell, and I will con- 
duct them, with the help of my grace, to the kingdom 
of heaven." Catharine heard these words several 
times, and when our Lord repeated to her, " fear 
nothing, be not troubled;" she answered, " Thou art 
my God, and I am but thy little handmaid ; may thy 
will ever be accomplished, but remember me and in- 
cline unto my aid, according to the greatness of thy 
mercy." The vision disappeared, and Catharine re- 
flected interiorly what that change could be that was 
announced to her. 

From day to day however, the grace of God increased 
in her soul, and the spirit of God so abounded within 
her, that she sung with the Prophet, " For thee my 
flesh and my heart hath fainted, O God of my heart, 
and my eternal inheritance." Ps. Ixxii. 26 ; and again/ 
'* I remember God, and was delighted, and being ex- 
ercised my spirit swooned away." Ps. Ixxvi. 4. God 
therefore inspired her with the thought of receiving 
her divine Spouse as often as possible in the holy Eu- 
charist, since she could not enjoy him yet in heaven 
hence she adopted the habit of daily communion, ex- 
cept when hindered by her own indisposition and by the 
cares whichshe bestowed on others. 

Her desire for frequent communion was so vehe- 
ment, than when it was not satisfied she suffered so 
violently as to become in danger of death. Her body 
which participated in the joys of her spirit, necessarily 
shared in the pain attendant on its privations. We 



98 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

shall hereafter dilate on this subject ; at present we in- 
tend explaining her miraculous way of living, accord- 
ing to her confessions to me, and the writings of her 
first confessor. 

Heavenly favours and comforts so overwhelmed the 
soul of Catharine after that last vision, that they inun- 
dated, so to speak, her body. Its vital functions be- 
came so modified, that food was no longer necessary to 
her, and aliments caused her serious suffering. When 
she was obliged to take food, she was so incommoded 
that it would not remain in the stomach and it would 
be quite impossible to describe her grievous pains on 
such occasions. In the beginning, this state appeared 
incredible to all, even to her relatives and those who 
were truly attached to her ; they call this extraordi- 
nary favour from God, a temptation or a snare of 
Satan. Even her Confessor commanded her to take 
food daily and not to give heed to any visions that 
would give her contrary advice. 

In vain Catharine assured him that she was well and 
strong, so long as she received no nourishment, and 
became sick and weak as soon as she used it he con- 
tinually prescribed to her to eat ; she obeyed through 
Virtue, as far as she was able, but these endeavours re- 
duced her to such a state that fears were entertained 
for her life. She therefore caused her confessor to be 
called and said to him " Father, if through excessive 
fasting, I was in danger of death, would you not pro- 
hibit me from fasting, so as to prevent me from com- 
mitting suicide?" u Without doubt," answered the 



HER MIRACULOUS MANNER OP LIVING. 99 

Confessor. "But, resumed she, " is it not as bad to 
expose one's self to sin by eating as by fasting ? If, 
therefore, you see, by the numerous experiments of 
which you have been witness, that I am killing myself 
by taking nourishment, why do you not forbid me, 
as you would forbid me to fast, if the fast produced a 
similar result ?" There could nothing be said in reply 
to this reasoning, and her Confessor, who saw the 
danger to which he was exposing her, said to her 
" Henceforth act according to the inspirations of the 
Holy Ghost, for I perceive that God is acomplishing 
marvellous things in you. 

Catharine suffered excessively from her parents and 
friends. Those who surrounded her measured her 
words and deeds, not by God's rule, but by the common 
one, and their own ; they were in the valley and wished 
to judge concerning what was on the summit of the 
mountain : they ignored principles, yet would discourse 
prudently concerning consequences ; the brightness of 
the light blinded them and prevented them from ap- 
preciating colours ; they disturbed themselves unrea- 
sonably and blamed the rays of that radiant star ; they 
wished to direct her whose lessons they could not even 
understand ; night was reproaching day for its splen- 
dour ! They secretly accused her, calumniated her 
under an appearance of zeal, and forced, as it were, 
her Confessor to deviate from her way. It would be 
too lengthy to describe the interior trials and anguish 
of Catharine. Devoted to obedience and self -con - 
teaipt, she knew not ho\v to excuse herself and duntf, 



100 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

not resist the orders of her Confessor, and yet she was 
convinced that the will of God was opposed to that of 
men ; but in the fear of displeasing him, she could not 
decide to disobey and thus scandalize her neighbour. 
Prayer was her refuge, and she poured out at the 
Saviour's blessed feet tears of melancholy hope, humbly 
supplicating him to deign to make his will known to 
those who opposed her, above all to her Confessor, 
whom she dreaded to offend. 

She could not say to him, as did the Apostles to the 
chief priests" It is better to obey God than men." 
(Acts v. 29.) She would have been answered that the 
demon conforms himself into an angel of light : that 
we should not rely on our own prudence, but follow 
the counsels given . The Lord heard Catharine on this 
occasion as on others ; he enlightened her Confessor, 
and changed his opinion ; but that did not hinder others 
thinking ill of her, and failing in discernment. Had 
they examined attentively how God had unveiled to her 
the artifices of Satan ; how he had taught her to com- 
bat and obtain glorious victories; had they remarked 
to what a high degree she was endowed with the gift 
of understanding, and what reason she-had to say with 
me Apostle " we are not ignorant of its wickedness." 
JS/on enim ignoramus astucias ejus (2 Cor. 11), they 
would have observed silence, and not dared, in the im- 
perfection of their knowledge,to exalt themselves above 
so perfect a master. Little rivulets ought not to change 
the course of majestic rivers ; I have often said this 
formerly to those who censured Catharine, and I re- 



HER MIRACULOUS MANNER OF LIVING. 101 

peat it here, so that certain individuals may profit 
by it. 

But let us return to our subject. The first time that 
these extraordinary facts occurred we were at the be- 
ginning of Lent, and Catharine, supported by the 
grace of God, remained till the feast of the Ascension, 
without taking any corporal nourishment, and with- 
out any diminution of strength or gaiety. Are not the 
fruits of the Holy Ghost, charity, joy, and peace ? 
(Gal v. 22.) Did not the eternal Truth say, that " man 
liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that 
coineth from the mouth of God," (St. Matt. iv. 4) and 
" the just liveth by faith." (Rom. i. 17.) On the day 
of the Ascension she was able to eat, as our Lord had 
told her, and as she had announced to her Confessor. 
She ate, in fact, bread and vegetables ; she then re- 
commenced her fast, and ended by observing it almost 
continually, interrupting it sometimes only, and at 
long intervals. Whilst her body fasted, her soul took 
a more and more abundant nourishment. She ap- 
proached, as frequently as she could, the holy Table, 
and there derived every time, with ardour, a new sup- 
ply of graces. Her organs had suspended their func- 
tions ; but the Holy Spirit, which was acting in her, 
vivified at once her soul and body, and he that believes 
in divine things can affirm that her whole existence was 
supernatural and miraculous. 

Often have I seen that feeble body reduced to the 
last extreme of weakness ; but if in the moment that 
we expected to see her expire, an occasion presented 



102 LIFE OP St, CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

of rendering any honour to God or aiding a soul, not 
only life returned to her, but with it such wonderful 
energy, that she walked, acted, and performed more 
than those who were in good health, and without 
appearing to suffer the slightest fatigue. How ex- 
plain this fact otherwise than by the action of the 
Holy Spirit, which sustained simultaneously the soul 
and body? When she began to live without taking 
nourishment, her Confessor asked her if she did not 
sometimes experience an appetite? "God satisfies 
me so," she answered, " in the holy Eucharist, that it is 
impossible for me to desire any species of corporal 
nourishment." And as her Confessor inquired whether 
she did not at least experience hunger on the days in 
which she did not communicate, " His sole presence 
satiates me," said she, " and I acknowledge even that 
it suffices for me to see a priest that has just said Mass, 
to be happy." 

Catharine was, therefore, at once satisfied and fast- 
ing ; deprived of all exteriorily, but abundantly nour- 
ished in the interior ; thirsty in her body, but inundated 
in her soul by torrents of living waters, and always 
when necessary strong and joyous. But the old and 
tortuous serpent could not endure such a great favour 
from Heaven, without seeking to empoison it with the 
venom of envy. He excited against the servant of 
God, on the occasion of her extraordinary fast, all those 
who knew her, whether laymen or Religious. We 
must not be astonished to find that even religious per- 
sons were opposed to her. When the self -love of such 



HER MIRACULOUS MANNER OP LIVING. 103 

is not entirely dead, it sometimes arouses a more dan- 
gerous jealousy in them than in others, especially 
when they behold things which are impossible for them 
to attain. Let us recall the story of the Fathers of the 
celebrated Thebaide ; one of the disciples of St. Maca- 
rius, having taken secular clothes, went out and pre- 
sented himself at a considerable monastery, which was 
under the direction of St. Pacomius. At the earnest 
request of the Superior he entered the community : 
but the austerity of his life, and his extraordinary pen- 
ances so frightened the other monks that they almost 
revolted against Pacomius, and came one day to tell 
him: "that unless he immediately dismissed this monk 
they would one and all quit his monastery on that very 
day." If men who appeared to be almost perfect spoke 
in this manner, what might we not expect from those 
of our own. 

Every one murmured against Catharine's fast. Some 
said : No one is greater than our blessed Lord, who 
ate and drank. His glorious mother did the same, as 
well as the Apostles, for their divine Master recom- 
mended them to eat and drink what they could find. 
Edentes et liberties, qux apud illos sunt. (St. Luke x. 
7.) Who can surpass, or even equal them ? Others 
said that all the Saints had taught by their words and 
their examples, that we should never be singular in 
our way of living. Others pretended that all excess 
is vicious, and that such as fear God ought to avoid it. 
Others respected her intentions and only said that she 
was the victim of an illusion. Others again, more 



104 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

coarse and vulgar, calumniated her publicly, and re- 
peated continually that it was a kind of vanity that 
prompted her to wish to be noticed ; that she did not 
fast really, but fed herself well in secret. 

If I did not refute all these rash and absurd judg- 
ments, I should think that I was offending God. I 
pray, therefore, that it be remarked, that if the objec- 
tion that is drawn from our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, 
and the Apostles be just, it would follow that St. John 
the Baptist was greater than our Lord himself: for it 
is said of him in the Gospel that John neither eat nor 
drank, whilst the Son of Mary, on the contrary, ate and 
drank. (Mat. xi. 18.) It would also follow that An- 
thony, the Macariuses, the Hilariens, the Serapions, 
and many other hermits, who fasted more than the 
Apostles, consequently surpassed them. If it be ob- 
jected that John in the wilderness, and the monks in 
Egypt did not entirely fast, but took from time to 
time some food, what shall be said of St. Mary Mag- 
dalen, who remained thirty-three years in a grotto, 
without touching any aliment, as is related in history, 
and the place in which she dwelt also proves, which 
was, at that time, inaccessible. What shall be said 
of the saints who aho passed considerable time without 
eating, and who contented themselves for the most 
part of the time with receiving holy Communion on 
Sunday. No, let those who are unaware, be informed 
that sancity is not measured by fasting, but by holy 
charity; let them know that we should not decide upon 
things with which we ire not acquainted, and also hear 



HEP. MIRACULOUS MANXES OF LIVTNa. 105 

the words of incarnate wisdom on tins subject. (Luke 
viL 32.) " Whereunto then shall I liken the men of 
this generation ? and to what are they like ? They 
are like children sitting in the market-place, and 
speaking one to another, and saying : We have piped 
to you. and you have not danced j we have mourned, 
and you have not wept?" And our Lord adds, " John 
the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking 
wine ; and you say, he hath a devil. The Son of Man 
is come eating and drinking ; and you say that he is 
a glutton and a drinker of wine." These words of the 
Saviour refute those who offered the first named objec- 
tion to Catharine. 

As to the second, those who avoid all extraordinary 
ways, we may easily reply, that if a soul ought not to 
adopt these ways through an impulse of self-will, she 
ought to follow them with gratitude, when God deigns 
to indicate them ; she would otherwise despise hia 
grace, and when the Scripture says that the just man 
ought not to seek what is above him, he adds directly, 
" For many things are shown to thee above the under- 
standing of men." (Eccl. iii. 25. ) That is, thou must 
not be inquisitive concerning things above thee ; but 
if God reveals it to thee be thankful. This happened 
in the case of which we are now speaking ; the agency 
of God was manifest, and no one had a right to 
apply the common rule. The servant of God con- 
cealed this under the veil of sincere humility, when 
she answered those who asked her why she took no 
nourishment " God," said she, " on account of 



106 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

my sins, has stricken me with this infirmity which 
prevents me from taking food ; I desire to eat, but it 
is impossible. Ask God, I entreat you, to pardon the 
sins for which I am suffering.' As if she had said, 
God is the author of this and not myself. So as to 
destroy even the appearance of vanity, she attributed 
the whole to her sins, and in so doing she did not speak 
in contradiction with what she thought, because she 
was persuaded that God permitted the false judgments 
of men, for the punishment of her faults; she imputed 
to herself all the ill that happened, and to God alone 
all the good. This was her rule in every circumstance, 
what we have just advanced should also serve as a re- 
ply to those who recommend the avoiding of extremes. 
An extreme is never culpable when God indicates it, 
and in such a case, man ought not to shun it. 

As to such as pretend that she was in illusion, I beg 
them to be so kind as to answer me if hitherto Ca- 
tharine had perfectly triumphed over the snares and 
temptations of the demon, is it probable that she would 
have yielded in this circumstance ? But admit this, 
who could preserve the strength of her body ; if we 
say that the devil could do it, who could have main- 
tained her mind in joy and peace, when it was de- 
prived of all interior comfort? These are fruits of 
the Holy Spirit which the demon never could produce ; 
it is written that "the fruits of the Holy Ghost are 
charity, joy, and peace." (Ep. Gal. v. 22.) And it is 
impossible to attribute them to the enemy of salvation. 
May we not, on the contrary, suspect him who would 



HER MIRACULOUS MANtfEB OF LIVING. 107 

say the opposite, of being the sport of the evil spirit ? 
If the devil were capable of seducing her who had so 
frequently defeated his wiles in her own soul and in 
the souls of others, her whose body lived and was sus- 
tained in a supernatural manner, her whose soul en- 
joyed continued peace and spiritual joy, how much 
more rational is it to presume that he is deceived to 
whom none of these circumstances have occurred. It 
is highly probable that if any one be deceived, it is not 
she who had been preserved previously. In fine, it is 
better to answer nothing to skilful calumniators ; they 
merit only the contempt of upright persons. What 
degree of virtue would they not attack ; those who re- 
semble them, called our blessed Saviour a demon 
why should they not defame his faithful servant. 

Catharine, full of the spirit of prudence and desirous 
of imitating her divine Master, remembered that when 
St. Peter asked him for the two didrachinas that he 
was obliged to pay for the tax, he proved to him that 
he was exempt ; but that he added " But that we 
may not scandalize them, go to the sea, and cast in a 
hook ; and that fish which shall first come up take ; 
and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt find a 
stater ; take that, and give it to them for thee and 
me." (Matt. xvii. 26.) Catharine was willing to ap- 
pease their murmurs, and determined tliat every day, 
she would go once and take a seat at th common 
table, and endeavour to eat. Although she used 
neither meat, nor wine, nor drink, nor eggs, and did 
not even touch bread, what she took, or rather wliat 



108 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

she tried to take, caused her such sufferings that those 
that saw her, however hard-hearted they were, were 
moved to compassion ; her stomach could digest no- 
thing, and rejected whatever was taken into it ; she 
afterwards suffered the most terrible pains, and her 
whole body appeared to be swollen she did not swal- 
low the herbs which she masticated, she only drew 
from them their juice and rejected their substance. 
She then took pure water to cool her mouth ; but 
every day, she was forced to throw up what she had 
taken, and that with so much difficulty, that it was 
necessary to assist her by every possible means. 

As I was frequently witness of this suffering, I felt 
an extreme compassion for her, and I counselled her 
to let men talk, and spare herself such torture ; she 
answered me with a smile " Is it not better to ex- 
piate my sins at present, and not be punished during 
all eternity ? The judgments of men are very profit- 
able to me, since they cause me to avoid infinite pains 
by enduring these transient onesj no, I certainly 
ought not to shun God's justice, and the great grace 
he accords me of allowing me to make satisfaction in 
;his world." She was so convinced that she was thus 
paying a debt of justice to God, that she said to her 
companions " Come, let us do fit justice to this mis- 
erable sinner." In this way all the persecutions of 
men and all the attacks of Satan contributed to her 
perfection. 

One day as we were conversiog together of God's 
graces, she said to me " Did we but know how to 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 109 

use the graces that God bestows on us, we would 
profit by all that happens to us. In favourable events 
or in contradictions, say always * I must reap some- 
thing from this ;' were you to act thus, you would 
very soon be rich." Alas ! how much I might have 
profited by this lesson and numerous others. But you, 
my reader, do not imitate me, but meditate on her in- 
struction and follow her example. I intreat the Author 
of all good to enlighten you, and grant me also light 
to imitate this holy soul with courage and persever- 
ance. With this I terminate this chapter, in which I 
have just told what I learned from Catharine herself 
or the Confessor that preceded me. 



CHAPTER V. 

Of Catharine's wonderful ecstasies and of the great revelations 
which she received from God. 

OUR Lord, who had bestowed on his spouse a corpo- 
ral lif e so extraordinary, also treated her soul in a mar- 
vellous manner, and favoured it with ineffable conso- 
lations ; her physical strength was supernatural and had 
its source in the abundance of grace that she received ; 
hence having spoken of the prodigy of her material 
existence, it is suitable also to speak of the miracles by 
which her soul was enriched. From the moment in 
which this holy virgin allayed her thirst at the wounded 
side of our Lord, grace was so abundant and supreme 
in her soul, that she Tras, we may say. in a continual 



110 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

ecstasy. Her mind was so constantly and intimately 
united to her Creator, that the inferior part of her 
being ordinarily ceased its functions. Athousand times 
we have been witnesses of it ; we saw and touched her 
arms and hands, so strongly contracted that they could 
have been more easily broken than their position 
changed. Her eyes were entirely closed, her ears heard 
no noise, however great it might be, and all her cor- 
poral senses became powerless. And all this will not 
surprise, if attention be given to what follows. God 
began from that time to manifest himself to his spouse, 
not only when she was alone, as formerly, but in pub- 
lic, when she walked, or when she was remaining tran- 
quil ; and the fire of love that inflamed her heart was 
BO great that she told her Confessor that it was impos- 
sible to find expressions to depict what she experienced. 
One day in the fervourof her prayer, she said with the 
prophet, " Create within me, O God, a new heart/ 
&c., and supplicated our Lord to condescend to take 
away her own heart and her own will. It seemed to 
her that her Spouse presented himself to her, opened 
her left side, took out her heart and carried it with 
him, so that in reality she no longer perceived it in her 
breast. This vision was striking, and her attendant 
symptoms agreed with it so well, that when she spoke 
of it to her Confessor, she assured him that she Lad 
really no heart. Her Confessor began to laugh, and 
rebuked her for saying anything of the kind, but she 
only renewed her assurance. " Really, Father,' 'said 
sbfi to Mm, "as far as I can judge of what I expert.- 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. Ill 

eiice in my person, it seems to me that I have no heart. 
The Lord appeared to me, opened my left side, drew 
out my heart, and went away." And, as her Confes- 
sor declared to her that it would be impossible to live 
without any heart, she answered that nothing was im- 
possible with God, and that she had a heart no longer. 
Some days later, she was in the Chapel of the Church 
of the Friar Preachers, in which the Sisters of Pen- 
ance of St. Dominick assemble ; she remained there 
alone so as to continue her prayer, and was disposing 
herself to return home, when on a sudden she saw her- 
self environed with a light from heaven, and amid this 
light, the Saviour appeared to her, bearing in his sacred 
hands a heart of vermillion hue and radiating fire. 
Deeply affected with this presence and this splendour, 
she prostrated herself on the ground. Our Lord ap- 
proached, opened anew her leftside, and placed in it the 
heart which he bore, and said to her, " Daughter, the 
other day I took thy heart ; to-day I give thee mine, 
and this will henceforward serve thee." After these 
words he closed her breast ; but, as a token of the mi- 
racle, he left there a cicatrice that her companions have 
frequently assured me they had seen, and when I ques- 
tioned her pointedly on this subject, she avowed to me 
that the incident was really true, and that from that 
period she had adopted the custom of saying, " My 
God, I recommend to thee my heart." 

When Catharine had obtained that heart in so sweet 
and wonderful a manner, the abundance of grace which 
her soul possessed, rendered her exterior actions more 



xl2 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINB OP SIENNA, 

and more perfect and multiplied the divine revelations 
in the interior. She never approached the altar, with- 
out seeing gome beautiful vision superior to the senses, 
above all when she received holy Communion. She of ten 
perceived in the priest's hands a new-born infant, or a 
lovely youth : sometimes a furnace of fire, into which 
the priest seemed to enter at the moment in which he 
consumed the adorable Eucharist. Commonly she per- 
ceived so delicious and penetrating an odour, when she 
received the sacred Host, that she was on the point of 
swooning away. As soon as she approached the Holy 
Sacrament of the Altar, an ineffable joy was awakened 
in her soul, and caused her heart to beat so violently, 
that persons who surrounded her could distinctly hear 
it. Friar Thomas was advertised of this, and being 
her Confessor, he verified this circumstance with great 
care and affirmed it in his writings. This noise, occa- 
sioned by the beating of the heart, did not at all re- 
semble anything that could have been produced by 
the organs ; it was something singular and supernatural 
effected solely by the power of the Creator. Did not 
the Prophet say "My heart and my flesh shall exult 
in the Lord." Cor meum et caro mea exultaverunt in 
Deum vivum, (Ps. Ixxiii. 3.) The Prophet styles 
God the living God, because that agitation, that trem- 
bling which comes from him, purifies man, instead of 
putting him to death. 

After that wonderful exchange of hearts, Catharine 
appeared to herself to have undergone ail amazing 
change ; " Father," said she to her Confessor, " do you 



EXTRAORDINAEY REVELATIONS. 113 

not perceive that I am no longer the same? I &oi com- 
pletely changed; oh! did you but know what I expe- 
rience 1 No certainly, if it were comprehended what 
passes within my soul, there would be no harshness 
nor pride that could resist it. All that I can say falls 
short of reality." She sought, however, to give an idea. 
"My soul," said she, "is so inebriated with joy and 
delight, that I am astonished that it remains in my 
body. Its ardour is so great, that external fire is as 
nought in comparison with it; it seems to me that I 
should find refreshment in that. And this ardour 
operates in me such a renovation of purity and humi- 
lity, that I feel as though I had returned to my fourth 
year of age. The love of my neighbour also augments 
in me to such a degree, that it would be my greatest 
pleasure to die for any one." All this she told her 
Confessor in secret, and concealed it as far as possible 
from others. These confidential interviews display 
the abundance of grace that the Lord poured into the 
soul of his servant. If I were to extend the subject, I 
should fill volumes ; but I limit myself to citing somo 
facts which prove more evidently the sanctity of Ca- 
tharine. Among these facts, I cannot pass in silence 
the admirable visions which she received from Heaven. 
One day the King of kings and the Queen his mother, 
appeared to her with St. Mary Magdalen, to console 
and fortify her. Our Lord said to her : " What wilt 
thou which wilt thou choose, thine or mine?' 1 Catha- 
rine wept and humbly replied, like St. Peter, " Lord. 

thou knowest what 1 will, thou knowest that I have 

I 



114 LIFE OF SI OAnCARINE OF SffiNNA- 

uo other will than thine, and that thy Heart is iny 
heart." Then the thought was suggested to her that 
Mary Magddlen gave herself totally to our Lord, when 
she bathed his sacred feet with her tears , and as she 
felt the sweetness and the love which that saint then 
experienced, her eyes remained fixed upon her. Our 
Lord, to correspond to her desires, said to her, "My 
beloved daughter, in order to sustain thee, I give thee 
Mary Magdalen for mother thou canst address thy- 
self to her in all assurance, I charge her with you in a 
special manner.' Catharine was profoundly moved 
to thanksgiving and recommended herself with fervour 
to Mary Magdalen ^ she humbly implored her to watch 
over her salvation, since the Son of God had entrusted 
her to her care From that moment she enjoyed a 
tender devotion towards that saint, and always called 
her mother There is. it appears to me, a significa- 
tion in these relations with Mary Magdalen that wo 
ought to observe. That saint passed thirty-three 
years on a rock, without taldng any nourishment, and 
in continual contemplation , those years represent the 
life oi our Lord upon earth ; Catharine, from that ap- 
parition, until her thirty-third vear, (in which she 
died,) was BO absorbed in divine contemplation, that 
she had no need of any aliment, and lived by tho 
graces that superabound in her soul. Mary Magdalen 
seven times a day was borne towards heaven by Angels, 
and beheld the secrets of God Catharine was con- 
tinually ravished in celestial contemplation, in order to 
praise God and tho Angels, and her body was often 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 115 

raised above the earth, in presence of a multitude of 
witnesses. Hence she saw, as I will relate, admirable 
things while in those ecstasies, and she sometimes ex- 
pressed during them most sublime truths. 

I saw her one day ravished out ot her senses, and I 
heard her speaking in an under-tone ; I approached 
her and heard her perfectly say in Latin, " Vidi arcana 
Dei" " I saw the secrets of God. v She added nothing 
to this phrase, but continually repeated, "I saw the 
secrets of God." Long after, when she was restored 
to herself she still repeated the same words ; I wished 
to know why : "Mother," said I to her, " why, pray, 
do you constantly repeat the same words, and not ex- 
plain them to us by speaking to us as usual?" "It is 
impossible for me," said she, "to say anything else, oi 
to say it otherwise." *' But why? you are accustomed 
to tell us what God has revealed to you, when we 6,0 
not interrogate you, why do you decline answering 
when we inquire of you?" "I should reproach myself," 
said she to me. "in undertaking to express to you 
what I saw, as guilty of vain words it seems to mt 
that I should blaspheme God and dishonour him by 
my language. The distance is so broad between what 
my spirit contemplated, when ravished in God, and 
whatever I could describe to you, that I should think 
that I was falsifying, in speaking to you of them. I 
must therefore not attempt their description; all that; 
I can say is, that I saw ineffable things!" 

It was quite natural that Pro.vidence should unito 
Catharine and Mary MagdaJoa by tho ties of mother 



116 LIFE OF ST. CATBARItifc OP 

and daughter, because they so resembled each other in 
their/asfc, their love , and in their contemplations. W hen 
Catharine spoke of this favour, she merely said, that a 
sinner had been given for daughter to a saint that had 
formerly sinned, so that the mother, by remembering 
the frailty of nature, and God's plentiful niercy, 
might compassionate her daughter's weakness and ob- 
tain her pardon. 

Brother Thomas, b^r first Confessor, in the notes that 
he left concerning this vision, relates that it seemed to 
her that her heart entered into our Lord's side, to be 
united and blended with his heart. She felt her soul 
dissolved, as it were, in the flames of his love, and cried 
out within herself, " My God, thou hast wounded my 
heart! My God, thou hast wounded my heart 1" Friar 
Thomas says that this apparition tookjplace in 1370, 
on the feast of St. Margaret virgin and martyr. The 
same year, on the day following, St. Laurence, her Con- 
fessor, dreading that the priests who were celebrating 
Mass might be disturbed by her sighs and her sobs, re- 
commended her to subdue and conceal them as much 
as possible, when she would be near the altar. The 
obedient Catharine remained apart and besought God 
to make known to her Confessor, the difficulty of retain- 
ing these exterior marks of the love of God ; her Con- 
fessor declared that she was so perfectly heard, that he 
declined ever making her any similar recommendation 
again. I presume that it was through humility that he 
would not say any more, and that he learned by a happy 
experience, how impossible it is to suppress within one's 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 117 

self such transports. Catharine, thus remote from the 
altar, experienced a burning desire for receiving the 
holy Communion ; her heart cried loudly and her lips 
softly, " Ah, would that I could receive the body of our 
Lord Jesus Christ." The Saviour to satisfy her desire 
appeared to her, and approaching, suffered her to ap- 
ply her mouth to the wound of his sacred side, permit- 
ting her to content her desire for his sacred body and 
blood. Catharine eagerly sought the blessed source and 
drew long-drawn draughts. The sweets which then 
filled her soul were so excessive, that she believed she 
would really suffer death from their exquisiteness, and 
her Confessor asking her to describe what she ex- 
perienced, she replied to him that ifc would be impos- 
sible for her to give him to understand it. 

There also happened to her a circumstance quite won- 
derful, in the same year, on the feast of Saint Alexis. 
Whilst she was in prayer the night preceding the festi- 
val, and sighed interiorly to receive holy Communion, 
it was revealed to her that she should receive on the 
morrow. She was often deprived of this favour, 
through the neglect or fault of the Brethren or Sisters 
who at that time directed the Congregation. As soon 
as she had received this promise, she supplicated oui 
Lord to condescend to purify her soul, so as to render 
it more worthy of so great a Sacrament. 

Immediately she felt descending on her soul, as it 
were, a rain of blood mingled with fire, and this rain 
washed her soul so completely that it penetrated to her 
very body, and banished not only the stains but even the 



118 tI*E OP J>T. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 



first principle of evil When daylight dawned, the 
sickness which she was enduring at that moment was so 
aggravated, that it appeared unreasonable to think of 
taking a single step. But Catharine, aware of what had 
been promised her, put her trust in God, arose and di- 
rected her steps towards the church, to the great aston- 
ishment of every one. 

When she arrived there and had taken a place in a 
chapel beside the altar, she remembered that her Supe- 
riors had not allowed her to receive the Communion in- 
discriminately, from the hands of all those who might 
celebrate Mass ; she therefore desired that her Confessor 
might come to say his Mass at the altar where she was 
praying. God showed her how much he took pleasure 
in satisfying her desires. Her Confessor, in his notes 
which he left, says, that he did not intend celebrating 
Mass on that day, and that he was quite ignorant of her 
arrival ; but grace suddenly touched his heart and gave 
him such an attraction for the holy Mysteries, that he 
yielded without delay, and went precisely to the altar 
it which Catharine awaited him, although it was not 
the one that he habitually used, There he found his 
spiritual daughter, who asked him for the holy Com- 
munion, and he comprehended that he was the instru- 
ment of Providence ; he therefore celebrated the Mass 
and gave Catharine the holy Communion. When she 
advanced towards the altar, her face was red, sinning, 
and bathed in tears and perspiration ; she received the 
noly Communion with a devotion that deeply moved 
ber Confessor, and filled him with admiration. Then 



EXTilkORDLNARY REVELATIOKS, 119 

she remained totally absorbed in God, lost in tho inebri- 
ation of his heavenly communications, and during that 
day, even after having recovered the use of her senses, 
she remained incapable of utterance 

On the morrow her Confessor asked ner \yhat hud 
happened to her at the moment of receiving holy Com- 
munion, when her countenance was so red, " father," 
said she to him, *' I know not of what colour i -was, 
but I assure you that at the instant in which i partook 
of the holy Eucharist, my senses discerned nothing COL*- 
poral or coloured ; but my soul contemplated a beauty, 
relished a sweetness that no expression can render. 
What I beheld so attracted me, that things of earth 
seemed to me but emptiness and dust , and this, not 
only of wealth and sensual pleasures, but also of the 
enjoyments of the mind and heart L implored God to 
deprive me of them completely, so that I might only 
please him and possess him. I entreated him to tato 
away my will and give me His, and he in mercy heard 
my prayers ; for thus he answered me, ' Dearest daugh- 
ter, I give thee my will, and thia shall be the proof of 
it, that no exterior event can trouble thee or changs 
thee.' This promise God fulfi'led . all who were ac- 
quainted with her can testify to it, from that moment' 
Catharine was satisfied in every circumstances and oc- 
currence, and no event however contradictory ever dis- 
turbed her. 

Catharine said to her Confessor on this occasion, 
u Father, do you know what our Lord did to-day in my 
soul ? He acted as a tender mother towards her much. 



120 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

loved babe ; she extends her arms from a little distance 
so as to excite a desire, and when her son has wept a 
*ear instants, she smiles, seizes him, clasps him closely 
to her heart, and then satisfies his craving thirst. Our 
blessed Lord did the same with me ; he showed me in 
the distance the wound of his side ; the desire that I felt 
to cement my lips to it excited me to burning tears ; he 
laughed during some moments of my grief ; then he 
hastened to me, and took my soul in his arms, and 
placed my mouth upon his sacred wound, and then my 
soul was able to satisfy its desires, to hide itself in his 
sacred breast, and there find heavenly consolations. 
Oh, did you but know, you would be amazed that my 
heart is not consumed with love, and that I yet live 
utter experiencing those holy ardours." 

In the same year, on the eighteenth of the month of 
August, God manifested his power again in Catharine. 
She communicated in the morning, and, at the mo- 
ment in which the Priest, holding the sacred Host, in- 
vited her to say, " Lord, 1 am not worthy thou shouldst 
enter into my heart," &c., she heard a voice answer- 
ing, " And I, I am worthy of entering into thee.* ' 
When she received the Communion, it seemed to her, 
that, as the fish which is in the water is penetrated by 
the water, her soul was in God, and God in her soul. 
She was so absorbed in her Creator, that she could 
scarcely return to her cell j she laid down on the planks 
that served as her bed, and remained there a long time 
motionless ; then her body was raised in the air, and re- 
mained there without any sort of support. Three per- 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. J.21 

sons, whose names I will give, were witnesses of that 
prodigy and have affirmed it. At length her body low- 
ered to the bed, and she began to say in a low voice such 
sweet and admirable things, that her companions, on 
hearing them, could not restrain their tears. She after- 
wards prayed for several persons ; she named some of 
them, her Confessor among others, who was then in the 
Church of the Friar Preachers, and who was not think- 
ing of anything capable of exciting him to a particular 
fervour. He wrote, himself, that he was at the moment 
in nowise disposed to experience sensible devotion. But 
suddenly while she was praying (it being unknown to 
him,) a wonderful change was effected in his soul ; he 
became wrapped in an extraordinary fervour such as he 
had never experienced, and he examined his own dispo- 
sitions to learn whence came tb >s grace Amid these re- 
flections, one of Catharines companions came, by 
chance, to speak to him, and si e said to him, " Father, 
at such an hour Catharine prayed most fervently for 
you."" Then the Confessor understood why, at that very 
hour, he had experienced such a special devotion. He 
then questioned the person more particularly, and was 
informed by her, that, in the prayer for him and others, 
Catharine had asked of God the promise of their eter- 
nal salvation. She had stretched forth her handssayiug, 
" Promise me that you will grant it. " And whilst her 
hand was extended, she appeared to feel a sharp pain 
which obliged her to exclaim with a sigh, " Praise be to 
our Lord Jesus Christ,'' She was accustomed to this 
?gpiration in her most poignant sufferings. Then her 



122 LIFE OP ST CATHARINE OP SIENNA, 

Confessor went to see her, and required her to narrate 
the whole vision She was obliged to obey, and after 
telling what we have related above, she added, " When 
I implored your eternal salvation with earnestness, God 
promised it to me, but 1 desired to retain a testimony of 
it, and I said to him. Lord, grant me a token of what 
thou wilt do, ' and he replied, ' Keach hither thy hand. 
1 extended my hand ; he took a nail, and putting the 
point in the middle of my hand, he pressed on it with 
such power, that it seemed to me that my hand was 
transpierced , I felt just such a pain, as it seems to me, 
would be felt, if a nail had been driven with a hammer. 
Hence, thank God, I now have his holy stigma in my 
right hand ; no one sees it, but I feel it very sensibly 
and suffer from it continually.' 

In continuation of the same subject, I will here relate 
what occurred a long time after, at Pisa, and in my pre- 
sence. When she came to this place 1, with certain 
other persons, accompanied her She receivedhospital- 
ity at the house of an inhabitant, near the little Church 
of St. Christina. On Sunday I celebrated Mass there, 
and gaveher theholy Communion. Sheremained after- 
wards a long time in ecstasy, according to her custom ; 
her soul which sighed after her Creator, separated itself 
as much as it could from the body We waited until 
she had resumed her senses, in order to receive some 
spiritual consolations, when on a sudden we saw her 
body that was prostrate on the ground, rise a little, 
kneel, and extend its hands and arms. Her counten- 
ance was mflaiaed; she remained a lon^ time motionless 



I2XTKA.ORDINARY REVELATIONS 123 

and with her eyes closed. Then, as though she had re- 
ceived a deadly wound, we saw hear suddenly fall, and 
resume a few moments after the use of her senses. She 
sent for me and said to me in a low tone, " Father, I 
announce to you that, by the mercy of OUT Lord Jesus 
Christ, I bear his sacred stigmata in my body." I an- 
swered her, that I suspected after what passed in her 
ecstasy, and I asked what our Lord did to her. " I saw, 
said she, "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 
&*? "k my hands, my feet and my heart. I understood 
tils uiystery, and cried out Ah ! Lord my God, I en- 
treat thee thafe these cicatrixes may not appear exteri- 
orly on my body. Whilst I was speaking the bleeding 
beams became brilliant, and reached in the form of 
light, these five places on my person, my hands, my 
feet and my heart." Then I said to her, " Did no 
beam of light reach your right side?" She replied to 
me "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/ 
44 Do you feel," said I, "a sharp pain in each of those 
places?" She then answered me, heaving a deep sigh, 
14 I feel at these five places, and especially in my heart, 
a pain so violent, that without a new miracle, it ap- 
pears to me impossible to live in this state." 

These words filled me with grief, airl I examined 



124 LIFE OF ST. CATHATtfttF; OF 

whether I could observe any signs of her grievotts suf- 
ferings. When she had finished what she had confided 
to me, we went out of the chapel, in order to repair to 
the house where she resided. Scarcely had we arrived 
than she retired into her apartment, and fell uncon- 
scious. We collected around her, and seeing her in 
this state we all wept, and feared losing her, whom we 
loved in the Lord. We had frequently witnessed her 
in ecstasies which deprived her of the use of the senses, 
and which weighed down her body, under thanks- 
giving, but we had never seen her in such a profound 
suspension of the vital powers. A little after, she 
came to herself and repeated to me that she was certain, 
that if God did not come to her aid, she would soon 
die, I immediately assembled her spiritual children 
and I conjured them with tears, to ask with united 
prayers that God would spare us yet a while our be- 
loved Mother and mistress, and not leave us orphans 
amid the tempests of the world, before we were 
strengthened in virtue. All promised with generous 
hearts, and went to her dissolved it tears, and said 
'* Oh, Mother, we know that you languish for the pre- 
sence of your Spouse; but your recompense is secured. 
Rather take compassion oh us ; we are yet too weak 
to be abandoned to the fury of waves. We know that 
your beloved Spouse refuses nothing to the ardour of 
your prayers, and we entreat you to ask him not to 
deprive us of your presence yet, because we may be 
lost if you cease to conduct us. We ask it ourselves 
with all our strength; but alas! -we feel that we 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 125 

are unworthy to be heard ; you so ardently desire our 
salvation, obtain for us what we cannot obtain." She 
replied to our tears and lamentations " It is long 
since I have renounced my own will, and I have no 
wish for myself nor for others except what God wills. 
I desire your salvation with my whole soul, but I know 
that lie who is the salvation of all, can secure it better 
than any creature whatsoever ; therefore let his will be 
accomplished in all things. However, I will cheerfully 
ask that he will do what is for the best." On hearing 
these words we remained in the deepest affliction but 
Almighty God despised not our tears. On the follow- 
ing Saturday Catharine sent for me, and said, " It 
appears to me that the Lord is disposed to grant your 
petition, and I trust that you will soon be satisfied." 
All happened as she had said. On the following day, 
Sunday, after having received holy Communion sha 
fell into an ecsta-y, as on the preceding Sunday ; but 
her body, instead of appearing reduced under the di- 
vine action, seemed, on the contrary, to resume ite 
vigour. Her companions were astonished at not seeing 
her suffer as much as in her other ecstasies ; she ap- 
peared rather to revive and renovate her strength by 
a natural slumber. I told them that I hoped, according 
to the promises she had made to me yesterday, our 
tears which had implored God for her recovery, had 
gone up favourably before God. She was hastening 
to join her Spouse, but it was necessary to retrace her 
steps, in order to assist us in our misery. In effect, 
when she resumed her consciousness, she appeared so 



126 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

strong that no one doubted that she had been heard. 
O Father of mercies, what wilt thou not do for thy 
faithful servant and thy beloved children, if thou 
dost compassionate with so much bounty those who 
have offended thee ! So as to be more certain of what 
had transpired, I said to her " Mother, do you con- 
tinue to suffer the same anguish in the wound that 
you received? She answered * The Lord has 
granted your prayers, to the great regret of my soul. 
Not only my wounds do not cause my body to suffer, 
they sustain and fortify it , I feel that what formerly 
weakened me, now relieves me " I have recounted 
these details to collect them with other celestial 
favours received by this holy soul, and I add that it 
must be remarked that sinners who pray for their 
salvation, are heard by Him who wills in his love, the 
salvation of the whole world. 

Were I to recount all Catharine's ecstasies, time 
rather **ian materials would fail me. I therefore hasten 
to arrive at a circumstance which surpasses all the 
others, and which will terminate this chapter. I 
found four written books of Friar Thomas, her Con~ 
fessor, entirely filled with her admirable visions and 
revelations the most sublime. Sometimes our Lord in- 
troduced her soul into the wound of his side, and initi- 
ated her into the mysteries of the adorable Trinity r 
sometimes his glorious Mother imparted refreshing 
beverage to her from her virginal breast, and filled her 
with unspeakable delight ; and again Mary Magdalen 
came to converse familiarly with, her, and related to 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATION 127 

her tlio divine communications which she received seven 
times a day in the desert. Sometimes the three came 
together to pay her a friendly visit and infused into 
her soul ineffable consolations. Other saints did not 
neglect her, particularly Saint Paul, whose name she 
never heard pronounced without evidencing a visible 
delight. St John the Evangelist, sometimes St. 
Dorninick, frequently St Thomas Aquinas, and still 
of toner the blessed Agnes of Monte Pulciano, whose life 
I wrote twenty-five years ago It had been revealed 
to her that she would oe her companion in Paradise, 
as we shall see in the sequel But before giving my 
promised narration, I ought not, for the utility of my 
readers, pass in silence, a circumstance relative to St. 
Paul. Catharine had an ecstasy on the day of that 
Saint's conversion, and her spirit was so absorbed in 
the contemplation of heavenly things, that during 
three days and three nights iier body remained insen- 
sible ; several persons present thought that she was 
dead, or at the point of death. Others better informed, 
believed that she was ravished with the Apostle to the 
third heaven. When the ecstasy had terminated, her 
mind remained so filled with the remembrance of what 
she had seen that she returned with difficulty to things 
of earth, and remained in a kind of slumber or ebriety 
from which she could not be aroused In the mean 
while, Friar Thomas, her Confessor, and Friar Donato, 
of Florence } determined to pay a visit to a venerable 
monk of the order of Hermits, who resided in the 
country. They first came to see Catharine, 



128 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

they found in her holy somnolence and all inebriated 
with the Spirit of God. To try to awaken her, they 
said " We are going to visit the Hermit, who lives 
out in the country will you come with us?" Catha- 
rine, who liked such pilgrimages, answered yes, in the 
midst of her drowsiness. But scarcely had she uttered 
this word, then she began to repent of it, as of a false- 
hood. The grief that she suffered restored her com- 
pletely to her senses, and she mourned this fault as 
many days and nights as she had been in ecstasy. 
" O, the most wicked and guilty of women," said she 
to herself, " is it thus thou dost recognise the graces 
that God's infinite bounty has just granted thee; is it 
thus thou dost profit by the verities that thou hast 
learned from heaven. Have the sublime instructions 
of the Holy Ghost only taught thee to lie, when re- 
turning to earth. Thou knowest full well that thou 
hadsfc no intention of accompanying those Religious, 
and thou didst answer them, i yes.^ Thou hast told a 
falsehood to thy Confessor and to fathers of thy soul ; 
what a grievous and aggravated fault." She re- 
mained without drinking or eating as long as her 
ecstasy had endured. 

Let the reader here remark how " admirable are the 
ways of God, and how worthy to be praised." That 
the sublimity of her revelations might not swell her 
with pride, God permitted Catharine to fall into this 
deceit, if we may call falsehood, a word without inten- 
tion of deceiving and without attachm g any importance 
to it ; this humiliation served to induce her to be more 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 129 

vigilant over the treasure entrusted to her, and her 
body which had been, so to speak, oppressed by the 
elevation of the mind, was restored in a manner by its 
abasement. Although the joy of the soul is sensible to 
the body, on account, of their intimate union, still the 
ravishment to the third heaven, that is to say, to the in- 
tellectual vision, so deprives the body of its particular 
life, that a new miracle is necessary to preserve it from 
death. It is certain that the act of the understanding 
does not require the meditation of the body, except to 
represent to itself the immaterial object ; but if this ob- 
ject presents itself supernaturally to the mind by the 
omnipotent effect of grace, the understanding finds the 
plenitude of its perfection in Christ and endeavours to 
unite itself to him, by abandoning the body. Sometimes 
the Dispenser of all good elevates the intelligence that 
he created, by showing to it its light ; sometimes he 
humbles it by permitting some fall, in order to exhibit 
to it at once the divine perfection and its own weak- 
ness. He thus sustains it in a happy mean , which saves 
it and conducts it through the storms of this world to 
the port of a blessed eternity, " for virtue is perfected 
in weakness," (1 Cor. xv. 9 ;) and also, Ne magnitudo 
revelationum extollat me datus est mihi stimulus carni- 
mece. (1 Cor. xvi. 7.) To return to our subject, Ca- 
tharine did notdisclose to any one, noteven to her Con- 
fessor, as was usual with her, what she beheld in thia 
ecstasy, because as she afterwards told me, she could 
find no expression for rendering things, which accord- 
ing to St. Paul, it is not permitted to man to recount; 



130 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

but the ardour of her heart, the continuity of her prayer, 
the efficacy of her teaching, proved sufficiently that 
she had seen heavenly secrets which none could un- 
derstand without witnessing them. 

At the same time, she told her Confessor, who trans- 
ferred her relation to writing, that St. Paul, the Apos- 
tle, had appeared to her and warned her to apply con- 
tinually to meditation. She obeyed with earnestness. 
On the vigil of the feast of St. Dominick, while she 
was praying in the church she received great revela- 
tions concerning St. Dominick, and several saints of his 
Order. These revelation s or visions were so vivid that- 
she often thought that she still saw them when she was 
describing them to her Confessor ; this was a proof that 
God wished her to make them known for the benefit of 
the faithful. On that day, therefore, a little before Ves- 
pers, whilst she was receiving these revelations, Friar 
Bartholomew of St. Dominick, of Sienna, happened to 
enter the church. He is now a Doctor in theology ; ho 
was then the friend of Catharine's Confessor, who 
placed great confidence in him also, and took Mm for 
her Confessor when her own was absent. She was 
aware of his arrival more by an effect of her mind than 
of her exterior senses; she arose directly, and went and 
informed him that she had something to communicate 
to him. When they had gone aside in the church, she 
related what God had shown her concerning St. Domi- 
nick. " At this moment," said she to him, " I see St. 
Dominick more distinctly and perfectly than I see you. 
He is more intimately present to me." But as she was 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 181 

conversing on the subject, her brother, -whose name 
also was Bartholomew, passed by ; his shadow or the 
noise he made in passing by, attracted during an in- 
stant Catharine's attention, who scarcely turned her 
eyes, but yet sufficiently to recognise him ; she after- 
wards resumed her position, but suddenly her moans 
and tears prevented her from speaking. 

The Religious waited some time before engaging her 
to continue what she had commenced; but her sobs ren- 
dered it impossible for her to continue. At length, after 
a tedious interval, she began to utter these interrupted 
phrases : " Alas, wretch that I am, who will take ven- 
geance on on me for my iniquities ? who will punish me 
for such an enormous fault?" And as the Religious 
inquired what sin she had committed : " Did you not 
see," said she, ' ' tint at the very moment in which God 
was showing me his wonders, I turned my head and 
eyes, to look at a person passing by ?" u But," said th.3 
Religious, " you looked so short a time that I did not 
even perceive it." " If you knew," replied she, "the 
reproaches that the Blessed Virgin made to me, you 
would assist me to weep for my fault." She immedi- 
ately ceased speaking of her vision, wept until she had 
confessed, and then retired to her cell, still weeping. 

St. Paul appeared to her according to what she told 
her Confessor, and rebuked her severely for the time 
she had lost in turning her head. She afterwards de- 
clared that she preferred confusion before the whole, 
world, rather than experiencing the shame excited by 
the reproach of the blessed Apostle. She said to he 



182 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Confessor : " Imagine what it will be to bear the re- 
proaches of Jesus Christ at the last judgment, of the 
reproach of his Apostle occasioned me so much shame." 
She added that she would have died of shame, if, dur- 
ing the time that the Apostle was reproving her, she 
had not continually seen a lamb, all radiant with a 
sweet mild light. This imperfection which God per- 
mitted, was also a means of rendering her more hum- 
ble and more prudent in preserving the graces that she 
had received. I have cited these two facts before con- 
cluding tliis chapter, because I think they are very 
capable of teaching humility, both to the perfect and 
to the imperfect. 

St. Dominick called me to enter his Order in a mi- 
raculous manner. I acknowledge that I was not worthy 
of it ; but I should be an ungrateful son, did I pass 
in silence the glory of my blessed Father, and hence I 
intend relating the rev elation that Catharine had con- 
cerning him. Friar Bartholomew, of whom I have 
just spoken, and who is at present with me, related it to 
me exactly as she had related it to me on that very day. 

Catharine asserted that she saw the eternal Father 
producing from his mouth, his co-eternal SON, such as 
he was, when he clothed himself with human nature ; 
and whilst she was contemplating him, she saw the 
blessed patriarch St. Dominick come forth from the 
breast of the Father all glittering with brightness, and 
she heard a voice which said ; " Beloved daughter, I 
have begotten these two Sons : one by nature, the 
other by a sweet and tender adoption." As Catharine 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 133 

was amazed at a comparison so elevated, which rendered 
equal, so to speak, a saint with Jesus Christ he who 
uttered these surprising words, explained them himself : 
" My SON, engendered by nature from all eternity, 
when he assumed human nature, obeyed me in all 
things perfectly, until his death. Dominick, my son 
by adoption, from his Mrth until the last moment of 
his life, folio wed "my will in all things. He never 
transgressed one of my commandments, never violated 
the virginity of either soul or body, and always pre- 
served the grace of Baptism which regenerated him. 
My SON by nature, who is the eternal WORD from my 
mouth, preached publicly to the world whatever I 
charged him to say, and he rendered testimony to the 
Truth as he himself declared to Pilate. My adopted 
Son Dominick also preached to the world the verity of 
my words ; he spoke to heretics and to Catholics, not 
only personally but by others. His preaching con- 
tinued in his successors, he still preaches and will always 
preach. My SON by nature sent his disciples, my son 
by adoption sent his religious ; my SON by nature is 
my Word, my son by adoption is the herald, the min- 
ister of my Word. Therefore I have given a quite 
particular intelligence of my words to him and to his 
religious with fidelity to follow them. My SON by 
nature did all things in order to promote by his teach- 
ing and his example the salvation of souls. Dominick, 
my son by adoption, used all his endeavours to draw 
souls from vice and error. Tke salvation of his neigh- 
hour was his principal thought in the establishment 



134 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

and development of his Order. Hence I have com- 
pared him to my Son by nature, whose life he imitated, 
and thou seest that even his body resembles the sacred 
BODY of my divine Sox." It was while Catharine 
related this vision to Friar Bartholomew that the cir- 
cumstance above related transpired. Let us now pass 
to the vision which must terminate this chapter. 

Abundance of graces and revelations so filled the soul 
of Catharine, at this epoch, that the excess of her love 
threw her into a state of real languor. This languor 
augmented so that she could not rise from her bed ; and 
her illness was ardour for her holy Spouse, whom she 
continually called, as if beside herself ; Sweetest, most 
amiable youth, SON OF GOD, and she sometimes added, 
and of the blessed Virgin Mary. These words were 
the flowery couch of her love, and on it she reposed 
without sleep and without food. But the Spouse who 
had excited in her soul this enthusiasm, so as to influ- 
ence her more and more, visited her incessantly. Ca- 
tharine, all vehement with sacred desires said to him, 
"Oh! why, my beloved Master, does this miserable 
body deprive me of thy heavenly embrace? Alas ! in 
this melancholy life nought can afford me pleasure. I 
seek but thee ; for if I indeed love anything, it is sim- 
ply on thy account. I implore thee, let this miserable 
body no longer prove an obstacle to my happiness. 
Oh ! the best of Masters, draw my soul from this prison 
and deliver me from this body of death." The Lord 
thus answered these words that were interrupted with 
eobs "Beloved daughter, when 1 dwelt among men, 



REVELATIONS. 135 

I accomplished not my will but my Father's ; my dis- 
ciples have rendered testimony of this; I desired 
greatly to eat with them the last Supper, and yet I 
waited with patience the moment fixed by my Father. 
Therefore notwithstanding the ardent desire that you 
have to be entirely united to me, you must wait my 
hourwith resignation." And Catharine replied, " since 
thou wilt not consent, thy holy will be done. But 
yet deign, I conjure thee, to hear a simple prayer ; 
whatever be the duration thou shalt fix to my exist- 
ence, grant me to participate in all the sufferings that 
thcu hast endured until death. If I cannot be with 
thee now in Heaven, let me be united to thee at least 
in thy Passion on earth." 

God accepted her prayer, and what she had asked was 
liberally granted to her ; for she began, as she acknow- 
ledged tc me, to suffer more and more in her soul and 
in her body, all the dolours that our Lord had ex- 
perienced during his life ; and, that it may be better 
understood, I will relate what she told us on the sub- 
ject. She frequently conversed with me on the suf- 
ferings of our Lord, and assured me that from the 
moment of his conception, he had always borne the 
Cross in his soul, on account of the desire that he felt 
for the salvation of souls. He must have suffered 
cruelly until he had established, by his Passion, the 
honour of God and the happiness of our neighbour 
and this torment of desire is very great those who 
have experienced it, know that it is the heaviest of 
crosses 



186 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

She also gave on the words of our Lord in the gar- 
den of Olives, an explanation that I do not remember 
to have read in any author. She said that by the 
words "Father, let this chalice pass from me," (Matt, 
xxyi. 39,) persons enlightened and fortified by grace 
ought not to believe, like feeble souls who fear death, 
that the Saviour implored to be spared his Passion ; he 
had drunk from his birth, and according as the hour 
approached he drank more deeply that chalice of desire 
which animated him for the salvation of men. He 
rather in plored the accomplishment of what he so ar- 
dently wished, the filling up of that cup whose bitter- 
ness he had so long tasted. He was far from dreading 
his Passion and death, he on the contrary wished to ad- 
vance the moment; he expressed this clearly when he 
said to Judas, Quad facts, fac citius, " what thou doest, 
do quickly.'' (St. John xiii. 27.) But although that 
chalice of desire was the most painful to drink, he 
added in his filial obedience, " Nevertheless, not my 
will but thine be done." Nerumtamen non mea voluntas, 
sed tua fiat. He thus offered to suffer all the delays 
that it would please God to require in his Passion. 

I observed to her that ordinarily the doctors ex- 
plained this passage otherwise, and that according to 
ihem, the Saviour pronounced these words as man, be- 
cause he feared death- naturally ; and as chief of the 
elect, of those who are feeble as well as those who are 
strong ; so as not to discourage the weak who dread 
death and present to all a salutary example. Catha- 
rine responded : " The actions of the Redeemer are so 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS, 187 

fruitful in instruction that by carefully meditating on 
them, each one finds the nourishment best suited to his 
soul's salvation. The weak can find consolation in our 
Saviour's prayer; but the strong and more nearly per- 
fect soul should derive encouragement from it, and 
this would be impossible without the explanation that 
I have given you. It is more profitable to present 
several meanings, so that each individual may adopt 
the one most appropriate to the soul's necessities." I 
kept silent and simply admired the grace and wisdom 
she had received from God. 

I found also another explanation of these words in 
the manuscripts that Brother Thomas, Catharine's first 
Confessor, left concerning her. She said during one 
of her ecstasies, that the cause of our Saviour's sadness 
and bloody sweat in the garden of Olives, was the 
foresight of so many souls failing of participation in 
the fruits of his Passion. But as he loved justice, he 
added" Not my will but thine.' 1 Without that, said 
she, all men would have been saved, for it is impossible 
that the will of the SON of GOD should remain ineffec- 
tual. Which agrees perfectly with what the Apostle 
said to the Hebrews Exaitditus est pro yua reverential 
(Heb. v. 7.) The doctors commonly apply this pas- 
sage to the prayer in the Garden of Olives. 

She also told me on this subject that the dolours 
suffered by the Son of God, in his body, were so great, 
that they were sufficient to produce death a thousand 
times in any one who would have endured them. The 
Saviour's love being infinite, the dolours Uis.fc his love 



138 LITE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

induced him to bear were also infinite and greatly su^ 
passed all those that man's nature and malice could 
have caused him. The thonis of the mock crown 
pierced his head to the very brain ; all his members 
were disjointed. (Ps. xxi. 18.) And still so great 
was his love, that he not only supported these dolours, 
but he procured himself still more terrible ones, in 
order to manifest himself to us more perfectly. Yes, 
this was one of the principal motives of his Passion ; 
he desired to exhibit to us the immensity of his love, 
and he could not prove it more effectually. Love and 
not nails fastened him to the Cross ; love and not men 
triumphed. How could they have been masters, since 
with one single word, he could have thrown them to 
the earth. 

Catharine gave admirable explanations concerning 
the Passion of the Redeemer ; she said that she had 
undergone in her body a portion of his suiferings, but 
it would be impossible to endure them completely. 
The greatest torment that Jesus Christ suffered on the 
Cross, was, she thought, the dislocation of the bones of 
the breast. She believed this, because the other tor- 
tures which she suffered in imitation of the Saviour, 
were transient, that alone was permanent ; the pains 
in the side, and head which she daily suffered were con- 
siderable, but those in the breast far surpassed them ; 
and I easily believe it, both in reference to her and to 
our Lord, on account of the vicinity of the heart. The 
bones which are disposed in that portion of the human 
frame, for protecting tho heart and lungs, casuot be 



EXTRAORDINARY REVBLATlOlTS. 189 

displaced without gravely wounding the precious organs 
that they contain, and without a miracle this displac- 
ing must necessarily produce death. Catharine en- 
dured this torture during several days ; her corporeal 
energies became enfeebled, but the ardour of her love 
only increased. She experienced, in a sensible man- 
ner, how deeply the Saviour had loved Aer, and had 
loved all mankind, by undergoing such a dolorous 
Passion, and this produced such a vehement love, that 
the heart of Catharine was separated or literally broken 
and the links that bound it to life were supernaturally 
destroyed. 

The reader of these pages may perhaps doubt that 
such a death really took place, but let him know that it 
occurred in presence of several witnesses who have af- 
firmed it. I also doubted ; I went to Catharine in order 
to examine what she had experienced, and I requested 
her to manifest the whole truth. She then broke forth 
into sobs and moans, and after having obliged me to 
wait for her arswer a considerable time, she at last said, 
" Father, would you not pity a soul that had been de- 
livered from an obscure prison, and then plunged anew 
into darkness, after having enjoyed an extraordinary 
light ? This misfortune happened to me ; divine Pro- 
vidence willed it on account of my faults." 

These circumstances increased my desire of learning 
these details from her, and I added, "Mother, then your 
*oul has been really separated from your body? " Yes," 
aid she to me, " the ardour of divine love was so vehe- 
ment, the desire that I felt of being united to my BE- 



140 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

LOVED was so forcible, that no heart, had it been com- 
posed of stone or iron, could possibly have resisted, 
nothing created is sufficiently powerful to counteract 
such a force. Yes, be sure of it, the heart that beats in 
this poor frame was sundered by charity. I feel the place 
where it is divided. In consequence, my soul actually 
quitted my body, and I saw secrets of God, that I am 
incapable of telling on earth, because memory is too 
feeble, and language too poor for adequately rendering 
such noble themes. It would be presenting clay for 
gold. Only when I hear this state spoken of, I in- 
stantly feel a profound sorrow, on seeing, that I could 
descend from those heights to relapse again into the 
miseries of the world, and I have only tears and soba 
to express the keenness of my anguish. 

Desiring to have a more complete knowledge of all 
that transpired, I said, " Mother, since you cheerfully 
confide to me your other secrets, I entreat you not to 
hide this, and to give me a full description of this won- 
derful event." " I have been favoured," said she, " with 
many spiritual and corporeal visions ; I had received 
ineffable consolations from our Lord, and the violence 
of pure love had so weakened me physically, that I was 
obliged to keep my bed. There I prayed incessantly, 
find supplicated God to deliver me from this body of 
death, in order to unite me more intimately to him, I 
did not obtain this grace, but it was granted me to be 
united, as far as I could be, to the dolours of his Pas- 
eion." And she told me what 1 have given above con- 
cerning our Lord's sufferings ; then she added, " This 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 141 

share of pain that he condescended to impart to me^ 
made known more distinctly and perfectly to me my 
Creator's love ; and mine augmented so that I fell into 
a state of langour, and my soul knew no other desire but 
that of quitting the body. How shall I describe it to 
you ? My Saviour daily animated more and more the 
fire which he had enkindled ; my heart of flesh yielded, 
and love became strong as death. Yes, my heart broke, 
my captive soul was freed from its bonds ; but, ah me ! 
for only too short a space of time." 

"Mother," I rejoined, u how long did your soul re- 
main separated from your body ?" She answered ine t 
" Persons who witnessed my death, say that I remained 
four hours without returning to life. A great many 
persons came to offer consolations to my mother and fa- 
mily, but my soul had entered into eternity and in- 
dulged no thoughts of t'me." 

I said, u What did you see, mother, during that time, 
and why did your soul return into the body ? I beseech 
you do not conceal aught of this from me." She an- 
swered, u Know, father, that my soul entered into an 
unknown world, and beheld the glory of the just and 
the chastisement of sinners. But here also memory fails, 
and the poverty of language prohibits a full description 
of these things. I tell you, however, what I can ; be as- 
sured, therefore, that I saw the divine ESSENCE, and 
for this I suffer so much in remaining enchained in this 
body. Were I not retained for the love of God and love 
of my neighbour, I should die of grief. My great conso- 
lation is to suffer, because I am aware that by suffering 



142 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENHA.. 

I shall obtain a more perfect view of God. Hence tri- 
bulations, far from being painful to my soul, are, on 
the contrary, its delight. I saw the torments of hell and 
those of purgatory ; no words can describe them. Had 
poor mortals the faintest idea of them, they would suf- 
fer a thousand deaths rather than undergo the least of 
their torments during a single day. I saw in particular 
those punished who sin in the married state, by not ob- 
serving the laws it imposes, and seeking in it nought 
but sensual pleasures." And as I inquired why this sin, 
which was not worse than others, still received so rude 
a chastisement, she told me, " Because little attention 
is given to it, and consequently less contrition is ex- 
cited for it, and it is more easily committed." And then 
she added, " Nothing is more dangerous than a fault, 
however small it may be, when he who commits it does 
not. carefully purify his soul by penance." 

Catharine afterwards continued what she had com- 
menced " Whilst my soul contemplated these things, 
Hs celestial Spouse, whom it believed it possessed for 
ever, said, " Thou seest what glory they lose and tor- 
ments they suffer who offend me. Return therefore to 
life and show them how they have strayed and what ap- 
palling danger menaces them.' And as my soul was hor- 
rified at the idea of returning to life, the Lord added, 
* The salvation of many souls demands it ^ thou shalt no 
longer live as thou hast done, henceforth thou must re- 
nounce thy cell and continually pass through the city, 
In order to save souls. I will always attend thee, I will 
conduct and re-conduct thee, I will confide to thee the 



EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. 148 

honour of my HOLY NAME, and thou shalt teach my 
doctrine to the lowly and the great, to laymen, priests, 
and monks, I will impart to thee speech and wisdom 
which none can resist I will place thee in the pre- 
sence of Pontiffs, and the rulers both of the Church 
and of the people, so as to confound, in my way and 
by this means, the arrogance of the mighty. Whilst 
God thus addressed my soul, I suddenly found my- 
self, without the capacity of explaining how, re-united 
to my body, Then I was overcome with keen sorrow, 
that I shed copious and burning tears during three 
days and three nights ; and when my mind dwells 
upon it, I cannot refrain from weeping, and father, it 
is not astonishing ; what is much more so is that my 
heart is not crushed anew on recalling that glory which 
I then possessed, and of which I am now deprived, 
the salvation of my neighbour is the cause of it ; if I 
love so ardently the souls whose conversion God has 
confided to me, it is because they have cost me dear ; 
they have separated me from my God, and have de- 
prived me of the enjoyment of his glory during a 
period to me unknown. But they will prove * my 
glory and my crown and my immortal joy.' (Phil, 
iv. 1.) 1 tell you these things, father, so as to console 
you for the anxiety caused you by those who murmur 
at the confidence I repose in you." 

After God had bestowed on me the favour of hearing 
these things, I asked myself whether it was my duty to 
publish them at a time in which self -love renders men 
*o blind and so incredulous. My Brethren and Sisters 



144 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF 

did not approve of my disclosing them during Catha- 
rine's life-time, and I remarked that several of those 
who at firstfollowedher, when this circumstance, which 
they could not comprehend, was related to them went 
away. But now that she has gone to the home of the 
blessed, I thought myself obliged to speak ; and I have 
revealed the whole, so that so great a miracle be not 
concealed through my fault. The following particu- 
lars give all possible authenticity to this event : at the 
approach of Catharine's death, the women who were 
with her, and who were her daughters in the Lord, 
sent for Friar Thomas, her Confessor, to assist her in 
her agony : he hastened there without a moment's de- 
lay, with another Religious Friar Thomas Antonio, 
and began with tears to recite the customary prayers ; 
the news spreading, another Religious, called Friar 
Antonio Bartholomew of Montucio, came speedily 
with John, a lay-brother of Sienna, now residing at 
Rome. These four Religious, all of whom still live, 
wept and prayed around the expiring Catharine. 

At the moment in which Catharine was breathing 
her last sigh, Brother John felt such an intense grief 
that the force of his sobs and cries ruptured a vein in 
his breast. He was immediately attacked with a violent 
cough and such a large hemorrhage that his state ap- 
peared desperate. This spectacle augmented the sor- 
row of the assistants ; those who were grieving for Ca- 
tharine's death, were soon also to be called to mourn 
that of the poor lay-brother. Then Friar Thomas, 
Catharine's Confessor, said, with strong faith, to Bro- 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 145 

ther John, " I know the influence of that holy woman 
with God, you need only apply her hand to the place 
in which you suffer such violent pain, and you will 
certainly be cured." The Brother did it before the eyes 
of all present, and at the same moment he was as per- 
fectly cured as if he had experienced no accident. Bro- 
ther John related this incident to all who wished to hear 
it, and affirmed it by an oath. Besides the Brothers 
whom I have just named, there were for witnesses her 
companion and her spiritual daughter Alessia, who now 
dwells with her in heaven, whither she followed her 
shortly after her death. Nearly all the neighbours also 
saw Catharine dead, as well as the numbers of men and 
women who commonly present themselves in such cir- 
cumstance's, and no one had a dottbt*but that she had 
truly exhaled her last breath. As to the fact of the 
elevation of her body, which we described at the be- 
ginning of this chapter, it had for witnesses several 
Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick, among others, Ca- 
tharine, daughter of Ghetto of Sienna, who was dur- 
ing a long time her inseparable companion. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Of miracles wrought by Catharine's intercession for promoting 
the Salvation oi Souls. 

WERE I obliged to recount all the miracles that God 
performed through the intercession of Catharine, for 
the salvation of souls, a chapter would not suffice, but 
several volumes would be necessary. In order not to be 

fc 



146 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

too lengthy, I have abridgedas much, as possible what 
Irelate will enable what I suppress to be comprehended; 
spirit is superior to matter and miracles accomplished 
for the salvation of souls, surpass those performed for 
the health of the body. Twill commence with the more 
noble, following generally the order of time in my re- 
cital, but I shall be occasionally forced to depart from 
the division I have attempted. These miracles, parti- 
cularly those which refer to souls, have been ignored by 
men; they have sometimes no other proof than the con- 
fidence that she gave to me and to a few others ; but this 
will not prevent pious persons from crediting them. 

Catharine's father, Jacomo (James), had recognized 
the holiness of his daughter, and entertained a respect- 
ful tenderness for her; he recommended all the members 
of his household not to contradict her in anything and 
to allow her to act according to her own views. Hence 
their affection daily grew stronger; Catharine prayed 
incessantly for the salvation of her father, while Jacomo 
delighted in the sanctity of his child, by whose merits 
he hoped to obtain grace before our Lord. At length 
Jacomo's term of life was drawing to a close, and he 
took to his bedbeingveryseriouslyill. Catharine began 
to intercede with her divine Spouse to obtain the resto- 
ration of one so tenderly loved, but He answered her 
that Jacomo was very near death,and that it would not 
be useful to him to live longer. Catharine therefore re- 
paired to the bedside of her cherished parent, and found 
him wholly disposed do quit the world without regret, 
&ud she thanked God with all the fervour of her soul. 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 147 

But her filial affection was not yet satisfied; she en- 
deavoured to obtain from the Source of all grace not 
only that her father's faults might be pardoned, but also 
that at the hour of death his soul might be borne to hea- 
ven without passing through the flames of purgatory. 
It was answered her that justice could not lose its rights 
and that the soul must be perfectly pure to enjoy the 
splendours of glory. " Thy father has lived well in the 
conjugal state, has done many things acceptable to me, 
and I am in particular pleased with his conduct towards 
thee ; but justice demands that his soul pass by the fire 
to purify it from the stains that it has contracted in the 
world." " O most amiable Saviour," responded Catha- 
rine, "how can I endure the thought of seeing him 
whom thou gavest me for father, who nourished me 
and brought me up with care, and who has been so kind 
to me, burning in such cruel flames! I entreat thy di- 
vine bounty not to permit his soul to leave his body, be- 
fore, by some means or other, it is perfectly purified anvl 
has no need of the fire of purgatory." God in his amaz- 
ing mercy yielded to this prayer, and to the desire of his 
creature. Jacomo's strength was extinct, but his soul 
could not depart so long as the conflict lasted between 
Catharine and our Lord, the Redeemer alleging his plea 
of justice and Catharine invoking mercy. At last Ca- 
tharine said, " If I cannot obtain this grace without 
satisfying thy justice, let this justice be exercised to- 
wards me ; 1 am ready to undergo for my father what- 
ever thy goodness will deign to send me. Our Lord 
consented to this, "I cheerfully accept thy proposition^ 



148 LITE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

on account of thy love for me, and I exempt the soul of 
thy father from all expiatory pains, but during thy 
whole life thou shalt be the victim of a pain which 
I send thee." Catharine joyfully gave thanks to God, 
and asked that his divine will might be accomplished. 
Catharine hastened to the couch of her dying father, 
who was just sinking into agony: she filled his heart 
with joy and strength, by giving him the assurance of 
his eternal salvation from the mouth of God himself, 
and never left him until he expired. At the instant his 
spirit quitted his body, Catharine was attacked with an 
acute pain in her side which she endured without re- 
laxation until the day of her d eath. I had the declara- 
tion of it from herself, and all those who had relations 
with her saw many evident proofs of it but her pati- 
ence was greaterthan her pain. All that I have related 
here I learned from Catharine, when compassionating 
her sufferings I inquired their cause. I should add that 
at the moment her father breathed his last,she exclaimed 
with a gladsome countenance and a serene smile on her 
lips, u Bless God, father ; how happy were I now like 
thee I" Whilst they celebrated the funeral ceremonies 
and all around wept, Catharine appeared gay and 
cheerful. She consoled her mother and everyone else, 
and acted as calmly as if the deceased had been a 
stranger to her. It was because she had seen that 
dearly-beloved soul joyfully escape the prison of the 
body, and soar unfettered to eternal light; and this sight 
had inundated her soul with comfort, because a few days 
previous she had tasted the bliss of celestial glory. 



&XZEAOiZDI3 > ABT MIRACLES. 149 

Here let us admire the wisdom of divine provi- 
dence ; the soul of Jacomo could certainly have been 
purified in another way, and have been immediately 
admitted to gbry, like the soul of the good thief on 
Calvary, who confessed our Lord on the Cross ; but 
God willed that Catharine should request it, not to 
try her, but to augment her merits and her crown. 
Hence Catharine always spoke of her sweet, dear suf- 
ferings ; and she was correct, because sufferings aug- 
ment the consolations of grace in this life and the de- 
lights of the glory to come. 

Having admired what Catharine did for the soul of 
a just man, let us see what happened in the soul of a 
shiner. In 1370, there was at Sienna a citizen named 
Andrea of Naddino ; a man rich in worldly and per- 
ishable goods, but poor in interior and eternal wealth. 
Without either the love or the fear of God, he sub- 
jected himself to the slavery of every vice. Gaming 
was his predominant passion, and he had a habit of 
blaspheming horribly. In the month of December of 
that same year, the fortieth of his age, he was attacked 
with a serious malady; the. physicians entertained no 
hope of his cure, and death threatened both the soul 
and body of this wretched impenitent. The curate of 
the parish came to visit him, hoping to prepare him 
for his last great change, but the sick man, who had 
never frequented the Church, nor respected its priests, 
despised his charitable warnings and repulsed him who 
gave them. Then his wife and children, who ardently 
desired his salvation, invited several pious persons to 



150 LIFE OF ST. CATOARINE OF SIENNA. 

come, who all endeavoured to overcome his hardness 
of heart ; but neither the threats of eternal flames, 
nor the hopes of divine mercy could b'end this unfor- 
tunate man, who was plunging into hell with all hi& 
crimes. The curate who saw death approaching, was 
absorbed in grief ; he returned with the morning dawn, 
and renewed his pressing efforts ; but all proved use- 
less. The unhappy man repulsed his discourse and 
refused him presence. He sunk deeper and deeper 
into final impenitence, and committed that sin against 
the Holy Ghost, by which the mercy of God is turned 
aside nought awaited him but the chastisements of 
an irrevocable justice. 

Friar Thomas the Confessor of Catharine, was ac- 
quainted with what was passing. Grieved at the loss 
of this soul, he hastened to his penitent, and asked her, 
in the name of obedience and charity, to interest her- 
self in this miserable man, and cry to God until she 
would procure his pardon. When he arrived Catha- 
rine was in ecstasy, and it was impossible to draw her 
from her heavenly contemplations. As he could nei- 
ther speak to her nor wait for her, on account of the 
approaching night, he recommended one of her com- 
panions, named Catharine, and who is still living, to 
explain to the servant of God, as soon as she came to 
herself, the object of his visit. Catharine did not re- 
cover from her ecstasy until near five o'clock in the 
morning ; her companion immediately gave the Con- 
fessor's commission and enjoined her, in virtue of holy 
obedience, to ask for the conversion^ the hard-hearted 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES 151 

sinner. At this news Catharine, all inflamed with 
charity and compassion, began to pray to God with 
her whole strength, protesting that she could not al- 
low her equal, her countryman, and her brother, be- 
cause redeemed by the same Saviour, to perish in 
eternal flames. 

The Lord answered : "This man's iniquities have 
mounted to heaven ; not only has he poured forth in- 
juries against me and my saints, but he threw into the 
fire a picture representing me and my blessed Mother. 
Do not intercede for him ; it is just that he burn in 
eternal flames; he merits death a thousand times." 

Catharine prostrated herself at the feet of her di- 
vine Spouse, and bathed them with her tears, and 
prayed in aspirations like these " Didst thou not, O 
loving Jesus ! bear this man's sins with ours on thy 
venerable shoulders ? Am I here to dispute thy jus- 
tice, or to invoke thy mercy ? Remember, Lord, thou 
didst promise to aid me in saving souls ; I have no 
other consolation but that of seeing them return to 
thee ; it is the only circumstance that renders me ca- 
pable of enduring thy absence. Repel me not, O 
most clement Jesus ! restore to me my brother ; draw 
him from his hardened state." Catharine continued, 
during several hours, her vigil and her tears to obtain 
the salvation of that sou 1 . 

God opposed the number and enormity of his crimes 
which demanded vengeance, and Catharine invoked 
the mercy that led him to come dovrn to earth and die 
for sinners. At last mercy triumphed over justice, 



152 LIFE OF ST, CATHARINE OP SIENtfA. 

and our blessed Saviour said to Catharine " My be- 
loved daughter, I suffer myself to be softened by thy 
tears ; 1 am going to convert him for whom thou 
prayest with such fervour." 

At that same instant our Lord appeared to Andrea 
(Andrew) who was in extremities. " Friend," said 
he to him, "why will you not confess the sins that 
thou hast committed against me ? Confess them, and 
I am ready to pardon all thy faults." 

These words suddenly softened that obstinate heart, 
and he cried out to those that served him, "Send 
quickly for a priest, because I wish to confess. I see 
my Lord and Saviour who is inviting me to do so." 
The assistants filled with joy hastened to obey. The 
priest came ; he performed all his last duties calmly, 
confessed perfectly, and died in wonderful sentiments 
of contrition and repentance. 

Those, Lord, are the works that display thee in 
thy saints. To show the favour Catharine had before 
thee, tbou didst make known to her the danger of a 
man with whom she was not acquainted, but who had 
received from thee the same country and the same 
baptism. Thou didst grant nought to the prayers of 
the others, because thou wouldst grant all to those 
of thy beloved spouse. Oh ! who would not love thee ? 

There were at Sienna, two notorious brigands that 
justice had decreed to arrest, and they were con- 
demned to expiate their crime in the most fearful tor- 
ments. They were going to death attached to a stake, 
on a cart, and the executioners, armed with red 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 153 

hot pincers tore their flesh in every part of their bodies 
Neither in prison, nor at the approach of death, could 
they be induced to repent, nor persuaded to listen tc 
a clergyman ; and at the very moment in which they 
were led through the town in order to inspire a whole- 
some dread of the laws, instead of recommending them- 
selves to the prayers of the faithful, they blasphemed 
against God and his saints. The fiery tortures which 
these wretched men endured were but a prelude to 
the torments that awaited them in hell ! but that 
Infinite Goodness who wills the death of none, and 
who does not twice punish the same faults, delivered 
these poor souls, by means of his faithful handmaid. 
Providence permitted that on that very day, Catha- 
rine should be at the house of Alessia, her companion 
and her spiritual daughter. Alessia, hearing in the 
morning the noise of the crowd, approached the win- 
dow, and saw at some distance, the unhappy criminals 
who were conducted and tormented by the executioners 
She ran to Catharine, " O Mother !" said she, "what 
a frightful spectacle directly before the house , here 
are two men who are condemned to be torn with heated 
pincers passing by." Catharine, moved not by curi- 
osity but by pity, advanced to the window, perceived 
the unhappy men, and retired at once to prayer. She 
informed me that she saw around them a troop of de- 
mons which were tormenting their souls still more than 
the executioners tortured their bodies. Kence she had 
recourse to fervent prayer, and conjured her Divinfl 
Spouse to save those souls who were on the eve of 



154 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

perishing. "Ah! Lord," said she, "who art so cle- 
ment, wilt thou so far abandon creatures formed to 
thy image, and redeemed by thy precious blood. The 
thief who was crucified at thy side really merited his 
punishment ; but thy grace visited him because at the 
moment in which thy apostles doubted, he confessed 
thee publicly, amid the ignominies of thy Passion, and 
he merited the hearing of thy promise " To-day thou 
shalt be with me in Paradise." In that word, thou 
didst give hope of pardon to those who might resem- 
ble him. Thou didst not abandon Peter who denied 
thee, but gavest him a look of compassion ; thou didst 
not contemn Mary the sinner, but attracted her to 
thee ; and Matthew the publican, the Canaanean, and 
Zaccheus, the rich, thou didst not refuse to receive, 
but didst invite them to return. I entreat thee by all 
thy mercies, hasten to relieve these souls." 

At length she persuaded Him who desires to be in- 
clined mercifully, and streams of pardoning grace 
flowed in a wonderful manner over the souls of these 
two miserable men. Catharine obtained the grace of 
assisting them in spirit, and of accompanying them 
as far as the city gates. She prayed and wept con- 
tinually for their change of heart ; the demons who 
saw her, said to her in a fury "If thou dost not 
cease, we and these two reprobates will torment thee 
to such a degree, that thou shalt become possessed/ 
Catharine .answered " Whatever God wills, I will, 
I shall not discontinue what I have commenced." 

When the two criminals halted at the pate of tho 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 155 

city, our merciful Redeemer appeared to them covered 
with wounds and bathed in blood. He exhorted them 
to conversion and promised them pardon. A ray of 
divine light immediately penetrated their hearts they 
earnestly implored the assistance of a priest and con- 
fessed their sins with heartfelt sorrow. Their blasphe- 
mies were changed into pious aspirations ; they accused 
themselves, acknowledged that they merited even more 
terrible torments, and marched on ward to death as joy- 
ously as if they were going to a festival ; instead of 
loading their executioners with insults, they thanked 
the Saviour, who in mercy permitted them to acquire 
by these transient sorrows, a never-ending glory. All 
the assistants were in admiration at such a change; the 
torturers themselves were deeply affected, and dared 
no longer increase their cruelties, on seeing them in 
such sentiments, but no one knew whence came this 
miracle of grace. The good and zealous clergyman 
who accompanied these hardened sinners endeavouring 
to convert them, gave these details to Friar Thomas, 
Catharine's Confessor. The latter, having questioned 
Alessia, was able to certify that at the very moment 
in which Catharine concluded her prayer and cams 
forth from her ecstasy, the two condemned gave up 
their last sighs. I also received Catharine's entire con- 
fidence concerning all the particulars, and I found 
them in every circumstance conformed to what Friar 
Thomas had written. He only adds that a few days 
after the death of the two con verted brigands, the com- 
panions of Catharine heard her say, whilst she was 



156 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA* 

praying, "Lord I tlianlc theefor having delivered them 
from a second prison." Brother Thomas asked her 
what these words signified ; she answered that the two 
malefactors enjoyed the glory of heaven ; that they en- 
tered Purgatory, but she had obtained their deliver- 
ance. 

These circumstances can scarcely fail of surprising 
those who read them, because they do not fall under 
the corporeal senses; but if we consult St. Augustine 
and St. Gregory, it will be seen that this miracle is 
greater than if those unfortunate men had been resus- 
citated after death ; for, according to the expression of 
St. Gregory, a body raised to life must die again, but in 
this case the soul is revivified for all eternity; in the re- 
surrection of the body, the divine power meets no ob- 
stacle ; but in that of souls, the free-will of man can re- 
sist and repel the action of grace; hence the conversion 
of a sinner displays the divine power more gloriously 
than the creation of the entire world. It is related of 
St. Martin, that by the virtue of the Holy Trinity he had 
the glory of raising three individuals from death to life, 
and St. Nicholas is also admired for having saved three 
innocents condemned to the worst torments. What then 
shall be said of Catharine who, by the power of her pray- 
ers, suddenly saved two guilty souls from everlasting 
death, and who drew from purgatorial fires, their souls 
which were plunged into them. Is not this greater and 
more amazing? Believe me, reader, I saw many prodi- 
gies effected by this holy woman ; but I find none com- 
parable to this which I have just narrated ; no, never 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 157 

in any case was the power of the Most High so largely 
manifested, never did the unction of grace flow so 
abundantly. 

Catharine obtained another extraordinary grace of 
conversion, which I must not bury in silence. There 
was in Sienna, a man named Francis Tholomei, and 
who still lives ; his wife is named Kabes ; they had 
several sons and daughters. The eldest, Jacques, led 
a criminal life ; he was excessively proud, and such was 
his ferocity, that although young, his hand had twice 
been imbrued in the blood of his neighbour; his horri- 
ble deeds made him the terror of all who knew him; 
no idea, no fear of God withheld him, and he added 
crime to crime. He had a sister named Ghinoccia, 
who was passionately fond of the world, in the worst 
sense of that expression ; she was continually occupied 
in vainly adorning her person, and if she were not 
wholly lost, it was because she merely dreaded human 
opinion. Their pious mother Habes feared for the sal- 
vation of her children ; she went to Catharine and im- 
plored her to be so charitable as to speak on religion 
to her two daughters, especially to Ghinoccia. Ca- 
tharine, who so ardently loved souls, consented, and 
succeeded so well with Ghinoccia, that JESUS trium- 
phed in her affections, and she renounced all the sense- 
less joys of the world she cut off her long and glossy 
hair, that had proved a source of vanity to her, took 
the habit of the Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick, 
and persevered, as I can affirm, in the most admirable 
practices of devotion. I was frequently obliged to 



158 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENSA. 

moderate the rigour of her austerities. Her sister 
Francoise, (Frances) followed her example closely ; she 
also assumed the holy livery of penance, and it was 
an affecting sight to behold those two sisters, so lately 
captivated with vanity, contesting suddenly its every 
form in their own persons, and that with courage and 
perseverance. 

At the moment of their conversion, Jacques Tholo- 
mei was absent; as soon as he learned this, he returned 
to the city in a paroxysm of rage against his youthful 
brothers; in his arrogance he uttered the most terrible 
threats and menaces, tearing off his sister's holy habit, 
and conducting her back with him, to withdraw her 
from the influence of those who had converted her. 
But his little brother said, in an inspired tone 
" Jacques, I assure thee, that wert thou to go to Sienna, 
v )hou wouldst be converted and wouldst confess thy sins." 
But he ill-treated the child, and replied that he would 
sooner kill all the priests and the religious. The child 
reiterated his prophecy, and Jacques his threats and 
maledictions. They at last arrived at the city and 
Jacques entered his home in a perfect fury, declaring 
that he would commit the worst violence, did not hia 
Bister renour.ce her habit and follow him without delay. 

Rabes succeeded in appeasing and calming his pas- 
sion until the morrow. In the morning she sent word 
to Friar Thomas, the Confessor of Catharine, who pro- 
videntially took as companion Friar Bartholomew, of 
St. Dominick. Ha sought Jacques, conversed with 
him, yet appareutly obtained nothing favourablebut 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 159 

Catharine, by a supernatural light, knew all that was 
passing, and supplicated God for the wicked youth's 
conversion. The Lord heard her prayer, and touched 
that obdurate heart. He yielded to the exhortations 
of Brother Bartholomew, after having obstinately re- 
pelled those of Brother Thomas; and not only did he 
permit his sister to serve God as she wished, but hum- 
bled himself and confessed his faults with lively sorrow; 
to use Catharine's expression, he ejected all the poison 
that defiled his soul, and accused himself of sins that 
he would never before acknowledge. The wolf was 
changed into a lamb, the fierce lion had become docile 
as a child, and all the witnesses were filled with admi- 
ration. His mother could find no explanation for thia 
astonishing change ; his sisters congratulated him, and 
the whole household returned thanks to God. The 
two religious, full of joy, hastened to bear the joyous 
news to Catharine. 

The saint, who had seen all in spirit, and who had 
obtained that grace from the Lord, had not yet come 
cut of ecstasy, but continued to enjoy the caresses of her 
divine Spouse. Before the religious brethren entered 
her room, however, she said : " We must render thanks 
to God, because Jacques Tholomei, who was a slave to 
Satan, was delivered this morning ; he has confessed to 
Friar Bartholomew." When the religious described 
their joy, Catharine's companion replied: "She was 
just relating it to me as you entered." Ca tharine then 
eaid to them with her usual edifying manner, Fathers, 
we must pive thanks to God who never disregards the 



.160 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

prayers of his servants, and the good desires which his 
Dwn divine Spirit inspires. The enemy of salvation, 
had resolved to rob us of that dear sheep, bat the 
Father of mercies defended his own ; he imagined that 
he had also gained Ghinoccia from our Lord ; and he 
has lost Jacques of whom he had become master. In- 
deed, our divine Shepherd assures ua in the Gospel : 
" That no one can take from him his own." (St. John 
v. 28.) Ghinoccia was indeed a constant example of 
piety and mortification; she persevered until death in 
the service of God and slept joyfully in the Lord, after 
having supported with the most admirable patience, a 
long and painful illness. 

Her sister Frances who imitated her, survived her 
l)ut a short interval. Always satisfied, even amid the 
most excruciating pains, she expired with a smile on her 
lips. Matthew, the brother next in age to Jacques, re- 
nounced the world, and entered the order of St. Domi- 
nick, which he still edifies by his virtuss. As to Jacques, 
he married, but he never relapsed into his attacks of pas- 
sion, being always peaceful and meek. All this good 
Was accomplished by means of Catharine, who obtained 
from her Spouse the graces appropriate to each indi- 
vidual. 

The narrative which I now present was not less won- 
derful : I was alone witness of the attendant circum- 
stances, but God knows my veracity, and besides, its re- 
sults were made public. There dwelt in Sienna, a man 
perfectly well known among persons of the world, and 
siiinfoing genius, which was not regulated 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 161 

by the law of God. His name was Nanni or Vanni. 
As is frequent among his countrymen, he indulged pri- 
vate hatred, and he knew how to satisfy vengeance by 
striking in the dark. Several murders had been com- 
mitted, but they who were their authors dreaded Nanni 
more than others, because they were acquainted with 
his deadly malice. They had often employed media- 
tors to induce him to be reconciled, but he always an- 
swered with hypocrisy, that he was a complete stranger 
in those affairs, and that it did not depend on Mm to 
make peace. He alone, however, offered an obstacle, 
so as to be able to satiate his vengeance when he could 
find an opportunity. 

Catharine was aware of this disorder and was de- 
sirous of arresting its progress, by conversing with 
Nanni ; but the latter carefully avoided her. In fine, 
a holy man, Brother William of England, of the Order 
of Hermits of St. Augustine, pressed him so much, 
that he consented to see and hear Catharine ; but at 
the same time refusing to pledge himself to do what 
she might desire : he came in effect, to the house at a 
moment in which I was myself awaiting the arrival of 
the servant of God, who was occupied somewhere in 
the salvation of souls. They informed me that Nanni 
was waiting to converse with Catharine. I went down 
with a glad heart, because 1 knew how much Catha- 
rine desired this interview ; I announced her absence, 
but pressed him to wait a little, and to beguile the time. 
I introduced him into the little cell, sanctified by the 
spouse of JESUS CHRIST. After a few moments Nanni 
became weary, and said "I promised Friar William 
to come here and listen to this lady ; she is absent, auck 



162 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

my occupations prevented me from remaining longer ; 
will you be BO kind as to excuse me, but really I have 
too much to do to admit my tarrying longer." 

I was quite distressed by Catharine's absence, but 
so as to restrain all sign of impatience, I began to speak 
of reconciliation, but he said to me : a See, now, you 
are a priest and a religious, and this good lady enjoys 
a great reputation for sanctity; I must not deceive 
you. I therefore tell you frankly, and declare to you 
that I will do nothing of what you request from me ; 
it is true that I prevent peace, but I wish that it be 
kept secret. Did I but give my consent, all would be 
arranged I refuse, and it is useless to preach to me on 
that subject for you will obtain nothing ; it is already 
considerable to have told you with so much freedom 
what I have concealed from others. Do not torment 
me further on the subject." I would insist, and he 
refused to hear me, when God permitted that Catha- 
rine should become the instrument of reconciliation. 
Her arrival was as disagreeable to Nanni, as agreeable 
to me. As soon as she perceived us, she saluted this 
man of the world with angelic charity ; she seated her- 
self and then inquired the motive of his visit. Nanni 
repeated to her what he had just told me and declared 
also that he would make no concession. Catharine re- 
presented to him, with as much force as sweetness, the 
danger to which he exposed his soul ; but the unhappy 
man would hear nothing and closed his heart to her 
moving solicitations. Then, the holy woman went 
alone to pray and implore God's assistance I hoped 
that she would be heard, and began to discuss with 
Nanni eo as to gain time. Only a few momenta had 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 163 

expired ere the obstinate man said to us " Through 
politeness I will not refuse you totally, / have foui 
enmities; I consent to sacrifice the one which will 
afford you the greatest pleasure." And he arose to 
withdraw, when on a sudden he exclaimed, " O my 
God, what consolation my heart feels for this sole word 
of peace that I have pronounced," then added, " 
ny Lord and my God, what power retains and tri- 
umphs over me ; I cannot go away and I have not the 
force to refuse. What can it be that exerts such an in- 
fluence over me ? Yes, I confess that I am vanquished, 
i cannot draw my breath" then falling on his knees, 
lie said, sobbing, " Holy Virgin, behold me ready to 
do whatever you command relative to peace, and all 
else. I see now that Satan held me in chains ; hence- 
forth I resign myself to thy counsels ; in pity direct 
my soul and draw it from the snares of the enemy." 

At this moment Catharine who had entered into ec- 
stasy, as was usual, returned to herself and gave thanks 
to God. "Dear brother," said she, "the mercy of 
God has at length manifested to you your danger, I 
spoke to you and you refused to listen , then I turned 
to God who has not despised my petition." Nanni 
confessed to me without delay and with humble con- 
trition ; Catharine reconciled him with all his enemies, 
while I restored him to peace with God whom he had 
so long offended. 

A few days after his conversion, Nanni was arrested 
by the governor of the city and thrown into a c'ose 
prison ; a report was current that he was to suffer de- 
capitation ; this news afflicted me, and I went to find 
CKtharine. " Nothing unfortunate," said I, "occurred 



164 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

to Nanni when he obeyed Satan, and now that he has 
given himself to God, heaven and earth appear to de- 
clare against him. I fear, mother, that this plant is 
yet too young for supporting such a storm ; the poor 
man may fall into despair, I entreat you, pray for him ; 
you have delivered him from sin, now you must sus- 
tain him in his misfortunes." Catharine answered me, 
"Why are you alarmed on his account? you should 
rather rejoice. Do you not see the evidence that God 
has pardoned him the debt of eternal punishment, be- 
cause he sends him temporal troubles. Our Lord's 
word is accomplished, the world loves what belongs to 
it ; but now that he has quitted the world, the world 
detests him. God was preparing endless chastisement 
for him, but his mercy is satisfied with punishing him 
in this world. Fear not that he will fall into despair. 
He who saved him from hell, will also draw him from 
this danger." 

It happened as she announced. A short time after, 
Nanni came out of prison, but he was obliged to pay 
very heavy sums, and Catharine rejoiced, saying 
"That God was taking away the venom that impoi- 
soned him." Tribulation only augmented his fervour ; 
he desired to give Catharine, by an authentic act, a 
beautiful residence which he possessed, about two miles 
from the city, so that she might establish a monastery 
of females. Catharine did this with the special autho- 
rization of Gregory XI. of happy memory, and be- 
Btowed on it the name of " Holy Mary of the Angels" 
I assisted at the consecration with all her spiritual 
family; the commissary designated by the Sovereign 
Pontiff was Friar John abbot of the convent of St, 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 165 

Anthime. This conversion, operated by the omnipo- 
tent hand of God is due to Catharine's prayers. I 
can myself render testimony of it. I was during seve- 
ral years Nanni's Confessor, and I know that he made 
great progress in good, during the time that I knew 
him. 

Volumes would not suffice for relating all that our 
Lord accomplished by his faithful spouse, for the con- 
version of sinners, the spiritual advancement of the 
good, the encouragement of the weak, the consolation 
of the afflicted, the warning of souls in danger, etc 
Who could compute the miserable whom she saved from 
hell, the hardened hearts that she has touched, the 
worldlings detached from vanity, persons tempted that 
she assisted by her prayers and freed from the demon 
by her counsels, the elect whom she directed in the 
path of virtue, those whose good desires she aided in 
progress towards perfection, those whom she saved 
from the abyss of vice, and conducted to heaven, by 
bearing them, so to speak, in her arms, suffering and 
praying for their salvation ? Yes, I may say, as St 
Jerome said to St. Paul, " Were I gifted with a thou- 
sand tongues, it would be impossible for me to enume- 
rate the fruits of salvation borne by this virginal plant 
and cultivated by the Father in Heaven." I have 
often seen thousands of men and women hastening to 
her from the summits of the mountains and from the 
surrounding country, as though a mysterious trumpet 
invited them ; they came to see and hear ; her words 
were even sometimes useless, while her presence suf- 
ficed to convert them and inspire them with a lively 
contrition', all renounced their sins, and sought th 9 



166 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA, 

tribunal of penance ; then I was witness of the since- 
rity of their repentance, and it was evident to me that 
a superabundant grace acted in their hearts ; and this 
happened not once, nor twice, but very often. 

The Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory XI., consoled and 
delighted with the good effected in souls, granted to 
me and two companions, the powers reserved to bishops 
for absolving all those who went to Catharine and con- 
fessed. We, therefore, heard men and women of 
heinous guilt, soiled with every variety of crime, who 
had either never confessed, or who had not done it in 
suitable dispositions. We sometimes remained fasting 
until the evening, and yet we could not suffice to all 
who presented themselves. I acknowledged to my 
shame and Catharine's honour, that the multitude was 
frequently so considerable, that I was fatigued and 
discouraged. As to Catharine, she did not interrupt 
her prayer, and rejoiced in conquering souls for our 
blessed Master : she simply recommended to those who 
accompanied her to take care of us, who held the nets 
which she knew so well how to fill. It would be im- 
possible to describe her joy ; what we saw exteriorly, 
consoled us greatly and induced us to forget our 
fatigues. I will not enlarge further on the miracles 
that God wrought through Catharine ; perchance the 
reader may have found this chapter lengthy, yet it is 
ahort in comparison with what we had to say. 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 167 



CHAPTER VIL 

Of some Miracles obtained by Catharine, for the life or health ol 
her Neighbour. 

I INTEND now to relate a circumstance amazing in- 
deed, in our time, and yet very easy to HIM with whom 
all all things are possible. Lapa, Catharine's mother, was 
very simple and very kind, but not very desirous of in- 
visible goods ; she always had a great terror of quitting 
this life. After the death of her husband she also fell ill, 
and soon excited serious anxiety. Catharine had re- 
course, as usual, to prayer, and entreated the Lord to 
deign to relieve her mother. It was answered her that 
Lapa would be saved if she died then, and that, thus, 
should avoid many heavy trials whichmenaced her. Ca- 
tharine went to her mother and made the sweetest ex- 
hortations in order to prepare her, if God were to call, 
by engaging her to a complete submission to his holy 
will ; but Lapa, too deeply attached to earthly things, 
was horrified at the thought of leaving them ; she con- 
jured her daughter to plead with our Lord for her cure, 
and not to mention death. The spouse of our Lord saw 
with pain these dispositions, and prayed in anguish that 
aur Lord would not permit her to die, before she was 
perfectly submissive to his will. God complied with 
Catharine's prayer ; the malady of Lapa became more 
alarming, but death was still averted. Catharine inter- 
vened between God and her mother, by her prayers and 
exhortations ; she entreated God not to take her kind 
mother from the world, without her own consent ; she 
exhorted her mother to submit to the good pleasure of 
God ; but her prayers were more prevalent with our 



168 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Lord, than with the mind of the patient. Hence our 
Redeemer said to his spouse, ** Announce to thy mo- 
ther, who is unwilling to die at present, that a day will 
arrive in which she will ardently sigh for death, without 
obtaining it." I can testify, with many others, the ful- 
filment of this prophecy. Lapa attained an extreme old 
age, and had so much to endure in persons and things 
that she loved, that she was continually saying, " God 
has riveted my soul to my body, so that it cannot be se- 
parated from it ; how many children and grandchildren 
have I already lost? It is only I that cannot die, I am 
left to feel the sufferings and death of all the others." 
Lapa's heart was so obstinate, that she did not tliink 
of her soul's salvatton. God then appeared to refuse 
his spouse what he granted her at first. After having 
deferred, in accordance with her petition, the death of 
her mother, he permitted, in order to display her merits 
that Lapa should die without having confessed. Her 
daughter, at the view of this misfortune cried to heaven 
dissolved in tears, " Ah, Lord, my God, are these the 
promises thou gavest me that none of mine should pe- 
rish ? Was not Ihy mercy pledged not to withdraw my 
mother from the world but when she would consent to 
it ? and behold she is dead without receiving the sacra- 
ments of the Church in the name of thy infinite Doun- 
ty , suffer not my hopes to be thus deceived. I will not 
leave thy presence until thou dost restore to me my 
mother." Three ladies of Sienna, whose names we will 
give, were then present and heard these words. They 
saw Lapa breathe her last, and touched her body which 
gave no signs of life ; they would have made every pre- 
paration for her interment, had they not waited for 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES, 169 

Catharine to complete her prayer. The Most High be- 
held the anguish of Catharine's heart and her humble 
and fervent supplications penetrated to the mercy seat. 
The God of mercy and of consolation heard her, for 
the body of Lapa suddenly recovered motion ; life re- 
turned completely and she soon resumed her ordinary 
occupation. She lived until the age of eighty-nine years 
in the midst of affliction, privations, and trials, just as 
her daughter had announced to her on the part of God. 

The witnesses of this miracle were, Catharine Getti, 
Angela Vannini, (actually a Sister of Penance of St. 
DominickJ) and Lysa, Catharine's sister-in-law, and 
Lapa's daughter-in-law ; they still live and are all in 
Sienna ; they heard Catharine when she said beside 
her dear mother, " Lord, are these thy promises ?" 
Thousands of persons knew Lapa after that period. 
All this shows Catharine's merit before God, for she 
preserved her father's soul from purgatory and recalled 
to life the inanimate body of her mother. This mi- 
racle took place in the month of October, 1370. 

The following fact I can particularly attest. Seven- 
teen years ago, that is 1373 or 1374, religious obedi- 
ence summoned me to Sienna, where I exercised in 
the Convent of my Order, the functions of Lector. I 
was serving God in a lukewarm manner, when the 
plague declared itself, and raged as it had done in 
many places during our time, but never so fearfully as 
in Sienna. The contagion attacked men and persons 
of all ages ; one day, two, or even three days at most, 
sufficed to make one the victim of its impoisoned 
breath. In consequence terror reigned everywhere ; 
zeal for souls, which is the spirit of the Order of St. 



170 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Dominick, obliged me to devote myself to the salvation 
of my neighbour. I therefore visited the sick, and I 
went very often to " Saint Marie de la Miserecorde." 
The director of that house was at that time Father 
Matthew who still lives.- This man, of holy life and 
reputation, was extremely attached to Catharine, and 
the virtue which heaven had accorded to him had in- 
spired me with a warm affection for him. I was in 
the habit of seeing him once every day. One morning 
after the Conventual Mass I went out to visit my sick, 
and as I passed the House of Mercy, I inquired 
whether any one in the establishment had been at- 
tacked with plague. On entering, I found Father 
Matthew whom the brothers were carry ing like a corpse 
from the church to his room ; his countenance was pale, 
his strength had forsaken him to such a degree, that he 
was incapable of speaking : when I inquired what he 
suffered he could not answer me, I therefore addressed 
myself to those who were accompanying him, and 
questioned them concerning what had happened to my 
friend: "Last night, "said they tome, "about eleven 
o'clock, whilst he was watching near a sick person, he 
perceived himself stricken with the epidemic ; and in 
a few moments, he fell into extreme weakness." I fol- 
lowed them to the sick man's bed, I bent over him, and 
when he had reposed a short time, he called for me 
and confessed as he was accustomed to do. After giv- 
ing him absolution, I asked him what he suffered. He 
explained to me in what region he felt the pain ; add- 
Tng that it " seemed to him that one of his legs was 
breaking and his head was separating into four parts." 
1 then felt his pulse, and saw in effect that he was euf - 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 171 

fering a violent fever. I recommended those who were 
taking care of him to explain certain things to Doctor 
Senso, his physician, who is still living and was deeply 
attached to him. I returned to visit him a short time 
after. Doctor Senso declared to me that my friend had 
the plague, and that every symptom announced the ap- 
proach of death. " It is evident that the blood is in- 
flamed in the liver ; it is the reigning malady, and I 
greatly fear that the House of Mercy is soon to be de- 
prived of its good director." I asked him if the medi- 
cal art could not furnish some remedy ? ' ' We shall see 
to-night," answered he, "whether with the 'quintes- 
sence of cassia,' we can succeed in purifying the blood; 
but I have only a faint hope in this remedy, as the dis- 
ease is too far advanced." After this response of the 
medical adviser, I withdrew, being very sad, and di- 
rected my steps towards the residence of the patient? 
praying God, mercifully to retain in the world a man 
of so useful an example. 

However, Catharine had learned the illness of Father 
Matthew whom she loved sincerely, on account of his 
many virtues ; her heart was touched, and she speedily 
repaired to him whom she was unwilling to lose. 
Hardly had she entered the apartment, than she cried, 
41 Get up Father Matthew, arise, this is not the moment 
to repose indolently in your bed ." At the very instant 
in which she uttered these words, the fever and the 
marks* of the pestilence disappeared ; Father Matthew 
found himself as free from pain as though he had not 
been sick. Nature had obeyed her Master, who com- 
manded by Catharine's mouth ; and his word had re- 
* The plague spots. 



172 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

stored the sufferer to perfect health. Father Matthew 
arose joyfully, and blessed the Lord for the power he 
had bestowed on his handmaid. Catharine modestly 
retired, to avoid the admiration of men ; but at the 
moment in which she withdrew from the house I en- 
tered it ignorant of what had passed, and believing my 
friend to be still very sick. As soon as 1 saw her, my 
grief urged me to say, with deep anxiety, " Mother, 
will you allow a person so dear and so useful to die?" 
She, wishing to conceal what she had done beneath the 
veil of humility, appeared to be annoyed at my words. 
" In what terms do you address me," said she, " am I 
like God, to deliver a man from death ?" But I, beside 
myself with sorrow, continued, " Say that to others if 
vou will ; as to me who am well acquainted with your 
secrets, I know that you obtain from God whatever 
you ask with fervour. Then she bowed her head and 
smiled a little ; after which she looked at me with a 
joyous countenance, saying, " Well, let us take courage 
he shall not die this time." 

At these words I banished all fear ; I understood 
that she had obtained some grace from heaven. I left 
her, and went very contentedly to my sick friend whom 
I found seated at his bedside and recounting to every- 
body the miracle that Catharine had just effected. I 
informed him that she had that moment assured me 
that she should not die of this malady. " Are you ig- 
norant, "replied he, "of what shehas just done for me?" 
When I told him that I was not aware of anything, 
and that all she said to me was contained in that pleasing 
assurance, he stood up, much surprised, and joyfully 
narrated what I have here written. To attest the mi- 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 173 

racle more solidly the table was laid, and Father Mat- 
thew seated himself at it with us : they served him 
with food scarcely suitable for a sick man vegetables 
and some raw onions he, who an instant previously 
could not take anything, shared them us ; he chatted 
and laughed gaily ; whilst that very morning he could 
scarcely pronounce one audible word. Admiration 
and joy were general ; all praised God who had be- 
stowed so great a favour, and conversed approvingly 
and with holy envy of the merits of the saint who had 
obtained them. This miracle had also for witness, 
Brother Nicholas d' Andrea of Sienna, of the Order 
of the Friar Preachers ; he yet lives, and accompanied 
me on that day. Those who were resident in the 
house, pupils, priests, and more than twenty persons 
besides, saw what I have related. 

Such as have not had their hearts touched may per- 
chance say, what is there astonishing in the cure of a 
malady, even though it be serious ? does not that hap- 
pen naturally every day? I will respond to them by 
asking them, Why the Gospel recounts that our Lord 
healed Simon's mother-in-law, who was ill with a fe- 
ver ? Do we not continually see men relieved of vio- 
lent fevers ? Why then does;the Evangelist cite this 
fact as a miracle ? Let him who sees nothing beyond 
the letter, give attention to what the sacred writer 
has deigned to observe " He approached her," saya 
he, " he commanded the fever, the fever immediately 
left her, rising instantly she served them." (St. Luke, 
iv. 39) The proof of the miracle lies in the sudden dis- 
appearance of the fever, at the sole command of the 
Saviour, and without any natural remedy ; she vrho 



174 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

had been so long sick and bed-ridden, arose without 
any exterior help ; therefore, in what I have said, the 
eyes must be closed voluntary, if the truth is not per- 
ceived. That God who had healed the mother-in-law 
of Simon, dwelt in Catharine : she did not approach, 
but afar, she commanded fever and pestilence, and 
without remedy and without delay, Father Matthew 
was delivered. Open, therefore, the eyes of the 
mind ; be not incredulous but believing. 

There was, near the House of Mercy, a very pious 
woman, who wore, if I remember rightly, the habit of 
the Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick. In her admi- 
ration of Catharine's virtues, she desired to consecrate 
herself to her service ; she followed her counsels with 
docility, was edified by her examples, and entertained 
towards her sentiments of profound veneration. It 
happened one day that this woman being at home, the 
floor gave way beneath her, and dragged her down- 
ward in its descent ; she was covered with contusions 5 
her whole body was one general wound. The neigh- 
bours assembled in all haste, to draw her from amidst 
the fallen stones and timbers ; they thought her killed. 
However, thanks be to God, they were able to remove 
her to her bed, where by degrees her consciousness 
returned ; but it was to suffer horribly. The pain 
drew from her both tears and shrieks, and she detailed 
what she was enduring to those who surrounded her. 
Medical aid was obtained, and all was done for her 
that was possible ; yet the poor woman could not 
move, and suffered a martyrdom in every limb. 

As soon as Catharine heard it, she was filled with 
compassion for one who was her sister, and who had 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 175 

made herself her servant. She went immediately to 
visit her, and exhorted her to patience by devout in- 
struction. When she saw her suffering so excessively, 
she began to touch (as though she would administer 
relief,) the places of which she complained ; the pa- 
tient willingly consented because she knew that those 
blessed hands could not fail of doing her good. As soon 
as Catharine touched any place, its pain vanished ; 
hence the sick woman showed her the other parts 
that were tormented so that she might apply the same 
remedy, and Catharine lent herself to this charity 
with so much care, that she finished by completely 
healing her, In proportion as her virginal hand 
glided over her bruised body, the pain disappeared, 
and the sick woman who could not move a single 
member recovered little by little her liberty of mo- 
tion ; she kept silence whilst Catharine was present 
lest she might alarm her humility, but afterwards she 
said to the physicians and neighbours that were sur- 
roundingher "Catharine,Lapa'sdaughter,hascured 
me by touching me." All were in admiration and gave 
glory to God ; for it was impossible not to admit that 
this restoration proceeded from a divine virtue. I have 
related this miracle on the testimony of others, because 
when it was wrought I was not yet acquainted with 
Catharine and did not even reside in Sienna. 

During the same pestilence, a hermit called " The 
Saint," and who was so indeed, was attacked by the 
contagion. As soon as Catharine heard it, she caused 
him to be carried from the cell in which he lived out- 
side of Sienna, to the House of Mercy ; She visited him 
with her companions, and was attentive to see that he 



176 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

bad all necessary care. She approached him and said 
in a low tone " Do not fear, however ill you may be- 
come you will not die this time." But she told us no- 
thing similar, when we requested her to pray for his 
cure. She, on the contrary, appeared like ourselves, to 
fear his death; and we were much grieved being sin- 
cerely attached to this pious man. The illness grew 
hourly worse, and we were beginning to despair of the 
safety of the body, and think only of the salvation of 
the soul. All physical energy appeared extinct, and 
we awaited his expiring sigh. Catharine said again in 
the patient's ear, ' * Fear not, you will not die." He 
who appeared to be unconscious, understood her per- 
fectly, and believed more strongly in her word than 
in death whose presence he felt. And in effect, Ca- 
tharine's word triumphed over the laws of nature ; 
and divine virtue, more powerful than all human re- 
medies, saved the dying man against all hope. 

We were already preparing for his interment, and 
several days elapsed without amelioration. Catha- 
rine arrived and said in the ear of the sick man, l4 1 
command you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
not to die." Life and strength immediately re- 
turned. The saintly man rose from his bed and asked 
for something to eat. A few moments sufficed for a 
complete cure ; he related to us what Catharine had 
said to him, and that he had felt a divine energy re- 
taining his soul which endeavoured to escape. He 
affirmed that he was not cured by any natural cause, 
and believed this miracle to be as great as though he 
bad risen from the dead, 

Having spoken of others, I must not pass in siloaca 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 177 

what Catharine did for me. When the plague was rag- 
ing in Sienna, I resolved to sacrifice my life for the sal- 
vation of souls and not to avoid any pestiferous patient 
whatever; it is certain that the malady is contagious : 
but I also knew that our Lord Jesus Christ is more po- 
tent than Galen, and that grace is superior to nature. 
I also saw that many had taken flight, and that the dy- 
ing remained without assistance ; and as the blessed 
Catharine had taught me that charity obliges us to love 
the soul of the neighbour more than our own body, I 
was desirous of assisting as many sick as I could, and I 
did so by God's grace. I was almost alone in that vast 
city, and had scarcely time to take a little food and 
sleep. One night as I reposed, and the time approached 
to rise and recite my office, I felt a violent pain in the 
region of the body first attacked by the reigning epi- 
demic; my hand discovered to me the fatal swelling ; 
frightened at this discovery I dared not rise and began 
to think seriously of death. I longed for the day, so that 
I could find Catharine before the disease made pro- 
gress ; the fever and pains in the head soon seized me ; my 
fears augmented ; I had however sufficient strength to 
recitemyprayers. When morning came I dragged my- 
self with my companion, to Catharine's residence, but 
she was absent, having already been visiting a sick per- 
son. I decided to wait, and as I could no longer sup- 
port myself, I was obliged to lie down on a bed which 
was there ; I besought the person of .the house not to 
delay sending for her. When she came, and saw my 
excessive suffering, she knelt down by my bed, placad 
her hand on my forehead, and began to, pray interiorly 
as usual ; I saw her enter into an ecstasy and I thought 



178 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

that there would soon result some good both for my 
soul and body. She remained thus, during nearly an 
hour and a half, when I felt a universal movement in 
my every limb ; I was persuaded it was a prelude to 
vomitings, such as those I had witnessed in several per- 
sons that I saw die ; but I was in error ; it seemed as 
if something escaped from all the extremities of my 
body with a violent impulse; I began to feel an ame- 
lioration which augmented every moment ; before Ca- 
tharine had recovered the use of her senses, I was com- 
pletely cured, there only remained to me a certain 
weakness, a proof of my illness, or an effect of my want 
of faith. Catharine, aware of the grace that she had ob - 
tained from her Spouse, came to herself and caused 
them to prepare for me the ordinary nourishment com- 
mon to the sick. When I had taken it from her vir- 
ginal hands, she ordered me to sleep a little ; I obeyed, 
and on awakening If ound myself as active as if nothing 
had happened to me. Then she said to me, "Now go 
and labour for the salvation of souls, and render 
thanks to the Omnipotent who hath delivered you 
from this danger." I returned to my habitual fa- 
tigues, glorifying the Lord who had bestowed such 
power on his faithful spouse. 

At the same epoch, Catharine worked a miracle on 
Friar Bartholomew of St D ominick of Sienna, my friend, 
he who at present governs the Roman province, and this 
miracle was more remarkable, because that religious 
had been long and grievously sick with the plague. 

When the contagion had passed to Sienna, many per- 
sons, but aboveall the sisters of a convent of Pisa, hav- 
ing heard the praises of Catharine celebrated, evinced 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES, 179 

a lively desire of seeing her, and profiting by her in- 
structions. They therefore entreated her to repair 
to Pisa, promising, in order to attract her, that her 
presence would be profitable to many souls. Catha- 
rine did not like journeys, but she had recourse to her 
divine Spouse, and humbly referred the case to his 
decision : she had consulted the opinion of those wh( 
surrounded her, and their sentiments were divided ; 
Borne days after our Lord appeared to her, and com 
manded her to yield to the requests of his servants^ 
who were expecting her in the city of Pisa. " My 
Name," said he, " will be greatly glorified by this 
journey, and souls will derive much benefit, according 
to the promise that I made thee, when thy soul sepa- 
rated from thy body, and was united to it anew." 

Catharine obediently made known to me the di- 
vine will, and repaired directly to Pisa. I accompanied 
her, with several Fathers of my order, so as to hear 
confessions. Many of those who visited her had their 
hearts moved by her fervent words, and Catharine, 
in order that the devil might not resume his conquests, 
ordered them to seek a Confessor, and ask directly 
the sacrament of penance. 

On our arrival at Pisa, Catharine was received hoa 
pitably at the house of an inhabitant named Girard 
Buonconti. Her host one day brought a young man of 
twenty years, and presented him to her, requesting her 
to be so kind as to pray for the recovery of his health, 
informing her that during eighteen months fevers had 
never left him, and although he had none at that mo- 
ment, they had been so violent, that his health was 
completely ruined notwithstanding all the efforts of 



180 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

medical skill and science. And indeed his pale attenu- 
ated countenance was suffcient proof. 

Catharine, moved with pity, inquired of the youth 
how long a time had elapsed since he had been to con- 
fession. On his replying that several years had found 
him remiss in his duty, " God," said she to him, * 'sends 
you this affliction, because you have remained so long, 
without purifying your soul in the sacrament of pen- 
ance: go, therefore, my dear son, and confess, cleanse 
your soul from the corruption of suTwhich has impoi- 
soned your body." Then she sent for Friar Thomas, 
her first Confessor, and confided the sick youth to his 
care that he might hear his confession and givehim ab- 
solution. When this was terminated, the youth returned 
to Catharine who said to him, while putting her hand 
on his shoulder, "Go, my son, with the peace of our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; it is my will that you should have 
this fever no more." And it happened as she willed. 

From that moment the young man had no more at- 
tacks of fever. In Catharine resided the power of Him 
of whom it is written ; He spoke and it was done, 
commanded and creation sprung from chaos. Somo 
days after the youth came and thanked her who had 
healed him, and he assured us that he had not been 
troubled with the slightest indisposition since that hour. 

I was witness to this and can say like St. John, 
" He who hath seen beareth testimony." There were 
also with me, Catharine's host, and Lapa, and also the 
inmates of the house, also Friar Thomas, Confessor of 
Catharine and of thepatient, Friar Bartholomew of St. 
Dominick and all the devout women of Sienna who had 
accompanied Catharine. The youth who had been re- 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 181 

stored to health, published the miracle throughout 
the city, and when I was passing through Pisa seve- 
ral years, after, he visited me and it was with diffi- 
culty I recognised him, so robust and manly was he ia 
health and bearing; he recounted in presence of those 
who accompanied me, what had occurred and attribu- 
ted the glory of it to God's faithful servant Catharine. 

A miracle similar to this had taken place at Sienna ; 
only the illness was more dangerous. A Sister oj 
Penance of St. Dominick named Gemmina, was much 
attached to Catharine; she had a quinsy, in conse- 
quence of a cold in the head which she had neglected, 
and her sickness made such rapid progress that the 
remedies employed proved inefficacious; the throat 
was so much inflamed that there was danger of suf- 
focation. In this position, she made an extraordinary 
effort and went to Catharine, saying, as well as she 
could, as soon as she beheld her, "Mother, I shall die, 
unless you help me." Catharine had pity on the poor 
sister who could scarcely breathe ; in holy confidence, 
she applied her hand to the throat, made over it the 
sign of the Cross, and the pain disappeared immediately ; 
she who had come in much pain and suffering, returned, 
in perfect health, and with joy and gratitude, ran to 
Friar Thomas and related to him what had occurred- 
the latter took note of it, and from his manuscripts I 
extracted what I have just narrated. 

When the Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory XT., quitted 
his abode in Avignon to return to Rome, Catharine 
arrived at Genes, before him, and remained there to 
meet him. Two young persons from Sienna accom- 
panied us ; they were very pious, and are still living, 



182 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

The first was called Neri de Landoccio of Pagliaresi 
he despised the world and its vanities and sanctified 
himself in solitude; the other was Etienne Corrade 
of Maconi. Catharine, when leaving this exile to soar 
to heaven, ordered him to enter the order of the Car- 
thusians, and the grace of God so truly accompanied 
him, that he now directs a great portion of his order 
by his visits, teaching, and example. He was succes- 
sively placed at the head of several monasteries, and 
is now Prior of the Chartreuse of Milan. They were 
witnesses, as myself, of the greater number of mira- 
cles related in this second pan ; but in the city of 
Genes the divine power was manifested in regard to 
themselves, by means of the blessed Catharine. 

Whilst we were there, Neri was taken with an acute 
pain, which caused him much suffering, and inconve- 
nienced us greatly : he could neither walk nor yet be 
in bed ; he crawled about on his hands and knees in 
the apartment, where other persons slept, and this 
irritated his pains, instead of soothing them, and an 
inflammation ensued. 

Catharine having heard it, appeared to be moved 
to pity, and desired me to have physicians called and 
proper remedies given him ; I obeyed promptly, in- 
viting two medical advisers whose orders were faith- 
fully accomplished ; but the patient instead of obtain- 
ing relief, suffered more. I presume God permitted 
this, because he desired to display in an admirable 
manner, the power of his spouse. The physicians per- 
ceiving their prescriptions useless, told me that they 
had no hope of saving him. 

"When I gave this news to the religious and the com- 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLBS. 188 

panions who were at table with me, Etienne Maconi 
left his repast, with a melancholy heart, and hastened 
to Catharine's room. He threw himself at her feet, 
melting into tears, conjuring her not to suffer his 
companion and brother, during a journey undertaken 
for God and her, to die far from home and be buried 
in a strange land. Catharine deeply affected, said to 
him with maternal tenderness, " Why my son, do you 
suffer yourself to be troubled ? If God wishes to re- 
compense your brother Neri's labours, you ought not 
to be afflicted, but on the contrary, rejoice." But 
Etienne insisted, " O dearest, kindest mother, I con- 
jure you, hear my petition, help him ; I am perfectly 
convinced that you can, if you will." And Catharine, 
incapable of concealing her tenderness, replied, " I 
only exhorted you to conform to God's will; but since 
I see you so sad, when I receive holy communion 
at to-morrow morning's Mass, remind me of your re 
quest and I promise to pray God for your inten- 
tion you must yourself pray that he may hear me." 
Etienne, quite joyous at having obtained this pro- 
mise, failed not to present himself to Catharine just as 
she was going to Mass ; he'knelt humbly, and said to 
her, "Mother, I entreat you not to deceive my expec- 
tation." Catharine communicated at the Mass and as 
usual remained a long time in ecstasy. When she had 
resumed the use of her senses, she smiled on Etienne, 
who was waiting by her side, and said to him, "You 
have obtained the grace that you asked." "Etienne 
said, "Mother, will Neri be cured?" " Assuredly he 
will be saved," answered she, " for God desires to re- 
store him to us." Etienne hastened to impart his joy- 



184 LIFE u* ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

ful hopes to the sick person. The physicians after- 
wards arrived, and having recommenced their obser- 
vations, began to say that, although they had given 
him up, his symptoms demonstrated that he might yet 
recover. In effect, according to Catharine's promise, 
convalescence commenced, and the recovery was soon 
complete. 

But Etienne Maconi, overcome by the fatigue and 
sorrow occasioned by Neri's illness, was attacked by a 
violent fever, attended with vomiting and violent 
pains in the bead. He kept his bed, and as he was gene- 
rally beloved, we assisted him, and sought to console 
him. When the blessed Catharine heard of his state 
she was much afflicted ; she visited him, and interro- 
gated him concerning his malady, and perceiving that 
he was suffering from a fever, she said in a tone of au- 
thority, " I command you in virtue of holy obedience 
to have this fever no longer." Wonderful to relate, 
nature obeyed this order as if the Creator of all things 
had pronounced it from high heaven ; without en> 
ploying any remedy, and before Catharine left his bed- 
side, Etienne was completely delivered from his fever. 
We were all delighted to have our friend restored to 
us, and gave thanks to God for having so promptly 
manifested bis power. 

To these two miracles I will add a third, of which 
I was not witness, being absent ; but she in whose 
i&Your it was performed, is yet living, and can testify 
to it. Jeanne de Capo, was a Sister of Penance of St, 
Dominick, and belonged to Sienna, but did not reside 
there. When the Sovereign Pontiff Gregory XI., 
bad returned to Rome, he sent Catharine to Florence 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 185 

in order to establish peace and reconcile the common 
father of the faithful with his revolted children. Ca- 
tharine succeeded as I will narrate in a special chapter ; 
but the infernal serpent who creates and entertains 
discord, because he is the enemy of unity, excited a 
sedition in the city against the speuse of Christ, who 
was endeavouring to make peace. Her friends and 
those who accompanied her, advised her to withdraw 
for a time, and allow this tempest to pass. She al- 
ways humble and prudent, submitted to their views, 
but said that God had forbidden her to quit the neigh- 
bourhood of the city, so long as peace and concord 
were not concluded between the Sovereign Pontiff and 
the people of Florence. 

Catharine was therefore making preparations to re- 
tire from the city: but it was discovered that Jane was 
indisposed ; one of her feet was very much swollen, and 
the pain in it created a high fever, which prevented 
her from setting out. Catharine would not leave her 
alone, exposed to the ill-treatment of the impious, and 
she had recourse to prayer. She implored our Lord to 
condescend to lend an ear to her necessities, and while 
she was praying a gentle slumber took possession of 
the sick woman, and when, she awoke, she was per- 
fectly cured, without feeling any effects of her illness 
She arose, and when daylight dawned, she set out with 
the others; her companions who had seen her suffering 
were in amazement, and blessed God for his mercies 
towards Catharine. 

To this miracle, I will add another which occurred 
at Toulon, in Provence. We stopped at an Inn of 
that city, at the f i^io of th/> return of Gregory XI. to 



186 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Rome ; Catharine withdrew as usual to her apartment; 
we had not spoken of her, but the very stones appeared 
to announce her arrival. First women, and then men, 
came to our residence and asked where was the saint 
who returned from the Pontifical Court. The hostler 
having told them, it became impossible to hinder the 
crowd, and we were obliged to admit the women. One 
of them brought an infant whose body was so swollen 
that it excited pity in the beholders, and some person 
present asked Catharine to be so obliging as to hold 
the infant a moment in her arms. Catharine refused 
because she desired to shun the admiration of men ; 
but in fine, overcome by compassion, she consented to 
what was demanded with such lively faith. Hardly 
was the babe placed in her virginal hands, than the 
swelling disappeared, and the little invalid was com- 
pletely restored. I was not present when this miracle 
was performed; but it was so evident and so well cer- 
tified, that the Bishop of the city sent for me, and 
when relating it, informed me that the child was the 
nephew of his vicar ; he requested me to obtain for him 
an interview with Catharine. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ produced many other mira- 
culous cures, by the intervention of the blessed Catha- 
rine; it would be impossible for me to recount them 
all in one book, but I have recounted some, which will 
suffice to prove how Jesus, the son of God and of Mary, 
acted in her. The deliverance of those that were tor- 
mented with devils naturally refers to the healings of 
the body; but as this chapter is sufficiently lengthy, 
and as Catharine enjoyed a special grace for those un- 
fortunate souls, I will treat this subject separately. 



EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES. 187 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Of Miracles performed by Catharine for delivering such aa were 
possessed by the Deril. 

OUR divine Lord continually exhibited exteriorly the 
graces with which he interiorly adorned his spouse. 
Fire cannot remain concealed, and a tree planted by 
the water courses always bears its fruit in due season 
The virtue of Jesus Christ, or rather Jesus Christ him- 
self, dwelt in Catharine's heart, and displayed its pre- 
gence there more and more each successive day, not only 
by obtaining for sinners the conversion of their souls, 
and for the sick health and corporal restoration, but in 
commanding evil spirits, and chasing them from those 
whom they possessed ; and thus for the Name of our 
Lord residing in her, everything in heaven, on earth, 
and in hell bent the knee before her. 

There was in Sienna a man named Ser. Michel de 
Monaldo, a very skilful notary, whom I have seen a 
hundred times, and from whom I received the follow- 
ing facts. Being advanced in years, he took the reso- 
lution, with his wife's consent, to consecrate himself 
wholly to the service of God and to offer to Him the vir- 
ginity of his two daughters. He made application to a 
monastery established in the city, under the invocation 
of St. John the Baptist ; he confined his daughters to 
the religious Sisters who resided there, gave them his 
fortune, and lodged with his wife outside of the enclo- 
sure, and there directed the temporal affairs of the con- 
vent. This arrangement lasted a considerable time, 
when by a just, but incomprehensible judgmentof God, 
one of the daughters of Ser. Michel, called Laurencia, 



188 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

aged about eight years, became possessed by the devil; 
the foe of salvation tormented her cruelly and troubled 
the peace of the entire monastery. The Nuns being un- 
able to retain the child longer, obliged Ser. Michel to re- 
sume his charge. When she had retired from the con- 
vent the devil ceased not to manifest his presence in an 
extraordinary manner. He spoke Latin by her mouth, 
although she had no idea of that tongue ; he answered the 
most difficult questions, and manifested the sins and the 
secrets of a great number of persons ; in fine, it was evi- 
dent to every one that God permitted the devil, for a 
motive concealed from man, to torment this poor little 
innocent. 

Her parents were in the deepest distress and sought 
every method of relieving her; they brought her to 
visit the relics of saints whose merits could put the 
devil to flight. They had above all confidence in the 
intercession of the blessed Ambrose of the Order of 
Preaching Friars, whom God has glorified during more 
than a century by a great number of miracles, and who 
is endued with a special power for chasing out malig- 
nant spirits; his cope or his scapular, which are still 
preserved, have often sufficed for delivering the pos- 
sessed when clothed in them ; I have myself witnessed 
this effect on several occasions. The parents of little 
Laurencia led her to the church of the Preaching 
Friars, placed her on the tomb of blessed Ambrose, 
covered her with his habit or sacerdotal ornaments, 
and fervently implored God for her deliverance, but 
they were not heard ; this possession was undoubtedly 
not to punish the child who had not sinned, nor her 
parents who had always led an exemplary life; but 



CASTING OUT EVIL SPIRITS. 189 

God I presume suffered it, in order to increase the 
honour of his faithful servant. The blessed Ambrose 
who already enjoyed beatitude, desired to leave the 
credit of the miracle to Catharine who was continuing 
her earthly pilgrimage, and thus make known her 
virtues to the faithful, even before her death. Several 
of Catharine's acquaintances advised the parents of 
Laurencia to present their child to her; but when 
they attempted it, Catharine answered "Alas! I am 
myself daily tormented by the demons ; how do you 
imagine that I can deliver others?" And as she could 
not escape by the door, without meeting those who 
came, she hid herself so completely in the attic, that 
they could not find her. The parents retired, without 
having obtained anything; but this proof of humility 
and this flight from human esteem, inspired them with 
greater confidence in her sanctity, and induced them 
to demand her assistance with greater ardour. 

As they could not procure access to her, because she 
forbade all her companions to speak to her of this affair, 
they had recourse to Friar Thomas, as her Confessor, 
to whom they knew Catharine was very submissive. 
They exposed their misfortune to him, and entreated 
him to oblige Catharine in the name of holy obedience 
to help them in their affliction. Friar Thomas felt an 
extreme compassion for their trouble, but he knew that 
his authority did not extend so far as to oblige Catha- 
rine to the performance of miracles, and as he feared 
to wound her humility, he made use of the following 
expedient. One evening while Catharine was absent, 
he conducted the little possessed into her oratory, and 
said to one of her companions ^wbo ramainod in the 



190 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

house, "Tell Catharine, when she will return, that I 
command her in virtue of holy obedience, to allow that 
child to remain here during the night, and to keep her 
until morning near herself." Catharine returned a 
short time after, and found little Laurencia in her 
room; she recognized that she was possessed by the 
demon, and suspected that it was the child that she had 
refused to see. Having questioned her companion and 
learned the order of her Confessor, she perceived that 
there was no means of escape ; she therefore had re- 
course to prayer, and forced the child to kneel and 
pray with her. The whole night was consumed in 
this combating the enemy by a holy vigil ; before day- 
break, the demon was, notwithstanding his resistance, 
overcome by the divine virtue, and the delivered child 
felt no ill. Tn the morning, as soon as Alessia, Catha- 
rine's companion, was informed of it, she told her Con- 
fessor that Laurencia was no longer possessed. Friar 
Thomas, with the parents, repaired directly to Catha- 
rine's house; they found Laurencia completely cured, 
and with tears of joy thanked God, and her whom he 
had deigned to use as his merciful instrument. They 
intended taking their daughter with them, but Ca- 
tharine knew by a divine light what was to happen, 
and bade them, "Leave the child there a few days, it 
being necessary to her salvation." They accepted this 
proposition with eagerness and joyfully withdrew. 
Catharine profited by this time to give holy counsels 
to Laurencia ; she taught her by word and example to 
pray frequently and fervently, and prohibited her leav- 
ing the house, under any pretext, until her parents 
came for her. The child, was docile, and showed her- 



CASTING OUT EVIL SPIRITS. 191 

self day by day better disposed ; the house in which 
she was staying was not Catharine's, but that of her 
companion Alessia, and it was not very remote. It 
happened that Catharine remained a whole day at home 
with Alessia, having left Laurencia in charge with the 
domestic. After nightfall, Catharine suddenly called 
Alessia, and told her to put on her cloak and go with 
her at once to the child that had been entrusted to 
them ; the latter observed that it was unbecoming for 
females to go out at that hour ; but Catharine an- 
swered. u Hasten, for the infernal wolf has caught the 
lamb that we have saved." She and Alessia set out 
without delay and when they reached the house they 
found Laurencia furious, her countenance totally dis- 
torted and inflamed. ** Ah ! serpent," exclaimed Ca- 
tharine, ' ' th ou hast dared to enter anew into that in- 
nocent child ; but I have faith in Jesus my Saviour 
and Spouse ; thou shalt make thy exit, no more to re- 
turn." Pronouncing these words, she led the child 
into the place where the prayers had been offered, 
and after somo instants she brought her back perfectly 
delivered, and recommended her to take some repose. 
When morning arrived, she sent for the parents, and 
said, ** Now, you may take your child in all security, 
she will not be tormented in future." The prophecy 
has so far been accomplished. Laurencia returned to 
her monastery and has served God in it, in peace, for 
more than sixteen years. 

Being desirous of knowing more fully what had 
passed, I interrogated Catharine herself, and I asked 
her how the demon had been so audacious as to resist 
the power of relios and even exorcism. She answered 



192 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

that the obstinacy of the evil spirit was so great that 
she had been forced to dispute with him until four 
o'clock in the morning : she ordered him to come out 
in the Name of the Redeemer, and he obstinately re- 
fused ; but after a long contest, the demon perceiving 
himself on the point of being driven out, said, " If I 
leave her, I will enter thy soul." Catharine said 
" If God will allow it ; for I know that thou canst do 
nought without his permission, and I refrain from 
opposing his holy will in the least." 

Then the spirit of pride, overcome by this trait of 
sincere humility, lost his power over that child ; how- 
ever he held hep by the throat and provoked a swell- 
ing in it ; Catharine raising her hand to the neck, 
made over it the blessed sign of redemption; the 
devil then lost his grasp entirely. 

The following miracle will exhibit more clearly to 
what a degree the blessed Catharine had received from 
God the power of driving out Satan ; I was not present, 
for she had sent me to Uie Vicar of Jesus Christ, Pope 
Gregory XL, on affairs relative to the Church; but 
brother " Saint," the hermit whose cure I related above, 
Alessia and other accompanying friends are witnesses. 

Catharine had gone with the noble and venerable 
lady Bian china, widow of John Agnolino Salimbeni, to 
la Roche Castle, where I had passed several weeks with 
her. A woman near this castle was seized with the de- 
mon, who tormented her shockingly. When lady Bi- 
anchina knew this, she, through compassion, wished 
that Catharine would succour the unhappy victim : 
but she knew her humility and her annoyance, when 
they spoke to her of such subjects. Having taken coun- 



CASTING OUT EVIL SPIRITS. 198 

sel from her companions, she had the possessed person 
brought into Catharine's presence, in order that the 
sight of her might inspire Charity and excite her to 
deliver her. When they conducted her there, our bles- 
sed Catharine was labouring to reconcile two enemies 
who were at war, and she was disposing herself to go 
into the neighbourhood to terminate the quarrel. As 
soon as she beheld the possessed woman, she compre- 
hended that escape was inevitable, and expressed her 
sorrow to Lady Bianchina," May God forgive you, lady, 
for what you have done. Do you not know that I am 
often tormented by the devils; how can you oblige 
me to expose myself to them, by leading before me a 
possessed individual?'' Then she turned towards the 
demoniac, saying, ' ' You cursed spirit, who are resolved 
to prevent this reconciliation, place your head here, 
and wait in that position until my return !" 

At that order, the possessed woman with great do- 
cility placed her head as Catharine had commanded, 
and the blessed Catharine went to terminate the work 
her charity had began. Satan cried out, by the mouth 
of the possessed, u Why do you retain me here, let me 
go, I am too cruelly tormented." The person present 
R?,id, " Why do you not leave the room, the door is 
open?" And the evil spirit said, U I cannot; that wo- 
man has enchained me." When he wasasked whom he 
meant, he either would not or could not name her ; he 
only said : " my enemy." Brother Saint, who supported 
the head of the possessed woman, asked him, " Js thy 
enemy very powerful?" He answered, " 1 have none 
greater in the whole world." When those present do 
sired to prevent his screams, they tried to silence him 



194 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

by saying, " Be quiet, Catharine is coming." The first 
time he rejoined, she is not coming yet, she is in such 
a place, and indicated the exact place where she ac- 
tually was. On being asked what she was doing, he 
said, * Something that displeases me sovereignly, and 
which she often does" and with that saying, he 
shrieked still louder, " Why keep me here." Still he 
never moved the head of the demoniac from the posi- 
tion in which Catharine had commanded it to be 
placed. After a few moments he said, The one 1 
hate is returning here." They asked where she was ; 
he answered, " She is no longer in that place; she is 
in such a place," then added, "now she is there "and 
indicated all the different localities through which 
Catharine passed ; at T length he said, " now she is on 
the threshold of the house ;" and it was correct. 
When Catharine[entered the room, he cried still more 
icudly, "Why do you keep me here?" "Get up, 
wretch," said Catharine to him, ** go forth quickly, 
and leave in peace this creature of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and never presume to torment her anew." 

At these words the evil spirit forsook every portion 
of her body, except the throat, which he caused to 
swell in a fearful manner. Catharine applied her 
virginal hand, and making the sign of the cross over 
it, chased the demon away completely. The woman 
was relieved in presence of all the spectators, and 
being weak and overcome by excess of suffering, Ca- 
tharine sustained her some time by allowing her to 
recline upon her breast and in her arms ; after order- 
ing her some refreshing diet, they led her to her own 
house. When the poor invalid, who was delivered^ 



HER GIFT OF PROPHECY. 195 

had opened her eyes after sleeping, she was astonished 
to perceive herself surrounded by so many persons, 
and in the house of her mistress ; and she inquired of 
her relatives, 4i who carried her there and when ?" 
When they informed her that she had been tormented 
by the demon, she said that she had no remembrance 
of it, only she felt as though she had been beaten vio- 
lently in every limb, and that her body felt univer- 
sally bruised. She rendered humble thanks to 
her liberator, and went on foot to the house whence 
they had been forced to carry her on a litter. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ delivered several other pos- 
sessed, in a miraculous manner, by Catharine's in- 
tercession. I did not recount these cures in this chap- 
ter, but those that 1 have cited suffice to give a clear 
view of the grace the blessed Catharine had received 
for casting out demons ; she obtained it by triumph- 
ing in herself over these malicious spirits, with God's 
help, in many a striking circumstance. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Of Catharine's Gift of Prophecy, and in what manner she delivered 
several persons from the danger which threatened their souls and 
bodies. 

WHAT I am about to offer may appear incredible ; 
but the infalible truth is my witness, that such has 
been my experience, and there is nothing, of all that 
has ever occurred to me, of which I am so certain. 
Catharine possessed a prophetical spirit so perfect and 
so constant, that nothing could escape her ; she knew 
whatever referred to herself of to those who ap- 



196 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

preached her, or who sought her counsels for the bene- 
fit of their souls : it was impossible for us to do any- 
thing good or ill in her absence, without her having 
at the very instant a knowledge of it : we experi- 
enced it, so to speak, at each moment ; and what 
is more admirable, she often told us our inmost 
thoughts, as if they had been h'ers. I know that for 
myself, and I confess it before the whole Church mi- 
litant, she rebuked me for certain thoughts which 
were troubling me in the very moment, and that I 
was obstinately concealing from her. 1 am not 
ashamed to declare it for her glory. " Why hide from 
me," said she to me, " what I see more clearly than 
you think ?" And she directly gave me wholesome ad- 
rice on that subject. This happened to me very often, 
ile who knoweth all things is my witness. But let 
us enter into some details ; and for the sake of order, 
let us commence with things spiritual. 

There was in Sienna a knight,who to nobility of birth 
added glorious exploits, and who had acquired in the 
neighbourhood the title of "My Lord Nicolas des Sar- 
rasius. ' After passing a great portion of his life in bat- 
tles, he had returned to his domestic fireside, intending; 
to administer his estate and enjoy a fortune; he made 
merry vith his friends, and promised himself a long ca/- 
reer. Eternal Goodness, who wills the death of none, 
inspired the knight's lady and some pious relatives wi^h. 
a. design of engaging him to go to confession and do pe- 
nance for the sins committed in the lengthy wars, which 
had occupied the former portion of his lif e ; but he, all 
devoted to visible things, derided these prudent coun- 
sels, sd cared little for his eternaJ salvation. 



HER GIFT OF PROPHECY. 197 

At this period the blessed Catharine enlightened the 
city of Sienna by her virtues, and was particularly re- 
markable by the conversion of sinners the most hard- 
ened, who were either completely converted, or at least 
renounced a portion of their evil customs. The indivi- 
duals who were interesting themselves in the salvation 
of the knight, perceiving the futility of their efforts, 
requested him to hold a conversation with Catharine. 
" What have I to do with that good woman ? Pray, 
what service could she render me ? His wife who was 
strongly attached to Catharine went to her and in- 
formed her how hardened her husband was, and en- 
treated her to pray to God for his conversion. It hap- 
pened one night that the blessed Catharine appeared in 
a dream to our chevalier, and warned him to listen to the 
good advice of his wife, if he would avoid eternal damna- 
tion. On awaking, he said to his lady, " Last night, I 
saw in my dreams that Catharine of whom you so often 
speak with me; I should like to have an interview with 
her, and see if she really looks as she appeared to me." 
His wife, overjoyed at this news, hastened to Catharine, 
thanked her, and agreed upon the time in which her 
husband might converse with her. In fine, the knight 
conversed with Catharine, was perfectly converted, and 
promised to go as soon as possible to confess his sins to 
Friar Thomas - he was faithful to grace and fulfilled 
W* promise. 

One morning after hehad concluded, thisman, whom 
J knew already, met me when I was returning from 
the city to my convent, and inquired of me where he 
would probablv find Catharine at that time. I said, 
1 1 1 presume in oar ehurah. " I pray you," added he, 



198 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

" be so kind as to conduct me there, because it is ne 
cessary for me to speak with her." I cheerfully con- 
sented ; and entering the church with him, I called one 
of Catharine's companions and charged her with the 
commission of the chevalier. Catharine arose from the 
place in which she was praying, and advancing to meet 
Mm, graciously and respectfully saluted him. The 
aged knight said to her with a profound inclination 
44 Madame, I have done what you prescribed to me ; 1 
confessed all my sins to Friar Thomas, who assigned 
me a penance, and I am resolved to accomplish it, 
such as it is imposed on me. Catharine responded, 
" You have acted wisely for the salvation of your soul ; 
now avoid all your former practices, and combat as 
valiantly for Jesus Christ as you have done for the 
world." She added " My Lord, have you confessed 
all that you did ?" And as he assured her that he was 
certain of having told all that came to his memory, 
the repeated to him " Examine well, whether you 
have omitted nothing ? w 

He affirmed anew that he had confessed all that he 
recollected. Catharine took leave of him, and allowed 
him to remain alone a few moments, and then called 
him by means of one of her companions, and said 
" Examine your conscience, I entreat you, and see 
whether you did not forget some sin." And as he 
again affirmed that he had confessed all, she drew him 
aside, and recalled to his memory a grievous sin that 
he had secretly committed when in la Puglia. The 
soldier, much astonished, acknowledged that he had 
indeed committed that sin ; he went in search of his 
Confessor and completed his confession. Afterwards 



HEK GIFT OF PROPHECY. 199 

he could not keep silence in regard to this miracle, and 
narrated its particulars to all those who wished to hear 
him, as though he would say, like the Samaritan woman, 
of old, " Come and see this virgin who revealed to me 
my most secret offences; is she not a saint and & 
prophetess ? How do otherwise than recognise it, fou 
the fault which she recalled to me, could be known to 
uo one but myself." From that hour, the brave knight 
obeyed Catharine, as a pupil obeys his master, and 
death soon manifested the necessity of this happy change. 
Ere that year had winged its flight, a painful illness 
concluded his days, and he rendered his soul to God in 
the best dispositions. 

There are several points worthy of remark in this 
event ; first, the apparition during sleep, the super- 
natural revelation of a sin, and then the salvation of a 
man, long habituated to offending. Let us, while 
blessing God for the use he made of Catharine's inter- 
cession, turn our attention to another species of reve- 
lation and a miraculous help obtained from heaven by 
her means. 

Before enjoying the privilege of a particular ac- 
quaintance with the blessed Catharine, I dwelt a long 
time in a fortified place, called Montepulciano, and I 
directed there during four years, a monastery of STuns 
of my order. During my sojourn in this place, where 
there was no convent of Preaching Friars, I had with 
me but one companion, and I found great pleasure in 
receiving the religious men who came from the houses 
in the vicinity, especially those for whom I felt a. 
stronger spiritual friendship. Friar Thomas, (Catha- 
rine's Confessor,) and Fri&r George JSaddo, now pro- 



200 LIFE OP ST. CATHAEINE OF SIENNA. 

fessor of Theology, proposed coming to see me in the 
convent of Sienna, in order to exchange spiritual con- 
solations. So as to return more promptly to Catha- 
rine, (who always required Friar Thomas,) the two 
Religious took horses that were lent them by persons 
of their acquaintance. Arrived at about six miles from 
the place where they intended going, they had the im- 
prudence to halt and rest themselves ; the people of the 
place were not thieves by profession, but when they saw 
travellers alone and without defence, they allured them 
apart, robbed them, and sometimes killed them, so 
that justice might not discover their crimes. 

Having observed these two Religious, unaccom- 
panied and taking rest in an inn, they went before, to 
the number of ten or twelve, and awaited in the wind- 
ing paths of a solitary place. When the Religious 
passed by, they attacked them roughly with swords 
and lances, dragged them from their horses, robbed 
them completely, and conducted them with abusive 
treatment into the depth of the forest : there they held 
council, and the two Religious comprehended perfectly 
well that there was question of killing them, and con- 
cealing their corpses in order to destroy all trace of 
their criminal conduct. 

In the midst of such a pressing danger, Friar 
Thomas spared not entreaties and promises of " saying 
nothing ; n but when he saw that all was useless, and 
that they were conducting them farther and farther 
into the deep and entangled forest, he comprehended 
that God alone could succour them and began to pray- 
Knowing how agreeable his spiritual daughter was to 
God, he said interiorly " O Catharine, meel^and do- 



HER GIFT OF PROPHECY. 201 

voted servant of God, help us in this peril." Scarcely 
had he uttered these words in heart, than the robber 
nearest him, and the one too who appeared to be 
charged to kill him, said, " Why should we kill these 
poor friars who never did us any injury ? it would be 
indeed an enormous crime ! let us suffer them to go, 
they are good-hearted men, who will never betray us." 
All accepted this opinion, so suddenly advanced, with 
such unanimity, that not only they allowed the Reli- 
gious their lives, but even restored to them their gar- 
ments, horses, and all that they had stolen, except a 
little money, and suffered them to go at liberty : they 
arrived at my house on the same day and related these 
preceding circumstances. When Friar Thomas re- 
turned to Sienna he certified, as he wrote, and as he re- 
counted to me, that at the same moment in which he 
had invoked her assistance, Catharine said to one of her 
nearest companions : " My father Confessor is calling 
me, and 1 am aware that he is in great danger," and 
rising immediately she went to pray in her oratory. It 
cannot be doubted, that it was at that moment, by the 
efficacy of her prayers, that a change so wonderful was 
produced in the dispositions of the robbers ; and she 
did not, we may believe, desist from praying until they 
had restored to those Religious then* liberty and their 
goods. It is evident that Catharine possessed the 
spirit of prophecy, for she knew at a distance of twenty- 
four miles, a mental prayer addressed to her, and was 
capable of granting so promptly and perfectly the help 
implored. 

How advantageous is it to be in the friendship of 
person? who see like the angelic spirits, and who being 



202 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

clothed with power divine may aid us in every danger ; 
and if Catharine's prayers were so powerful while she 
was yet in this terrestrial vale, what must be her influ- 
ence now in heaven. 

I here present another circnmstance to which I was 
witness with Friar Pierre de Velletri of my order, ac- 
tual Penitentiary at St. John Lateran . it was a re- 
newed proof of Catharine's gift of prophecy. At the 
moment in which the greater portion of the cities and 
of the lands which belonged to the See of Rome, had 
revolted against the Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory XI. 
(viz. in 1375), Catharine was at Pisa, whither I had 
accompanied her. When the news of the defection of 
Perouse reached us, I was distressed at beholding in 
Christians, neither the fear of God, nor love for his holy 
Church, since they despised the sentences of excommu- 
nication pronounced against them, and had the audacity 
to usurp the rights of the Spouse of Jesus Christ. I 
went therefore to Catharine, with Friar Pierre de Vel- 
letri, my heart drenched in grief, and with tearful eyes 
announced to her this melancholy event. At first she 
mingled her sorrow with ours and deplored the loss of 
souls and the great scandals which afflicted the Church , 
but after a little, perceiving that we were too much 
dejected, she said in order to calm us, "Be not in haste 
to shed tears ; you will have worse things to excite 
your lamentations ; what you now mourn is mere milk 
and honey to what will follow." These words instead 
of administering comfort awakened a deeper grief, and 
1 said to her, ' Mother, can we possibly witness greater 
misfortunes, than beholding Christians lose all love and 
respect for the Church of God, and fearless of her 



HER GIFT OF PROPHECY. 203 

censures, separating from her union openly? the next 
step will be to deny our Lord himself !" Then she said 
to me, "Now laymen behave thus; but ere long you 
will find that the clergy will also render themselves 
culpable." And as, in great astonishment, I exclaimed, 
" how dreadful! will the clergy also rebel against the 
Sovereign Pontiff?" she continued, "When the Holy 
Father will attempt to reform their morals, the eccle- 
siastics will offer the spectacle of a grievous scandal to 
the whole Church ; they will ravage and divide it as 
though they were heretics." These words overwhelmed 
me with emotion, and I asked, " Mother, will a new 
heresy arise?" She answered, " It will not be an ac- 
tual heresy, but it will divide the Church with all 
Christendom ; hence arm yourself with patience, for 
you will be obliged to witness the misfortunes." 

I was silent and waited, becausel fanciedthatshe was 
disposed to disclose many other things to me : but not 
to increase my trouble slie declined further predictions. 
I confess that I did not comprehend these correctly, at 
the moment, on account of the obscurity of my under- 
standing : for I thought that all this would happen 
during the pontificate of the reigning Pope Gregory XI. 
At his death I had nearly forgotten that prophecy, but 
when Urban VI. succeeded, and the Church was rent 
with schism, I beheld the verification of what she pre 
dieted to me. Reproaching myself for the obtusenesa 
of my intellect, I endeavoured to hold another conver- 
sation with her on this subject, and God allowed me 
this privilege, when in obedience to the order of the 
Supreme Pontiff, Catharine repaired to Rome, in the 
counuencement of the schism. I then reminded her oi 



204 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

what she had said to me, several years previous : she 
had not forgotten it, and added: "I then told you 
that was what transpiring would prove but milk and 
honey : I now declare to you that the present transac- 
tions are children's sport in comparison with what will 
take place in the neighbouring territories." Shethusde- 
sigaated Sicily, the Roman province, and the surround- 
ing country: heaven and earth can testify the accom- 
plishment of that event. Queen Jeanne then reigned; 
but after who can describe the misfortunes which low- 
ered on her and her kingdom, on her successor and on 
foreigners who entered her states. The ravages which 
desolated that unhappy country are universally known. 
It is evident to any one in possession of reasoning facul- 
ties, that the blessed Catharine was endued with the 
gift of prophecy in so high a degree that she read in the 
future whatever of importance was destined to occur. 
But that it may not be said, as Achab formerly said 
of Micheas, (4 Kings zil. 8,) * His prophecies always 
announce evil and not good," I will present your sweets 
after the bitter, drawing for you from the pure trea- 
sures of things past and future belonging to the blessed 
Catharine. At Rome I requested her to inform me 
what would happen in the Church after all those mi- 
series. She replied, "After these tribulations and 
trials will have passed, God will purify the hoty Church 
by means unknown to men ; he will arouse the souls 
of the elect from lukewarmness and the reform of holy 
Church will be so beautiful, the renovation of her mi- 
nisters so perfect, that the future prospect of all this 
rejoices my soul in God. 1 have often spoken to you 
of the wounds, and of the nudity ot : the Spouse of 



HER GIFT OF PROPHECY 205 

Christ , but then she will be radiant with beauty, 
sparkling with jewels, and crowned with a diadem of 
virtues ; the faithful will rejoice in the holiness of their 
pastors , and>nbelievers, attracted by the good odour 
of Jesus Christ, will return to the sheepfold, and will 
surrender themselves to the Chief and Bishop of their 
souls. Give thanks to God for the great calm that he 
will give to the Church after that tempest." She said 
no more ; and I who know that the Almighty is more 
prodigal of his kindness than of his rigours, I have a 
firm hope that after the ills which are happening, the 
blessings foretold by the blessed Catharine will arrive ; 
and t!iat all the tribes of Israel shall know that she is 
truly u prophetess from God. 

As there is here questions of Catharine's prophecies, 
1 think it the best place to confound the ignorance of 
those who presume to contest her sincerity, and spread 
shameful calumnies against her sanctity. To give a 
precious colouring to their falsehoods, they say that 
she predicted a general Crusade of Christiana whicl 
she and her disciples were to follow into the Holy 
Land. She being dead many a year, as well as those 
who followed her, it is impossible that this pilgrimage 
should be accomplished, and they concluded thence 
that all her sayings were no prophecies, but dis- 
courses unworthy of attention. 

I acknowledge, first, that it is very true that Catha- 
rine always desired a Crusade, and that she acted with 
diligence in the hope of realizing this desire, it was, it 
may be said, the ruling motive of her joorney to Avig- 
uon ; she intended engaging Pope Gregory to organise 
a holy war ; and I am witness that she did so ; because 



206 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

when she conversed with the Sovereign Pontiff on that 
subject, I acted as interpreter ; Gregory XI. ex- 
pressed himself in Latin, and Catharine in the dialect 
of Tuscany. The Sovereign Pontiff said to her: 
" First of all, peace must be established among Chris- 
tians, and then we might organize a Crusade." Ca- 
tharine replied to him : "Holy Father, there is no 
better means for re-establishing peace among Chris- 
tians, than the undertaking of a Crusade. All the 
turbulent soldiers who now entertain division among 
the faithful, will go cheerfully and combat in the holy 
cause; very few will refuse to serve God in the pro- 
fession which pleases them, and it will be a means for 
expiating their offences, the fire will be thus extin- 
guished for want of fuel. You will thereby, Holy 
Father, accomplish several excellent things at once ; 
you will bestow peace on such of the Christians as re- 
quire it, and you will save great culprits by removing 
them. Should they gain important victories, you could 
ict, in consequence, with Christian princes ; if they 
yield, you will have procured salvation to their per- 
ishing souls : and besides, many Saracens might be 
oonverted." These words show with what zeal the 
blessed Catharine laboured to organize this crusade. 

Now, I declare to these calumniators that I never 
heard Catharine indicate in any manner whatsoever 
that a crusade would certainly take place ; I always 
found her on the contrary very reserved concerning it, 
never determining an epoch, but resigning the whole to 
divine providence. She expressed a hope that God would 
cast a look of mercy on his people and thus save many 
believers and unbelievers but noue c&a truthful ly 



HER GIFT OF PROPHECY. 207 

advance the she ever fixed the period of that crusade, 
and declared that she would follow it with her disci- 
ples : should any one appear to have thus understood 
her, they have conceived an incorrect interpretation 
of her words. 

The person who was the subject of the following pro- 
phecy, relates it daily to any one desirous of hearing 
it. There lived in Sienna, at the period of my ac- 
quaintance with Catharine, a youth of noble birth, 
but at that time of vile and contemptible manners ; 
he was called then as now, Francois Malevolti. He 
iost his parents at an early age, and the too great 
liberty he possessed led him into the most vicious prac- 
tices, lie espoused a youthful wife and this union 
ought to have incited him to a reformation of life, but 
he could not resolve to break off his wretched customs. 
One of his companions who was a disciple of Catha- 
rine, took compassion on his soul, and invited him to 
go and hear the holy counsels of the * l Blessed," and 
succeeded in leading him there occasionally ; after 
which Francois would repent and moderate his disor- 
ders for a time, but without being able to forsake 
them totally. 1 have often seen him with us ; he re- 
lished Catharine's salutary lessons and admirable ex- 
amples, and took pleasure in adopting them ; but ho 
would return to his former habits, especially to gam- 
ing, of which he was passionately fond. 

Catharine, who often prayed for his salvation, said 
to him one day in the ardour of her zeal, u You fre- 
quently come to visit me, and then like an untamed 
bird you return to your vices ; but fly away as much 
as you please, the moment- will come when God will 



208 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

allow me to throw a noose around your neck, which 
will prohibit your future flight!" Frangois and ail pre- 
sent observed these words. Catharine died without see- 
ing their accomplishments : poor Fran cjois relapsed into 
his former faults, but his faithful friend did more for 
him in heaven then her counsels could effect for him on 
earth. Frangois first lost his wife by an early death, 
then his mother-in-law, and other individuals who pre- 
sented obstacles to his salvation. He was thus led to 
consider his ways, and renounced the world to enter 
into the Order of the Olivetains. He persevered therein 
by God's grace and Catharine's merits; he always attri- 
butes his conversion to her who had predicted it, and 
continually tells the tale to every willing listener. 

To make a recapitulation here of all that has refe- 
rence to souls, I am about to relate a fact of which GOG 
rendered me the witness, but which is better appreci- 
ated by Dom. Bartholomew de Ravenne who was then, 
and is still, Prior of the Carthusians, in Gorgone Island, 
thirty miles from the port of Livourno. This Religious, 
who possessed fervent piety joined to consummate* 
prudence, was greatly attached to Catherine, and ex- 
tremely edified by her admirable instructions ; he of te^a 
pressed her to come und pass a day in his island, that he 
might conduct his Brethren to her and let them profit 
by God's holy word, and he entreated me to support his 
petition. Catharine consented to it : we made the voy- 
age to the number of about twenty persons The night 
of our arrival, the Prior lodged the " Blessed" and her 
companions about a mile from the monastery, and the 
following morning ho conducted all of his monks to 
Catharine and reg?Jfcai-*<I Jher to favour them \vith sonv i 



HER GIFT OF PEOPHECY 209 

words of edification. Catharine refused at first, excus- 
ing herself on the grounds of her incapacity, her igno- 
rance, and her sex, saying that it was meet that she 
should listen to God's servants, rather than speak in 
their presence. Overcome at last by the earnest prayers 
of the father and his spiritual sons, she began to speak, 
and said'what the Holy Ghost inspired her in reference 
to the numerous temptations and illusions which Satan 
presents to solitaries, and concerning the means of 
avoiding his wilesand of gaming a complete victory, and 
all this she did with so much method and distinctness, 
that I was filled with amazement, as indeed were all her 
audience. When she had terminated, the Prior turned 
towards me and said with admiration, "Dear Brother 
Raymond, I confess these religious, and consequently 
know the defects of each. I assure you, that if this 
saintly female had heard, as myself, their confessions, 
she could not have spoken in a more just and profitable 
manner : she neglected none of their wants, and did not 
utter a useless word. It is evident that she possesses the 
gift of prophecy and that she speaks by theHoly Ghost." 
In fine, I will add that I am positively certain in re- 
ference to my own case she predicted many things that 
I did not suspect, and of which I now see the full ac- 
complishment, but I decline entering into further de- , 
tails. I will restrict myself to what happened tooOuers : 
she had announced the terrible chastisements that would 
befall some persecutors of the Catholic Church: I say 
nought concerning them because of the wickedness of 
the people of our time, and to avoid exciting against 
her glorious name the venoin of detractors. 



210 LIFE OF ST. CATK4.KEXE OF SIENKA. 



CHAPTER X. 

Of the Miracles that our Lord produced by means of Catharine 
co things inanimate. 

SUPREME JUSTICE wills that all things obey those 
who are perfectly obedient to God. Catharine obeyed 
ner Creator faithfully, and all creatures in return ful- 
filled her commands. At the period in which our saint 
lived in Sienna, and previous to my acquaintance with 
her, there was a young widow, Alessia by name, who 
indulged such an ejection to Catharine that life was 
unpleasant when deprived of her society. She was anxi- 
ous to be clothed with the holy livery which Catharine 
wore, and deserted her own house, to occupy one near 
Catharine's and thus be able to commune with her 
more frequently ; hence our Blessed Catharine ne- 
glected somewhat the paternal roof, often tarrying with 
Messia several days, and sometimes weeks and entire 
months. One year grain was scarce : many inhabitants 
had purchased wheat that was spoiled by humidity, and 
it being impossible to find any other for any price, Ales- 
sia was forced to do the same. At the approach of har- 
vest, before their provision of flour was exhausted, new 
and excellent grain was brought to the market : and 
hence Alessia intended throwing away the remains of 
the bad flour, and make bread of the new wheat just 
purchased, and mentioned her intention to Catharine. 
The latter said, "Why throw away what God has given 
for man's sustenance ? If you do not like to eat of that 
bread distribute it to the poor who have none." Alessia 
said that she scrupled giving them bread that was of 
such bad quality, and preferred giving them plentifully 



MIRACLES ON THINGS INANIMATE. 211 

of that formed out of good flour, to which Catharine re- 
plied, "Prepare the water, and bring hither the flour 
that you intended throwing away, I will myself make 
some loaves of it, to distribute to the poor of Jesus 
Christ." 

Catharine first kneaded the paste, and then formed 
from a small quantity of the bad flour, such a number 
of loaves, and with such promptitude, that Alessia and 
her domestic who were looking on, could not recover 
from their astonishment; four or five times the amount 
of flour would have been requisite for making all the 
loaves which the blessed Catharine presented to Ales- 
sia, that the latter might arrange them on the boards, 
andtheseloavesofbreadhadnotthedisagreeableodour 
of those that had been hitherto made from this flour. 
When the whole was used, Catharine sent the bread to 
the oven and caused it to be served at table. All who 
partook of it not only found it free from bitterness or 
any unusual odour, but, on the contrary, declared they 
* ' had never eaten any so pleasant." The affair was re- 
ported to Friar Thomas, Catharine's Confessor, who 
came with other learned Religious to examine these 
particulars: those pious men were in admiration at the 
view of the multiplied quantity of the loaves and their 
quality so marvellously corrected. A third prodigy suc- 
ceeded these two. Catharine caused the loaves to be 
distributed, they were given copiously to the poor and 
to the Religious, no other bread was consumed in the 
house, and yet a great quantity was ever in the pantry. 
Thus the Lord, by the intervention of his handmaid, 
signalized his powerin three ways, on the occasion of 
her loaves: first, he corrected the corruption and bad 



212 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

odour of the flour: then he increased the paste from 
which it was formed ; and in fine, he so multiplied the 
bread that it served for distribution during several 
weeks. Manypious persons kept portions of thisjbread 
through devotion, there are some still provided withit, 
although twenty years have elapsed since the occur- 
rence of this miracle. 

Catharine was yet,living, when Ibecameacquainted 
with the above prodigy, and as I felt anxious to know 
more perfectly what passed I interrogated her in pri- 
vate, concerning the details of this event, and she gave 
me the following answer : " I experienced an ardent 
wish to avoid throwing away what God has designed 
to bestow on us, together with an extreme!compassion 
for the poor ; I went, therefore, with fervour to the 
chest (or bin) containing the flour. My gentle Queen 
the Blessed Virgin, appeared to me, accompanied by 
saints and angels, she ordered me to do what I pro- 
j ected, and deignedinher affectionate kindness to work 
with her royal hands in the kneading of the paste, and 
it was the virtue emanating from her sacred hands 
which so multiplied the loaves ; she presented them to 
ine as she finished each one, and I handed them to 
Alessia and her maid-servant." I said, therefore, 
u Mother, I am no longer astonished that this bread 
tasted so delicious, being composed and moulded by 
the glorious hands of that great Queen in whose vir- 
ginal womb the august Trinity condescended to make 
the 'bread that came down from heaven,' and which 
* gives life 1 to the believer." By thus assisting Catha- 
rine, the Mot&er of the Word designed to show us that 
She gave us, by her intercession, the spiritual bread of 



MIRACLES ON THINGS INANIMATE, 213 

salvation, just asshe gave us amaterialandmiracukms 
bread. It was God who had inspired us to call her 
Mother, and truly she gave us birth amid sighings and 
sorrow, until she had formed Christ within us, and 
daily distributed to us the wholesome bread of her ex- 
cellent instructions. 

Having spoken of this multiplication of bread, we 
will continue the same subject, recalling what hap- 
pened in the latter period of her life. My witnesses 
are, two Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick, who are 
still living, and at present in Rome. The first is Lysa, 
whose name is familiar to the reader, the second is 
Jeanne de Capo, who was also at Sienna. They ac- 
companied Catharine, when Urban VL, of happy me- 
mory, bade her come to the Eternal City. She lodged 
in the section of the column or Antonius, with a great 
number of her spiritual children. Her disciples had 
followed her, as it were, without her permission; some 
to visit the holy places, others to ask some favour from 
the Sovereign Pontiff; but all more particularly to en- 
joy the attractions of her conversations, which were so 
profitable to souls ; and it must also be said that the 
Sovereign Pontiff caused several servants of God to go 
to Rome, in consequence of a request from Catharine, 
and she took pleasure in showing them hospitality, 
She possessed nought in the wide world, having "nei- 
ther money nor purse," but begged for a support with 
her companions ; yet she would have received a hun- 
dred persons as easily as one alone, so confiding was 
her heart in God; she knew that God's treasures were 
inexhaustible : hence, at that epoch she had at least 
twenty-four persons with her, and the number was &6 



214 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

intervalsconsiderably increased. Catharine established 
an admirable system in the house; one of her associ- 
ates was designated each week to provide for and sur- 
vey the domestic arrangements, so that the others 
might be occupied with God and accomplish the pious 
works and holy visits which had induced them to come 
to Rome. 

Jeanne de Capo had her turn in fulfilling the func- 
tions of housekeeper. He bread consumed in the house 
was procured from the daily alms ; and Catharine had 
recommended to the person in charge, that each week 
she should give notice, one day in advance, when the 
bread wouldprobably fail, in order that she might send 
other mendicant Religious, orgo in quest of it herself. 
God permitted Jeanne to forget this recommendation 
on one occasion in the evening the bread was nearly 
all consumed; she had not forewarned Catharine and 
had no means of procuring any. There was scarcely 
enough of bread for the repast of four persons. Jeanne 
acknowledged her negligence, and went pensive and 
mortified to confess her fault and her embarrassment 
to Catharine. The latter said to her, " Sister, our 
Lord forgive you, for having reduced us to this posi- 
tion,notwithstanding the order I gave you. Now, the 
whole community are hungry for it is already quite 
late, and where can bread be procured for so many at so 
short a notice." Jeanne lamented, confessing her fault, 
and saying that she had sinned through negligence and 
merited a penance. " Warn the servants of God to 
take their place* at the table," said Catharine. And 
when Jeanne observed that there was so little bread 
that, by di\idingit, no one would have sufficient, Cft- 



MIRACLES ON THINGS INANIMATE. 215 

tharine answered, " Tell the^i to commence with tho 
little that is served, and wait until God provides for 
their necessities :" and then she went to prayer. 

Jeanne accomplished her orders, and apportioned 
among them all the scanty supply of bread. The 
guests, weakened and famished by the continual fasts 
which they observed (for the greater part), found their 
sharesveryinsignificantandthoughttheymustquickly 
disappear ; but in vain they ate, they never saw thj 
last piece, for some bread continually remained on the 
table, and in thisthu?e was nothing to excite surprise, 
since it was tho will of HIM who, with five loaves, 
satisfied five thousand men in the wilderness. 

Each one was astonished at herself and her neigh- 
bours, and all inquired in what manner Catharine was 
occupied ; it was answered in fervent prayer. The six- 
teen persons who were then present agreed in saying, 
u Her prayer has called down bread from heaven ; wa 
are all satisfied ; the little that was served us, far from 
being diminished is increased instead." After the re- 
past, such a quantity of bread remained on the table, 
that it sufficed to the Sisters in the house and others 
who afterwards partook of it plentifully ; and they 
were also]able to give an abundant alms to the poor. 
Lysa and Jeanne, eye-witnesses of this marvel, re- 
counted tomeonesimilar|to it, which God accomplished 
by means of Catharine, in the same house and in tho 
same year, during the Lenten season, and in a week 
that Franchise (a Sister Penitent of St. Dominick, 
and spiritual companion of Catharine on earth, and 
I trust now in the better land,) was housekeeper. 

I am UD willing also to pass in silence what hap* 



216 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

pened to myself when Catharine had gone to the home 
of the blessed ; my witnesses are, all of the friars who 
were at that moment in the convent of Sienna. It is 
nearly five years age ; I was in that city and at the ear- 
nest petition of Catharine's spiritual children, I had 
commenced writing her life. It occurred to me that 
the head of the saint which had been brought from 
Home to Sienna, and which I had ornamented to the 
best of my ability, had not yet been publicly exposed 
and honoured. I thought that a day might be selected 
for a solemn reception of this precious relic in the con- 
vent, as though it had just arrived, and that the Reli- 
gious might chant the Office of the day, as a particular 
one could not be allowed as long as the Sovereign Pon- 
tiff had not yet inscribed her in the catalogue of the 
saints. The festival took place to the great satisfaction 
of the Religious and the citizens, but especially of those 
persons of whom she had been the spiritual directress. 
I invited her most faithful disciples to dine in the refec- 
tory, and recommended the lay brother to give an 
extra attention to the serving of the repast. 

When the Office was concluded and the moment for 
breakfast arrived, the Brother in charge of the pantry 
came to the Prior and told him, with a melancholy air, 
that there was not sufficient bread for the Brethren at 
the first table, and none at all for the twenty invited 
guests. On this information, the Prior determined to 
ascertain the real situation of affairs, and having veri- 
fied it, he immediately sent the friar steward with Friar 
Thomas (Catharine's first Confessor) to several friends 
of the order to bring the bread required; but they de- 
layed coming BO long, that the Prior ordered the bread 



MIRACLES 01T THINGS INANIMATE. 217 

that was in the house to be taken to the strangers who 
were with me, and consequently very little bread re- 
mained in the pantry ; and as the mendicants did not 
appear, he bade the Religious seat themselves at the 
table, and in the meantime begin their meal. Then, 
either in the pantry or at table, or elsewhere, the 
bread was so multiplied by Catharine's intercession, 
that the whole Convent was abundantly supplied both 
at the first and at the second tables, and they gathered 
up many remains : fifty Religious were nourished with 
what could scarcely have sufficed for five among them. 
When the mendicant friars returned, it was an- 
nounced that their collection would serve another 
time, because God had perfectly provided for the ne- 
cessities of his servants. After the repast, I conver 
sed with our invited friends ; I was talking at lengtli 
of the virtues of Saint Catharine, when the Prior with 
some other religious arrived, and recounted to us the 
miracle that had just taken place. I consequently 
observed to my hearers : " Our blessed mother would 
not deprive us on her feast of a prodigy which she 
often effected during her sojourn on earth ; and this 
is a new proof that she accepts our homage and is 
continually with us ; hence let us return thanks to 
God, and to Tier for her maternal kindness." 

Besides the above wonders, God worked many mi- 
racles by his Spouse on flowers for example (for tfee 
saint was very fond of this poetry of nature ;) on bro- 
ken, or injured articles, and indeed on every grade of 
inanimate objects ; but I observe silence concerning 
them in order to avoid prolixity. I nrast however in- 
dulge myself in narrating a circumstance, testified bj 



218 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

twenty persons, aa well as myself, and well-known to 
the citizens of Pisa in general. In 1375, Catharine 
and her suite lodged at the house of Gherard Buon- 
conti, and during her sojourn there her continual ec- 
stasies so enfeebled her body that we thought her at the 
point of death. I dreaded losing her, and reflected upon 
what means I could adopt for reviving her ; she held 
meat, eggs, and wine in abhorrence, and for a stronger 
reason she would certainly decli ne any kind of cordials 
I asked her to suffer them to put a little sugar in the 
cold water that she was taking ; she directly answered, 
" Would you extinguish my feeble remains of vigour 
and life? whatever is sweet is poison to me." 

Gherard andmyselfsoughtwith anxiety someremedy 
against her swoons : I remembered having seen in simi- 
lar cases the temples and wrists of the invalid bathed 
in the wine of Vernacei^ and a sensible relief thus af- 
forded. I proposed to Gherard the administering the 
exterior remedy, as we could do nothing for the inte- 
rior. He informed me that he had a neighbour who was 
supplied with a cask of this kind of wine, and that ho 
could easily send and procure some of it. The indivi- 
dual sent on this commission, described the fainting fits 
of Catharine, and asked in Gherard's name a bottle of 
the desired wine. The neighbour, whose name I for- 
get, answered, " Friend, I would willingly give Gher- 
ard the whole cask ; but it has been completely empty 
during the last three months; I ain sorry for it. but to 
be very sure, come with me and as j." He then con- 
ducted him to the wine-cellar the messenger saw only 
exteriorly that the hogshead was empty, yet the pro- 
prietor, to 170 a greater certitude, drew thfl woodar 



MIRACLES ON THINGS INANIMATE, 219 

peg which served for drawing off the wine ; when im- 
mediately an excellent wine of Vernaceia came forth in 
abundance and moistened the surrounding earth. The 
astonishment of the owner was at its height, he closed 
the opening, called all the inmates of his house, and 
asked whether any one had put new wine into the 
cask. All declared that there had been no wine in it 
during the last three months, and it was impossible for 
any one to have poured any into it. The news was 
spread in the environs and everybody saw the miracle. 
The messenger overjoyed and filled with wonder, 
brought back a bottle of the marvellous wine, and re- 
counted to us what had transpired. Catharine's nu- 
merous spiritual children rejoiced in the Lord, and 
gave thanks to the Spouse of virgins for this miracle. 
Catharine's health being now re-established, she 
went to visit the Apostolical Nuncio just arrived at 
Pisa. The whole city was in commotion ; all the me- 
chanics left their workshops to go out and meet her. 
Behold ! said they, one who does not drink wine, and 
who has yet filled an empty cask with miraculous wine. 
As soon as Catharine became aware of this general 
movement, she poured out her tears and prayers before 
God. She thus complained to him interiorly : ** Lord, 
why wilt thou afflict the heart of thy lowly servant, 
and render her the sport of everybody ? All of thy 
servants can live in peace among men, except me ! 
Who did^solicit this wine from thy bounty ? For many 
long years, by an effect of thy inspiration, I deprived 
myself of wine, and now behold wine covers me with 
ridicule. In the name of all thy mercies, I conjure 
tliee to dry up, as quickly as possible, this wine, and 



220 LIFE OF ST. CATHAftlNE OF SIENNA. 

in such a manner as to destroy this report and unbe- 
coming excitement." God seemed incapable of sup- 
porting her trouble longer, and produced a second 
miracle, greater in my opinion than the first. The 
hogshead was filled with superior wine, and many 
of the inhabitants procured quantities from it through 
devotion, and yet its contents had not diminished ; but 
on a sudden the wine changed into a thick sediment, 
and what had been lately so delightful and exhilarat- 
ing became disgusting dregt similar to mud, and ut- 
terly unfit for drinking. In consequence, the master 
of the cellar and those who went to obtain wine, were 
forced to be silent, being ashamed to relate any more 
the circumstance that had excited their boasting. 
Catharine's disciples were also contradicted by this 
change, but she appeared quite gay and happy at the 
event, and thanked her divine Spouse who had de- 
livered her from the attentions of men. 

In the former miracle our Lord showed how very 
agreeable Catharine was in his sight, and in the 
latter, how profoundly submissive she was towards 
him: in the former appeared the grace which adorns 
her: in the latter her wisdom, for where humility 
dwells there is also wisdom found : for this reason, 
St. Gregory, in his first book of dialogues, esteems 
wisdom above prodigies and miracles. It is clear that 
the virtue of humility, without which there Is no pru- 
dence, was the cause of the second miracle, and ren- 
dered it more admirable than the first ; but the carnal 
heart cannot comprehend these things, and it is not 
astonishing, because the prudence of the flesh is not 
and can never b submissive to God. (Rota. viii. 7.) 



EER FREQUENT COMMUNIONS. 221 

CHAPTER XI. 

Of Catharine's frequent Communions, and of the Miracles pro- 
duced by Almighty God for her, relative to the Holy Eucharist 
and the Relics of the Saints; 

DEAR READER, God knows I would willingly con- 
clude this biography, particularly on account of the nu- 
merous occupations which press me on every side ; but 
when I meditate on Catharine's life, so many wonderful 
circumstances present themselves to my mind, that I am 
conscientiously obliged to add daily new facts, and ex- 
tend this volume beyond the limits that I primarily pre- 
scribed to it. It is well known to all who were ac- 
quainted with Catharine what profound respect and de- 
votion she entertained for the Body of our Lord in the 
Blessed Eucharist. It was publicly rumoured that Ca- 
tharine communicated every day, and that she could 
live without taking any nourishment. That was not 
perfectly exact; but those who said so piously believed 
it. and glorified God who is always wonderful in his 
saints. Catharine did not receive Holy Communion 
daily, but very often; and some haughty persons, more 
heathenish than Christian, murmured at these frequent 
communions. In consequence I defended the " Blessed," 
and they found nought to reply to the arguments that I 
offered, because they were all drawn from the lives and 
writings of the saints, and from the tenets of the Church . 

It was proved in the work of St. Denis on the Eccle- 
siastical Heirarchy, that in the primitive cbnrch, when 
the fervour of the Holy Ghost abounded, the faithful of 
both sexes approached daily to the Holy Sacrament of 
the Altar : this appears to be the meaning of St. Luke, 
when in tire Acts of the Apostles he speaks of the brail?- 



222 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

ing bread; and once he adds, "cum exuliatione" with 
gladness (Acts ii. 46,) which can only be applied to the 
Eucharistic food. In the fourth petition of the Lord's 
Prayer , in which we solicit our daily bread, this is ex- 
plained of the Holy Communion, and such interpreta- 
tion, far from being rejected, ought to be accepted with 
Love, as a token of the daily communion of the faith- 
ful. Our Holy Mother, the Church, has in the Canon 
of the Mass, a prayer for those who communicate with 
the priest, and it is not without reason that she says, 
Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deusjube hxcperferri 
per manus sancti angeli. " And we humbly implore 
thee, Almighty God, grant that this Host be borne by 
the hands of the holy angels." And she adds, Ut quot 
quot ex hac altaris participalione sacra sanctum Filii 
tui corpus et sanguinem sumpserimus, &c. '* So that, 
by this participation in the altar, we may receive the 
body and blood of thy divine Son." Hence all the holy 
fathers teach that the faithful who have not the consci- 
ence denied with mortal sin, and who feel a devotion, 
not only can, but also do right to approach this sacra- 
ment, which is so profitable to their salvation. Who 
therefore, would presume to interdict a person of holy 
and irreproachable life, the means of making rapid pro- 
gress in perfection? I have no hesitation in saying 
that a refusal to a person who humbly asks the sacra- 
ment commemorative of the Passion of our Lord, would 
be doing her a considerable injury, for this is to the 
privileged the viaticum of her pilgrimage. After all 
that I have here advanced, there still exist persons who 
will insist that it is not permitted to any among the 
faithful, whatever be their degree of tendency to per- 



HER FREQUENT COMMUNIONS. 228 

faction, to receive the Holy Eucharist so frequently ; 
some even, (not understanding wellj will say that it 
must be received but once in the year; but I rely more 
on the testimony of the sacred writings than on all 
their reasonings. 

As a support to their ridiculous opinions, some of 
those haughty spirits, who are destitute of devotion 
and of intelligence of the Holy Scriptures, cite a pas- 
saga from St. Augustine, wherein he says, that he nei- 
ther blames nor praises those who communicate daily. 
That great doctor intended saying that daily commu- 
nion is good; but, that it may sometimes be danger- 
ous ; he leaves its appreciation to the judgment of the 
Omniscient God, and refrains from giving any decision 
on this point. If that splendid genius, that prince 
among doctors, is so reserved, I am at a loss to com- 
prehend how those who quote him can resolve the ques- 
tion with so much assurance. I remember Catharine's 
response to a Bishop who alleged the authority of St^ 
Augustine, against frequent communion. "If," said 
she, "St. Augustine does not censure it, why, my lord< 
will you censure it? By th-.s quoting him, your lord 
ship places yourself in opposition with him." 

The great doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, examines the 
utility of the faithful communicating frequently and 
daily, and thus replies : frequent communion increases 
the devotion of him who receives it, but it sometimes 
lessens respect. Hence every Christian should culti- 
vate and possess the devotion and respect due to this 
greatest of the Sacraments ; and when he perceives 
that frequent communion diminishes that respect, he 
should, in order to renew and incree.se it, abstain some- 



224 LIFE OF SI', CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

times; but if he perceives that his respect, far from 
diminishing, increases, he should receive the Eucharist 
often,becauseasoulwelldisposednecessarilyacquires 
great graces by the reception of that admirable and 
efficacious Sacrament. This is the opinion of the an- 
gelical doctor, whose doctrine Catharine followed in 
every respect. She communicated often, and some- 
times denied herself the consolation, although she al- 
ways desired to be united to her divine Spouse in the 
adorable Eucharist. Her burning charity unceasingly 
inclined her towards Him whom she had seen really, 
and whom she loved with all her heart and will. 

Such was the vivacity of her desires, that on the 
days in whichshe was deprived of Holy Communion,her 
body suffered in the same manner as one that had long 
undergone a violent malady : she frequently endured 
interior troubles which re-acted exteriorly ; and she 
owed this to some unenlighted Religious who directed 
her, as to the Superior of the Sisters of Penance, and 
sometimes to persons for whom she entertained the 
warmest attachment. This was one of her reasons for 
finding greater consolation in my ministry than in that 
of my predecessors. I used every possible effort to ob - 
tain the consolation she so much desired; she was con- 
scious of -this, and when she sighed for the bread of 
angels, she used to say to me, "Father, I am hungry; 
for the love of God, feed my soul." Therefore the 
Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory XI., by a special Bull, 
gave her a permission to have a priest and a portable 
altar, so that she could everywhere and always, with- 
out any perniisdon, besr Mtss and receive Holy Com- 
munion. 



HER FREQUENT COMMUNIONS. 225 

After these explanations, I purpose narrating a 
miracle of which I was sole witness. When in my mi- 
nistry at the altar, (unworthy though I was of that 
dignity ;) I presume that Almighty God intended glo- 
rifying his Name in my presence, and gave me to un- 
derstand how agreeable the fidelity of his handmaid 
was in his sight. I confess that I prefer not relating 
the fact, but in conscience I cannot remain silent, be- 
cause there is question of God's honour, and that of 
blessed Catharine. 

After our return from Avignon to Sienna, we visited, 
in the environs of the city, some servants of God, ID 
order to console ourselves together in the Lord. We 
came back on the festival of St. John the Evangelist, 
and when we arrived at Catharine's, the hour of Tierce 
had already passed. She turned towards me and said : 
"O father, did you but know how hungry my poor 
soul is." I understood her meaning, and rejoined : 
the hour of saying Mass is nearly elapsed, and I am so 
fatigued that it is very difficult for me to prepare my- 
self for it. She remained silent a moment, but soon, 
unable to restrain the expression of her desire she said 
to me again: "I am famished." I then consented to 
yield to her request, and repaired to the chapel in her 
house, which had been permitted her by the Holy 
Father. I confessed her; I clothed myself in my sa- 
cerdotal vestments, and celebrated the Mass of the day. 
I consecrated one small Host for her, and when I had 
communicated, I turned to give her the ordinary ab- 
solution. Her countenance was angelic and beaming 
with light; so charged was she, that I hesitated in 
recognising her, ?vnd I said interiorly: "Is the Lord 

Q 



226 LIFE OF ST, CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

truly thy faithful and beloved Spouse?" and 011 turn- 
ing again to the altar, I added mentally: "come, 
Lord, to thy Spouse." At the same instant the sacred 
Host, before I touched it, moved ', and came at more 
than three fingers' distance to the paten, which I was 
holding in my hand. I was so much occupied with the 
light that I had seen beaming from Catharine's coun- 
tenance, and of the motion of the consecrated Host, 
which I distinctly saw, that I do not perfectly remem- 
ber whether it placed itself alone on the paten, or 
whether I laid it there ; I dare not affirm it, but I 
think it deposited itself thereon. 

God is my witness that I tell the truth but should 
any one be unwilling to credit my assertion, because 
of my defects, and the imperfect life he observes in me, 
let him remember that the bounty of the Saviour as- 
sists men, and even animals destitute of reason ; (Ps. 
xxxv. 7.) and that God's secrets are revealed not alone 
to the great, but to the insignificant ; let them also re- 
call the portion of inspired Truth, Non cnim vent vocare 
wstos, sed peccatorcs. (Matt. ix. 13.) "1 came not to 
call the just, but sinners to repentance." As to suoh as 
despise sinners, inspiration again says : Euntes autcm 
discite quid est: misericordiam volo et non sacrificium. 
' ' Learn that I desire mercy and not sacrifice. " I lira it 
myself to the defence that belongs to sinners ; let the 
just and God's servants pardon me, as I am sure they 
will, for the servante of God are full of mercy. If 
others judge me, their judgment is nought ; if I am 
firm, or if I fall, God alone is my judge : he sees when 
I pause, and when I go forward ; he is my Master and 
he knows that I declare the truth. I cannot suppose 



HER FREQUENT COMMUNIONS. 227 

that I was deluded by Satan, in the midst of so august a 
sacrifice ; I am positive that I beheld the sacred Host, 
without the least exterior agency, move and advance to- 
wards me, at the moment in which I was saying inte- 
riorly, " Come, Lord, tothyspouse." Letthose who be- 
lieve, praise the Lord ; as to others, I am sure that the 
day will come in which they will discern their error. 

I began by describing what occurred to myself alone. 
I will now relate a prodigy, which I think not less wor- 
thy of attention : those who confide in my words, will 
discover how agreeable it was to the Saviour to find 
our " Blessed" so ardently desiring to receive hi in 
the divine Eucharist. If my memory does not deceive, 
this circumstance is antecedent to the one that I have 
just recounted; but the date is not so essential as a 
truthful relation of it. 

By order of my Superiors, I was in Sienna, and ful- 
filled the charge of Lector, when I was acquainted 
with St. Catharine, and I exerted my best efforts to 
procure her the privilege of receiving the Holy Com - 
munion : consequently when she desired to approach 
the Holy Table, she addressed herself more confidently 
to me than to other Religious belonging to the Monas- 
tery. One morning she experienced an ardent desire 
of Holy Communion, although her pain in the side and 
other sufferings were more than usually oppressive ; 
but this obstacle only stimulated her desire ; and as 
she hoped that her pains would subside a little, she 
sent one of her companions to me as 1 entered the 
church to say Mass, requesting me to defer the Holy 
Sacrifice a short time, as she experienced au invincible 
Desire of receiving Holy Communion. I cheerfully 



228 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

consented, went to the choir, and after reciting my 
Office continued to wait. Catharine had entered the 
church without my knowledge, at the hour of Tierce, 
hoping to satisfy her pious desire : but her associates 
seeing the lateness of the hour, and knowing that after 
communion she would remain several hours in ecstasy, 
and cause murmurs at leaving the church open, en- 
gaged her to deprive herself of communion for that 
day. She, ever humble and discreet, did not presume 
to contradict them, but took refuge in prayer : she 
knelt beside a bench placed at the very extremity of 
the church, and entreated her divine Spouse, since 
men could not accomplish it, to deign himself to satisfy 
the holy desires that he had condescended to excite in 
her heart. Almighty God who never despises the de- 
sires of his servants, heard the prayer of his spouse in 
a wonderful manner. I was ignorant of these occur- 
rences, and believed that Catharine was at home, 
when it had been decided that she should not com- 
municate one of her sisters came to the place where I 
was still waiting, and told me that Catharine begged 
me to say Mass whenever it was convenient to me, be- 
cause she could not receive on that day. 

I went without delay to vest in the sacristy, and of- 
fered Mass at an altar in the upper end of the church, 
nnd which Is dedicated to Saint Paul. Catharine was 
therefore remote from me the whole length of the edi- 
fice, and I was completely ignorant of her presence. 
After the consecration and the Pater Nosier, I intended, 
in accordance with the sacred rites, to divide the Host. 
At the first fraction the Host, instead of separating in 
two divided into three }>ortions, tw-j larger and one 



HER FREQUENT COMMUNIONS. 229 

email, which it seemed to me was as long as a common 
bean, but not so wide. This particle, whilst I was 
attentively looking at it, appeared to me to fall on the 
corporal, by the side of the chalice above which I made 
the fraction ; I saw it clearly descended towards the 
altar , but I could not distinguish it on the corporal. 

Presuming that the whiteness of the corporal hin- 
dered me from discerning this particle, I broke another, 
and after saying Agnus Dei, I consumed the sacred 
Host. As soon as my right hand was at liberty, I used 
it to seek on the corporal, beside the chalice at the side 
on which it seemed to me the particle fell : but I found 
nothing. Extremely troubled at the circumstance, I 
continued the ceremonies of the Mass, and after having 
finished the communion, I renewed my search by ex- 
amining the corporal in every way: but neither sight 
nor touch could discover anything. I was so much 
afflicted that I wept : I determined to conclude the 
Mass on account of the persons present an 1 afterwards 
carefully visit the altar. In effect when all had with- 
drawn, I examined minutely not alone the corporal, 
but every portion of the altar I could discover no- 
thing. As I stood before a large picture, I could not 
believe that the particle had fallen behind the altar, 
although I perceived in taking that direction when it 
escaped from my hands. For greater certainty, I 
searched on the two sides and even looked on the floor ; 
but always with the same result. Then I thought of 
going to take counsel from the Convent Prior, I care- 
fully covered the altar, and recommended the sacristan 
not to allow any one to approach until my return 

I retired to the sacristy ; but scarcely had I laid aside 



230 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

my vestments, than Father Christopher, Prior of the 
Carthusians, arrived. I knew him well, and felt a 
deep affection for him : his object in visiting me was 
to obtain, through my influence, an interview with 
Catharine. I asked him to please to wait a short tune, 
because I was obliged to go and speak with the Prior ; 
but he replied, " This is a day of solemn fasting, and 
I must absolutely return immediately to the Monastery : 
you know that it is very remote from the city in the 
name of God, do not keep me waiting, for in con- 
science I am obliged to speak with Catharine." I bade 
the sacristan remain and guard the altar until my 
return, and I went with the Religious as far as Catha- 
rine's residence, where they told me she was at the 
Friars' Church. I was greatly astonished I turned 
back with my companions, and in effect, found Catha- 
rine, with her associates, in the lower part of the church. 
I inquired of them where she was : they answered that 
she was kneeling on one of the benches in an ecstasy : 
&nd as I was still annoyed at the accident that had oc- 
curedto me, I besought them to use every means of mak- 
ing her return to herself, because we were in great haste. 
They obeyed, and when we were seated with the 
Prior, I told him in a low voice and in a few ords, 
my anxiety; she smiled gently and said to me, just as 
though she knew all the particulars, "Did you not 
search diligently?" On my answering, "?/es:" she 
added, " why, then, should you be troubled so much ?** 
and again she could not avoid smiling. I observed it, 
and kept silence, during her conversation with the 
Prior, who went away as soon as he had obtained the 
desired response. I was already more tranquillized. 



HER FREQUENT COMMUNIONS. 231 

and said, u Mother, I really believe that yon took the 
particle of my consecrated Host." She meekly an- 
swered, " Do not accuse me of that, Father, it was not 
I, but another ; I can merely inform you that you will 
not find that particle again." Then I obliged her to 
explain. " Father," said she, " be no wise troubled iu 
reference to that particle ; I will tell you the truth as 
to my Confessor and my spiritual father ; that particle 
was brought me, and presented for my reception by 
our Lord Jesus Christ himself. My companions en- 
gaged me not to communicate this morning, in order 
to avoid certain murmurs. I was unwilling to be trou- 
blesome to them, but I had recourse to my divine 
Spouse : he condescendingly appeared to me and gave 
me, with his sacred hands, that particle which you had 
consecrated I received it from his own sacred hands. 
Rejoice, therefore, in him ; because I have this day 
from him a grace for which I can never sufficiently 
thank my Saviour 1" This explanation changed my 
sadness into joy ; and I was so encouraged by these 
worda, that I no longer experienced the slightest 
anxiety. 

I relate these miracles in order that God and man 
may not charge me with ingratitude and negligence. 
We will now pass to other wonders which have been 
narrated tome by other witnesses. 

Several individuals, worthy of credit, assured me 
that when they assisted at the Mass at which Catharine 
received Holy Communion, they saw distinctly the sa- 
cred Host escaping from the hands of the priest and 
flying to her mouth ; they told me that this prodigy 
happened even when I gave her the sacred Host; I owa 



232 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

that I never remarked it very clearly, only I always 
perceived a certain trembling in the consecrated Host, 
when I presented it to her lips : it entered her mouth 
like a little stone thrown from a distance with force. 
Friar Bartholomew of St. Dominick, professor of Sa. 
cred Scripture (Ecriture Sainte) and now Friar Pro- 
vincial of my Order for the Roman province, told me 
also, that when he gave Catharine the Holy Com- 
munion he felt the sacred Host escaping notwith- 
standing his efforts to hold it. I dare neither affirm 
nor deny it, and I leave it to the reader's piety to 
decide what he should believe. 

I conclude this recital of miracles which refer to the 
Holy Eucharist, to say a word of those which refer to 
the relics of the saints. 

It was revealed to Catharine, that in the kingdom 
of heaven, she would enjoy the same rank as the blessed 
Sister Agnes of Montepulciano, and that she would 
enjoy with her celestial bliss : hence she ardently de- 
sired to visit her relics, in order to enjoy even in this 
life, a foretaste of the happiness of being her compa- 
nion in eternity. But that the reader may know who 
Sister Agnes of Montepulciano was, and that he may 
comprehend the prodigies I purpose relating, I must 
inform him that by order of my Superiors, I was during 
more than three years, director of the monastery in 
which reposes the body of that holy virgin. From the 
manuscripts that I have found there, and the relation 
of four sisters who had been under her direction, and 
who are still living, I found materials for writing her 
history, and 1 intend recapitulating in a few words 
that work of roy early youth, to give an idea of the 



HER FREQUENT COMMUNIONS. 233 

virtues and the sanctity of the blessed Agnes, who has 
not yet been inscribed in the catalogue of the saints. 
Divine Goodness had so anticipated her with benedic- 
tions that at the moment of her entrance into the world 
a great supernatural light filled her mother's house, and 
did not cease until after her birth, to notify with how 
many merits God had adorned, the little girl that had j ust 
entered life. Indeed each successive year of her exist- 
ence .adorned her with virtues always greater and 
more beautiful ; she founded two convents of nuns, 
and in the second where she reposes, she performed 
during her her life-time, numerous and brilliant mira- 
cles which she multiplied and surpassed after her death. 
Among these prodigies, there is one ever subsisting : 
her virginal body has never been interred, and is mi- 
raculously and entirely preserved. It was intended to 
embalm her body on account of the admirable deeds 
she had accomplished during her life, but from the ex- 
tremities of her feet and hands, a precious liquor issued 
drop by drop, and the convent sisterhood collected it 
in a vase of crystal and still preserve it this liquor is 
similar to balm in colour, but it is, without doubt, more 
precious. God designed thereby to show that her pure 
flesh, that distilled the balm of grace had no need of 
earthly embalmment. At the moment of her decease, 
which took place during the night, little infants, repos- 
ing in their cradles, cried out to their parents, " Sister 
Agnes is leaving her body, and becoming a saint in 
heaven." In the morning a great number of young 
girls assembled under an inspiration from God, unwil- 
ling to admit any married woman among them ; they 
went processional ly, and bearing lighted tapers, to the 



23i LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

monastery, to offer that pure soul a homage worthy 
of her merits. God manifested the sanctity of his ser- 
vant by a multitude of other prodigies ; hence all the 
inhabitants of the country honoured her memory 
every successive year, and offer her, through devo- 
tion, a considerable quantity of wax candles. 

Catharine, to whom I had narrated these circum- 
stances, had the greatest desire to behold and venerate 
the body of blessed Agnes ; but always obedient, she 
asked permission of me and of her other Confessor- 
we granted it, and intended following her, to see whe- 
ther God would not perform some miracle at the ap- 
proximation of his two chosen spouses. We arrived 
after Catharine; she had entered the cloister, and ap- 
proached tho body of St. Agnes, with almost all the 
nuns of the convent, and the Sisters of Penance of St. 
Dominick who had accompanied her. She knelt at her 
feet and prostrated to embrace them piously ; but the 
holy body that she intended honouring, unwilling that 
she should stoop to kiss it, raised its foot, in presence 
of the whole assembly. At this sight Catharine, much 
troubled, prostrated profoundly and gradually restored 
the foot of Agnes to its usual position, i call atten- 
tion here to the following remark : it was not without 
motive that the blessed Agnes raised only one foot 
she did this on account at the incredulous had she 
raised both feet, it might have been believed that her 
body was capable, by a motion communicated to the 
superior part of raising tl>e legs without the help of 
the marvellous ; but as only one foot raised, it is evi- 
dent that divine power acted without regard to natural 
Uws, and that there could not bo any illusion. 



HER FREQUENT COMMUNIONS. 235 

I have a motive in presenting this remark ; for, on 
the morrow, when we arrived in turn at our own mo- 
nastery, there was much conversation in reference to 
the miracle that the Spouse of virgins had performed 
in favour of those holy souls : some nuns who had been 
witnesses of it, calumniated the work of God, like the 
Pharisees of old, who said, " It is by Beelzebub, the 
prince of the devils, that he casteth out demons," (St. 
Luke xi. 15.) In consequence, as I had received from 
the Prior Provincial authority over that monastery, 
I assembled all the sisters in conference according to 
the rule of the order, and made a minute examination 
of this miracle under a precept of holy obedience, All 
present declared positively that they had seen it per- 
fectly. I therefore called before me one of those who 
had offered the most opposition, and asked her whether 
the affair had passed as we said ; she acknowledged it 
in the presence of all, but she desired to explain that 
the intention of blessed Agnes was not such as we be- 
believedit. I replied : " My very dear sister, we do not 
interrogate you concerning the intention of blessed 
Agnes ; we are well aware that you are neither her 
secretary, nor her confidant ; we merely ask, you v/he- 
theryou saw the foot rise all alone V" She said, " Yes." 
I imposed a penance on her for the discourses in which 
she indulged ; and this I did for God's glory, and the 
example of others ; and I report it here, in order to 
give a greater proof of the truth. 

Some time after Catharine returned to the convent 
of the blessed Agnes, to consecrate two of her nieces 
to the service of the altar. As soon as she arrived, 
sho repaired, as at the first time, to the body of the 



236 LIFE OP OT. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

eaintly foundress with her companions and some nuns 
from the convent ; but she did not place herself at the 
feet but joyfully approached the head. She designed, 
by humility, we presume, to avoid what had happened 
when she attempted to kiss the feet ; or, perhaps, she 
remembered that Mary Magdalen at first poured her 
perfumes over the Saviour's feet and afterwards shed 
them over his head* She placed her face on the orna- 
ments of gold and silk which cover the countenance of 
Agnes, and Cnere remained a long time ; then she 
turned sweetly to Lysa, the mother of her two nieces, 
and inquired, smiling : " What, do you not observe 
the present that heaven sends us ? do not be ungrate- 
ful 1" At these words, Lysa and the others lifted their 
eyes and saw a very fine and a very white manna falling 
like heavenly dews, and covering not only Agnes and 
Catharine, but also all the persons present, and with 
such abundance that Lysa filled her hand with it. To 
comprehend this miracle, it is necessary to know that 
it was often repeated during the lifetime of Agnes, 
especially when she was in prayer ; so that virgins 
whom she directed, not suspecting a prodigy, and see- 
ing her mantle always white, wished to shake it off ; 
but she prevented them in order to conceal the 
heavenly favour. 

Blessed Agnes know that blessed Catharine would 
be one day her companion in heaven ; she therefore 
amiably desired to share on earth her graces and her 
favours. The manna in its snowy whiteness and the 
fineness of its grain, signified purity and humility; 
and these two virtues shine in a very particular man- 
ner in those two virgins, as may be seen in their me- 



HER FE1QUENT COMMUNION. 237 

moirs which God, in his mercy, has permitted me to 
write. This miracle had for witnesses Catharine's 
companions, Lysa, among others, who is still living ; 
several nnns belonging to the convent have equally 
affirmed before me and before the friars who were 
with me, that thus the occurrences took place. Many 
are now dead ; but myself and my brethren recall 
perfectly their depositions ; further, Lysa collected 
the manna which fell, showed it frequently, and gave 
it to several persons. 

God accomplished also for his faithful spouse dur- 
ing her life, many admirable things which are not 
written in this book : what I have related above, I 
have said for the honour and glory of God's holy 
Name, for the salvation of souls, and to acquit my 
conscience : I was unwilling to despiss the grace 
from above, and fold up the talent entrusted to me : 
I have placed it according to the best of my ability, 
so that it might be referred to its divine Master. 

I here terminate the second part of this biography ; 
the third will contain Catharine's death with the 
miracles that preceded it and followed it. May these 
three books render immortal praise, honour, and glory 
to the ever blessed Trinity. Amen. 



END OF SECOND PART? 



THIRD PART. 



CHAPTER I. 

Concerning the witnesses present at Catharine's Death, and who 
related the attendant circumstances to the Author. 

THE ancient synagouge, when contemplating the 
elevation of the holy Church, and the flight of the soul 
that God has selected for spouse, exclaims in admira- 
tion QUCB est ista qua ascendit de deserto, de deliciis 
affluens, innixa super dileclum mum f (Cant. viii. 5.) 
This passage may be aptly applied to the conclusion 
of this Memoir. The Lappy death and the last ac- 
tions of Catharine, worthily crown all that preceded. 
The perfection of her virtues leads us to say, with 
astonishment Who is this? that abounding in good 
works mounts to heaven with accelerated flight? who 
is this, coming up from the desert leaning on u her be- 
loved, united to God by love, for all eternity." 

As she approached the term of her mortal career, she 
made increased efforts to merit the crown she solicited. 
Her soul, as it were, naturally ravished in ecstasy 
rushed onward to heaven. This impetus arose from 
the fire which acted and continually mounted upward. 
I mean that fire which the Saviour of the world came 
to bring on earth, and which he desired to see en- 
kindled. She will be Been in the last days of her life, 
becoming likened to her Spouse by suffering, uniting 
her soul to his, and reclining on him as a support for 
quitting the earth victoriously and soaring to heaven 
joyously and triumphantly. She appeared to die, bo- 
cause the gross sense of mankind did zxafc descry her 



WITNESSES AT HER DEATH. 239 

glory, but she rests peacefully with the cherished 
Spouse of her soul, and brilliant prodigies have mani- 
fested the honours bestowed on her in heaven. 

When the blessed Catharine, in accordance with the 
command of the Supreme Pontiff, Gregory XI., re- 
paired to Florence [1373] her mission was to establish 
peace between the shepherd and his flock she was 
subjected there to several unjust persecutions. A 
satellite of the demon precipitated himself upon her, 
sword in hand, intending to kill her, and God alone 
prevented him from it. Notwithstanding all kinds of 
menaces and dangers, she did not retire until the suc- 
cessor of Gregory XI., Urban VI., had concluded 
peace with the Florentines ; as soon as it was signed, 
she returned to her home and occupied herself actively 
with the composition of a book which she dictated 
under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. She had 
recommended her secretaries to be present during her 
ecstasies, and carefully commit to writing whatever 
she might then dictate they did this with fidelity, 
and collected a whole volume of great and useful 
truths. She dictated this work whilst her soul was 
detached from her senses, and her body in complete 
insensibility. God designed to prove to us that this 
work does not resemble that of men, but emanated 
from the Holy Ghost himself. 

The Sovereign Pontiff, Urban VI. [1378], who had 
Been Catharine at Avignon, when he was Archbishop 
of Acerenza, and who entertained a high esteem for 
her lights and virtues, commanded me to write to her 
to repair to Rome. I obeyed, but she with her usual 
prudence, answered me thus * 4 Father, several peraocs 



240 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIEN3A, 

of Sienna, and some of the sisters of my order find 
that I journey too frequently ; hence they are greatly 
scandalized, and say that a Religious ought not to be 
thus ever on the wing. I do not think that these re- 
proaches should give me any trouble, for I have never 
journeyed in any direction, except by order of God and 
of his Vicar, and to promote the salvation of souls ; 
but to avoid as far as I can an occasion of scandal to 
my neighbour, I do not think of removing hence ; 
nevertheless, if the Vicar of Christ wills me to go, 
his intentions must be accomplished not mine. 'In 
that case, be so obliging as to make known his order 
to that effect by a written document, so that those 
who are scandalized may know that I do not under- 
take the journey from my own impulse." 

Having received this reply, I went to the Sovereign 
Pontiff, and humbly communicated it to him. He 
charged me to bid Catharine come in the name of 
holy obedience; and Catharine, like a submissive 
daughter, speedily arrived at Rome with a numerous 
suite she would have had many more followers had 
she not opposed it. Those who accompanied her as- 
sumed the livery of poverty, by voluntarily relying on 
divine Providence, preferring a mendicant life with 
the saint, than abundance in their own houses and the 
deprivation of her pious and captivating conversations. 

The Sovereign Pontiff was most happy to see her, 
and requested that, in presence of the Cardinals, she 
would give them an instruction, and that she should 
especially speak concerning the incipient schism. She 
did so, learnedly and at some length, exhorting svery 
one to fortitude and constancy. She showed that di- 



WITNESSES AT HER DEATH. 241 

vine Providence watches over all, but in a particular 
manner over those who suffer with the Church, and 

concluded thereforn that the threatened schism ought 
not to frighten any one, but that they should do God's 
work and dread nothing. When she had finished, the 
Sovereign Pontiff, quite encouraged, resumed her dis- 
course, and said to the Cardinals "Behold Bre- 
thren, when we yield to timidity how we become guilty 
before God.This humble woman confounds us ; I call 
her humble, not in contempt, but* on account of the 
weakness of her sex : she should naturally fear, even 
though we were of good heart; and yet where we are 
fearful, she is tranquil, and inspires us with courage. 
Is not this a motive for confusion to us all V" And 
he continued "What should the Vicar of Jesus 
Christ dread, though the whole world were to oppose 
him; is not Christ, the all powerful, stronger than 
the world? He can never forsake the Church." The 
Sovereign Pontiff, encouraged himself and his bre- 
thren : he praised the saint in God, and accorded her 
many spiritual favours for herself and her companions. 
Jeanne, Queen of Sicily, at the instigation of tho 
devil, declared herself openly against the Church, and 
favoured the schism to the ex tent of her power. Urban 
VI. thought of sending to her Catharine and another 
Virgin called Catharine, daughter of St. Bridget of 
Sweden, who was recently inscribed in the catalogue 
of saints, by Popo Boniface IX. He hoped that these 
two persons with whom the Queen was acquainted 
might induce her to forsake her evil ways. When our 
blessed Catharine knew it, she did net shrink from the 
charge it wae intended to impose on her, and she even 



242 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF STENNA. 

offered to go directly. But Catharine of Sweden 
did not like to undertake the voyage, and refused in 
my very presence, the mission that was proposed to 
her. I acknowledge that through imperfection and 
want of faith, 1 also did not approve the project of 
the Sovereign Pontiff. I thought that the reptutation 
of persons consecrated to God is so precious, that we 
must beware of tarnishing it by the appearance of evil 
or by the least breath of suspicion. She to whom 
the Virgins were to be sent, might follow the coun- 
i/els of Satan's agents by whom she was surrounded, 
and cause these two devout women to be insulted on 
their route and prevent them from arriving. I pre- 
sented these observations to the Sovereign Pontiff who 
reflected sometime and concluded by saying, " Your 
views are correct, it is more prudent for them not to 
go." I communicated this conversation to Catharine 
who was at the time quite ill She turned to me and 
said, "Had Agnes, Margaret, and a multitude of 
other virgins indulged all these reflections, they would 
never have obtained the crown of martyrdom ! Have 
we not a Spouse who can deliver us from the hands 
of the impious and preserve our honour amidst a 
throng of debauchees ? All these reasonings are vain ; 
they spring from a want of faith rather than from ge- 
nuine prudence;" I then blushed interiorly at being 
BO remote from her lofty perfection, and in my heart 
I admired her constancy and her faith. But, as tho 
Sovereign Pontiff had decided that she would not go, 
I did not dare to converse longer on the subject. 

In the mean time, it appeared advantageous to tho 
Bov&rdgn Pontiff ta send me into France, because he 



WITNESSES AT EKB DEATH. 248 

had been informed that it would be impossible to detach 
the King of France, Charles V., from the schism ex- 
cited by himself. The instant that I became acquainted 
with this project, I went to take counsel from Catha- 
rine: notwithstanding the affliction that my absence 
would occasion her, she advised me to obey the orders 
of the Sovereign Pontiff without delay. She said to 
me, " Hold it as certain, father, that he is truly the 
Vicar of Jesus Christ; I desire that you would expose 
yourself to sustain him as you ought for the Catholh 
Faith itself." I entertained no doubt on this subject; 
but that saying from Catharine encouraged me so to 
combat the schism, that I consecrated myself from that 
moment, to the defence of the rights of the Sovereign 
Pontiff: and I continually recalled it to mind in order 
to fortify myself amid my difficulties and trials. I 
acted therefore in accordance with her counsels, and 
bowed my head beneath the yoke of obedience. 
Some days previous tqrny departure, beingacquainted 
with what would happen, she wished to converse with 
me concerning the revelations and consolations that she 
had received from God, and she did not allow the per- 
sons present to join in the conversation. After hav- 
ing spoken to me during several hours: she said to me, 
" Now go, whither God calls you. I think that in this 
life we shall never again discourse together as we have 
just now done." Her prediction was accomplished. 1 
departed and she remained. Before my return she went 
to her heavenly home, and I had no more the privi- 
lege of relishing and profiting by her salutary instruc- 
tions. It was for this reason, no doubt, that desiring 
to bid me a last farewell, she went to the place where 



244 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

I was to embark, and when we were setting out, she 
knelt, and after praying, made over us with tearful 
eyes, the sacred sign of the Cross, as if she would say, 
"Go, my son, in safety, shielded by the protection of 
this blessed sign, but in this life thou shalt ne'er again 
behold thy Mother." Although the sea was infested 
by pirates, we arrived happily at Pisa, and then had 
an equally prosperous voyage to Genes, notwithstand- 
ing the numerous galleys of schismatics pursuing their 
route to Avignon. We afterwards continued our jour- 
ney by land as far as a town called Ventimiglia. Had 
we gone farther we should have inevitably fallen into 
the ambuscades of those especially who had designs on 
my life ; but by the permission of God, we stopped 
there a day ; and a Eeligious of my Order, who was a 
native of that place, forwarded me a letter in which he 
said, " Be ware of passing Ventimiglia, for ambushes 
are prepared for you, and were you to fall into any 
one of them, no human aid could save you from death." 
On this advice, after having taken counsel of the com- 
panion whom the Sovereign Pontiff had given me, I 
returned to Genes ; I sent word to the Holy Father of 
what hal happened, and asked what step I should 
take. He commanded me to remain at this place and 
preach a crusade against the schismatics. This mission 
delayed my return, and it was at that moment the 
blessed Catharine concluded her pilgrimage and 
crowned it by an admirable martyrdom. Therefore, 
from this date, I can no longer describe events as hav- 
ing seen them personally; but all that I shall commit 
to writing, I kuow by the letters which she then ad- 
dressed me and very frequently too ; and from persona 



WITNESSES AT HER DEATH. 245 

who assisted her in her last moments, and who wit- 
nessed the prodigies which the Almighty effected by 
the intercession of his servant. Bnt lest in indicat- 
ing these witnesses in general, 1 may appear to suppose 
them, I intend naming them in order, that others may 
credit them more thoroughly than they do myself; they 
are assuredly more worthy, for they imitated better 
than I, the examples offered by Catharine; they con- 
sequently comprehended them more clearly. 

I will begin by the females who were her faithful 
companions. Alessia of Sienna, Sister of Penance of St. 
Dominick, appears to me to be entitled to the highest 
rank among the disciples of Catharine, not by her seni- 
ority, but by the perfection of her virtues. After los- 
ing in her youth, a husband equally noted for his no- 
bility and learning, she despised all worldly pleasures 
and became so wedded to our saint, that in the end 
she had not courage to leave her : she renounced her 
wealth and according to our Redeemer's counsel dis- 
tributed it to the poor. In the full imitation of her 
whom she had chosen for mistress, she afflicted her 
body by fasts, vigils, and every variety of mortifica- 
tion: prayer and contemplation occupied her continu- 
ally; she persevered with so much constancy and per- 
fection that Catharine, in the latter portion of her life, 
made her, I think, depository of all her secrets, and 
wished, that after her own death Alessia should become 
the superior and model of her companions. I found 
her also at Rome, when I returned there, and she gave 
me many pieces of information ; but a short time after 
she went to rejoin in heaven her whom sae had 80 ten- 
derly cherished in our Lord. She is my rirsfc wif oees 
of what happened during my absence. 



846 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

My second witness is Franchise of Sienna. Her soul 
was always tenderly united to God, and to the blessed 
Catharine. As soon as she became a widow, she clothed 
herself with the holy habit of the Sisters of Penance: 
she consecrated her three remaining sons to God in 
the order of Preaching Friars; and before dying, she 
had the consolation of seeing them depart for the 
home of the just for they piously terminated their 
career at the period of the plague, and God assisted 
them in a special manner, by the intercessory pray- 
ars of Catharine. Frangoise survived Alessia a short 
time; but she also recounted to me a number of cir- 
cumstances. The third companion of Catharine that I 
shall cite, is Lysa who still lives ; she is well known in 
Home, especially by the citizens who reside in the dis- 
trict in which she dwells. I abstain from giving her 
eulogium because she is yet alive : her relations of sis- 
fcer-in-law to Catharine might render her testimony 
suspected ; but I know that she always spoke the truth. 

After the demise of Catharine, I found several holy 
men who had been witnesses of her last moments ; I 
will only name four among them, all commendable by 
their merits and their virtues. Two have already fol- 
lowed Catharine to heaven; two yet live, and these I 
have selected for the conviction of the incredulous. 

The first of the four is he, whom we styled Brother 
Saint, both on account of his name and his lif e ; he was 
from Tdramo ; he forsook his parents and his country 
and fixed his residence at Sienna, where he led during 
more than thirty years, a very solitary life, never in- 
citing others to speak of him, and obeying the direc- 
tion of some devout and learned Religious. He found 



WITNESSES AT HER DEATH. 247 

in his old age the precious pearl of the gospel, in 
blessed Catharine. For her, he quitted his peaceful 
cell and his style of living, in order to labour not solely 
for himself but for the good of oilier s ; he affirmed that 
he found greater tranquillity, aud more profit to his 
soul in following Catharine and listening to her, than 
he ever enjoyed in his solitude ; above all ho made 
great progress in patience. Ho suffered much from a 
disease of the heart, and our saint taught him to sup- 
port his continual anguish, not only with resignation, 
but with joy ; he related to me several circumstances 
which transpired during my absence; but a short 
time after having quitted her he went again to j'oiu. 
in celestial mansions her whose disciple he became. 

The second witness is a Florentine who had enriched 
his early years by the wisdom of old age, and had 
adorned them with all the virtues ; this was Barduccio. 
He left parents, brothers, and country, to follow Ca- 
tharine to Rome, and he remained there until his death. 
I have since learned that our sai nt particularly esteemed 
him, and, I suppose it was on account oi Us angelical 
purity. What is there to excite surprise in one virgin 
cherishing another! In her last moments, Catharine 
enjoined him to attach himself to me and place himself 
under my direction; she did it without doubt becaise 
she was aware that he would -not live lotg , in ei?ect, 
a short time after, he was attacked vrith a phthi&ic, 
and although he appeared at firat to be convalescent, 
it soon became evident that he was beyond hope. 
Fearing that tho air of Rome >vaa turtful to him, I 
sent him to Sienna where he slept peacefully in tha 
Lord. Those who witnessed hw death, declared that 



248 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SDEESA, 

at his last moments, he looked up to heaven smiling, 
and rendered up his soul with such lively tokens of 
joy, that death itself could not obliterate their im- 
pression from his countenance; he probably saw her 
whom he had loved during life, with the greatest pu- 
rity of heart, come forth to meet him in the glory of 
triumph. Barduccio told me many thing which hap- 
pened during my absence, and I credit his informations 
because I knew the solid virtues that adorned his soul. 
My third witness is a young man of Sienna, Etienne 
Maconi, of whom I have already written. I will not 
dilate in words of praise concerning him, because he 
is yet on the road in which praise is perilous ; I will 
simply say. that he was one of the secretaries of Catha- 
rine, and that he wrote the greater portion of her let- 
ters and the book that she composed ; he was so at- 
tached to our saint, that in order to follow her every- 
where, he quitted his family and his native land. At 
the moment of dying, Catharine called him, and said 
to him "My son, the will of God is that you re- 
nounce the world and become a Carthusian." The son 
pursued religiously the order of the mother, andevery- 
thingh proved that the command came from God him- 
self, for I do not remember having seen any one ad- 
vance so rapidly In the religious life. Scarcely did he 
make his prof ession when he was named Prior, and he 
acquitted himself so perfectly of that charge, that he 
has ever since preserved it. He is now Prior of Milan, 
and visitor of a great number of convents of his order. 
He committed to writing what happened at Catharine's 
death, and related to me all the particulars with which 
he waa acquainted. He perused, also, nearly all that 



CIRCUMSTANCES PRIOR TO HER DEATH. 249 

I have -written in this history, and I can say with the 
Evangelist, St. John, llle $eit qnia vera dicit. (St. 
John xix. 35.) 

The last witness that I name, among those who have 
given me hints, documents, or other means of informa- 
tion, is Neri, or Ranieri, sou of Landoccio of Sienna. 
After Catharine's death he embraced the solitary life 
which he is still leading. He wrote (with Etienne 
Maconi and Barduccio,) tbelettere and the book of the 
saint; but be was the first that followed the spouse of 
Christ quitting his father, who still lived, and all 
that he possessed of earthly inches as he was longer 
than any other a witness of the admirable actions of 
Catharine, I invoke his testimony relative to this bio- 
graphy, with that of Etienne the Carthusian. 

The several Religious and Sisters whom Ihave named 
above, have acquaintedme, either in manuscript, or by 
the living voice, with all that occurred during my ab- 
sence, before and after the death of Catharine. 
Hence, dear reader you arc in possession of rny reasons 
for believing them confidently. 



CHAPTER II. 

Of circumstances \vhich happened a year and a half before the 
death r>f the Blessed Catharine, and of the martyrdom that Satan 
caused her to mxJergo. 

As I have said above, after that, (in accordance with 
the order of the Sovereign Pontiff,) I had quitted the 
spouse of Christ, who remained at Rome, several cir- 
cumstance* occurred which merit n.irration. I have 
only cited some of them ; but novr* with the grace otf 



250 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

God, I will declare facts which display the splendid 
sanctity of her happy death, and which were so many 
preludes to her entrance into eternal bliss. The blessed 
Catharine saw the Church of God, that she so ardently 
loved, rent by the miseries of schism, and the Vicar of 
Jesus Christ surrounded by difficulties and persecu- 
tions: tears had become her bread by night and by day, 
and she never ceased crying to God, supplicating him 
to restore peace to the Church. God gav e her some con- 
solations : thus, a year previous to her death, the very 
day on which she was to quit the earth, he granted a 
doublevictory to the Church and to the Sovereign Pon- 
tiff. The Schismatics, hitherto masters of the Castle of 
St. Angelo, disturbed the peace of the city, and ravaged 
the entire country ; they were completely vanquished, 
the chiefs were taken, and many perished. The Pope 
could not reside near the church of the Holy Apostles, 
on account of the vicinity of the Castle of St. Angelo. 
Catharine advised him to go, barefooted, to the august 
Basilica. All the people followed him in great devo- 
tion, and rendered to Almighty God solemn thanks- 
giving for all his benefits. The holy Church and her 
Pontiff began to breathe a little, and our saint 
enjoyed, at last, some consolation in their relief. 

But her anguish was soon renewed. The old serpent, 
who could not succeed by this method, attacked her by 
others more dangerous and more rude. What he could 
not effect by foreigners and schismatics he attempted 
by means of those who had remained faithful to the 
Holy See ; he created a division between the people of 
Rocieand the Sovereign Pontiff, and things attained 
Such a point, that the populace openly threatened the 



CIRCUMSTANCES PRIOR TO HER DEATH. 251 

life of the Supreme Pontiff. When Catharine was in- 
formed of it she was deeply affected ; she had recourse 
as usual to prayer, and ardently implored her divine 
Spouse never to permit such a crime. At that time 
Catharine wrote me a letter, in which she told me that 
she had seen, in spirit, the city of Rome filled with de- 
mons, who excited the people to PAERICIDE ; they ut- 
tered horrible cries against the saint, and said to her, 
" Cursed be thou that wouldst arrest us, but we will 
put thee to death in a frightful manner. " She answered 
nought, but she continually prayed with fervour, and 
implored God, that for the honour of his Name and the 
salvation of the Church, then rocked by rude storms, 
that he would deign to subvert the schemes of hell, in 
ordertosave theSovereign Pontiff, andnotto dllowthe 
people to commit such an abominable offence. The 
Lord once answered her, " Suffer that nation which 
daily blasphemes my name ; to fall into that crime, and 
when it will be committed, I will execute vengeance 
and destroy it, because my justice demands that I no 
longer support its i niqui ties. " But she prayed with still 
increased fervour," " O most clement God, thou know- 
est how deeply the spouse that thou hast redeemed by 
thy precious blood, is outraged throughout the broad 
universe; thou kno west how few defenders she has, and 
thou canst not be ignorant how ardently its enemies de- 
sire the humiliation an death of the Vicar. If that mis- 
fortune happened, not only the people of Rome, but also 
all Christians and the holy Church will suffer deeply 
from it. Therefore let tliine anger be appeased, and 
despise not thy people for whom thx>u hast paid so 
heavy a ransom." 



252 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

This contest with God continued several days and 
nights, and her feeble body had much to endure. God 
opposed his justice to her prayers, and the demons con- 
tinued their vociferations againsther. Her fervour was 
then so great that if God, to use an expression familiar 
with her, had not encircled her members, she must 
have sunk back, weighed down upon herself. But at 
length, in this obstinate combat in which her body was 
perishingthrough protracted sufferings, Catharinetri- 
umphed and obtained her petition. When God alleged 
his justice, she replied, ' ' Lord, because thy justice must 
be satisfied, despise not, I entreat thee, the prayers of 
thy servant; inflict the chastisement that this people 
merit on my body : yes, for thehonourof thy Name and 
that of thy holy Church, I will cheerfully drain that 
chalice of suffering and death ; thy Truth knows that 1 
have ever ardently desi; ed it, and that thy grace has 
continually inflamed my soul with that desire." At 
these words, which she pronounced in the intensity of 
her heart, the interior voice of God was no longer heard, 
and she understood by this divine silence thatherprayer 
had prevailed. In effect, from that moment, the popu- 
lar sedition gradually calmed andatlast was completely 
appeased; butthe blessed, likea pure victim, supported 
its expiation. The powers of hell had permission to tor- 
ment her virginal body, and exert their rage on it with 
such cruelty, that those who witnessed it declared to me 
that it would be impossible to conceive an idea of it 
without having seen its evidences. 

Those cruel Bufferings increased daily; her skin ad- 
hered to her bones and her body appeared like one issu- 
ing from the tomb: she walked, prayed, and worked 



CIRCUMSTANCES PRIOR TO HER DEATH. 253 

without intermission, but those who saw her would 
have believed her to be a phantom rather than a living 
soul : her tortures multiplied and visibly consumed her 
body. Far from interrupting her prayers, Catharine 
increased their length and their fervour: her spiritual 
family who were surrounding her at that time, saw very 
distinctly the exterior signs of th e tortures heaped upon 
her by hell, but no one could apply a remedy. The will 
of God opposed it, and besides, notwithstanding the 
wasting of her corporeal frame, her soul rose joyfully 
and courageously above trouble : the more she prayed, 
the more she suffered. I was informed by the spectators, 
and indeed she wrote to me herself, that in the midst 
of her martyrdom she heard the devils shriek, * ' Cursed, 
thou hast always pursued us, and thou continuest thy 
pursuit: now we intend satiating our vengeance: thou 
designest to force us to go hence, but we will take thy 
life," and whilst say ing that they redoubled their blows. 
Catherine suffered thus, from Sunday of Sexagesima 
until the last day of April, on which she died, and her 
sufferings continually increased until her spirit winged 
its heavenward flight. She wrote a very remarkable 
circumstance which took place about that time. Hi- 
therto, on account of the pain in her side and other in- 
firmities which never forsook her, she deferred hearing 
Mass until the hour of Tierce ; thus she continued the 
entire season of Lent, and went every morning to the 
church of St. Feter's. She heard Mass, prayed longer 
than formerly, and returned home at the hour of Ves- 
pers-, those who then saw her extended on her bed could 
not have believed her capable of rising ; on the morrow 



254 LITE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

however, at the dawn of the day, she rose, set out from 
her house, Via del Papa, entered the Minerva and the 
Campo di Fiore, and went with a hasty step to St. Pe- 
ter's ; this course was capable of fatiguing any one in 
goodhealth. Somedaysbef oreshe was called to heaven, 
she found herself unable to rise ; finally, on Sunday, 
April 29, 1380, on the festival of St. Peter, martyr, 
of the Order of Preaching Friars, about the hour of 
Tierce, she yielded her beautiful soul to its loving 
Spouse and Redeemer. 

Many remarkable events transpired then, which I 
will narrate in the following chapters. 

CHAPTER III. 

How ardently Blessed Catharine sighed to be delivered from the 
body and united to Christ. 

CATHARINE'S mortal life approached its term, and 
the Lord manifested by various prodigies how propor- 
tionate the glory with which he would recompense his 
spouse in heaven, was to the treasures with which his 
grace had favoured her on earth. She invoked the 
blessed moment which was to unite her to Jesus Christ, 
when she would contemplate face to face in the land of 
unending felicity, the Truth which she had seen gently 
reflected during her terrestrial pilgrimage ; that desire 
swelled in her heart in proportion as supernatural light 
beamed more clearly upon her understanding. Two 
years antecedent to her death, Truth overspread her 
soul with such lights, that she was obliged to allow them 
to radiate exteriorly, and therefore she requested her 
secretaries to hear and commit to writing what she 
would say during her ecstasies ; thus in a short space 



HER SIGHS FOR DEATH. 256 

of time a book was composed containing a Dialog ue be- 
tween asouland God. At the end of that volume, there 
were two things that I deem very useful to place here, 
for the reader's edification : these two things form an 
epitome of all that is said in detail in the work, and a 
prayer is annexed, by which the blessed Catharine ter- 
minates, and shows how fervently she desires to be deli- 
vered from her body, in order to be united to Jesus 
Christ. 

Catharine therein relates that God the Father said 
to the soul, after having discoursed at length concern- 
ing the obedience of the perfect : " Now, dear and well- 
beloved daughter, I have satisfied thy desire from the 
beginning to the end, on the subject of obedience ; thou 
hast requested of me four things : the first for thyself, 
I granted it to thee, by enlightening thee with my 
Truth, proving to thee how, by the light of faith, by 
knowing me and knowing thyself, thou wilt attain to 
an acquaintance with truth. Thy second petition im- 
plored mercy for the world : the third was in favour of 
the mystical body of the Church, supplicating me to 
deliveritfrom obscurity andpersecutions, and desiring 
that I should punish the iniquities of others on thyself. 
I then explained to thee that no trouble enduredin time 
could in itself alone satisfy, for an offence committed 
against Me, the eternal Good; such pain can alone 
satisfy, if it be united to desire of soul and contrition 
of heart : I explained to thee how. I also replied to 
thee, that it was my intention to grant mercy to the 
world, by showing to thee that mercy is my darling at- 
tribute, and to that end, and for the incomprehensible 
love 1 felt towards man, I sent the Word, my only Son ; 



256 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

and I illustrated his meditation to thee by the represen- 
tation of a bridge reaching from heaven to earth ; that 
is, uniting thehuman and divine natures, lalsoshowed 
thee, that this bridge is mounted by three degrees, viz : 
the three powers of the soul. After offering thee the 
Word, under the form of a bridge, I presented thee an- 
other figureand showed thee three degreesonhisbody; 
the first at his feet, the second at the wound of the 
side, the third at his mouth. These degrees indicate 
three states or conditions of the soul: the imperfect, 
the perfect, and the superior state, or that in which the 
soul attains to the excellence of unitive love. I have 
pointed out to thee what destroys imperfection, and 
what conducts to perfection ; the way that must be fol- 
lowed, the secret snares of Satan, and the illusions of 
self-love. I have made known to thee the three me- 
thods of p unishment employed by my clemency in these 
states. The first are the pains and trials that I inflict 
on man during this life. The second is the chastise- 
ment that falls at the hour of death upon those who die 
without hope, being in mortal sin; they pass beneath 
the bridge and enter the road to hell, and I have exhi- 
bited to thee their future torments. The third means 
is the general judgment, and I have shown thee some- 
what of the pain of the condemned, and the glory of 
the blessed, when each soul will be endued with pro- 
perties of its body. 1 have already promised thee, and 
I do promise thee to reform the Church my Spouse, by 
the sufferings of my servants, whom I invite to expiate 
in union with thee, by sorrows and weeping, the ini- 
quity of her ministers. I have clearly shown thee the 
dignity to which L have exalted them, and the respecfc 



HER SIGHS FOR DEATH. 257 

vrhich they owe to seculars, andhaving revealed to thee 
their defects, I have also declared to thee that these 
should in no wise diminish respect for their sublime au- 
thority, and how hateful to me is any contrary way of 
acting. I spoke to thee of the virtue of such as live 
like the Angels, and discoursed with thee concerning 
the excellence of the sacrament of the altar. When 
conversing with thee on the three states of the soul, I 
designed showing thee the various kinds of tears. I 
told thee whence they came, and what reference they 
have to the various conditions of the ^oul that all 
tears emanate from the heart. I explained succes- 
sively four kinds of tears, and have manifested to thee 
a fifth whose consequence is death. 

"In answer to thy fourth petition, I have given thee 
explanations concerning my general and particular 
Providence : all has been and will be accomplished by 
my supreme and divine Providence, originating and 
permitting whatever occurs to you, tribulations or con- 
solations spiritual ortemporal, the whole for your wel- 
fare, that you may be sanctified in me, and my truth 
may be accomplished in you : for the blood of the eter- 
nal Son revealed to thee that thou wast created for 
eternal life. I have shown thee the perfection of obe- 
dience and the imperfection of disobedience, and the 
Boureesof each; Ihavespokeii particularly of theimper- 
f ect and perfect Religious ; obedience produces peace, 
disobedience strife ; he who obeys not deceives himself 
and by Adam's disobedience death entered the world." 

"Now I, God the Father, supreme and eternal 
iruth, I declare to thee that it is only by obedience u 
my only Son thai tho^i canst have life; I have crcz.tucl 

s 



258 LIFfi OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENK,l, 

a bridge for thee, after the road to heaven was broken, 
in order that thou mightest pass by that inviting and 
correct way which is Truth, one and distinct, by 
means of obedience. Now, I invite all my faithful 
jervants to mourn by tears, and humble, constant 
prayer, I may grant mercy to the world. Run in the 
path of Truth, by dying to thyself and above all never 
relent, because I shall require of thee more than I did 
formerly, having manifested myself to thee in my 
truth. Beware of forsaking the knowledge of thyself, 
but augment and preserve the treasure of it that I gave 
thee. That treasure is a doctrine of truth, founded on 
the immoveable living corner-stone, which is Christ, 
the meek and lowly Jesus. This doctrine is cl%d in 
light by which it may be distinguished from darkness 
beloved daughter, clothe thyself with it in truth." 

After that soul had seen with the eye of the under- 
standing and known by the light of faith, the perfec- 
tion of obedience ; after hearing with her reason, and 
relishing by the ardent desire of her heart, she contem- 
plated herself in the divine Majesty, and gave him 
thanks, saying: " O Father! I thank thee that thou 
didst not despise the work of thy hands ; tliou hast 
not turned aside thy countenance nor repulsed my de- 
sires; thou, Light eternal, had not spurned my dark- 
ness; fchou, Life, hast not abandoned me to death; su- 
prerae.Pfyftcz'an, thou hast had mercy on my infirmity ; 
eternal Purity, thou hast not neglected my iniquities, 
staius, and miseries; thou unspeakable Wisdom, I 
folly thoa infinite, while I am insignificant. Yea, in 
thy light I liAve found light: in thy prudence, truth ; 
in thy clemeii ej , charity akd fraternal love, Wlienca 



HER SIGHS FOR DEATH. 259 

arose thy mercies? Not from any virtue dwelling in 
me, but from thy charity alone. Grant, Lord, that my 
memory may retain thy benefits ; that my will may 
burn with the fire of thy charity, and that with the 
key of obedience I may open heaven. I implore this 
grace for every rational creature, individually and col- 
lectively, aud for the mystical body of the Church; I 
confess and deny not that thou didst love me before I 
was ; and that thou dost love thy creature with an ex- 
cessive love. 

14 O eternal Trinity ! O Deity ! that by union with 
the divine nature, hast given such value to the blood 
of thy Son; O eternal Trinity! deep sea in which the 
more T search, the more I find ; and the more I find 
the more I search in satisfying the soul thou art 
never satiated ; it is always eager, always famished 
for thee. eternal Trinity, because it desires to see thy 
light, in thy light; as the thirsty hind pants for the 
fountains of living waters, so my soul desires to escape 
from its obscure prison, to contemplate thee as thou 
art in the reality of thy existence. How long will thou 
conceal thy countenance from me, O eternal Trinity! 
fire and abyss of charity, dissipate the mist of my ma- 
terial nature ; for the Juiowledge thou hast given me 
of thyself, (ills me with thy truth, and forces me to 
wish deliverance from my terrestrial bonds; I tliirst 
to give this life for the honour and glory of thy Name, 
having tasted and witnessed with the eyes of my un- 
derstanding the depths of thy greatnens and the beauty 
of! th/ creature. When beholding myself in thee, I 
sair that I had been created to thy image, because 
t allow me to participate in thy power. O 



260 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

eternal Father ! thou hast communicated to my un- 
derstanding the wisdom that appertains to thy only 
Son ; and the Holy Ghost which proceeds from thee 
and from thy only Son, bestowed on me the will that 
renders me capable of loving thee ; for thou, O eternal 
Trinity! thou art my Creator and I am thy creature ; 
and thou hast revealed to me, by the new creation 
given to me by the blood of thy only Son, how impas- 
sioned thou art for the beauty of the creature. 

"O abyss! O eternal Deity ! O unfathomable sea ! 
couldst thou give me more than thyself ? Thou art 
an ever burning fire, consuming yet never consumed ; 
dissipating by thy ardours all the love the soul bears 
to itself : thou art a fire that annihilates all colds ; a 
light that illumines souls, and by that light thou hast 
manif ested to me thy truth. By the light of faith I 
acquire wisdom, fortitude, courage, and perseverance ; 
by the light of faith I also learn hope, and the path of 
rectitude, and without it I should grope in thick dark- 
ness. Hence I implore thee, O eternal Father, to en- 
lighten my soul with the torch of faith. That light is 
an ocean, nourishing the soul that dwells in thee. O 
adorable Trinity ! pacific sea, whose waters never agi- 
tated and far from awakening dread, give the correct 
knowledge of truth ; that water in its transparency 
manifests hidden things. "When the soul abounds with 
the light of faith, it is resplendent, so to speak, with 
what it believes. That s^a is like a mirror held by the 
hand of thy love before the eyes of my soui ; and in ?t 
I perceive that thou art the supreme and infinite Good, 
incomprehensible and inestimable. Beauty above all 
beauty, wisdom superior to all wisdom, for thou art 



HER SIGHS FOR DEATH. 261 

Wisdom herself. Thou, the food of angelic choirs, 
by the fire of thy charity, hast given thyself to man 
Thou art a garment that covers all nudity; thy 
sweetness is devoid of bitterness, and appeases the 
longing soul. 

O I ever-li ving Trinity ! I know thee by the light 
of faith ; and thou hast taught me by numerous and 
admirable lessons, the way of exalted perfection. 
Therefore, in that light and not in darkness will I 
serve thee I let me become a mirror of a good and 
perfect life, coming forth from my hitherto miserable 
way of li ving wherein I served thee in obscurity : for 
I knew not thy truth and therefore could not love it ? 
But why did I not know thee ? because the mists of 
self-love darkened my understanding. Who can 
mount to thee, and thank thee worthily for the in- 
effable treasure and superabundant favours thou hast 
granted me, and the doctrine of truth that thou hast 
revealed to me. This doctrine is a very particular 
favour, above the general grace accorded to mankind. 
Thou hast deigned to condescend to my necessities 
and to those of other beings, that they may hence- 
forth contemplate themselves therein as in a mirror. 
Lord, answer for thyself. Thou hast given to me 
largely and thou canst recognize thy benefits and re- 
turn thanks to thyself for them, by spreading abroad 
in my soul the light of thy grace, so that with that 
light I may testify to thee my gratitude. Clothe me, 
clothe me with thyself, O eternal Truth, that I may 
run through this mortal career in the verity of obe- 
dience, and in the light of holy faith, with which 
thou hast inebriated my soul." 



262 LIFE 0? ST. CATTTARTNE 0? STENN'A. 

May these words induce you, reader, to admire this 
holy woman, not only in the sanctity of her life, but 
also in the sublimity of her doctrine. By collecting 
on the preceding, you will discover that she desired 
to die and be united to Jesns Christ, because she 
knew and understood, above all at that period, that 
it was "far better to he with Christ" the end and the 
perfection of all good. She at last obtained the ob- 
ject of her ever increasing desire ; the promises made 
to her by our Redeemer during her youth when 
choosing her for his spouse were accomplished, and 
her soul quitted its mortal tenement to celebrate with 
him an eternal marriage. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Of the death of St. Catharine, and of the recommendations pro- 
posed to her spiritual sons and daughters in her dying moments. 

THE blessed Catharine, perceiving her last hour ap- 
proach, summoned around her her followers and such 
as the Lord had made members of her household ; 
she addressed to them first a general discourse, ex- 
horting all to advance in the path of virtue ; she de- 
veloped therein several important points, which I 
foundin the manuscripts of the witnesses above named. 

The first and fundamental obligation that she laid 
down was this He who gives himself to God, if he 
desires to possess Him in return must divest his heart 
from all sensible love, not only towards persons, but 
creatures, in order. to tend to God, his Creator, in 
entire simplicity and sincerity of soul ; for, said she, 
!he heart cannot give itself unreservedly to God if it 



HER DEATH. 263 

be not liberated, disentangled, and disfranchised from 
every bond. A soul cannot give its heart to God 
without prayer, founded on humility, which acknow- 
ledges itself nothing, and devoid of all personal confi- 
dence. A generous application to mental prayeris also 
requisite, because itin creases and fortifies virtues which 
without that aliment would become weak and then 
vanish. She taught all her followers to devote stated 
hours to vocal prayer, and to give themselves con- 
tinuallyto mental prayer either by actsor with theheart. 
She said, besides, that by the aid of a strong faith, 
she saw and perfectly understood in her mind, that 
whatever happened to herself or others, came from 
God, and proceeded from his immense love to his crea- 
tures ; which excited and developed in her a love for, 
and a promptitude in obeying the orders of God and of 
her superiors, believing always that their orders came 
from God himself , either for the necessities of salvation, 
or for the increasing of virtues in her soul. She de- 
clared that in order to acquire purity of mind, it was 
necessary for man to beware of judging unfavourably 
of his neighbour, and to abstain from all idle words 
concerning his conduct; for in all creatures we must 
behold the will of God. She particularly recommended 
never to despise or condemn any one under form of 
judgment, even though we should see them commit a 
fault ; if sometimes the evil is evident, we should take 
compassion on him who committed it, and pray for him 
without despising or condemning him. She ever en- 
tertained a strong confidence in divine Providence, 
because she knew by experience how graciously his 
bounty extends over all. Catharine and her followers 



264 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

had always experienced that God provided for all 
their necessities. She added, that those who trusted 
in divine Providence, shall not only never be aban- 
doned, but shall experience a special help. 

The blessed Catharine also gave her followers other 
counsels : then she terminated by the last recommen- 
dation of the Saviour to his disciples, conjuring them 
humbly and earnestly to love one another. By their 
mutual affection, they would prove themselves her 
spiritual children, and she would believe herself their 
mother by BO doing they would prove her glory and 
her crown ; and she would intercede with the divine 
Goodness in their behalf that he would bless them as 
copiously as he had blessed herself. She commanded 
them, in the name of charity, to address continual and 
fervent prayers for the reformation and prosperity of 
the holy Church, and of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. 
These had been her ever-present thoughts during seven 
/ears; and to obtain an answer to her prayers she had 
constantly endured in her body very great pains and 
infirmities in the latter years. She added that, as Satan 
had obtained from God permission to overwhelm Job 
with every variety of ill, it seemed to her that hell had 
also obtained permission to afflict and harass her body 
by every species of torments, so that from her head to 
her feet it appeared " that there was no health in her." 
She then said in conclusion : " My dear friends, it ap- 
pears evident to me that my beloved Spouse has dis- 
posed and designed all, so that, according to my heart's 
earnest desire, after the trials that his goodness has 
deigned to accord me, my soul shall be liberated from 
its obscure prison, and return to its true source." 



HER DEATH, 265 

The witnesses whom I have cited have written that 
the anguish and deep distress of Catharine appeared so 
terrible, that no one could have supported them 
without the grace of God: she endured them calmly 
without demonstrating any sign of sadness. As they 
were in amazement and wept at beholding her in that 
condition she thus addressed them " Beloved sons, 
you ought not to be afflicted at my death ; you should 
rather rejoice with me and congratulate me, because I 
am about to quit this land of exile, and repose in the 
unending peace of God. I give you the positive assu- 
rance that I shall be more useful to you after my de- 
cease, than I would, or could have been by remaining 
with you in this lif e so obscured by grief and so filled 
with miseries. Nevertheless I commend my existence, 
its termination, and my whole being into the hands of 
my ever-blessed Spouse; and if he perceives that I can 
be useful to any living creature, if he will that I yet 
remain amid anguish and torture, I am ready for the 
honour of his Name and the salvation of my neighbour, 
to suffer a hundred times a day, were it possible, death 
and all other imaginable torments. But if it be agree- 
able to him that 1 depart, be certain, dear children, 
that / have given my life for the Church : I have a cer- 
tain knowledge that God has permitted it by a peculiar 
grace" After that, she called her disciples, one after 
another, and prescribed to each one the kind of life 
that he ought to embrace after her death : she desired 
that all should submit to my direction, as the one who 
held her place, indicating to some the religious, and to 
others a solitary life. For the women, and particularly 
the Sisters of Penance, he designated Ateesis, as au- 



26C LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

perior. She regulated all, according to the inspira- 
tion of the Holy Ghost the event proved it thus, for 
her directions proved beneficial to every one. 

After that she asked pardon of all. " My beloved," 
said she, " I have hungered and thirsted for your 
salvation, I dare not say the reverse ; nevertheless I 
may have been wanting to you in many things ; not 
only I have not given you an example of good works 
and of virtue as I should and might have done, had I 
been a true spouse of our Lord and a perfect Reli- 
gious, but also in your temporal wants I have not 
been zealous and attentive as I should have been. I 
therefore implore of all, in general and in particular, 
pardon and indulgence ; I entreat you, and I con- 
jure you humbly and earnestly, to pursue to the end 
the path of virtue, that you may be, as I have fore- 
told you, my joy and my crown." After these words 
she kept silent ; she then made, as she did daily her 
general confession, and humbly asked for the Holy 
Eucharist and the last sacraments. Her requests 
were granted ; she also implored the plenary indul- 
gence which had been granted to her by the Sove- 
reign Pontiffs Gregory XI. and Urban VI., who had 
already giverj it to her. She then began to enter upon 
her agony and contended against Satan ; the assistants 
perceived it by herwords and gestures. Sometimes she 
maintained silence, sometimes she replied, sometimes 
she smiled, occasionally she appeared to despise what 
she heard, and again to feel indignant. 

Those who related to me the events that then trans- 
pired, remarked one peculiar circumstance, and I 
believe it happened for the greater glory of Gal 



HER DEATH. 267 

After observing silence, as though she were listening 
to an accusation, she replied with a joyful counte- 
nance; "No, never vain-glory, but the real honour 
and glory of God. 1 ' There was a motive for divine 
Providence permitting these words to be heard ; for 
several persons, on account of the meekness of her 
charity and the abundant graces that were granted 
to her, believed that she courted praise, or at least 
enjoyed it, and that on this account she took delight 
in appearing before the public. Some said, when 
speaking of her : " Why run from all sides to her ; 
it is only a woman ; she ought to remain in her cell, 
if she desires to serve God." The response to these 
reproaches was complete: u No, never vain-glory," 
said she, u but the true glory of God and his honour ;" 
that is no, it was not vain -glory that induced me to 
go on all sides and perform good works, but I acted 
continually for the glory of the Saviour and the 
honour of his Name. I likewise can give testimony 
with certitude, having so often heard her general 
confessions and her particular ones, and who have 
carefully examined all her acts ; she always obeyed 
the direct order of God and his inspirations : not only 
she sought not praise, but she did not even think of 
men, except when she was praying for their salvation 
and labouring to promote it. One who had not been 
witness of her life, could never know to what a degree 
she was a stranger to those human passions which 
are even usual in persons consecrated to religion. 
The words of the Apostle may most suitably be applied 
fx> her : Nostra aufem conversatio in calis est. (Phil. 
Hi. 20.) "Our conversation is iu heavea." Nothing 



268 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

could for one moment distract her desires, and weaken 
the ardour of her charity. 

After this prolonged contest and her victory, Ca- 
tharine came to herself, renewed the public confession 
she was accustomed to make, and for greater security 
asked to receive again the absolution and indulgence 
that had already been given. She followed in that 
the doctrine and the example of Saint Martin, Saint 
Jerome, and Saint Augustine, who wish that no 
.Christian, whatever be his state of perfection, leave 
this world, without accusing himself of his defects, 
and exciting in his heart regret for having committed 
them. St. Augustine, in his last malady, caused the 
seven Penitential Psalms to be inscribed on the wall, 
near to his bed ; he read them constantly and with an 
abundance of tears. St. Jerome, when dying, con- 
fessed his sins and defects publicly. St. Martin, in 
his last moments, taught his disciples, by word and 
example, that a Christian ought to die on sackcloth 
and ashes, to testify his humility and heartfelt repent- 
ance. In imitation of those great saints, Catharine 
showed her contrition, by all possible means ; and twice 
humbly petitioned absolution for her sins, and satis- 
faction of pains which are attached to the indul- 
gence. 

When all was terminated, the attendants observed 
that her physical strength diminished rapidly. She 
never desisted, however, from giving pious recommen- 
dations to her spiritual sons and daughters, to those 
present and to those who were absent ; for, in her last 
agony, she said to the individuals who were present, 
14 Apply to Filar Raymond in all your doubts and 



HER DEATH. 269 

difficulties, and tell him never to become remiss, and 
to fear not in whatever may befall him. I will be 
with him continually, and will protect him in all his 
dangers ; when he does wrong I will warn him, so that 
he may correct himself." I was assured that she re- 
peated these words often, and pronounced them as long 
as she had strength to do it. Seeing that the moment 
of her exile had arrived, she said, " Lord, into thy 
hands I commend my spirit ;" Domine, in manus tuas 
commendo spiritum meum. And as she had so long de- 
sired, that devout soul was freed from its captivity and 
united in an indissoluble, eternal union, to the Spouse 
whom she had so ardently loved, in the year of our 
Lord, 1380, on Sunday, the 29th of April, at the hour 
of Tierce. I was at that instant in Genes, and he* 
soul communicated to mine, in some way, what I have 
recounted above, and which she enjoined me to repeat. 
I call to witness him who can neither deceive nor be 
deceived ; but then my darkened understanding did 
not comprehend whence came the words, the sense of 
which I so completely seized. I was at the time ful- 
filling at Gene? my functions of Provincial it was 
the moment of the Chapter which was to be held at 
Bologna, for the election of a General, and I was 
making arrangements to set out with some Religious. 
TV's were to go by sea as far as Pisa, and thence repair 
to Bologna, as wo did in effect. Wo had hired a 
vessel and were awaiting a favourable wind. 

The same morning in which the blessed Catharine 
expired, I had gone to the church to celebrate thefes- 
tiv,?l of St. Peter, the martyr. After scying Mass. I 
went again up to the dormitory to prepare my little 



270 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

bundle for my prospective journey ; when passing 
before an linage of the Blessed Virgin, I said, in an un- 
dertone, according to the custom of the Religious, the 
Ave Maria, and I remained there kneeling for a few 
moments. I then heard a voice which was not in the 
air, and which pronounced words which seized me 
mentally but not orally ; and nevertheless I perceived 
them more distinctly within me than if they had come 
to me exteriorly. I know not by what other title to 
designate this method of communication, if we may 
call voice that which is destitute of sound. This 
voice uttered these words or presented them to my 
mind, " Fear not, I am here for your sake; I am in 
heaven for you ; I will protect and defend you ; be 
tranquil, and fear naught, I am here for you." These 
interior words threw me into great trouble, and I en- 
deavoured to ascertain what this promised assistance 
could mean. I could not, at that moment, attribute 
them to any other than the Blessed Virgin whom I was 
saluting ; but I dared not think so, because of my tin- 
worthiness. I imagined that some terrible calamity 
was about to befall me, and that as I was imploring 
the Mother of mercy, the constant comforter of the 
afflicted, she designed by this consoling promise to 
warn and prepare me to support courageously the com- 
ing event. I suspected that as I had preached at 
Genes a crusade against the schismatics, there might 
be some among them awaiting an opportunity to injure 
me an d mine. I endeavoured thus to comprehend that 
prodigy which. God mercifully granted me by the soul 
of his spouse to support zay weaknesa ; and in relating 
these circumstances, I discover more reason for expe- 
riencing a sentiment of shame iban of Yanity. 



HER DEATH. 271 

The folio wing vision was presented to a Roman lady, 
at the instant in which Catharine expired. She re- 
lated it to me herself, and I do not lightly give credit 
to her recital, having been acquainted with her con- 
science and her life, during more tban twenty years. 

There dwelt in Rome a lady, the mother of two 
sons, and whose name was Sernia. Previous to hei 
husband's death, and still more perfectly after it, she 
consecrated herself to the service of God, and devoted 
herself wholly to prayer and the visiting of churches. 
She had a habit of rising during the night for matins, 
but yielded to a sort of half sleep after, so as to be 
more capable of accomplishing the pious pilgrimages 
of the day. When Catharine arrived at Rome, the 
lady was informed of her virtues by myself and others ; 
she visited her and became so captivated with the 
charms of her society, that she determined to enjoy 
them continually, but on account of her exercises of 
piety, and her sons, who were entitled to her care, 
several days sometimes intervened between heroppor- 
tunities of seeing Catharine; and, besides, she was 
not aware of her being seriously ill at that time. 

In the night preceding the morning of our saint's 
death, Semia arose, to pray as usual ; and when her 
prayer was concluded, she reflected that as it w*s Sun- 
day she ought to rise earlier than ordinary, so cw to 
attend the solemn high Mass, and see to the prepara- 
tion of the morning repast of her children. Sho there- 
fore, lay down, intending to catch a few moments ot 
repose and then get up, and in consequence of thus 
changing her mind, even while dozing she was think- 
ing of rfsinf;. Whilst !a hei parli&l sleep, as she was 



272 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

saying to herself, ' ' I must leave my bed in order to be 
in time for the service in the church," sho saw a very 
beautiful child, apparently eight or ten years of age. 
This child said to her, ' * I do not wish you to rise un- 
til you have seen what I intend showing you." Ra- 
vished with the charms of the child, but yet intent upon 
hearing Mass, Semia answered, " Suffer me, dear one, 
to get up, because to-day we must not neglect high 
Mass." The child said, " I cannot possibly suffer you 
to arise before you see the wonders that I have to ex- 
hibit to you, being commissioned by Almighty God." 
And it seemed to her that the child drew her from the 
bed and conducted her into a spacious place which was 
shaped like a church ; at one extremity of it there was 
a tabernacle of exquisitely burnished silver ; but it was 
closed. " Wait a little," said the infant, " and you, 
shall behold what is within the tabernacle;" and di- 
rectly another little child, similar to the first, brought 
a ladder to the silver tabernacle which occupied a lofty 
elevation, and opened the door of it with a golden key. 
As soon as it was unclosed, Seraia, who was looking, 
perceived a young girl very magnificently and richly 
adorned; her robe was of dazzling whiteness and plen- 
tifully ornamented with precious stones. She wore 
three superb crowns onher head, so well arranged that 
the three could each, be clearly discerned. The infe- 
rior crown was of silver, white as driven snow ; the 
second waa of silver mingled with gold, and shone like 
red materials woven with golden threads : the third 
was of purest, finest gold, bestrewn with pearls and 
precious stones. At this spectacle, Semia wondered 
who this richly dressed child could be , and on consi- 



HER DEATH. 273 

dering her very attentively, she recognised distinctly 
Catharine of Sienna ; but knowing bei to be much 
older than the figure represented in this vision, she 
suspected it might mean some other. The child that 
first appeared to her inquired whether she recognised 
her that she saw. ' It is, indeed," said Scmia, " the 
countenance of Catharine of Sienna, but it is not her 
age." As she continued earnestly gazing on her, the 
person in the tabernacle smiled and said to the two 
children, " You see that she does not recognise me." 
Then advanced four more children similar to the two 
first: they "bore a species of bier formed like a bed, and 
draperied around with rich purple precious cloths, and 
when they had deposited it near the tabernacle, they 
mounted with speed and took in their arms the little 
crowned maiden, and laid her on the bed that they 
had brought. Then the youthful maiden said. " Allow 
me to go to that lady who is looking at me and does 
not recognise with certainty who I am." And di- 
rectly she appeared to approach her as if by fly ing, and 
said, I am Catharine of Sienna. Semia." She rejoinecf, 
' What, aro you mother Catharine?" u Yes," au- 
swered she ; " bat consider well what you now see 
and are about to see." 

At these words, she was conducted by the six chil- 
dren to the bed, and was raised on it towards heaven. 
Whilst Semia saw her thus gradually mounting, she 
suddenly beheld a throne in heaven ; and on that 
throne a King crownea ana covered with jewels, 
holding in his right liana an opened boot. The 
children who bore the lovely virgin elevated her to 
the very steps of the tnrone and to the feet of th? 

T 



274 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

King ; and instantaneously the virgin cast herself at 
the feet of the King and adored him. Then the 
King said, " Welcome, dear spouse and cherished 
daughter, Catharine." At the order of the King, she 
raised her head and read in the open book, during 
sufficient time to say devoutly the '* Lord's Prayer ;" 
then, on a new signal from the King, she arose and 
took a position near to the throne, awaiting the queen 
who was advancing at the head of a numerous group 
of virgins. At her approach, our saint hastened to 
descend the steps and prostrate before her: after 
which the Queen of Heaven taking her by the hand 
said, " Welcome, Catharine, my daughter ;" and rais- 
ing her up gave her the kiss of peace. She offered a 
second act of homage to the Queen by his command, 
and then she moved towards the other virgins, and all 
joyfully received her, giving her the ** kiss of peace." 
Whilst all this was transacting, Semia cried out, 
" O my Sovereign Lady, Mother of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, intercede for mei St. Mary Magdalen, St. 
Catharine, St. Agnes, St. Margaret, pray for us!" 
She informed me that, although this vision seemed to 
be in heaven, she distinguished all the actors perfectly, 
and recognised not only the Blessed Mother of God, 
but also the other virgins, each in her turn. She 
called each one by her name, for they severally bore 
the tokens of their martyrdom : St. Catharine, her 
wheel ; St. Margaret, a dragon beneath her feet ; and 
St. Agath*, her soarred bosom ; and in like manner 
the others. In fine, amid the felicitations of all those 
virgins, the youthful Catharine was placed, and 
crowned mth glory. 



ffER DEATH. 275 

When Semia awoke and opened her eyes, she saw- 
that the sun already indicated on the horizon the hour 
of Tierce. She was grieved on account of the Mass 
she desired to hear, and the repast which was to 
be prepared for her children ; but yet she could not 
refrain from mentally inquiring what this vision could 
signify? She did not know, and could not persuade 
herself to believe that Catharine was deceased, al- 
though she knew her to be feeble. Her occupations 
had prevented her from seeing her during several 
days, and she had often known her to recover from 
even alarming sufferings; she concluded therefore that 
Catharine might have been favoured with some ex- 
traordinary ecstasy. She also feared on account of 
the lateness of the hour, she had lost the opportunity 
of hearing Mass that day, and suspected Satan of in- 
tending to cause her to violate the precept of the 
Church in reference to the sanctification of the 
sabbath. She hurriedly placed her repast on the fire 
and hastened to the parish church, saying within her- 
self, " If I lose Mass, it will be a proof this vision 
comes from Satan ; but if I can obtain the hearing of 
Mass, I shall believe that I owe it to the pious Mother 
Catharine." On arriving at the church they were 
singing the Offertory; she became sad, and said, 
**Ah! unhappy me, the demon has deceived me." 
She returned home instantly, attended quickly to her 
domestic affairs and prepared to go to another church, 
so as to be present at the entire Mass. 

Whilst thus occupied at home, she heard a bell that 
announced Mass in a neighbouring monastery of nuns; 
she joyfully hastened there, leaving tfo vegetables a? 



276 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

she had prepared them, and without putting them 
into the soup. She locked the door, leaving no one in 
the house, found the Mass which was just commen- 
cing, and joyfully said to herself ; Satan did not de- 
ceive me as I fancied. Only she regretted the vex- 
ation of her sons, who attained a certain age knowing, 
certainly that their dinner would not be ready and that 
there would be no more time for her to prepare it. She 
heard the whole high Mass. When it was ended, she 
returned home and met her son who said, " Mother, 
it is very late, please arrange it, so that we can 
have our dinner." She replied, " Dear children, wait 
a short time, and all will be ready." She ran home, 
found the door shut, as she left it, and opened it so as 
to finish very quickly what remained to done : the 
meat and vegetables were all prepared and served, 
and nought remained but for them to take their seats 
at the table. Semia was filled with amazement, and de- 
termined to go directly after dinner and see Catharine 
whom she believed yet living, in order to give her a 
full account. She called her two sons who were near, 
and whilst they were dining, she was absorbed with the 
idea of her vision. The youths who were not aware of 
what had happened found their repast better than com- 
mon ; but she could only say interiorly, " O beloved 
Mother; you came, even though the doors were closed, 
to dress and prepare my dinner. I see that you are 
holy, and an acceptable servant before God." 

On this very account, she had not the slightest sus- 
picion of Catharine's death, and as soon as her sons 
had withdrawn, she ran to the house of our saint and 
knocked at the door as usual ; but no one answered. 



HER DEATH. 277 

The neighbours informed her that Catharine had been 
visiting the churches and that there was no one there; 
she believed it, and went away. The truth was, that 
all those who were within mourned their mother and 
concealed her death, because they desired to avoid the 
rumour getting abroad as they would be distracted in 
their sorrow, and might not tranquilly discuss what 
ought to be done. In fine, it was decided that on the 
morrowthe body of Catharine should be transferred to 
the church of the preaching Friars, called Ste. Mane 
de-la-Minerve, and that there her funeral should be 
celebrated. 

As soon as the corpse of Catharine was borne to the 
church the whole city of Rome became aware of it, 
and amultitude collected from every side. They moved 
forward like turbulent waves to touch her garments 
and her feet. Her spiritual sons and daughters feared 
that they would divide her body on the spot, and they 
consequently placed it behind the grate of the chapel 
of St. Dominick. Semia, by accident went also to the 
church, and beholding such an agitation, asked its 
cause. Directly she heard that Catharine was dead, 
and that it was she that attracted the crowd, she ad- 
vanced sobbing to the place where the body of Catha- 
rine was exposed, and said to Catharine's spiritual 
daughters, "How cruelto have concealed from me the 
decease of my beloved mother ! Why did you not sum - 
mon me to assist at her last moments?" And as they 
were offering their excuses she inquired at what timo 
she expired. They replied yesterday about the hour 
of Tierce she gave up her scul to lior Creator. Semia 
hsmedktety criod, " I corar hoi 1 ; I sa,w my beloved 



278 LIES OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA* 

mother quitting her body : the angels bore her to Hea- 
ven in my presence, she had three precious crowns, and 
her raiment was resplendently white. I know now that 
God sent me an angel and showed me the death of mo- 
ther Catharine. O mother 1 mother! how is it that I 
did not comprehend, during that vision, that you were 
quitting the earth." And Semia then gave a full de- 
scription of her vision to the discples of Catharine who 
were shielding her corpse by their presence. 



CHAPTER V. 

Some Prodigies and Miracles which the Lord accomplished after 
Catharine's death, by her intercession. 

CATHARINE'S mortal pilgrimage was terminated: 
butthe divine energy that had accompanied her during 
life, manifested the greatest of her merits, after her de- 
cease. Almost all the people of Home collected spon - 
taneously at the church in which her corpse was ex- 
posed, desirous of veneratingher remains and of recom- 
mending themselves to her prayers. Many persons 
brought their sick who requested to be cured by the 
intercession of Catharine ; and God did not deceive 
their expectations. I intend relating what I know on 
this subject from the information of others and by my 
own observations. 

A Sister of the Third Order of St. Francis, called 
Dominica, was so infirm ii one arm l&at during six 
months previous to Catharine's demise she could not 
use it ; she came to the church, and being unable to ap- 
^roach he? body on account of the crowd, ahe untied 



MIRACLES AFTER HER DEATH. 279 

her veil, and requested that it might touch the saint's 
remains ; when they returned it to her, she put the 
veil under her arm, and it was promptly cured. Sho 
instantly exclaimed, ** See ! by the merits of the saint 
I am freed from a malady pronounced incurable, and 
which was destroying my arm.'* In consaquence the 
eagerness of the multitude increased, they brought hep 
the sick from all quarters in hopes thatthey might suc- 
ceed in touching the " Tiem of her garments." 

Among others they brought a little child of four 
years of age, the nerves of whose neck were so drawn 
that his head rested on his shoulder, without his being 
able to raise it, they carried him near the body, and as 
soon as Catharine's virginal hand was applied to the 
diseased portion, and they had put around his ucck a 
veil which she had worn, favourable symptoms com- 
menced, and very soon his head was straightened and 
the restoration perfect. D uring three days it was found 
impossible to conclude the interment on account of the 
miracles which were performed, and during those threo 
days, there was such an affluence of people that a doctor 
in theology who had ascended the pulpit, intending to 
preach her funeral discourse, could never obtain suffi- 
cient calm to allow bin) to proceed he said merely 
to those who were listening to him, "this privileged 
virgin has no need of our preaching and eulogy \ sho 
speaks, and declares it convincingly herself." And ho 
came down, without having even begun his sermon. 

A Koman named Lucius of Connarola, had an infir- 
mity where medicine was powerless to effect a euro. 
His thigh and his leg were in such a condition, that 
even with th? aid of a crutch he could not succeed ia 



280 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

walking more than a few steps. Having heard of all 
the miracles that God performed through Catharine's 
intercession, he dragged himself with much difficulty 
as far as the church, and caused himself to be conducted 
near the holy body : he with deep devotion placed Ca- 
tharine's hand on the leg hitherto so weak and feeble, 
and instantly he felt his strength and energy revive ; 
before retiring he was perfectly cured. 

A young girl named Ratozzola had her face so at- 
wicked by a horrible leprosy that her nose and upper 
lip offered one shocking wound she also was attracted 
to the church by the reports. As she endeavoured to 
approach the body she was repulsed several times ; at 
length, by repeated instances, she succeeded in enter- 
ing, and in her ardent desire to be relieved, she not 
only applied her diseased face to Catharine's hands and 
feet, but also to her face; she instantly perceived her 
leprosy diminish, and she was soon so perfectly restored 
that her countenance did not even retain one scar. 

A Roman named Cyprius and his wife Lelia had a 
daughter who from infancy had suffered with asthma, 
and the physicians had pronounced her case incurable. 
The parents having learned the miracles which were 
performed applied with fervour to Catharine, and put 
a veil and a Pater Noster that had touched her body 
on their child; wonderful to relate, scarcely had she, 
that was despaired of, touched these objects, than she 
was restored to her primitive health. 

An inhabitant of Rome, named Antoine Sello, who 
was attached to the church of the Prince of the Apostles, 
heard the prodigies worked by Catharine much talked 
about: he was sick from excess of labour, and walked 



MIRACLES AFTER HER DEATH. 281 

with great difficulty, the remedies of phy sicianshad this 
proved inadequate, but he had procured himself a little 
relief. Inspired by all that he heard, he devoutly re- 
commended himself to the saint and promised to ac- 
complish a vow, if he were cured through her merits. 
Scarcely had he drawn up the formula of the vow than 
he was completely delivered from his sufferings ; he 
was no longer conscious of them, walked with ease 
and went to visit the remains of his benefactress; he 
accomplished the promise or vow which he had taken, 
and gives an account to all that are curious to hear the 
particulars of the grace which he obtained. 

There was a pious lady, Paulabyname, whohadbeen 
very intimate with Catharine ; she was not only her 
friend, but had offered her hospitality together with her 
followers. At the momentof Catharine's death she was 
cruelly tormented by the gout and also with an acute 
pain in the side. As these two maladies demanded dif- 
ferent kinds of treatment, the unfortunate patient suf- 
fered greatly and was in danger of death. After the 
death of Catharine she earnestly implored the favour of 
having something that had touched her body ; it was 
given to her in the evening, and on the following morn- 
ing she was able to rise from the bed on which she had 
been extended during four months ; she walked with 
as much facility as before the commencement of her ill- 
ness. I received this account from herself at Eome. 

When Catharine's body was interred, the divine 
power it possessed of curing diseases was in no wise 
weakened ; it rather augmented. A Roman named 
Veri or Neri, had a little child who could not stand 
erect upon his legs ; he conducted Men to Catharine's 



282 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

tomb, and hardly had he placed him on it than his feet 
and legs grew strong, and the little fellow walked as 
though he had always enjoyed good health. 

Jean deTozo, had a disgusting and horrible disease 
in the eyes : worms crawled out of one of them ; he took 
avow to the virgin of Siennaand was instantly relieved. 
He went to her tomb, narrated a description of a cure 
he had obtained, and deposited an exvoto in wax as is 
customary. A German lady who came on a pilgrimage 
and whose name they neglected retaining, suffered so 
much and so long with her eyes, that she had almost 
lost her sight and entertained no hope of cure. She 
recommended herself piously to Catharine, and gradu- 
ally recoveredher sight without the help of any remedy. 

A lady of Kome named Maria, endured such excru- 
ciating pains in the head that she lost an eye notwith- 
standing all the effortsof her attendant physicians: she 
became so sad on this account and felt such shame that 
she remained at home and declined seeing any one. 
Having been informed of Catharine's miracles, she de- 
voutly recommended herself to her intercession. The 
succeeding night the saint appeared to the domestic of 
that lady saying, " Let your mistress Maria adopt no 
more remedies, but go every morning and hear the Di- 
vine Office and she will be healed." The servant gave 
her commission, and her mistress obeyed Catharine's 
Injunction, the^pain ceased directly, she began to use 
the eye that had lost its sight, and persevering in the 
pious exercise that had been indicated, she was restored 
to sight and general corporal health. The reader 
should here remark what the blessed Catharine did ; 
Bhemighthavecuredherwhoinvokedheloimmediately. 



MIRACLES AFTER HER DEATH. 288 

but she was desirous of granting more than was askeu , 
in imitation of our Saviour, who never healed the body 
without curing the soul. To him who came to implore 
health, he first remitted his sins, by saying, Confide, 
fill: remittuntur tibipeccata tua. (Matt. ix. 2.). 

A youth called Jacques, son of the Roman citizen 
Pierre de Niccolo, was grievously ill : all remedies had 
failed, and the physicians thinking that, according to 
the laws of nature, his end was near, he recommended 
himself devoutly to the blessed Catharine ; he became 
better at the very moment, and a few days after was 
in perfect health. 

The noble and pious Lady Jeanne Ilperni was 
particularly acquainted with Catharine during her 
life-time ; the miracles she saw inspired her with an 
exalted idea of her sanctity, and she counselled all the 
sick to have recourse to her intercession. One day 
this lady's son was running imprudently on the ter- 
race (or flat-roof) of the house and fell without any 
one being able to offer him any assistance ; his mothei 
seeing him fall cried with all her strength, ** Si. Ca- 
tharine^ protect my son /" The child, who was exposed 
either to be killed, or have his limbs broken, had not 
the slightest bruise, or wound. The mother descended 
to him promptly, thanked God and Catharine also, 
whose holy influence she proclaimed to every one. 

There was another female who gained a livelihood 
by serving others ; her name was Buona Giovanni. 
One time> ao she was washing a counterpane on the 
shore of the Tiber, it escaped from her hands and was 
v!rawn off rapidly by the current of water. As Buoua 
was poor, <ind unable to reimburse its value, she at- 



284 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

tempted to get it back, and reaching too far in an 
effort to catch it, she was herself drawn into the 
river ; there was no one near to assist her ; but she 
recollected the miracles daily accomplished in the 
city by Catharine's intercession, She invoked Ca- 
tharine at once, and her prayer was heard, for she 
felt herself elevated above the water, and as though 
waves had ceased flowing, she quitted the stream with 
the coverlid, and attained the shore without difficulty. 

Almighty God glorified by these miracles and by 
others his favoured spouse, previous to my return to 
Rome ; later, I was recalled there, when I received 
the (for me, too heavy) charge of General Master of 
the Order of Preaching Friars. Then my brethren 
and sisters who had been Catharine's spiritual children 
related to me all that I have written. There was, 
however, one miracle which took place after my arri- 
val ; I was a partial witness of it, and I do not like 
to pass it in silence. 

I was at Rome, and had the sacred remains of Ca- 
tharine transferred on the very day on which she had 
foretold it, several years beforehand. One of my 
friends, a physician, styled M. Jacques de Sainte- 
Marie-de-la-Rotunde, informed me that a young man 
of the city, named Nicholas, a son-in-law of Cintio 
Yancancini, was so alarmingly ill of the quinsy, that 
he saw no remedy ; other persons told me that the 
youth was at the point of death ; but Aiessia, Ca- 
tharine's associate, having heard it, and bsing aware 
that Cintio, and all her household, had bsen very de- 
voted to, and much cherished by Catharine, repaired 
without delay to the young man, carrying with, has 



MIRACLES AFTER HER DEATH. 285 

one of the teeth of Catharine, which she regarded as 
a precious relic. She found the patient in extremities ; 
the inflammation impeded respiration. She applied 
the tooth to the throat, and instantly there was heard 
a noise similar to the detaching of a stone ; the abscess 
opened, the invalid raised his head and ejected from 
his mouth a great quantity of corrupted matter ; in a 
short time he was perfectly restored, returning thanks 
to God and to the saint, whose tooth had delivered 
him from the teeth of the grim messenger Death. 
This prodigy surprised people in general and above 
all the physicians who understood more clearly than 
the others, the imminent danger in which he was 
placed. The young Nicholas relates publicly what 
happened to him, so much so, that once while preach- 
ing and telling some miracles performed by the saint, 
and among others this one, he arose in the midst of 
the assembly and said, " Father, what you advance 
is correct ; I am the subject of that miracle." 

To the above wonders, I could add many others of 
which no note has been taken ; the proof is in the num- 
bers of waxen ex-voto offered at her tomb. But these 
offerings of homage, or of pious gratitude, have been 
gradually removed, I know not whether to accuse the 
inhabitants of Rome, or foreigners, of which the city is 
continually full, but the purloiners are either already 
punished or will soon be. For myself, I confess in the 
presence of God, of Angels, and of all thefaithful, that 
many persons have sought me, in order to unfold tr 
me the wonderful favours that they have received 
through blessed Catharine's intercession, and it is my 
fault if these circumstances have remained buried in 



'286 Lira OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

iorgetfulness if I neglected to write them. I had de- 
signated a notary to do it, but he did not fulfil iny in- 
tentions ; but I remember one event that I cannot 
well conceal. At the time in which Queen Jeanne 
(Joan) sent against Rome Kinaldo des Ursins, at the 
head of armed men, to arrest the Sovereign Pontiff, 
Urban VI., several inhabitants were taken by the ene- 
my. Some were fastened to trees, and thus abandoned 
to a cruel death ; others were led to the camp loaded 
with irons, hoping to procure a ransom. I have learned 
from those who were delivered, that as soon as theyin- 
voked Catharine, they felt their chains drop, without 
human help. One among others informed me that 
after praying he found himself disencumbered from 
the bonds by which the enemy had attached him to a 
tree, and that he had returned to Rome, supplicating 
Catharine, without meeting any one to arrest him. 

I remember to have heard many miracles of this 
idnd related ; but my memory fadeswith years, and the 
peculiar details escape me. I beseech the reader to 
collect, notwithstanding the lengthened and imperfect 
details of this work, both flowers and fruit from this 
holy life, and to Bhun as they would a pestilence, the 
indifference of the lukewarm, and the malice of ca- 
lumniators. -. desire before concluding, to speak of Ca- 
tharine's patience. The Church militant admires this 
virtue in her saints more than she does miracles ; I 
therefore consecrate a chapter to this subject. Catha- 
rine will obtain for uie in return a grace from her hea- 
venly Spouse, who lives and reigns with the Father and 
the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen. 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 287 



Of the great patience that Catharine manifested in all her actions, 
from her infancy until her death. This chapter will 



CHAPTER VI. 

inalll 

be a sort of 
condensed statement of her Whole Life. 

THE eternal Truth, incarnate for our salvation says, 
Qui in corde bono et optima audientes verbum "etinent^ 
etfructum afferunt in patientia. (St. Luke viii. 15.) 
" Who in a good and very good heart, hearing the word 
with patience, keep it, and bring forth fruit in pa- 
tience." In his book of Dialogues, St. Gregory said, 
" I think that the virtue of patience, is aboveprodigies 
and miracles :" Ego virtutem patientias signis et mir- 
aculis puto majorem. The Apostle St. James says in 
his canonical Epistle (St. Jas. i. 4,) Patientia opus per- 
fectum. Patience hath a perfect work. She is not 
the chief and the queen of virtues ; but according to 
the testimony of the Apostle, she is the inseparable com- 
panion of that virtue which is the greatest, and shall 
never fail. When speaking of charity, St. Paul said, 
' Charity is patient, is kind; charity envieth not, 
deal eth not perversely; is not puffed up." (1 Cor. 
xiii. 4.) Hence, when the Church examines the lives 
of her Saints, she does not apply her principal atten- 
tion to the prodigies they have performed, for two rea- 
sons: 1. The wicked have accomplished and still effect 
prodigies which resemble miracles, which are not such, 
as those of the magicians of Pharaoh ; Antichrist and 
his followers will do the same in their time. 2. Some 
have actually performed miracles by the help of divine 
power, but haveaf terwards beenreprobatelike Judas; 
and to those who, according to the Gospel, shall at tho 
tost judgment s&y ; "Lord, have we not performed mir a- 



288 LIFE OF 3T. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

cles in thy Name?" it will be answered " Withdraw from 
me, ye workers of iniquity. Consequently, in accord- 
ance with the doctrine of divines, prodigies and mira- 
cles cannot of themselves assure to the Church militant 
the eternal glory of those who perform them, though 
they are nevertheless a strong indication of their sanc- 
tity, especially when they happen after their decease ; 
but even those do not give a definite certitude, because 
God in his compassion, may recompense the faith of 
those who pray, without intending to manifest the 
glory of those whom they supplicate. 

When the Church wishes to ascertain the merits of 
the saints, she informs herself of their lives and ac- 
tions on earth. Her divine Spouse taught her this, 
when he said, By their fruits you will know them, for 
a bad tree cannot produce goodjruit, nor a good tree 
ev& fruit." (St. Matt. vii. 18.) Good fruits are the 
works of charity towards God and towards the neigh- 
bour. Those works are agreeable to God, and conse- 
quently insupportable to Satan, who makes untiring 
efforts to hinder them, either in himself, or by men 
who belong to him in the world. The saints who are 
faithful and who persevere, have necessarily practised 
patience which preserved them in the love of God and 
of the neighbour, notwithstanding all imaginable per- 
secutions. Our Lord said to his disciples ; in patientia 
vestra possidebitia animas vestras, " in your patience 
you shall preserve your souls." (St. Luke xxi. 19.) 
And that is, according to the Apostle, the first condi- 
tion of charity. Charity is patient ; charitas patiem 
est. (1 Cor. adii. 4.) Therefore this point is greatly 
insisted upon i the canonisation of the saints : ihsir 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 289 

deeds are more exactly scrutinized than their miracles; 
and among their actions, their fruits of patience are 
particularly sought, because they prove charity and 
sanctity more than all others. 

My intention in writing this volume, being to 
make known Catharine's sanctity to the Catholic 
Church and those who govern it, I thought that I 
would complete my work by adding a chapter on the 
patience of Catharine, it having been the glory of her 
life. I will recapitulate her entire annals, and 1 shall 
thus prove useful to a class of readers who find an 
hour longer than a day, when pious subjects are in 
question, while a day seems to them to fly more ra- 
pidly than an hour when they are occupied in perusing 
fables. 

Patience is exercised in enduring things opposite ; 
its very name indicates it, since it is derived from paiir, 
to suffer. The things contrary to man may b e divided 
into two classes, according to their double nature ; 
those which affect the mind, and those which riffecfc the 
body. 

The good possessed by man is separated by philoso- 
phers into three classes : the agreeable, useful, and 
honowabk, and it is by the continued privation of 
these blessings that patience is exercised. The agree- 
able comprehends health, the pleasures of the table, of 
the toilette, with whatever flatters nature, and in par- 
ticular sensuality. The useful comprehends riches, 
houses, lands, money, animals, luxury, parentage and 
kindred, with domestics and whatever serves to the 
material existence. The honourable embraces what- 
ever gives man consideration aaieng his equala : as a 



290 .L1FB OF ST. CATHABntB OF SIENNA. 

good, or a renowned name, a great reputation, distin- 
guished fricuda, recognised abilities, and the means of 
doing good. 

Among the things that I have enumerated, some are 
culpable and must be renounced ; some are hindrances 
to perfection, and must be avoided and despised; others 
are allowed and are even necessary sometimes, and 
their privation must be supported patiently. We shall 
consider Catharine's conduct in all these, pursuing the 
order that we have selected. The saint understood 
that patience is not serviceable when we do not first 
shun what is forbidden, as all sensual pleasures ; hence 
at a tender age, she avoided them with fortitude and 
prudence. Jt was in consequence of a remarkable 
vision with which she was favoured at six years of age, 
when the Lord appeared to her with his chief Apostles, 
and blessed her with his kingly hand, and gave her a 
look of tender affection. Her soul was then filled 
with such perfect love, that she abandoned the habits 
of infancy, and consecrated herself, notwithstanding 
the weakness of her years, to penance and to medita- 
tion. So rapid was her progress, that the following 
year, namely, her seventh, she made a vow of per- 
petual chastity, in presence of the Blessed Virgin, 
after having maturely reflected and prayed much. 

As the pious child had understood that there was 
nothing more necessary for preserving her virginity 
than sobriety and mortification in her diet, she applied 
to that at a tender age, and finished by practising it 
with a marvellous perfection. She began by depriving 
herself o* meat and then renounced it wholly ; the 
wine whiih she drank was mingled with so much water 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 291 

that it lost its taste : at fifteen she abstained from it 
completely, and refused all food except bread an 
vegetables; in fine, at the age of twenty, she re- 
trenched bread, and supported her body with uncooked 
herbs; she did so, until God granted her the favour of 
living Avithout taking any food; and this took place, 
if I am. not deceived, at the age of twenty-five or 
twenty- six. I have declared the murmurs that were 
excited against this extraordinary state, which she 
then endured with such admirable patience. 

Having thus retrenched, by abstinence and purity, 
against the pleasures of sense, Catharine was deprived 
by others of many things permitted and even desirable. 
Some trials gave her a veritable joy ; but there were 
others that afflicted her profoundly. Among her rela- 
tives and friends, many were an occasion of pain from 
her infancy until her death. Her mother and brothers, 
in order to force her to marry, took away her room, 
and obliged her to perform the vilest employments of 
the kitchen, so as to prevent her from praying and me- 
ditating. She remained fixed and immoveable in her 
resolutions ; not only the privation of her cell, and the 
services of the house did not induce her to neglect or- 
dinary prayers, but she daily increased them, until she 
triumphed. The demon was intent upon hindering her 
austerities, the length of her vigils, and the hardness of 
her bed : ho excited her mother Lapa against her, we 
may say, even to rage ; but she, armed with invincible 
patience, and wonderful discretion, softened her mo- 
ther's anger, while continuing her vigorous penances. 

The enemy of salvation sought by all possible means 
todoprhrethatholysoulof the consolations and favours 



292 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

of her divine Spouse, or at least to distract her from 
them for a time; but she triumphed over his attacks 
by fervour ; she disconcerted his snares and projects by 
her wisdom, and confounded him by her perseverance. 
The evil spirit endeavoured to induce her to forget her 
vow, by means of her sister-in-law, who succeeded in 
inspiring her with akind of particularity in the arrange - 
rnent of her hair and in her toilette. God permitted 
this for her good, as I have shown in the fourth chap- 
ter of the First Part. He afterwards tormented her 
by temptations and even by false visions. 

One day when sbs was praying before a Crucifix the 
demon presented himself holding a robe of rich silk 
with which he desired to clothe her. She repulsed it 
with contempt, and armed herself with the sign of the 
cross ; the devil disappeared, but left in her mind a 
temptation to vanity, in adorning her person, and she 
was extremely troubled by it ; but she remembered the 
vow of virginity that she had contracted, and said to 
our Saviour, "Beloved Spouse, thou knowcst that I 
never desired any other spouse than thee; assist me to 
triumph over these temptations ; I do not ask thee to 
remove them, but only deign in thy mercy never to 
permit me to yield." She had scarcely terminated 
this prayer, than the Mother of God, the Queen of 
Heaven, appeared to her, and it seemed to her that she 
drew from the side of her crucified Son a magnificent, 
robe, which she embroidered with her own hand, set- 
ting it with dazzling and priceless gems slie clothed 
her with this robe, saying, "Know, my daughter, that 
tire garments which come from the side of my Son sur- 
p&sa all other garments in biigLtne&s and beauty." TLa 



HER GREAT PATIENCE 293 

temptation vanished immediately, and the saint was 
filled with heavenly consolation. 

The devil seeing that he could not lead her to be less 
fervent in keeping her resolutions, strove to render 
them useless during a period of time, and aided him- 
self by several individuals. He employed her mother, 
who conducted her to the Baths, so as to oblige her to 
suspend her austerities ; but Catharine contrived to find 
ruder mortifications than she practised in her cell, by 
exposing her body to boiling water. . . . ,. . De- 
ficiency of light in her directors, and in the Prioresses 
of the "Third Order," also caused her much suffering. 
They hindered her from confessing as much as she de- 
sired to do, and constrained her in the exercises of 
piety which she loved the most. Their understanding- 
was incapable of comprehending them ; they con- 
demned light because they were in darkness, and they 
wished to take measure of the mountain peaks, without 
leaving the shades of their humble valleys. 

The following fact will show the extent of her pati 
ence. It will redound to the shame of a few Religious, 
but it is better to publish it than to be silent concern- 
ing the gifts that the Holy Ghost lavished on that faith- 
ful soul. 

Catharine could scarcely perform any public exercise 
of piety withoiit exciting a calumny and drawing 
upon herself the persecutions of those same individuals 
who ought to have defended and encouraged her; and 
let us not be astonished, for Religious who have not per- 
fectly overcome their self love, allow their jealousy to 
carry them farther than persons in tha world. As the 
Sisters of Penance saw Catharine, yet so young, sur- 



294 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

passing all the others by the austerity of her life, the 
severity of morals, and the fervour of her prayer, and 
a sublime contemplation, some among them were se- 
duced by Satan, and began through envy to censure 
her conduct, and denounce hereto some Religious of 
the Order. If some extolled her virtue, and proved 
it by things evident to all, others maintained that she 
was instigated by an evil spirit. Those females, genu- 
ine descendants of Eve, acted so adroitly that they se- 
duced Adam himself, that is to say, the Superiors of 
the Convent of St. Dominick, who would not receive 
her, refused her holy Communion, and even went so 
far as to deprive her of her Confessor. She supported 
the whole with patience and without murmuring, as 
though she were not the injured one, and no one ever 
heard her utter the smallest complaint. 

If they allowed her to approach Communion, they 
exacted that she should terminate her prayers directly 
and quit the church, which was wholly impossible 5 
for, she received Holy Communion with so much fer- 
vour, that she lost the use of her senses ; her body be- 
came completely insensible, and she remained in that 
state for several hours. Those whom the sisters had 
misled, became furious at this ; they would take her 
during her ecstasies, carry her away in a rough, even 
brutal manner, and throw her down at the church door 
as though she were the most contemptible of human 
beings. Her companions, bathed in tears, remained 
around her to protect her, exposed to the burning rays 
of the noonday sun, and awaiting the moment in which 
she would return to herself. Some individuals gave 
her furious blows with the foot, whilst she was in ec- 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 295 

stasy, and nevertheless -she never uttered a word of re- 
proach : she never even mentioned that ill -treatment 
except to excuse those who made her suffer J But the 
more she remained patient amid these injuries, tho 
more her divine Spouse, who is justice itself, was pro- 
voked against her persecutors and punished them with 
severity. I know this by the Confessor who proceeded 
me and from several persons worthy of confidence. 

A woman who gave her a blow with the foot, dur- 
ingan ecstasy, was taken, just as she entered her house, 
with agonizing pains, and expired directly, without be- 
ing able to receive the last Sacraments Another 
wretch also struck her with the foot, and carried her 
to the door of the church, offering her the grossest in- 
juries ; his punishment was awful ; that man (whom 1 
knew perfectly well) not only behaved odiously towards 
Catharine, but he even designed to kill her. A few 
days after the unhappy individual, without any ap- 
parent cause, became enraged as though lie was pos- 
sessed by the devil ; he shrieked continually, ' ' In mercj 
help me ! see, here comes the executioner to cut off my 
head 1" The occupants of the house were anxious to 
encourage and comfort him, but they soon perceived 
by his words and gestures that he had entirely lost his 
reason ; they therefore watched him closely, because 
they discovered that he was tempted to commit suicide. 
Some time after, as he appeared more calm, their care 
diminished ; he found means of escape, and went liko 
Judas to hang himself ! I have this fact from the very 
person that foundhis corpse he was notburiedin con- 
secrated ground, but in a ditch, as lie well merited. 

Catharine had much to sufferin her reputation, and 



296 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

in this especially appeared her admirable patience. 
What more precious than the reputation of o. maiden, 
and what more delicate than the honour of a conse- 
crated Virgin ! It was in consideration of this that 
God would have his Mother, the Queen of Virgins, 
protected by a husband in the eyes of the world ; and 
on the Cross, he confided the virginity of his Mother 
to the virginity of St. John. Three facts which I 
havenarrated, show Catharine's patience and her con- 
tinual progress in virtue. The first was the story of 
Tecca, the leper whom Catharine nursed when she 
was slighted by everybody. I also mentioned Pal- 
merina, who wore the same religious habit as Catha* 
rine, and who indulged an unjust and implacable 
hatred against her. Perfect charity triumphed in this 
case ; persevering prayer destroyed all the evil that the 
devil had created in that poor soul ; and grace, diffused 
in the heart and on the lips of Catharine was so po- 
tent, as to save Palmerina from the flames of per- 
dition. Although in those two circumstances, and 
particularly in the second, Catharine's patience is 
displayed in an admirable manner, it shone even more 
brightly in the case of Andrea, the cancerous woman. 
After having recalled the prodiges of patience of 
the blessed Catharine, it appears to me beneficial to 
give some details of which I have not yet spoken. 
Almost all the persons who approached her to follow 
her counsels and her examples, afflicted her in some 
way ; the demon thus endeavoured to torment her by 
means of those who were dearest to her. Catharine 
Buffered more vexations from those whom she directed 
than from strangers: shehowevertriumphedoverthem 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 297 

by patience. Like an iinmoveable column which the 
power of the Holy Spirit had fixed in charity, the 
most violent persecutions could not weaken her sta- 
bility ; the words of the wise man might be aptly ap- 
plied to her, " She has her everlasting foundations on 
the solid rock, and God's commandments are in the 
heart of the devout woman :" Fundamenta aeterna 
*uper jjetram solidam et mandata Dei in corde mulieris 
sanctsa (Eccl. xxvi. 24) ; yes, the soul of Catharine 
was so established by indissoluble bonds with the 
foundation stone Jesus Christ, that she preserved 
piously within her heart the precepts of God. 

A Religious (man) had been so misled by the devil, 
that he insulted Catharine in the coarest manner in 
the very presence of her companions. She was so 
patient that she would not allow any exterior sign of 
trouble to appear ; she uttered not a word, and ex- 
pressly recommended not to offer the slightest reproach 
to the culpable individual, and not to give him any 
pain. He therefore, emboldened by Catharine's meek- 
ness, went so far as to take the money that had been 
remitted to her for giving alms. The saint did not 
swerve from her charity ; she would not allow any one 
of those who were aware of the theft to say or do any 
thing ; but she remained steadfast in silence and hope. 
She finished by vanquishing, and thus teaches us, by 
her words and her example, to overcome ourselves. 

It is quite impossible to describe the patience that 
Catharine exhibited in corporeal infirmities ; she suf - 
fered a continual and very violent pain in the side, 
and it was this that delivered her father's soul from 
the anguish of purgatorial flames. She had likewise 



298 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

an unintermitting pain in the head, and an acute pain 
in the breast : this last named torture commenced on 
the day that our Lord permitted her to take the suf- 
ferings of his sacred Passion ; it remained with her 
ever after, and she affirmed that it surpassed all the 
others. To these dolours were frequently added vio- 
lent fevers, and yet she never breathed a plaint or 
showed that she was ill. Her countenance bore no im- 
press of sadness, and with a gentle and engaging smile, 
she received and consoled those who approached her 
for consultation or conversation. When words would 
not suffice, and fatigue and labour were requisite to 
promote the salvation of souls all her infirmities 
seemed to vanish ; she arose and walked a though 
she were not subject to any infirmity. 

What persecutions did not that holy soul endure 
from Satan ! I recount an incident that I witnessed. 
We were returning to Sienna, one day, when she was 
suddenly precipitated from the ass on which she was 
riding into a deep ravine. I ran, invoking the Blessed 
Virgin, and found her on the ground laughing and 
saying, " That it was a blow from the evil beast" 
meaning Satan. She seated herself anew ; but scarcely 
bad she advanced a few steps than the malign spirit 
Again threw her into the dust, and in such a manner 
that she found herself directly underneath the animal. 
She said to us laughingly, " This good mule warms 
the side in which I suffer pain." She thus mocked 
Satan who could not succeed in doing her any injury. 
We drew her from the ground, but we were unwilling 
to allow her to mount the animal anew, and as we 
weie near the city, we wished her to walk in the midst 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 299 

of us. Her enemy was not yet deterred, he dragged 
her every way, and if we had not sustained her, she 
would certainly have been overthrown ; but she con- 
tinued to rally the evil spirit on his impotence. It 
was at this time that Catharine effected so mucli good 
in souls, and the devil showed by his persecutions 
the rage which embittered him. 

The incredible sufferings that charity led Catharine 
to undergo, a short time before her death, entitle her 
(it appears to me) to the dignity of martyr. The 
Blessed Anthony thirsted for martyrdom and peti- 
tioned it from our Lord, who heard him by allowing 
the demons to beat him cruelly, without however 
taking away his life. Catharine was frequently beaten, 
anl even found death in the last torments which hell 
obliged her to suffer. It alone would be a sufficient 
proof of her holiness, and for the conviction of those 
who may doubt it, I will cite a fact which will show 
how similar Catharine was to her Spouse, at least as to 
the cause of her sufferings. I will thus terminate this 
chapter to the glory of the Incarnate Truth, to the ho- 
nour of the virgin Catharine, his spouse, and in oppo- 
sition to what may be said by the devotees of falsehood 

Towards the year 1875, either by the malice of tho 
great sower of tares, or through defect of those in charge 
of the Holy See, or by the pecuniary aid of certain Flo- 
rentines, or by reciprocal arts, the city of Florence, 
v.'hich hitherto had ranked among the most devoted 
daughters of the Catholic Church, assembled the ene- 
mies of the Church and used great efforts to destroy in 
union with them its temporal power. The Sovereign 
Pontiff of Koine, who commanded in Italy sixty epis- 



800 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

copal cities and a thousand fortified places, was reduced 
to a few meagre paltry strips of land. Gregory XI. ful- 
minated against the Florentines terrible decrees which 
caused all their goods to be seized by the proprietors of 
the countries with which they carried on commerce ; 
the consequences accruin g from thischastisement forced 
them to sue forpeace to the Supreme Pontiff, by the in- 
termediation of persons whom they knew to be agreea- 
ble to him. It was made known to them, that the bles- 
sed Catharine, onaccountof her reputation of sanctity, 
would be perfectly well received by his Holiness; they 
therefore decided that I should be commissioned by 
Catharine to go to the Holy Father : then they caused 
her to be conducted to Florence. The chief citizens 
went forth to meet her, and supplicated her to go in 
person to Avignon, and treat with the Holy See. Ca- 
tharine, abounding with love for God and her neigh- 
bour, and very desirous of promoting the welfare of the 
Church, undertook this journey and came to Avignon, 
where I was at the moment. I acted as interpreter 
between her and the Pope,because the Sovereign Pon- 
tiff spoke Latin, and she employed the dialect of Tus- 
cany. I can affirm before God and before man, that 
the Holy Father, in my presence and by my mouth 
committed the treaty of peace to the decision of Ca- 
tharine, saying to her, "7n order to prove to you that I 
desire peace, I commit Hie entire negotiation into your 
hands: only be careful of the honour of the Church." 

But some among the individuals who then governed 
Florence, at the same time that they publicly asked for 
peace secretly plotted against her, and endeavoured to 
destroy the temporal power of the Church, and place it 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 301 

i 11 an impossibility of obtaining the smallest satisfaction. 
They owned it to me themselves, when they could 
fearlessly say aloud what they then carefullyiconcealed. 
They acted as genuine hypocrites, and exhibited 
these dispositions by their conduct towards Catharine. 

When that saint undertook the long and painful 
journey, they promised to send after her deputies 
who would have orders not to attempt or do anything 
absolutely without her counsel. As they delayed long- 
in sending those whom they had announced, the 
Sovereign Pontiff was surprised, and said to Catha- 
rine; u Believe me, they have deceived, and will de- 
ceive you : those ambassadors will never come, or if 
they do come, their mandate will be useless." In effect 
when the ambassadors arrived at Avignon, Catharine 
caused them to come, and told them in my presence, 
the powers that the magistrates of Florence had be- 
stowed on her : she announced to them that the Sove- 
reign Pontiff entrusted the peace into her hands, and 
that thus thsy could if they would, obtain favourable 
conditions. But they, far from responding to these ad - 
ranees, pretended that they had no orders to treat 
with her. Catharine then discovered their dishonesty 
and perceived that the Holy Father had predicted cor- 
rectly : shedid not however discontinue her solicitations 
to Gregory XT. to ask him for them the clemency of 
a father, rather than the severity of a Judge. 

When the Vicar of Jesus Christ, in conformity with 
Catharine's advice, returned to establish himself at 
Rome, we went back to Italy. Catharine sent me to 
him with several projects, which would have proved 
very useful to the ohiu-ch, hz they be&a carded out. 



802 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

During my sojourn there, I was compelled by my 
Order, to accept the charge of Prior of a Roman con- 
vent, which I had formerly governed under the pon- 
tificate of Urban Y., and it became impossible for me 
to go back to Catharine. Before quitting Tuscany 
I held an interview with Nicholas Soderini, a citizen 
of Florence, a man most faithful to God and tho 
Church, and strongly attached to Catharine. We 
had spoken of the affairs of the Republic and in par- 
ticular of the ill-will of those who pretended to de- 
sire reconciliation with the Church, and who did all they 
could to prevent peace. As I complained of this course 
of conduct, tl;at excellent man answered me thus, *'Bc 
convinced that the people of Florence and every Lo- 
nest man in the town desire peace : but some obsti- 
nate hearts that govern us, offer an obstacle." I said, 
"Could there be no remedy applied to this evil?" 
He rejoined, " Yes, if some respectable citizens took 
to heart the cause of God, and had an understanding 
with the Guelphs, in order to deprive those intermed- 
dlers of their power, for they are enemies of the public 
good, it would be sufficient to remove four or five of 
them." When I went to fulfil my commission to the 
Sovereign Pontiff, I related to him the conversation 
which I had held with Nicholas Soderini. 

I had been occupied several months in fulfilling my 
charge of Prior, and announcing the word of God, 
when one Sunday morning an envoy of the Pope came 
to inform me that his Holiness awaited my presence at 
dinner time. I obeyed this command, and after the 
repast the Holy Father sent for me, and said, '* I am 
told that if Catharine of Sienna repairs to Florence, 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 803 

peace will be concluded/' Ircplied, " Not only Catha- 
rine, but we all are ready to obey your Holiness and to 
suffer, if necessary, martyrdom." The Holy Father said 
to me, " I do not desire you should go to Florence, 
because they would maltreat you, but for her, she is a 
woman and they venerate her : I do not think she will 
incur any danger. Consider what powers it would be 
suitable to grant her ; present them to-morrow morn- 
ing for my signature, so that this business may be 
promptly concluded." I obeyed, and forwarded the 
letters to the saint, who submitted and set out directly- 
Arrived at Florence, she was received with much ho- 
nour by those who had remained faithful to God and 
the Church, and with the aid of Nicholas Soderini, she 
held conferences with the well-disposed citizens, whom 
she persuaded not to offer longer opposition to the 
Shepherd of their souls, and to be reconciled directly 
with the Vicar of Christ. She was also able to confer 
with the Guelphs, and lead them to understand that 
those who entertained division between the father and 
the children, ought to be deprived of their functions 
that they were rather the destroyers than the gover- 
nors of the public weal ; that not only peace was ne- 
cessary to the preservation of their goods and of their 
lives, but that it was indispensable to their souls' sal- 
vation. They had actively contributed to stripping the 
Roman Church of her incontestible rights ; and even 
though there were merely questions of private interests, 
they ought before God, and for conscience' sake, to 
make restitution of what they had taken, or caused to 
be taken by others. The chief of the party and a great 
number of good citizens surrendered to these conadera- 



304 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

lions, and asked the governors of the city to labour for 
peace not merely in word, but by prompt and energetic 
action. 

The opposition was violent, especially among those 
who had been chosen to war against the Church they 
were eight in number the chiefs of the Guelphs de- 
prived one of them of his charge, and succeeded in 
discarding from affairs a few other citizens. But soon 
serious troubles declared themselves : they had exiled 
those who were opposed to the peace, many others were 
so, but only to satisfy their private revenge. The 
number of the banished became so considerable that 
the whole city murmured : minds were irritated 
against Catharine, who was however a stranger to 
what was passing ; she even complained of these pro- 
ceedings bitterly, saying and causing to be said every- 
where, that it was very ill to strike so many citizens, 
and that they ought not, under pretext of procuring 
peace, satisfy their personal and individual hatred. 

These excesses increased continually, and disorder 
soon reached its height ; those who had been formerly 
named for commanding the soldiery, collected troops 
and excited the lower classes of the population against 
the authors of all these banishments, and set the 
whole city in revolution ; they succeeded in chasing 
out those who had banished others, they confiscated 
their goods, burned their houses, and even massacred, 
as I was informed, a very great number. 

Many innocent persons suffered, and almost all 
those who desired peace were obligated to become 
voluntary exiles. Catharine who came to labour to 
axcaugo a peace, and who had given from the cutsafc 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. W 

merely an advice to deprive some few persons who 
offered an obstacle, was consequently seriously com* 
promised ; the leaders designated her to the peopK 
and the cry was everywhere heard : " Take tli&t 
wicked woman and burn her alive ; let us cut her in 
pieces." Those who had received her in their houses 
were frightened, and sent her away with all those who 
had accompanied her. Catharine, quite sure of her 
innocence, suffered the whole joyfully for the sake 
of the holy Catholic Church, and lost nothing of her 
ordinary tranquillity ; she continued cheerful and 
encouraged her companions. After giving them an 
exhortation, she withdrew, in imitation of her Spouse, 
into a place where there was a garden, and gave 
herself to prayer. 

While she was praying in that garden with our Lord, 
the satellites of Satan came also in tumult, armed with 
swords and clubs. They cried out : " Where is that 
cursed woman where is she .*" Catharine heard them 
and prepared herself for martyrdom, as for a delicious 
banquet. She went out before one of those furies who 
was armed with a sword, and who shrieked louder than 
the others: "Where is Catharine?" She knelt joy- 
ously and said to him : " I am Catharine, do whatever 
God suffers you to do to me ; but in the n&iuo of the 
Almighty, I command you not to touch any cf kiiiiie." 
At these words the man who threatened her so lost his 
strength, that it was impossible for him to endure her 
presence. He ordered her to go away ; but she, in 
her ardour for martyrdom, answered "I am weU 
here ; where would you have me go ? L KEI ready to 
suffer for God and bis Church ; thte is the object 



306 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

of all my wishes. Why flee since I have found the 
object of my search ? I offer myself a living holo- 
caust to my divine Spouse ; if you are charged to kill 
me, act fearlessly; I will make no effort to escape; but 
do not harm those who are with me. 1 ' God visibly 
protected his servant, and the man who had menaced 
her departed, quite confused, with his iniquitous asso- 
ciates. Then Catharine's spiritual children surrounded 
her and congratulated her on her fortunate escape ; 
but she, on the contrary, was quite sad and said weep- 
ing: " Ah ! how unhappy I am ! I thought this clay 
the Almighty was about to crown my desire ; he has 
deigned to bestow on me the white Rose of Virginity, 
and I hoped that he would join it to the crimson Rose 
of Martyrdom, But alas ! I am deceived in my ex- 
pectations ; my innumerable sins have deprived me 
of that great blessing. Oh ! how happy for my soul 
had I poured out my blood for the love of HIM who 
redeemed me at the price of his own." 

Although this tumult was appeased, the saint and 
those who accompanied her, risked many dangers. So 
great was the terror, that no one was willing to receive 
her into her house. Her friends advised her to return 
to Sienna, but she answered that she could not quit 
the territory of Florence before peace had been re- 
stored between the father and the children, because 
she had received an order from God. Those who sur- 
rounded her dared not contradict her, and at last found 
a good man fearing God, who concealed her in his house. 

Some days after the popular effervescence was calmed , 
Catharine was conducted outside of the city, but not 
out of the territory and that holy Virgin departed 



HER GREAT PATIENCE. 307 

with those whom she had cherished as her cnildren in 
the Lord, into a solitary place inhabited by hermits. 

Divine Providence put an end to this tempest ; those 
who excited it were punished by justice and obliged 
to flee on all sides. Catharine then came back to Flo- 
rence ; she remained there in secret at first, on account 
of the hatred existing towards her : but she remained 
there afterwards publicly until the death of Gre- 
gory XI., and the election of Urban VI. Peace was 
then concluded between the Holy See and the Floren- 
tines, and Blessed Catharine said to her spiritual chil- 
dren, "We can now quit the city of Florence, because, 
with the grace of God, I have followed his command- 
ments and those of his Vicar ; those whom I found in 
revolt against the Holy Church, I have left subject to 
chat kind and tender. Mother. Return therefore to 
Sienna." 

Catharine thus escaped the hands of the wicked : 
she obtained the peace that she desired, and that, by 
the power of the Saviour Jesus, whose Angels accom- 
plished what the malice of men obedient to Satan, 
intended to prevent. How can we fail to admire 
Catharine in the perfection of her patience, the up- 
rightness of her prudence, and that settled confidence 
which led her to knock at the door of the pacific King, 
until she obtained for the Church and for Florence, 
that peace which she so earnestly desired ! 

Let us now speak of that supreme patience of Catha- 
rine, displayed in the long and cruel death that she suf- 
fered for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and of his 
holy church. Not only she equalled the merits of the 
samta, but it also appears to me that she surpassed se- 



808 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

veral among them. The martyrs were tortured by men 
who sometimes ameliorated their sufferings, or yielded 
at least to their own weariness, but Catharine was tor- 
mented by devils, whose cruelty was insatiable, and who 
never reposed. Some martyrs fought a short time and 
died in excessive sufferings ; Catharine suffered thirteen 
weeks, from Sexagesima till the last day of April ; her 
torments were incredible, and her anguish increased 
daily ; she supported all these with patience and with 
holy joy ; she thanked God for them, and offered her 
life to appease his anger, and preserve his Church from 
scandal. Hence, neither cause, nor suffering was want- 
ing to the perfection of her martyrdom, and in the ca- 
nonization the process might have been as short and as 
certain as in the procedures that the Church employs 
in the canonization of Confessors of the Faith. The 
witnesses of whom I have spoken in the first chapter 
of the Third Part, may also be invoked for the second 
and the following chapters. 

All that I have written proves that Catharine, Vir- 
gin and Martyr, is worthy of being inscribed by the 

Church militant in the catalogue of the saints 

May the happiness of eternal life be granted to me and 
her other spiritual children, by the Eternal Bounty, 
who lives and reigns in his Unity and Trinity, world 
without end. 



APPENDIX TO THE 

LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 



OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, for the glory of his faith- 
ful spouse Catharine, design-ed that her memory should 
remain intact and incorruptible in the Church, like 
those sacred bodies which, venerated by the people, and 
respected by successive ages, a\vait in their integrity, 
beneath the shade of her altars, the day of final resur- 
rection. Not only did Friar Raymond of Capua write 
the life of our saint, but her other disciples were provi- 
dentially called upon to render testimony to hervirtues, 
and with their depositions we will conclude this volume. 

The miracles performed by Catharine during her 
lifetime, and after her decease, had given such proofs 
of her sanctity, that the devotion of the faithful was 
manifested by public honours. The Preaching Friars of 
Venice and other Italian cities celebrated the anniver- 
sary of her death, on the Sunday following the feast of 
St. Peter, martyr. The preacher of the day pronounced 
her eulogium, and exhorted his auditors to imitate her 
virtues ; this usage was followed in 14.11, in the Con- 
vents of St. John and St. Paul, at Venice. Public opi- 
nion was displeased ; the Religious were accused of ren- 
dering public homage to a person whom the Church 
had not yet canonized. The affair was deferred to 
Frangois Bembo, Bishop of Venice, and legate of the 
Holy See, who assigned the 26th of May following to 
the originators of the feast. Father Bartholomew da 
Ferarre, Inquisitor, and Father Thomas ol Sienna, 



810 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Prior of the Convent, that they might explain them- 
selves concerning this accusation. They appeared be- 
fore him and declared that they had not paid devotion 
to Catharine ; that they had celebrated the Office of the 
Day, and had simply proposed to the imitation of the 
faithful, the virtues with which Heaven had enriched 
that holy soul, that these virtues were well known, 
and the general belief was that Catharine deserved to 
be inscribed in the number of the saints: that they were 
ready to give testimony of the truth, but they preferred 
doing it by writing rather than viva voce. The Bishop's 
Vicar consented to this ; the two Religious wrote their 
testimony concerning the sanctity and the doctrine of 
Catharine. They also invoked the testimony of other 
persons of distinguished merit, such as Don Etienne 
Maconi, General of the Carthusians, Dom Bartholo- 
mew de Ravenne, Prior of Gorgon Isle, and Friar 
Angelo of Sienna, of the Order of Friar Minors. 

The Collection of those important documents, use- 
lessly sought for by the continuators of Bollandus, has 
since been published by Dom Martene, from a manu- 
script of the Grande Chartreuse, copied from a manu- 
script of the Dominicans of Sienna, by Dom Piere Ma- 
sotti, Prior of the Chartreuse of Pontigniane.* 

The acts of the Process were committed to writing 
by the Notary Francois de Viviano, and all the pro- 

* Procnsaus contestationtim super sarctitate et doctrma 
Beatce Catharinae de Senis, de mandate Keverendi in 
Christo Patris ac D. D. Francisci Bembo, Dei gratia Epis- 
copi Castellani, per Francisctim de Viviano, Notarium 
dictae Curias positns. . . . Dom Martine. Veretum Soripto- 
*-uw et Momwn^ntorunt amipli&ima Colltctto. Torn. 6, TV 
1238. 



TESTIMONY- OF HER DISCIPLES. 311 

ceedings may be examined. The Preaching Friars 
having been accused of celebrating Catharine's feast, 
Friar Bartholomew of Fcrrara was cited on the 24th 
of May, 14-11, before Francois Bembo, Bishop of Ve- 
nice. Tho plaintiffs whoso names and addresses aro 
given, expose their plaint, and require that in future 
such an abuse may be prohibited. 

On May 26th, Friar Bartholomew of Ferrara, and 
Friar Thomas, of Sienna, made their appearance before 
the Bishop assisted by his Vicar, Dominique de Esculo, 
in the Episcopal Chapel of the Palace. The affair was 
discussed, and the Bishop decided that it should be ex- 
posed in written memorials. Friar Bartholomew being 
obliged to set out that same evening, the Vicar-Gene- 
ral wrote on the following day to the Bishop of Fer- 
rara, praying him to hear Friar Bartholomew, and send 
him his deposition, invested with his episcopal seal. 

Friar Bartholomew having had information of this 
letter, wrote to Friar Thomas of Sienna, that it was not 
suitable on account of his title of Inquisitor of Fer- 
rara, that he should be examined on this affair by the 
Bishop of that city ; that it was better for the Vicar of 
the Bishop of Venice to write to him directly, and that 
then he could publicly satisfy his demands. Father Tho- 
mas of Sienna went to the Bishop of Venice and hijj 
Vicar, who added, to the proposition which was made to 
them, and the day preceding the last day of June, the 
Vicar addressed to Father Bartholomew a letter, in 
which he requested him to expose to him what he really 
said in the discourse delivered at the Convent of St. 
John and St. Paul. As soon as Father Bartholomew 
had recehed this letter from Ferrara, ho occupied Mm- 



812 LIFE OF bT. CATEAR1TO! OF SIENNA. 

self with its response : but serious obstacles hindered 
Mm from terminating it immediately : it was not ready 
until the 27th April, 1412, and it was remitted with 
the other depositions before the episcopal audience, in 
presence of three Religious, and the undersigned no- 
tary. The Vicar-General adjourned to the 15th, the 
decision of this affair, in order to give the manuscripts 
a full examination. 

A decision was rendered to the glory of the blessed 
Catharine. It was declared that the Preaching Friars 
had done nothing reprehensible in honouring her me- 
mory. The plaintiffs withdrew their expostulations, 
and Notary Frangois de Viviano drew up a digest of 
the verbal process and of all that had passed. The in- 
strument was signed by him and the witnesses, on Ja- 
nuary 5th, 1413. 

We intend analysing carefully these depositions of 
St. Catharine's contemporaries, and we will quote all 
the passages which may complete the biography written 
by Blessed Raymond of Capua. We shall terminate 
by giving the Bull of canonization the summary and 
conclusion of these testimonies. 



FRIAR BARTHOLOMEW OF FERRARA. 

The deposition of Friar Bartholomew of Ferrara, is dated the last 
day of September, 1411. It was put into authentic form by tho 
Notary of the Inquisition, Urbainof Russetis, the twenty-seventh 
of April, 1112, folded and sealed the seventh of May following, 
and presented the sixteenth of the same month, in public andi- 
once, before the vicar-general of the Bishop of Venice, 

FRIAR BARTHOLOMEW was not personally acquainted 
with St. Catharine, He applies particularly to the 



FRIAR BARTHOLOMEW'S DEPOSITION. 5V53 

justifying of the festivals celebrated in her honour, and 
explains the causes that retarded her canonization. 
He admits that during several years they had cele- 
brated a feast on the Sunday following St. Peter, 
martyr, in honour of her who was generally styled 
Blessed Catharine of Sienna, qua comminiter appellatue 
beata Catharina de Senis : for more than ten years he 
had seen this anniversary celebrated with much edifi- 
cation, and nothing had transpired that was not con- 
formable to the doctrine of the Church, since no hon- 
ours were paid to Catharine which are reserved to 
canonized saints. On the 3rd of May, 1411, the feast 
of the Finding of the Holy Cross, they honoured the 
memory of the blessed, and he himself preached. To 
avoid any possible error, he had declared to his auditory 
that the " Order of St. Dominick, so zealous for the 
laws of the Church, did not pretend to celebrate tho 
festival of Catharine, as though she was canonized. 
The title of * saint' could not be given to her, but that 
her life might well entitle her to the style of blessed." 
Our Lord had called Peter Blessed, because he con- 
fessed his Divinity, those who hear the Word of God 
are denominated blessed, and in the Sermon on the 
Mount it is declared, * Blessed are the poor in spirit.' 
If this title be given to those who have not yet con- 
cluded their mortal pilgrimage, can it be justly refused 
to those who have led a perfect life, and died with all 
the tokens of the most exalted piety ? Yes, Catharine 
may be called blessed, and it is allowable to celebrate 
her holy life, since in sermons, we mention, in order 
to excite the devotion of the faithful, the virtues of 
pagans and of heathen philosophers. We may, in 



314: LIFE OP ST. CATHAKINE Off 8IENKA. 

presence of the holy altars, speak of either a secular 
or a religions, who was a sinner during life, and who 
gave at death signs of repentance ; much more then 
may we speak of a person who exhibited such admi- 
rable virtues." 

Friar Bartholomew afterwards exposes the power of 
the cross over souls, and makes the application of it 
to the blessed Catharine. His text is, Ergo evacua- 
tum est scandalum crucis (Gal. chap, v.) ; and after 
establishing the division of his discourse, and reciting 
the Ave Maria according to custom, juxta morem, 
he enters into his subject. Dom Martene does not 
give Friar Bartholomew's sermon, he only quotes from 
it what refers to St. Catharine. (Page 1247.) 

Saint Catharine loved the cross so tenderly, that 
she obtained the grace of participating in the torments 
which our Lord endured thereon for us, and she suf- 
fered BO largely that her heart broke, literally, and her 
soul separated from her body during several hours. 
Our Lord imprinted on her the sacred stigmata, but in 
an invisible manner, and he frequently appeared to 
her crucified, for thus she loved him most. Catharine 
was passionately devoted to the Holy Eucharist, be- 
cause it represents the sacrifice of Calvary ; to recall 
it, thirty times the august sign is made during Mass. 

Catharine was morally crucified by the four cardinal 
virtues. 1. By temperance. At six years of age she 
practises abstinence, and urges it to incredible limits 
during her life ; she contents herself with one dress, 
refuses the simplest style of bed, deprives herself of 
food ; a little iuiusion 01 herbs and water suffices for 
hoc. At seven 5 oai & of 9 ge sue takes the vow. ot luv 



JBIAB BARTHOLOMEW'S DEPOSITION. 815 

ginity and keeps it with perfection until death. 2. By 
prudence. Her proceedings are all marked with hea- 
venly prudence,she clothesherself enthusiastically with 
the religious habit ; she lives in retirement, practises 
frightful austerities, and appears in public only on re- 
ceiving a formal order from Almighty God. She never 
uttered a frivolous or useless word. 3. By justice. 
She renders to every one his due, to God, herself, and 
her neighbour; she was compassionate towards all, and 
no necessity escaped her charity. 4. By fortitude. She 
was equally patient, courageous and constant in suffer- 
ings, persecutions and injuries, and notwithstanding 
all the obstacles that she encountered she persevered 
in her holy enterprises, at the peril even of her life. 

After recalling some traits of heroic virtue in the life 
of Catharine, Friar Bartholomew terminates his dis- 
course by saying that the blessed arrived at perfection, 
by loving the cross of the Saviour, and we must walk" 
in her footsteps on earth, if we would share her glory 
in heaven. He then exhorts-persons who are desirous 
of knowing more of Catharine's history, to go and hear 
Father Thomas of Sienna, who would preach on that 
very day, in the Church of St. Mark, not alone on the 
subject of the Redeemer's cross, but concerning the 
virtues of his devoted handmaid. 

Friar Bartholomew knew Catharine by the reputa- 
tion of sanctity that she enjoyed throughout all Italy, 
and by her memoirs composed by Father Raymond of 
.Capua, her last Confessor. He had Jso became ao- 
quainted with the contents of a collection of her letters, 
written to Sovereign Pontiffs, Cardinals, Kings and 
persons of every condition. He bad seen those letters 



816 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA 

in that same year, in the apartment of the General 
Master of the Order of Preaching Friars, who during 
an attack of illness, caused them to be read to him for 
his consolation. He also knew her by the admirable 
book which she composed during her ecstasies, in the 
last two years of her life. This book has been translated 
into Latin by a man of merit, who entertained a great 
esteem for Catharine!* 

He likewise knew her from informations received 
from a respectable man named Dino, from Lucca, who 
was at his side in the refectory as they were one day 
celebrating the feast of the blessed Catharine. 

He also had received testimonies from another inha- 
bitant of Lucca, called Leopardo, and from the noble- 
man, Jacques des Guerriero de Montepuiciano, who 
composed a little work in her honour. But his most el a~ 
borate informations were obtained from Friar Thomas 
of Sienna, who held relations with her during a long 
course of years. More than fifteen years he had spent 
at the convent of SS. John and Paul, he had been 
labouring indefatigably in honour of the blessed : if 
she is not yet enrolled among canonized saints, it must 
be attributed solely to the troubles that have agitated 
the Church. Petitions for her canonization were ad- 
dressed to Boniface IX., and to Gregory XII., when 
he was at Sienna. The life and doctrine of Catharine 
'rave been examined, and ail in it have been found ca- 
pable of edifying the faithful, and strengthening their 

*Qxu libei postca latinizatus ost per quendc,m valen- 
tem vrum, virginis devotuua, et time est in. uno volu- 
mine "m libraria Conventus SS. Joannis et Pauli: Ord. 
Praed.i'tige 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 317 

faith. Although her veneration is not yet approved, 
it is already permitted to honour her memory, and per- 
sons who are frightened at the feast we celebrate, will 
be reassured by those explanations. In reference to 
whatever he has said or written, Friar Bartholomew 
submits entirely to the decision of the holy Catholic 
Church. 

After that declaration, and previous to the examina- 
tion of the affair, the day for the feast of blessed Ca- 
tharine arrived. Friar Bartholomew, then Prior to the 
Convent of St. John and St. Paul, collected the fathers 
and brethren who composed the council, and it was una- 
nimously decided that that year (1412,) and the suc- 
ceeding years, the memory of blessed Catharine should 
be celebrated, because in the observance of that feast, 
nothing could occasion complaints, but that on the con- 
trary, every thing in it was calculated to excite the de- 
votion of the faithful. Therefore the feast took place, 
as usual, in the convent of SS. John and Paul, and in 
the other churches of the Preaching Friars and no 
more reclamations were made on the subject. 



FRIAR THOMAS OF SIENNA. 

Friar Thomas of Sienna had beun summoned with Friar Bartholo- 
mew of Ferrara, before the Bishop f Venice. His deposition is 
divided into twenty articles. His testimony is extremely inter- 
esting, because ho was particularly acquainted with Saint Catha- 
rine and very intimate with her family. Ht, was sixty-two years 
old at the period of the ecclesiastical suit. 

1. IT is long since the festival of blessed Catharine 
Las been celebrated throu ghout all I tal j, The day se-. 
Looted is the Sunday af ter tho feast of St, Peter, martyr. 



818 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

No particular Office was instituted for her; in the ser- 
mon nttf doctrine, her virtues and her miracles were al- 
luded to. Her portrait with its history are represented 
in a great number of churches, and Friar Thomas had 
it painted, but always with the head encircled with lu- 
minous rays, like personages who have not yet been 
canonized. On the 3rd of May, 1411, the day of the 
"Finding of the Holy Cross" Friar Bartholomew of 
Ferrara spoko of the blessed Catharine on the occasion 
of the festival, and her Confession. Friar Thomas did 
the same in the Church of St. Mark, in the presence of 
the Inquisitor. He had been a long time Prior of the 
Convent of Preaching Friars, and had always seen Ca- 
tharine's memory celebrated in the same manner. Sh 
is also feasted in the convents of Rome, at Ste. Mary- 
sur-Minerva" where her virginal body reposes ; at the 
Convent of the Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick of 
Rome, where resides her sister-in-law Lysa. The same 
happens at Lucca at the Roman Convent; at Pisa in 
the Convent of St. Catharine: in Germany at the Con- 
vent of Nuremberg; her history and her writings are 
generally known and are retained in the library of the 
convent, or in the church. Friar Thomas sent faith- 
ful copies of them. 

Friar Thomas declares that at Genes, at Venice, Pisa, 
Sienna, and Civita Vecchia, and in several other cities 
of Italy, he had seen and heard the memory of per- 
sons not yet canonized celebrated in this manner. He 
had sometimes preached concerning their virtues, and 
the people always derived particular benefit. He had 
himself preached several times at Venice, in the Church 
of St. Jonn Chrysostom, on the life of the bleseed Zithe 



THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 319 

of Lucca. He had done the same for the blessed Ca- 
tharine in 1369 : during the Lent, he explained the 
Gospel every day, and illustrated it by examples drawn 
from her history. For sixteen consecutive years he 
had preached on her festival, which fell sometimes on 
the day of "St. Philip and St. James," sometimes on 
the day of the Holy *' Crown oj Thorns," and often 
on the day of the " Finding of tlie Cross" or of St. 
John at the Latin gate* He had even preached in two 
churches, and always before an auditory \rhich listened 
to him with avidity. 

2. Friar Thomas declares that he knew particularly 
all the Confessors of the saint who are mentioned in 
her life. Friar Bartholomew de Fonte, dead many 
years ago. 2. The Father Bartholomew de Dominici 
of Sienna, Professor of Theology, who is yet alive. 3. 
The Father Raymond of Capua, who shortly after the 
death of Catharine, in the Chapter held in Bologna in 
1380, was named General Master of the Order of 
Preaching Friars. It is he who wrote the memoir of 
the saint. Those Religious were her ordinary Con- 
fessors: in their absence, she addressed herself to Fa- 
ther John, Doctor in Theology, of the Order of Her- 
mits of St. Augustine, or to an Abbe de Saint Authime, 
both of exemplary life and high reputation. The origi- 
nal manuscript of the annals of the blessed Catharine 
composed by Friar Raymond, were written for the 
greater part with his own hand the remainder under 
his dictation by Friar Thomas himself. This copy is 
in possession of Father Nicholas, Professor of Theology, 
who assisted the General Master in his kst moments at 
Wimberg, in the month of October, 1399. It vre/i 



320 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

from Friar Thomas's copy that all the others were 
made. 

3. Friar Thomas was very young when he became 
particularly acquainted with the saint, and her father, 
mother and whole family. She had already taken the 
habit of the Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick, when 
he himself entered the Order of Preaching Friars, and 
he had the means of admiring her holiness and her 
great austerities. Her first Confessor showed him a dis- 
cipline used by Catharine it was composed of several 
cords at the extremity of which were iron points which 
were intended to rend her body. That discipline 
seemed to have been steeped a long time in a vase full 
of blood and then dried . He had also seen an iron circle 
that she wore during a whole year, and at Venice, an 
iron chain garnished with crosses which served her as 
<i belt. After her death, that precious relic was given 
to the chaplain of the monastery of St. Andre who 
left it as a legacy to the Prior de la Miserecorde of 
Venice. Friar Thomas afterwards renders testimony 
to the other austerities of Catharine, of the planks that 
served for her bed, of her miraculous fasts, and of the 
sufferings caused by even the small portion of food she 
attempted to take. 

1. Her ecstasies and her conversations with our Lord 
were continual. Once Friar Thomas was witness of 
her holy intimacy. He heard the burning words of 
her soul, and felt escaping from her an ineffable per- 
fume, the impression of which threw him, during seve- 
ral days into a delicious intoxication . Catharine dwelt 
near the Church of Preaching Friars and passed a great 
p&rt of the night in prayer. When she heard the bell 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 821 

that announced matins, she allowed herself a short 
repose. Ah ! how zealously did she excite the Religi- 
ous to imitate our Lord, and "to take with him, on the 
table of the cross the nourishment of salvation, to en- 
close themselves in the "cell of their sowfe," that is to 
say, in the knowledge of themselves, to pray therein 
efficaciously for such as have lost the life of grace ! She 
said continually ; "Ah! let us stay in our cell and 
mourn, yes, let us mourn over those dead." It is im- 
possible to tell the good that her exhortations and her 
examples produced among the Religious of the Order 
of Preaching Friars. 

5. Catharine of Sienna was devotedly fond of flowers. 
Often before her appearance in public, divine love 
would throw her into a holy languor, and she found 
delight in singing hymns amid the flowers of earth, 
which represented to her the flowers of her celestial 
Spouse. She formed of them bouquets with admirable 
skill arranging them into crosses which she afterwards 
distributed, in order to excite in the souls of others the 
love of our divine Lord. Friar Thomas often partook 
of her bounty ; these flowers typified the life of St. 
Catharine and her charity towards God and her neigh- 
bour. The cross of Jesus Christ was to her the flowery 
couch of her love ; she was destined to collect like a 
nosegay of odorous flowers, a multitude of souls to offer 
them to God ; her words and works were so many bou- 
quets which embalmed the earth. She bloomed for 
heaven in the season of flowers (April), and ever since 
her memory has been particularly honoured by flowers. 
Annually, in the Church of St. John and of St. Paul, 
at the chapel of St. John the Baptist, where there is a 

V 



822 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

portrait of Catharine, a great number of persons in- 
spired by her divine Spouse, coine and offer flowers in 
profusion. They arrange them into crosses, bouquets, 
crowns, wreaths, and garlands, and during the whole 
year these testimonials of homage embellish and per- 
fume the altar. This custom is equally prevalent in 
the other churches of Venice, fheij also feast Catharine 
of Sienna with nature's fairest buds and herbs of deli- 
cate fragrance. 

6. The union of Catharine's heart with God was 
uninterrupted, even by the painful functions which her 
parents imposed on her. At the head of her bed was 
written this verse of the Psalms of David, " Lord, en- 
lighten my eyes that I may never sleep in death." 
Illumina, Doming oculos meos, ne unquam obdormiam 
in morte. She feared nothing so much as to offend her 
Creator, and she expiated the least faults that she 
thought she had committed, by torrents of tears, and 
by frightful austerities. All who knew her, especially 
her Confessors, are convinced that she not only pre- 
served her virginal purity, but also her baptismal in- 
nocence. 

7. Catharine effected such an amount of good in souls 
that even during her lifetime she was generally known 
by the title of " saint." Her activity was prodigious. 
When she was not in prayer or in ecstasy, she in- 
structed her neighbours or dictated letters to her secre- 
taries; she was never idle. She attracted to the path 
of perfection a great number of Religious, Preaching 
Friars, Friars Minor, Hermits of St. Augustine, young 
and old, ignorant and learned, meu and women, uoblo 
and ignoble. 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 323 

She influenced a great number of persons to enter 
the Third Order of St. Dominick. Friar Thomas knew 
among others two sisters of the name of Tholomei. 
They had been extremely occupied with their personal 
adornment and were strongly attached to the world. 
They employed a quantity of essence and perfumes 
when making their toilette, and when the saint had 
made them acquainted with the Spouse of Virgins, 
they broke all their vials and threw them away in con- 
tempt. They afterwards led an angelic life in the 
bosom of their family. 

Among those who were indebted to Catharine as 
the instrument of their conversion, we may cite Gabriul 
Piccolomini of Sienna. Neri of Landoccio who became 
one of her secretaries. Christopher Ghanni who trans- 
lated into Latin the Book she composed, collected a por- 
tion of her letters and wrote a poem in her honour ; Eti- 
enne Maconi; Nanni, who gave her a chateau for the 
establishment of a monastery ; Frangois Malevolti ; etc. 

8. Her charity towards the sick was admirable ; it 
shone especially during the plague which ravaged 
Sienna in 1372 and 1373. She was constantly near 
those who were attacked by the epidemic ; she pre- 
pared them for death and buried them with her own 
hands. She also visited prisoners, and succeeded in 
bringing back to better sentiments, condemned crimi- 
nals that the most skilful could not convert. Friar 
Thomas was witness of a miraculous change which she 
effected in the soul of a young man who was detained 
in the prison of that city: it is the same circumstance 
that the saint describes in one of her letters in a style 
3? grotto and so gublime. 



324 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

That young man belonged to one of the first families 
of Perugia, and was called Nicholas Toldo. In an af- 
fair with which he was charged he spoke ill of the 
Senator of Sienna who had him condemned to death. 
This cruel sentence threw him into despair. Catharine 
heard of it, and in her love for the salvation of souls 
she went to visit him, and succeeded so well by con- 
versing with him, that he who hitherto paced to and 
fro in his prison like an enraged lion, became as & 
meek lamb, ready to be offered on the altar of immola- 
tion. He went with holy joy and a devout spirit to 
the place of expiation, and presented without one re- 
gret, his youth and his life to the axe of the execu- 
tioner. Catharine was present and received his head 
in her hands ; his eyes were fixed on heaven with a gaze 
so deliberate and firm that his eyelids were motionless. 
The spectators wept and fancied they saw a martyr 
lather than a guilty man under capital punishment, 
and his obsequies presented the aspect of a solemn 
religious festival. 

9. One of Catharine's great thoughts was the orga- 
nization of a crusade; she spared nothing to promote 
it, letters, prayers, nor discourse. She solicited in par- 
ticular Gregory XI. to this expedition, and a great 
number of individuals pledged themselves to take an 
active part in it. She hoped thereby to possess the 
means of visiting our Saviour's tomb. Nothing was 
comparable to her zeal for the souls whom God had 
especially entrusted to her. She exhorted them vocally 
or by letters to tend to perfection ; and when she was 
near the Sovereign Pontiff, she obtained for them con- 
tinually* particular favours and indulgences. She ss- 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 325 

sumed the expiation of the sins of those whom the justice 
of God affrighted. She said to such, in order to inspire 
them with confidence, " Do not think about your trans- 
gressions, I will take them on myself, I will answer for 
them before God ; I will cancel your debts towards him." 
10. Friar Thomas never heard Catharine utter a 
frivolous, useless, or reprehensible word ; all her conver- 
sations exhaled sanctity. One sole thing could trouble 
her, that was to see God offended. She was ever af- 
fable, benevolent and gladsome ; above all amid suffer- 
ings and in the persecutions which her parents caused 
her to undergo ; trials appeared to render her happy, 
and when fresh sorrows came she gaily called them her 
roses and flowers. One day when suffering a great 
deal she said: "Did we but know how sweet are the 
pains that are suffered for the love of God, they would 
be accepted with more joy and gratitude than all his 
other benefits." Once a servant of God came from Flo- 
rence to examine personally what had been made known 
to him concerning our saint. He was accompanied by 
two Religious, and after some gracious words from Oii_ 
tharine he commenced giving her the most humiliating 
and harsh reproofs. Catharine was extended, (on ac- 
count of illness,) on the planks that served as her bed ; 
she bowed her head, crossed her arms on her breast and 
listened submissively to the whole, without any change 
of countenance. She avowed to her Confessor who in- 
terrogated her on this subject, that she was very privi- 
leged and felt very grateful on hearing the verities that 
her divine Spouse had caused to be said to her for the 
interest of souls. Theservantof God, who had thus tried 
her, was greatly edified and proclaimed openly that Ca- 
tharine was u fine gold without alloy." 



326 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA, 

11. It is impossible to describe the sentiments that 
inspired Catharine when she was receiving the Holy 
Eucharist. Her radiant countenance was bathed in 
tears, and quite covered with pearl-like drops of per- 
spiration. At her return to Avignon, when she received 
the Holy Communion in the chapel that the Sovereign 
Pontiff had permitted her to have in her house, she was 
BO inebriated with the blood of our Lord, that she could 
not detach her lips from the rim of the chalice, in which 
was offered (in accordance with the usage of the Church 
at that time) the wine of ablution. Her teeth left their 
impress on the border of the two chalices which were 
employed in her chapel. 

In reference to Catharine's communions the Bolland- 
ists give the following details, extracted from the manu- 
script of Friar Thomas, her first Confessor. The saint 
received the Holy Eucharist from our blessed Lord him- 
self , not merely once, but several times, and in various 
ivays ; often, instead of sacramental communion, he 
applied Catharine's lips to the wound of his sacred side. 
Sometimes when she communicated, she saw angels 
holding a golden veil and burning torches in their 
hands around the altar. The Sacred Host would be 
transformed into an infant of ravishing beauty ; some- 
times three figures appeared there, and then blended 
into one. Sometimes the priest, our Lord and herself 
appeared to be inflamed, and a bright light issued from 
the altar and illuminated the whole Church. Often, 
when the priest divided the consecrated Host, it was 
shown to her how our divine Lord is found in each par- 
ticle; occasionally the Holy Trinity manifested himself 
under different forma. She also distinguished perfectly- 
a consecrated Host from a Host that is not consecrated 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 827 

She dictated her letters and her book during her 
ecstasies. She would then walk in her room, with her 
arms crossed on her breast ; sometimes she knelt or 
took some other devout posture but always turned 
her face to heaven. What was most marvellous was 
that when obliged during several days to interrupt 
her dictation, she unhesitatingly resumed it at the 
place in which she left off, without a re-perusal. 

12. The Supreme Pontiff Gregory XI. and Urban 
VI. granted to St. Catharine a great number of par- 
ticular favours. Friar Thomas has seen the authentic 
Bulls of them, and exhibited them publicly in the 
Convent of St. John and St. Paul. One of those 
Bulls permitted Catharine, to have (always) a porta- 
ble altar, to be able to hear Mass whenever she de- 
sired it. Another granted to three Confessors who 
accompanied her, powers for absolving all sins, except 
such as are reserved to the Holy See. Another, au- 
thorizes Catharine to establish a Convent of Nuns, 
in a chateau, given to her by a converted citizen of 
Sienna, and to receive for that foundation the sum of 
2000 florins. Other Bulls mention special indul- 
gences and graces, obtained by Catharine for her 
disciples, and for other individuals, particularly for 
the Sisters of the " Third Order," whose number she 
had greatly increased. There were more than a 
hundred in Sienna during her lifetime. 

13. Friar Thomas had seen a great number of letters 
addressed by the blessed to persons of every condition. 
He had a collection of them in his own hands in 1898, 
that he brought himself to the Sisters of Penance of 
St. Donrinick at Venice. He has seen at the hooaeof 



328 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Nicholas de Guaderoni of Lucca (actually in Venice), 
eeveral volumes enclosed in a coffer : 1. one volume, 
containing the book composed in the vulgar tongue 
by the blessed. 2. The Latin translation of that book. 
8. A collection of 155 letters addressed to the Su- 
preme Pontiffs, to Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, 
Laymen, to Religious of all Orders, to the Members 
of the Third Order of St. Dominick and St. Francis. 
4. Another collection of 139 letters addressed to 
seculars. 5. The memoir of F. Raymond of Capua. 
6. The same memoir translated into Italian. Nicholas 
de Guaderoni offered to give these volumes to the 
Court of Rome, or to deposit them in the library 
of the Preaching Friars of Sienna, so that they may 
serve in the process of her canonization. 

14. The relics of the blessed Catharine are vene- 
rated throughout all Italy. Her head being brought 
from Rome, was solemnly received at Sienna, and de- 
posited in the Convent of Preaching Friars : it is in 
the sacristy, in a beautiful gilded reliquary, with the 
relics of other saints. At Venice, there are relics of 
the arm and of the hand of the blessed ; in compliance 
with an order from the General, Friar Thomas pre- 
sented them to the veneration of the faithful in 1396. 
They have since been carried back to Rome, and are 
venerated in the Convent of la Minerva. They were 
purloined from the sacristy or from the altar ; but it 
is said that they have been restored. A Sister of the 
Third Order, coming from Rome, and going to the 
tomb of St. Dominick, gave Brother Thomas a frag- 
ment of a bone of the blessed ; a piece of it was placed 
In a silver reliojiary which contains some relics of fit. 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 329 

Chistopher, and ig found at Venice, at the house of 
the Sisters of the Third Order Those same sisters 
have in a silver reliquary, a finger of the blessed sent 
by Lysa, her kinswoman. Friar Thomas saw another 
finger of Catharine in the possession of Etienne Ma- 
coni. This finger was perfectly straight, and accord- 
ing to the testimony of Etienne Maconi it was so, pre- 
vious to its separation from the others. When that 
disciple of Catharine carried her body, and exposed it 
in the Church of the Minerva, her arms were crossed 
on her breast, and all her fingers were bent, except 
that one which remained erect, until the moment that 
Catharine's kinswoman detached it from her hand. 
This was intended to indicate the finger that received 
the nuptial ring of the Spouse. 

A tooth belonging to Catharine, taken by Etienn-- 
Maconi, was given by him to Angelo Corario of Venice, 
Patriarch of Constantinople, become Pope under the 
title of Gregory XII. When the Sovereign Pontiff set 
out for Rome, he gave that precious relic to a vener- 
able father, Antoine David of Venice, who had been 
his Professor. It passed then into the hands of Friar 
Thomas who had it set in a reliquary, and was given 
at last to Duke Albert of Austria, who had a great 
devotion to the blessed Catharine. Some Religious 
Olivetains are said to have in the sacristy of their 
convent another tooth which was given to them by 
Neri Landoccio, of Sienna, one of the secretaries of 
the blessed. Friar Thomas has seen and had i his 
possession several days a chain of iron trimmed with 
crosses, which Catharine of Sienna wore a long tune. 
It belongs to the Father Prior of the Church De la 



830 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Miserecordia at Venice, where it is preciously pre- 
served, and who says that after his death, it most pass 
to the monastery of St. Andre at Venice. 

The blessed Catharine learned to write miraculously. 
One day on coming from mental prayer, she wrote to 
Etienne Maconi a letter which concluded thus, u you 
must know, my beloved son, that this is the first letter 
I ever wrote myself." Etienne Maconi certifies that she 
wrote many after, and that several pages of the book 
that she composed, are written with her own hand. At 
the Chartreuse de Pontigniano near Sienna, there are 
preserved many autographs of Catharine. Friar Thomas 
had solicited some of them from Etienne Maconi, who 
had not yet sent them. Father Raymond also received 
two letters written by the blessed ; one among them 
concludes thus, " I wrote this letter myself and the 
one that I already sent you. For God gave me 
i'acilty to write, so that when coming forth from ec- 
stasy, I might discharge my heart , and as the master 
who instructed the pupil shows him the model which 
he must copy, so he placed before my mental vision, 
the things that I should write to you.'! At Venice as 
preserved a sheet of of paper on which is written by her 
with cinnabar, this prayer in Italian. " Come, Holy 
Spirit into my heart ; let thy power draw it to God ; 
grant me charity and holy fear. O Christ, preserve me 
from every guilty thought, warm me, inflame me with 
thy sweetest love, and every pain will become easy to 
me. O holy Father, O sweet and gentle Master, aid 
me in every necessity, O loving Christ, O loving Re- 
deemer." This piece of writing was given to Father 
Jerome of Sienna, of the Order of Hermits of St. Au- 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 831 

gustinei it then passed to the celebrated preacher, 
Leonard de Pise, who made a present of it to Friar 
Thomas, and it is now with the other relics of the 
Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick of Venice. 

In 1398, Friar Thomas brought from Sienna to 
Venice the mantle with which the Blessed was clothed 
on the day in which she was received into the Order 
of the Sisters of Penance of St. Dominick. Her dis- 
ciple Neri Landoccio said that she valued this man tie 
very highly, undoubtedly because in it she was so- 
lemnly consecrated to her Spouse. She said, " I will 
never part with this mantle, and I wish that it may 
last longer than my life." Therefore as soon as the 
precious cloak became worn or had a rent in it, she 
mended it with great care. The numerous pieces in 
it were inserted by her. Many persons through devo- 
tion desired to be received in the Third Order with 
that cloak, which has therefore received several bless- 
ings. The blessed left it to her first Confessor, Friar 
Thomas de Fonte, who when dying gave it as a legacy 
to his niece Catharine Cothi, Sister of the Third Order; 
she gave it to Friar Thomas. It is now in a case of 
gilded wood, among the Sisters of the Third Order, 
and it has performed, by the merits of the saint many 
spiritual and corporeal cures. 

15. Catharine's canonization has been petitioned for 
frequently. Albert, Duke of Austria, sent two Car- 
thusians to Master Thomas de Firino, General of the 
Preaching Friars, to have Boniface IX. solicited on 
the subject. Some letters were also addressed to the 
Sovereign Pontiff, by the Bishop of Poitiers, by the 
King of Hungary, and by the Duke of Austria. The 



882 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

same instances were renewed with Innocent VII. and 
Gregory XIL Gregory XII. commenced the process 
and heard a great many witnesses. He desired to see 
what the blessed had written concerning events which 
were to happen in the Church ; and the Archbishop of 
Ragusa, who loved Catharine as a mother, and who 
was disposed to do all in his power for her canonization, 
presented the letters that she had addressed to Urban 
VI. at the commencement of the schism, and trans- 
lated them into Latin, that the Sovereign Pontiff might 
read them with greater facility. Gregory XII. was at 
that time occupied with restoring peace to the Church, 
and the moment was not favourable for terminating 
the informations ; they were necessarily suspended. 

16. This commencement of procedure caused many 
letters to be written, and collected a vast number of 
documents concerning bless ed Catharine. Her reputa - 
tion spread throughout Europe. Etienne Maconi sent 
her memoirs to the King of England, who had asked 
for them. He sent the same to the King of Hungary 
with the book composed by her. Other copies were ad- 
dressed to the King of Naples, of Prague in Bohemia, 
at Treves in Germany, in Prussia on the confines of 
Poland, and at the Chartreuse in Rome. In all the do- 
cuments relating to the saint, they give her titles 
which prove how worthy they deem her of canoniza- 
tion. They call her " Mother of a multitude of souls," 
" most meek and and gentle mother," "blessed Catharine," 
"privileged Virgin" "servant of God," " most faithful 
spouse of Christ," "admirable in her holiness," Sac., &c. 

17, Father Thomas names persons still living, and 
who are able to render testimony in favour of Catha- 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 833 

line's sanctity Friar Mathieu of Venice, Religious 
Camaldule, Nicholas of Prato, Father Securian of Sa- 
vona, Etienne Maconi, Chartreux, Bartholomew of 
Ravenna, more than sixty years of age, Frangois Bar- 
tholomew Montucci, who sometimes confessed the 
blessed, the venerable Thomas, Prothonotary of several 
Sovereign Pontiffs, Jacques of Montepulciano, who 
knew Catharine and composed a poem in her honour ; 
the noble Lady Lancina of the house of the Lords of 
Foligno. 

18. Other witnesses are dead, but their testimony 
remains, and the reputation they have left gives them 
singular weight. Among others may be cited the Arch- 
bishop of Ragusa, Father Raymond of Capua, Father 
Thomas Fonte, Father John of the convent of Vallom- 
brosa and Barduccio of Florence, who was particularly 
dear to the blessed. He was her secretary, accom- 
panied her to Rome and assisted her in her dying 
moments. He after wards returned to Sienna, sick, and 
having languished there a short time, slept peacefully 
in the Lord, with a smile on his countenance after 
death, caused it was generally believed by the presence 
of that favoured virgin, Catharine, who came to console 
him in his last moments. 

19. Friar Thomas gives the name and address of the 
writers who have contributed the most to propagate 
the h'fe and portraits of the blessed. A considerable 
number of copies of her life and works were sent into 
the surrounding countries, except in Spain, in Cata- 
lonia and in France, which were all deeolated by the 
schism. Catharine was however well known in France 
on account of her voyage to Avignon. 



334 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Her picture is greatly mutiplied. Catharine is re- 
presented like those holy souls whom the Church has 
*' beatified" but not canonized. These likenesses are 
found in Poland, Hungary, Dalmatia, Tuscany, Lom- 
bardy, above all in Venice, at Rome and in the kingdom of 
Naples. She is painted on wood, on plaster, cloth, andin 
books, among Christians and among infidels ; for some 
of her pictures have been sent from Venice to Alexan- 
Jria. A person who entertains a great devotion to her, 
has caused her likeness to be painted on cards, so that 
on the day of her feast, all who take part can procure 
a picture of her. It is then placed in the churches, 
amid branches and bouquets offered in her honour, and 
each one can adorn his own residence with it. Thou- 
sands of them are daily made, not alone for the city of 
Venice, but for other countries whither great quantities 
are forwarded. It was these pictures of Catharine 
which suggested the idea of multiplying in the same 
manner the pictures of the canonized saints. The 
faithful procure them on the days of their festivals, and 
find in them a means of augmenting their devotion. 

During 16 years, the feast of blessed Catharine has 
been celebrated in the Convent of SS. John and Paul. 
On that day, from the early morning, there is fine 
music, the altar is adorned with its richest ornament^ 
and the whole church is decorated with garlands and 
bouquets of flowers. The school of Mercy comes, and 
sings a solemn High Mass. In the evening, there are 
vespers, sermon, and a grand public repast, at which the 
sweetest joy presides ; persons of every age and of all 
conditions come and mingle with the friars of the con- 
vent; here are seculars, pupils, religious, poor prelates, 



FRIAR THOMAS'S DEPOSITION. 835 

nobles, doctors in medicine, merchants, artists, youth 
and infants. The members of the Third Order of St. 
Doininick serve the table with their Prior Antoine Su- 
perantio of Venice. The history of Catharine is read , 
her praises are sung, and conversations are held con- 
cerning her virtues and her miracles. 

A young married person conceived such a devotion 
to Catharine that she renounced the world, assumed 
the religious habit, and passed her remaining days in 
the exercise of exalted piety. When dying she left by 
will a certain sum of money to the Convent of SS. John 
and Paul, for providing the repast that is given on Ca- 
tharine's festival. Her name was Sister Maria Nicoleii, 
hermother who \vas executrix, of her testament not only 
faithfully paid the legacy, but also secured to perpe- 
tuity other sums to the same intention, to the monas- 
tery of Corpus Domini and to other convents of the 
Order of St. Domiuick. The custom was likewise in- 
troduced of offering presents to the church on Catha- 
rine's feast ; every one brings according to his means 
and his inspiration, flowers, crowns, garlands, portraits 
of Catharine, silver and brazen medals, bread, wine, 
fruits, (dry and fresh,) vegetables, and money ; others 
offer their services to adorn the church or serve at the 
repast. Among all most worthy of remark were An- 
toine Superantio and his wife Sister Marina de Con- 
tarinis of the Third Order of Penitents of St.'Dominick, 
and several members of the same fraternity. 

Friar Thomas infers that no woman, if weexcept St. 
Bridget, can bo compared in these latter times with 
the blessed Catharine. She is worthy without doubt 
of being inscribed in the catalogue of the saints, and 



J36 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

would be so already had not the great schism afflicted 
and agitated Christendom. Her life was admirable, 
and her death may be considered as a voluntary mar- 
tyrdom endured for the Church and the Papacy. The 
venerable Friar Guillaume de silvalacus, was right in 
saying in a sermon which he preached in honour of 
Catharine's virtues, " It is with pious hymns and not 
with tears we should celebrate the death of Catharine 
of Sienna. Remember that she died for the Church 
and is crowned in heaven." God showed her to a de- 
vout person in a vision, carrying on her shoulders the 
vessel of the Church and sinking beneath its weight. 

Her death or rather her birth to eternal joys is 
another shade of resemblance she has with the Saviour. 
Our Lord Jesus Christ announced his death and gave 
to his disciples whom he was about to leave, a dis- 
course abounding with admirable instructions : Catha- 
rine did the same. 

Our Lord was tormented in his passion by the de- 
mons who caused him to be crucified by men ; Catha- 
rine was tormented by the demons who put her to death 
for the Church. Our Lord was assisted in his last 
moments by his mother and a few disciples ; the others 
were absent : the same happened to Catharine. As 
our Lord, Catharine died far from her native city and 
had a stranger's sepulchre ; her body remained incor- 
ruptible during three days, and her tomb became 
glorious; people hastened to it from all parts oi ; 
Europe, and great miracles were performed there. 
Finally, like our Blessed Lord, Catharine has disciples 
who are faithful to her memory and spread abroad her 
name and her instructions. 



DEROSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 937 

20. Friar Etienne finished his deposition by giving 
the sermon which he pronounced on the 3rd of May, 
1411, and which was one of the causes of the Process. 
His text was these words of the Apostle, " Mihidbsit 
gloriari nisi in cruce" Dom Martina does not give 
this discourse which is very long and gives no new in- 
formation. Friar Thomas calls God to witness that 
he speaks the truth. 



FRIAR BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 

The deposition of Friar Bartholomew de Dominici of Sienna was 
delayed ; it is dated the twenty-ninth of October, 1412. It was 
received and written byM. Adam (Notary) clothed with all re- 
quisite formalities, and sent in the course of November to Friar 
Thomas, who* forwarded it to the vicar-genei-al of the Bishop of 
Venice. As it did not appear sufficiently complete and conform- 
able to the memoir of Blessed Raymond, Friar Bartholomew made 
a few additions during the month of December ; he was then 
nearly 63 years of age. 

FRIAR BARTHOLOMEW was yet in early youth when 
he became acquainted with blessed Catharine ; she had 
already worn the habit of the Sisters of Penance many 
years, and her Confessor at that time was Friar Thomas 
de Fonte, of Sienna. Friar Bartholomew had made 
his noviciate with him ; he often accompanied Iiiui when 
he went to visit Catharine, who lived in a room, tlie 
door and window of which were continually dosed. A 
lamp burned there day and night, before the portrait 
of our Blessed Redeemer, and the likenesses of the 
Blessed Virgin and other saints, which were there re- 
presented. From that period Friar Bartholomew has 
always bad relations with the blessed at Sienna, at Pisa, 
Lucca, Avignon, Genese, Florence. and Rome, lie 



388 LITE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

testifies to the austerity of her life, mortifications and 
abstinence, aiid to her humility and the painful func- 
tions that she selected. As soon as she had any leisure, 
she washed all the soiled linen that she could find in the 
house. She was extremely fond of lilies, roses, violets, 
and all flowers, and composed them into crosses, and su- 
perb bouquets, when she had terminated her penances. 
Her companions were young maidens who wore the 
same religious garb, and entertained the same heavenly 
desires, and they sung together devout hymns. 

"W hen I commenced visiting her in her cell , says Friar 
Bartholomew, she was young, and always wore a cheer- 
ful countenance. I was also young, yet not only did I 
not experience any trouble in her presence, but the 
longer I conversed with her, the stronger became my 
love for the religious virtues. I saw in succeeding 
times many laymen and monks who visited her and 
who all experienced impressions similar to mine. The 
sight of her, and all her conversation breathed and 
communicated angelical purity. 

Friar Bartholomew cites her charity towards the in- 
dividuals who persecuted her. When Andrea accused 
her to the Prioress of the fraternity, she who had so 
long consecrated the virginity of her body and of her 
aoul to God, to Holy Mary, and St. Dominick, knelt 
down and replied with virginal bashfulness and dove- 
like simplicity, ' ' O mother, forgive me, but I do not 
know how 1 could commit the faults of which you speak 
to me, for by God's grace, I had rather die than offend 
God, above all in the way you say." The Prioress see- 
ing her humility and simplicity sent her away in peace. 

In respect to the alms which she distributed in secret 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 339 

Friar Bartholomew thus narrates the story of the cask 
which yielded good wine so long. It was observed that 
the cask was empty, thence arose a great tumult in the 
house. Catharine saw that her father was troubled, 
and she sympathized in his annoyance, but put her 
trust in God. She succeeded in appeasing the disturb- 
ance, " Father," said she, " what is it that troubles 
you?" and when Jacomo had explained, she added, 
" Be calm, father, I will go and draw wine for you." 
She went to the cask, knelt, and said to God with fer- 
vour, " Lord, thou knowest that that wine was distri- 
buted to the poor for love of thee ; suffer not that for 
this I become an occasion of scandal to my brethren."" 
She then made the sign of the cross over the cask, and 
wine flowed from it in abundance. She thanked Al- 
mighty God and did not speak of the miracle toany one. 
On coming out of ecstasy, which sometimes lasted 
more than two hours, she reproved her companions for 
their idleness, and when they attempted to excuse them- 
selves, presuming that she was ignorant of what had 
transpired, she rebuked them more severely, saying, 
"Were you not in such a place, and did you not say 
such a thing." Friar Barthlomew could not believe in 
that prophetical spirit. Going once to visit her with 
her Confessor, he asked her, (to give her a trial,) what 
they were doing at two or three o'clock in the morn- 
ing. She answered, " Who knows better than yourself.' 
Her Confessor said, " I command you to tell, if you 
know, what we were doing at that time." She was 
obliged to obey, and humbly bowing her head she re- 
plied, " You were four in the cell of the Sab-Prior, 
and there yon conversed together a long time." Sho 



340 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

named all who were present, and the subject on which 
they had spoken. Friar Bartholomew was amazed, but 
he thought she might know from some of the persons 
present, so he determined to try her again. Onthemor- 
row he went toher and said, " Then youknow, mother, 
what we do?" She answered, " My son, know that my 
divine and sweet Saviour having given me a spiritual 
family, leaves me in ignorance of nothing that concerns 
them." u Youknow, then, what I was doing yesterday 
evening at such an hour ?" She answered, ii Certainly, 
you were writing on a certain subject. My son, I watch 
and pray for you continually, until the matin bell of 
your convent. I see all that you do, and if you had 
good eyes, you would behold me as I do you. Often 
our sweet Saviour deigns to come and walk, repeating 
psalms with me in my cell ; he converses with me on a 
variety of things, and when he discovers that I am fa- 
tigued, he sits down at this place, and bids me sit at his 
feet, and we hold conference until matins. Then he 
gives me permission to sleep, saying, " Go, my daugh- 
ter, and take some repose, thy children are rising for 
matins, they will praise me in thy place." I then sleep 
a few moments. 

Friar Bartholomew describes a spiritual aid that he 
received from Catharine. His superiors had sent him to 
Florence, and the blessed remained at Sienna. In a 
conversation between himself and a Religious of the 
convent, he conceived doubts concerning the validity 
of his ordination, because he had received the priest- 
hood before the age of twenty -five he thought at once 
that it would be a great sin for him to continue cele- 
brating Mass, anil discaalittuod offering it, The Price 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OP SIENNA. 341 

who asked the reason, could never induce him to sur- 
mount his scruples. One day as he was weeping bit- 
terly, he regretted not being at Sienna, thinking that 
Catharine would be capable of giving him great conso- 
lation in this circumstance . He invoked her in the midst 
of his grief, when Father Raymond, who compassion- 
ated his state, called him and conducted him to the Bi- 
shop of whom he was the Confessor. When he had mani- 
fested to him what tormented him, the Bishop who was 
very learned, said, "My son, it is a fault to act against 
the canons; but in this circumstance, I am able to grant 
you the necessary dispensations, because you acted ig- 
norantly, and not in contempt of the decisions of the 
Church. Therefore entertain no further anxiety." Friar 
Bartholomew took courage and returned to his con- 
vent, with his conscience in perfect peace. The very 
morning in which he invoked Catharine, she was in 
the church of the Preaching Friars at Sienna, before 
the altar of the blessed Peter, martyr ; she was aware 
of Friar Bartholomew's trouble, and compassionated 
him with her whole heart. In the midst of her ecstasy, 
she besought God to deliver him, and in her enthusi- 
astic devotion to God her body was elevated above 
the ground. When she had returned to herself, her 
companions asked her what was passing at that 
moment ; she answered, " My son Bartholomew was 
cruelly tormented in Florence by the demon." 

When Pope Gregory XI. inquired of her her opinion 
concerning his return to Rome, she humbly excused 
herself, saying that it did not become a poor, loxvly 
woman like her, to give advice to the Sovereign Pon- 
tiff. The Holy Father rejoined, " I do not request rou 



342 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

to give me advice but to declare to me the mil of God" 
And as she constantly excused herself, he commanded 
her in holy obedience, to tell him whether she was 
really aware of God's will on the subject. She bowed 
her head, and said, " Who knows more perfectly the will 
of God than your Holiness, who has pledged himself by 
a Vow ?" At these words the Holy Father was seized 
with astonishment ; for no one knew that he had taken 
a Vow to return to Rome, and it was at that very 
moment that he took the resolution to quit Avignon. 
A short time after, when the blessed was returning 
into Italy, she found herself, on the vigil of St. Francis, 
at Varragio, neaT the city of Genes. She called Father 
Raymond, her Confessor, and told him that God had 
just revealed to her that on such a day as that, in a 
few years, he, (Father Raymond,) would transport her 
body from one tomb to another. The prophecy was 
accomplished. Catharine's eloquence was remarkable ; 
the ignorant and the learned said, * Whence comes so 
much knowledge, since she never studied? Some 
thought that the Preaching Friars had taught her, but 
it was she on the contrary, that instructed them I What- 
ever she knew came to her directly from God, as may 
be seen in letters, and in the book that she composed 
during her ecstasies. Frequently she dictated to two 
or three secretaries at the same time, on different sub- 
jects, and that without the least hesitation. Her dis- 
course charmed every one, and her detractors after 
having listened to her, celebrated her praises every- 
where. So great was the unction which animated 
her, that a great multitude of men and of women 
flocked around her to enjoy her teaching. 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 343 

When speaking of her delicacy of conscience, Friar 
Bartholomew recalls the fault that she mourned during 
three days. She had said that she would willingly go 
visit a hermit in the environs of Sienna, although she 
did not mean to do so. Our Lord said to her, "Daugh- 
ter, do not weep longer for thy fault ; I allowed thee 
to fall into that sin, that remorse of conscience might 
recall thee to thy senses, which thou art rejoiced to 
have quitted. It is a means of self-knowledge, and of 
shunning pride, when my liberality grants thee spiri- 
tual consolations, in order to fortify and encourage thy 



Friar Bartholomew thus relates the distraction that 
she had on the eve of St. Dominick. The first toll of 
vespers having sounded, she hastened to the church. 
I called her, and seated myself to converse with her 
she knelt down near me, and as her countenance was 
lighted up with joy, I said to her, " We have good 
news to-day, I perceive you are quite joyous." Then 
she related to me admirable things concerning St. 
Dominick. u Do you see him," said she to me, " our 
blessed St. Dominick ? how much he resembles our Sa- 
viour ! He has an oval face, a grave and mild physiog- 
nomy, brown hair and a beard of the same hue." 

I questioned Catharine concerning the reality of her 
death ; I asked her if her soul were truly separated 
from her body, she answered that she believed so : and 
as I asked her how she could be sure of it, when the 
Apostle Paul was not able to say whether he had seen 
God, "in or out of the lody" she said that she believed 
it, because her heart was broken by the violence of her 
desires, And as I repeated that she could not know 



344 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

what the great Apostle was ignorant of, she surrendered 
to this argument. Her Confessor commanded her to 
ask God what had happened to her. She obeyed, and 
our Lord answered that her soul had been actually 
separated from her body, and added, u Learn, beloved 
daughter, that I raised thee to a new life ; thou shalt 
travel, thou shalt go from city to city, as I will indi- 
uate to thee, thou shalt live with the multitude and 
speak in public ; I will send some to thee, and I will 
wn.d thee to others, according to my good pleasure : be 
3ver ready to do my will." 

Catharine suffered with wonderful patience, and she 
was fastened to the cross by three kinds of dolours ; 
in the head, breast, and side. Never did these acute 
pains excite the east shad* of melancholy in her coun- 
tenance, which was ever cheerful and even gay. When 
the pain in her side tortured her cruelly and hindered 
her from rising, her disciples pitied her, and said : 
" Mother, what are you suffering ?" She would an- 
swer smiling, " I feel a gentle beating in my side." 
Her sufferings were to her valuable presents from her 
Spouse ; they even seemed to her to possess an extreme 
sweetness, and when they increased she found them 
sweeter still. 

One day Friar Bartholomew asked her what she 
suffered in her breast ; she replied, that she was endur- 
ing what our Lord underwent on the cross, when one 
of his hands being already nailed, they drew the other 
with such violence that all his ribs were disjointed ; 
that was her greatest corporeal suffering. Catharine 
longed for martyrdom, and when she spoke of it, her 
visage appeared all inflamed. She showed her white 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 346 

robe, saying, " Oh ! how lovely it would be, were it 
stained with blood, for love of Jesus P 

There reigned such authority in her discourse, and 
so much grace on her lips, that she attracted the great- 
est personages to God. This was particularly observed 
at the court of Gregory XT. Those who had been 
most opposed to her quickly yielded to her benign in- 
fluence, and became her friends and benefactors. Uhe 
Duke d'Anjou, uncle of the King of France, was, 
among others, so changed in respect to her, that he 
wished to conduct her to Avignon, to one of his cha- 
teaux, that the Duchess, his lady, might enjoy her pre- 
sence. Three days after, he offered to present her to 
the Bang of France ; but Catharine humbly declined. 
He then gave her a hundred francs in gold to defray 
her returning home into Italy. At her persuasion, he 
promised the Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory XI., to go to 
Palestine, when he would tell him to do so, with an 
army equipped at his own expense. The Holy Father 
would not allow her to quit Avignon before him, and 
he provided, until her departure, for her personal ex- 
penses, and that of those who accompanied her, who 
numbered twenty-two. He sent her 100 florins to de- 
fray the expenses of her journey. 

There was in Sienna a nobleman named Frangois, 
whose years numbered more than eighty. He had 
never been to Communion, and had never confessed 
but once, and then in his youth, during a serious ill- 
ness. Alessia, Catharine's beloved companion, was his 
daughter-in-law, and that devout woman frequently 
exhorted her father-in-law to obey the precepts of God 
ind of his Church. But as she gained nothing, she be- 



346 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

sought Catharine to come and reside with her, so that 
during the long evenings of winter she would have an 
opportunity of conversing with the old gentleman. 
Catharine consented to it, and undertook this difficult 
conversion. She combatted a long time against the 
poor obstinate, who mocked her pious exhortations ; 
but finally he could resist no longer ; his heart became 
^oftened before the fire of her discourse, and he said, 
" I am determined to confess I but first of all, I must 
tell you, that I entertain such a hatred against the 
prior of a certain church that I daily seek means of 
killing him." The blessed Catharine said such affect- 
ing things to him on this subject that he finished by 
exclaiming, " I am ready to do whatever you order 
me ; you need only speak." Catharine said to him, 
" I wish that for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and that he may pardon you, that you should forgive 
the prior, and be reconciled with him. He promised 
it, and although the wrongs did not proceed from him 
on the morrow at dawn of day, he took a falcon whicl: 
he was very fond of, and went alone to the church at 
which the prior remained. The latter immediately 
fled ; but the old man charged a canon to go and tell 
hi that he did not come to injure him, butjOn the 
contrary, to bring him good news. The prior onlearn- 
ing that he was alone and unarmed, caused several 
persons to come into his apartment and permitted his 
visitor to be introduced who bowed to him and said, 
* The grace of God has touched my heart and I am 
come to offer to be reconciled with you, and to prove 
that this step on my part is sincere, I entreat you to 
accept this falcon, of which I am extremely fond.'* 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 847 

Peace was concluded, and the aged nobleman returned 
to Catharine. " I have obeyed your orders," said he, 
" and will obey you again." The blessed told him to 
go and confess to Friar Bartholomew. His general 
confession occupied three days, and when he had re- 
ceived absolution, his Confessor was at a loss what 
penance to assign him, because he was very aged, and 
was in indigence although he was noble. 

He gave him a trifling penance, and bade him 
" Return to her who sent you, and the penance that 
she gives you, I give also." Catharine told him to 
rise during a certain period, every morning at dawn 
of day, and go in silence to the cathedral, reciting 
each time a hundred Pater and a hundred Ave; and 
she gave him a cord on which a hundred knots were 
to serve him to reckon them. The good old man ac- 
complished the whole with fidelity ; and he who for- 
merly seldom entered a church, and never observed a 
fast, undertook, notwithstanding his burden of eighty 
years, to pass daily prolonged hours at the foot of the 
altar. He observed Lent scrupulously, and zealously 
attended all the sermons, and after persevering a year 
in these pious exercises, he slumbered calmly in God. 

Catharine had relations with Friar Bartholomew 
during several preceding years when she began to con- 
fess to him, and receive the holy Eucharist from his 
hands. The witness on this subject, certifies, " The 
ardour of her desire and of her love was so great, that, 
at the moment of giving her Holy Communion, I felt 
the consecrated Host which I held in my hand move 
and escape violently. At first I was much troubled, 
and sometimes feared lest the sacred Host should fall 



348 LIFE OF ST, CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

to the ground; but it appeared to fly towards her 
mouth. Many individuals told me that the same 
thing had happened to them. When, after Commu- 
nion, we presented her the wine in the chalice, she 
imprinted her teeth so forcibly on the margin that 
we could not withdraw it without great difficulty ; 
two silver chalices that had been given to her for the 
use of her chapel bear the marks of her teeth." 

Catharine had no sins to tell in her confessions ; she 
accused herself only of failing in virtue, and of not 
being sufficiently grateful for the benefits bestowed on 
her by Almighty God. She treated herself as unwor- 
thy and most miserable, and as one whose guilty con- 
duct was the cause of the ill that happened in the 
world. These words, so holy and so profound, scandal- 
ized instead of edifying me; I was incapable of un- 
derstanding them, and in my gross ignorance of things 
spiritual, I went so far as to suspect her of not believ- 
ing herself to be such as she said. One day as she 
was thus humbling herself before me, I interrogated 
her in order to have an occasion of reproving her. 
" How," said I, " can you thus speak, when it is evi- 
dent you liave a great horror of sin, which so many 
others love to commit every day ?" She answered me 
weeping, " O father, I see truly that you do not know 
my misery. Alas ! I have received from my Creator 
graces so great and so numerous, that in my place, the 
most contemptible being on earth would be inflamed 
with the love of God." Her examples and her words 
would have spread everywhere enthusiasm for the hea- 
venly country, and contempt of the present life ; meu 
wouldsinno morel But I who have received so much, 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 849 

I can truly say that I am the most ungrateful of crea- 
tures, and that I am a cause of ruiii to the world be- 
cause I ought to save so many, preaching both by 
word and example. I have, therefore, failed in my 
duty, and I am very guilty before God !" 

Among those who blamed the extraordinary life of 
Catharine, the most remarkable was Father Lazarini, 
of the Order of Friar Minors, who was then professing 
philosophy with eclat, in his convent of Sienna. Not 
content with openly attacking the reputation of the 
blessed, he resolved to come and see her, so as to find 
in her words and actions materials for condemning her 
further. On the eve of " St. Catharine, Virgin and 
Martyr," he repaired to her house at the hour of ves- 
pers. He had requested me to accompany him and I 
had consented to it, because I believed that he would 
repent of his conduct towards her. We entered her 
pious cell; Lazarini seated himself on a chest, and Ca- 
tharine on the floor at his feet; I remained standing. 
After a few moments of silence, Friar Lazarini began 
to speak. "I have heard," said he, "many speaking of 
your sanctity, and of the understanding God has given 
you of the Holy Scriptures, and I have been eager to 
visit you, hoping to hear something edifying and con- 
soling to my soul." Catharine replied, " And I re- 
joice at your arrival, because I think that the Lord 
sent you to allow me^an opportunity of profiting by 
that learning, with which you daily instruct your nu 
rnerous disciples. I hoped that charity would induce 
you to comfort my poor soul, and I intreat you to do 
90 through love of our Lord." The conversation con- 
tinued 8oma tiiae in tfaii tone, and as the night was 



850 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

approaching, Friar Lazarini finished by saying, " I see 
that it is late, and that I must retire, but I -will return 
at a more suitable hour." He arose to depart ; Ca- 
tharine knelt, crossed her arms, and asked his blessing. 
When she had received it, she commended herself to 
his prayers, and Friar Lazarini, more through politeness 
than from devotion, asked her also to pray for him 
which she cheerfully promised to do. He went away, 
thinking that Catharine might be a good person, but 
that she was far from meriting her great reputation. 

The night following, on rising to study the lesson 
that he was to explain to his pupils the next day, 
Friar Lazarini began to shed tears involuntary. The 
more he wiped them, the more copiously they flowed, 
and he could not discover the cause ! In the morning 
they came to call him at the hour of Class ; but it was 
impossible for him to speak to his pupils ; he wept 
without intermission. Returning to his cell he con- 
tinued weeping, and was indignant towards himself. 
** What ails me," said he ; " what do I want ; is my 
mother dead suddenly, or has my brother fallen on the 
battle-field what can this mean ? The entire day 
passed in this state, and when evening came on, he 
slept a few moments, being overcome with fatigue and 
wearisorneness ; but he soon awoke, and his tears began 
to flow afresh, without Ms being able to restrain them- 
He therefore reflected whether he might not have com- 
mitted some grave fau It, and invoked the divine mercy 
to recall it to him : whilst he was examining his con- 
science, he heard an in terior voice that exclaimed tohim, 
" Do you forget so quickly that yesterday, you judged 
my faithful servant Catharine in a spirit of pride, and 
requested her to pray for you through politeness. 1 ' 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 851 

As soon as Friar Lazarini had received this adver- 
tisement and discerned his fault, his tears subsided 
and his heart became inflamed with a desire of again 
conversing with Catharine. At the first glimmering 
of the day, he hastened to knock at the door of her 
cell. The blessed, who was aware of what her Spouse 
had done, opened the door to Friar Lazarini, who pros* 
trated himself at her feet. Catharine also prostrated, 
and implored him to rise, after which they had a 
lengthy interview, and the Eeligious conjured her to 
condescend to direct him in the way of salvation. Ca- 
tharine, overcome by his instances answeredhim, "The 
way of salvation for you is, to despise the vanities of 
the world and its smiles, to become humble, poor, and 
destitute in imitation of Jesus Christ and your holy 
Father, Saint Francis." At these words the Religious 
saw that Catharine read his soul ; he shed tears pro- 
fusely and promised to do whatever she might com- 
mand him. He accomplished his promise, distributed 
his money and useless furniture, and even his books. Tie 
merely reserved a few notes, which were necessary 
aids to him when preaching, and became truly poor, 
and a veritable follower of our Blessed Redeemer. 

During Catharine's sojourn at Pisa, a great number 
of persons visited her, and many knelt down before 
her, and kissed her hand. Some persons were scandal- 
ized at this, and were desirous of putting an end to 
this devotion. A celebrated physician among others, 
Jean Gutalebracia, who could not persuade any one 
against her, resolved to confound Catharine by pro- 
posing to her difficulties in the sacred writings. Hfc 
invited Pierre* Albui, a counsellor at law of mature ago 



352 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

and consummate prudence, to accompany him, and 
went to pay a visit to her. The doctor opened the con- 
versation in the following manner: "We have heard 
your virtues praised, and your intelligence in the Holy 
Scriptures, and we are come in the hope of receiving 
from your mouth some spiritual consolation. I am anxi- 
ous to know how you understand that passage, in 
which it is said, God spoke in order to create the world, 
"has God a mouth and a tongue?" He addressed 
her several other similar questions, and awaited her 
reply. Catharine then rejoined, "I am astonished 
that you who teach others (as you inform me), should 
present yourself before a poor woman whose ignorance 
it would be more suitable to you to enlighten. But as 
you wish me to reply, I will do so in accordance with 
what God will inspire me. What benefit will it prove 
to me to know how God, who is a pure spirit, spoke in 
Order to create the universe ? What is necessary for 
both you and me to know is, that our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the only son of God, has assumed our nature 
to save us, and that he suffered and died for our re- 
demption. Yes, the essential for me is, to believe this 
and to meditate on it, so that my heart may be in- 
flamed with love towards him who so loved me." 

Catharine continued speaking some time with such 
unction and fervour, that Dr. Pierre Albizi, could not 
refrain from shedding tears, and fell on his knees to 
obtain her forgiveness for having come to tempt her. 
Catharine prostrated herself also, conjuring him to 
arise, and when she had succeeded they held a long and 
pleasant discourse on spiritual subjects. When depart- 
ing, Pierre Albizi implored Catharine to be so conde- 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 353 

scending as to present his new-born infant at the bap- 
tismal font she cheerfully consented, and he who 
was hitherto bitterly prejudiced against her, became 
one of her warmest defenders. 

In reference to these honours that were paid to Catha- 
rine, another person, enjoying a greater reputation for 
piety, wrote her a letter, from excellent motives, and 
with excellent arguments, reproving her for suffering 
such attentions. He recalled to her the example of the 
Saviour and of the saints, exhorted her to live in retire- 
ment, and told her that the real servants of God loved 
solitude above all things, and that hypocrites only 
sought renown. This letter was forwarded to Father 
Raymond who communicated its contents to me. We 
were indignant and intended, without even showing it 
to Catharine to respond to the writer, and reproach 
him with his temerity and his ignorance of the spiri- 
tual life. Whilst we were conferring together on that 
subject, the blessed perceived our trouble and inquired 
of us the cause ^ as soon as she had learned it, she 
claimed the letter, and as we hesitated to give it to 
her, she said, " If you refuse it to me, I must at least 
hear what concerns me in it." Father Raymond then 
read her the letter ; she gently rebuked us for indulg- 
ing indignation. " You ought to thank with me the 
author of that letter ; do you not perceive that he gives 
me valuable advice for my salvation ? he fears that I 
may wander in the paths of God, and he is anxious to 
shield me from the snares of the enemy. Let us be 
filled with gratitude for his charity. I must have that 
letter and return thanks to the author of it." She did 
so in effect, in an admirable manner, and as Father 

2 A 



354 UFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Raymond did not submit to her reasons, and continued 
to wish to reply to it she gave him a severe look, and 
reproached us wil.h discovering evil where there was 
but good. (Dam. Marleue, p. 1355.) 

Father "Bartholomew then explains the apparent 
differences between his depositions and the writings 
of Friar Raymond. These differences are not contra- 
dictory ; they prove like those that are found in the 
Gospel, the independence and sincerity of the wit- 
nesses. He afterwards proceeds so describe his last 
interview with Catharine. 

WheD she became sick, I was Prior of the Convent 
of Sienna, and the Provincial of the Order sent me on 
ooine business to Rome. I arrived there on holy Satur- 
day; 1 hastened to the residence of Catharine, of 
whose state I was utterly ignorant. I found her ex- 
tended on planks, surrounded on every side by other 
pianks, so that; she seemed to be in a coffin. I ap- 
proached her, in the hope of being able to converse 
with her as usual. Her body was so emaciated, that 
Jicr bones could be easily counted ; it appeared to have 
been sun -dried, and no longer presented the same 
beauty. This sight broke my heart, and I said to her 
amid my tears, %l Mother, how do you find yourself ?" 
When see descried uie she was anxious to testify her 
joy, but she could not speak, and I was obliged to place 
my ear close to her mouth, to be able to undertsand 
her reply, that- " ai! was going on well, thanks to our 
beloved Saviour !" T then disclosed to her the motives 
of my journey, and added, " Mother, to-morrow will 
be the Passover of our Lord, and I should like to 
celebrate it here, so its to give the Holy Eucharist to 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 355 

yourself and your spiritual children." She answered, 
"Oh! would that our sweet Saviour would permit me 
to communicate!" 

I left her, and on the following day, I returned to 
fulfil my promise ; I approached her so as to hear her 
confession and give her absolution ; no one hoped to 
see her go to holy Communion ; for during several 
days she had been incapable of making any movement. 
However I gave her for penance, to ask of God, for 
her consolation and ours, the grace of receiving Com- 
munion on so great a Festival ; and I then went to 
the altar which was quite close to her bed. I prepared 
the hosts and then commenced Mass. Catharine re- 
mained motionless until the holy Communion ; as soon 
as I had terminated and had taken the ablutions, she 
got up suddenly, to the great astonishment of all pre- 
sent, who shed tears of joy; she advanced unassisted 
as far as the altar, knelt down with her eyes closed, 
her hands clasped, and remained there until she had 
received the consecrated Host, and the wine it was 
customary to present for washing the mouth. She 
afterwards fell into an ordinary ecstasy, and when she 
came forth from it, it was impossible for her to return 
to her bed; her companions carried her there, and she 
remained on it in a state of perfect immobility as be- 
fore. God permitted her however to converse with 
me, during the few days that I still remained in Rome, 
and it was then that she explained to me the incredible 
pains and sufferings that the demons forced her to 
undergo. She prayed with unabated ardour for the 
peace of the Church ; she desired and sjsked of God to 
expiate in her person, fine sins of those who separated 



356 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

the faithful from the real Sovereign Pontiff, Urban VI. 
"Be assured" said she, "that if I die, the sole cause 
of my death is the zeal which burns and consumes me 
for the holy Church. I suffer gladly for her deliverance, 
and am ready to die for her, if if be necessary." 

The affairs that led me to Rome were terminated 
when my companion pressed me to return. I con- 
stantly resisted, and I told this to Catharine. She 
said that I must go back to him that sent us. "Mo- 
ther," said I, "how can we go and leave you in such 
extremity ? Were I absent and were informed of your 
condition, I would quit all and hasten to your side. 
No, I cannot resolve to depart without seeing you con- 
valescent, or without at least having reasons for hope 
in your recovery." Catharine said, "My son, you 
well know how great consolation I experience in be- 
holding those whom God has given me, and whom I 
love in the truth. It would give me the greatest plea- 
sure, would our Lord accord me the presence of Fa- 
ther Raymond as well as yours; but it is his intention 
that I should be deprived of them, and as I desire not 
my will but his, you must depart. You know that at 
Cologne a Chapter of your Order will soon be cele- 
brated for the election of a General Master. Friar 
Raymond will be nominated ; I wish you to be there 
with him, and always be obedient to him. I com- 
mand you this as far as I have power." 

I then told her that I would do whatever she com- 
manded me, as soon as I saw her better in health, and 
I added, "If it is God's will that I go, ask him to give 
you health before my departure. 1 ' She promised me to 
do so, and when I returned there on the following day. 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 35Y 

I found her so calm and contented, that I approached 
her full of hope. But she, who had hitherto remained 
iramoveable, extended her arms towards me and em- 
braced me so affectionately that I could not refrain 
from shedding tears of joy ; it was to make known to 
ine God's will, and exhort me to depart. " The Lord 
had deceived me, " to speak like the Prophet Sedux- 
isti me, Domine, et seductus: foriior me fuisti et inval- 
uisti. (Jer. xx. 7.) I left Rome. A short time after 
I had returned to Sienna, a letter informed me that 
the saintly Catharine had quitted this life to be united 
to the Spouse she so much desired. 

Friar Bartholomew, at the conclusion of his second 
deposition, gives a letter to M. Thomas Petra, notary 
of the Sovereign Pontiff, in which he thus describes a 
vision that he had after Catharine's death "In the 
latter period of Catharine's life, our Lord granted me 
the grace of being united to her by the bonds of a pure 
and holy affection. She styled me her Father, and I 
often saw her. One day, I found her in the garden of 
a lady in Rome ; she was very much enfeebled, and I 
said to her: "Mother, it appears to me that Christ^ 
your Spouse, wishes to withdraw you from this life in 
order to unite you to himself. Have you made all your 
dispositions in consequence?" " What disposition can 
a poor woman make who owns nothing?" "You 
would make a fine testament if you were to indicate to 
each of your disciples what he ought to do after your 
deatk I request it of you, for the love of God, and 1 
aia convinced that all will obey you as myself." She 
answered: "I am very willing, and I will do BO with 
God's grace." She did so in effect, a little while after, 



358 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

and all her recommendations were followed. I added, 
"Mother, I have another favour to ask of you, and I 
beseech you to grant it to me for the love of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Obtain from this moment from your di- 
vine Spouse the favour of shewing me the state of your 
soul after your death." * * That," said she to me, * ' does 
not appear possible ; for, either the soul in the other 
life is saved, and then the perfect happiness which it en- 
joys, leads it to forget the miseries of this world ; or it 
is lost, and then the infinite torments that it endures 
prevent it from obtaining that favour. If it be in 
purgatory it must participate in the two states, and the 
difficulty remains the same." I said, "I am unwilling 
to dispute with the Holy Ghost, and I do not believe 
that you would, in such a case, limit his power. I 
trust in God, and do not refuse me my request." She 
promised me to grant it, if our Lord would permit. 
She died a short time after. 

Eight days had elapsed since her death, when very 
early one morning, a man of exalted piety, named 
Jean de Pise, came and knocked at my door. I 
opened it directly. "Catharine of Sienna is coming," 
said he to me. I answered him, " How can she coine, 
for she has been dead some time." He said, " Be sure 
that you will see her." Then he went away and I 
could not call him back. The morrow, the day after 
It, and during nearly thirty days, I received a similar 
visit from men estimable for their virtues and their 
saintly lives. I presume they were angels from God, 
who took their forms to announce to me what was to 
take place. At last, one Sunday, after having recited 
my midnight Office, I disposed myself to take a littlo 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF SIENNA. 359 

repose, when, towards daybreak, I saw in a cloudless 
sky, a multitude of Blessed Spirits who advanced in 
regulur procession ; they were clothed in white and 
marched three by three, bearing ornaments, relics, 
crosses, silver chandeliers, lighted tapers, and musical 
instruments, and they sung in several choirs, sacred 
hymns, the Kyrie Eleison, the Gloria in Excehis, the 
Sanctus, the Benedictm, and the le Deum, 

The magnificence of this spectacle ravished me com- 
pletely ; nevertheless I remembered the promise that 
had been given me, I took courage and said to one of 
the Angels, " What are you doing?" He answered me, 
"We are conducting the soul or Catharine of Sienna, 
in presence of the divine Majesty." When he had 
passed on, with those who accompanied him, I ad- 
dressed another; I said, " Where is she?" Directly 
he heard nie, the whole procession formed an extended 
circle in the centre of which was Catharine : she waa 
clad like the Angels, and resembled the Saviour (as 
he is painted in the tribune of Churches.) Her hands 
were filled with palm-branches her head was inclined, 
and her eyes modestly cast down. I recognised her 
perfectly well by her exterior. I then asked Almighty 
God to complete the vision, and to comfort my soul 
by allowing me to behold Catharine's countenance. I 
was heard, she raised her head and looked at me with 
th&t gracious smile, which always expressed the joy of 
her soul. The procession then resumed its onward 
march, continuing the heavenly chants. 



360 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 



BARDUCCIO. 

A letter of Barduccio was written long before the process at Ve- 
nice. It is to be regretted that that holy young man was unable 
to join his deposition to those of the other disciples of Saint Ca- 
tharine. Our Saint esteemed him particularly, and he survived 
her but a short time. 



To liis Sister Maria Petriloni, at the Convent of St.. 
Pierre de Monticeli, near Florence. 

IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHMST, 

My very dear Mother in our Lord, and Sister in holy 
affection to the saintly Catharine, I, Barduccio, un- 
worthy and miserable sinner, commend myself to your 
prayers, as a feeble child, left an orphan by the death 
of our glorious mother. 

I received your letter and read its contents with the 
greatest pleasure, communicating them to my afflicted 
Religious ; they thank you from the depth of their 
hearts, for your charity, and the tenderness you con- 
descend to bear them. They commend themselves to 
your prayers and likewise solicit those of the Prioress 
and the other sisters, that they may accomplish with 
zeal the good pleasure of God towards themselves, and 
in your behalf. Tender and faithful daughter, you de- 
sire to become acquainted with the details of the last 
moments of our common Mother, and I must satisfy 
your desire I feel myself quite incapable of such a re- 
cital; however, I will write to you what my eyes wit- 
nessed and what my poor soul was able to comprehend. 

That favoured virgin, that mother so useful to the 
Church, experienced about the feast of the Circumci- 
sion, so great disorder in her whole system, soul aud 



LETTER OF BARDUCCIO. 361 

body, that she was obliged to change completely her 
manner of living. The food necessary for her corporeal 
sustenance excited such horror, that she was obliged to 
do violence to herself even to touch it, and when she 
partook of any, it was impossible' for her to swallow it. 
She could not even drink a single drop of water for her 
refreshment, though she was consumed with a burning 
thirst, and her throat was so inflamed that she seemed 
to breathe fire. She however continued to appear active 
and gay as usual, and thus attained to Sexagesima. On 
that day, whilst she was praying at vespers, there oc- 
curred an accident so grave that from that moment 
she was never able to recover her wonted health. On 
the night of the following Monday, after dictating a 
letter to me, she had so violent a crisis that we 
mourned her as dead. She remained a long time 
without giving the smallest sign of life, then she sud- 
denly arose and appeared as though she had under- 
gone no change whatever. 

From that moment commenced for her new and ex- 
traordinary corporeal sufferings. When Lent began, 
she applied, notwithstanding her infirmities, with so 
much devotion to meditation, that she astonished us by 
the abundance of her humble sighs and by the greatness 
of her meanings. You are aware that her prayer was 
so fervent that one hour of mental prayer weakened her 
delicate frame more than two days of uninterrupted 
spiritual exercises would fatigue any other person. 
Every morning after Comimmion they were obliged to 
raise her from the floor and carry her to bed as though 
she were dead. Au hour or two sfler, she would arise, 
and we v/ould go to St. Peter's, a mile distant, there 



862 LIFE OF ST, CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

she would stay until the vespers, and then return in an 
almost lifeless condition. 

Such were her exercises until the third Sunday of 
Lent ; she then bowed beneath the weight of suffer- 
ings which overwhelmed her exhausted body, and the 
anguish that rent her soul in view of the sins that 
were committing against God, and the dangers which 
more and more sensibly threatened the holy Church. 
She was one mass of interior and exterior suffering, 
and thus she continued during eight entire weeks, 
being unable even to raise her head. In the midst of 
that martyrdom, she frequently said, " These dolours 
are physical, but they are not natural, God allows the 
demons to torment me thus." It was evident that 
what she advanced was correct, and that those suffer- 
ings were unheard of. It is impossible to give an idea 
of the patience she displayed ; I will merely say that at 
each new torture, she joyously elevated her heart and 
her eyes to God, saying, " Thanks be to thee, O my 
ever-living Spouse, who dost continually crown thy 
handmaid, so poor and wretched, with new proofs of 
thy favour." 

Her body was thus consumed until the Sunday pre- 
ceding the Ascension ; it was then reduced to that 
state in which painters represent death. Her counte- 
nance however was beaming with angelic devotion, 
whilst her limbs seemed to be a mere skeleton covered 
with a transparent skin. Her strength was so anni- 
hilated that it was quite impossible for her to turn her- 
self from one side to the other. The night that pre- 
ceded Sunday, two hours before morning's dawn, she 
had a strong crisis, and we believed that she was on 



LETTER OF BARDUCCIO. 363 

the verge of her last moments. She then called all her 
family around her, and gave those who were neareat 
her to understand by signs that she was desirous of re- 
ceiving absolution for her faults. Her wish was gra- 
tified. She gradually fell into a state in which there 
was no perceptible sign of life but a gentle sighing. It 
was therefore deemed exped ; ent to give her Extreme 
Unction, and the Abbe De-Saint- Anthime hastened 
to administer it to her, because she appeared to be al- 
ready destitute of consciousness. This Sacrament ac- 
complished a certain change in her : it seemed by the 
motion of her countenance and of her arms that she 
was sustai ning assaults from Satan. The combat lasted 
an hour and a half. After keeping silence some time, 
she commenced saying, u I have sinned, O Lord, have 
mercy on me peccavi, Domine, miserere mei" I think 
she repeated these words more than sixty times, and 
every time she raised her right hand and then let it 
fall, striking the bed. Then she also said frequently, 
but without moving the arm, " Saints of God, have 
pity on me Sanctus Dei, miserere mei" She added 
other words expressive of her humility and her devo- 
tion, and made acts of the different virtues. After 
which her countenance suddenly changed, and became 
radiant like that of a seraph. Her eyes obscured by 
tears, became lighted with joy, she seemed to come 
forth from a profound abyss, and that sight softened 
the heavy burden of grief that weighed upon us. 

Catharine was at that time reclining on the shoulder 
of Sister Alessia ; she tried to rise, and with a little 
help remained in a sitting posture, though still sup- 
ported by Alessia. We had placed before her view % 



364 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

little table on which were some relics and pictures of 
saints; but she fastened her gaze upon the cross which 
was in the centre, expressing sublime thoughts concern- 
ing the goodness of God, Then she accused herself 
before Him of all her sins. "Yes, it is my fault," 
^aid she, " O Eternal Trinity ! if I have so miserably 
offended Thee by my negligence, my ignorance, my 
ingratitude and my disobedience. Alas 1 wretched me, 
I have not observed the general and particular com- 
mandments that thy bounty has given to me. Thou 
didst tell me to seek Thee in all things and to labour 
continually for thy honour and my neighbour's good, 
and I have avoided fatigue even though it were ne- 
cessary. Didst thou not command me, O my God ! 
not to value myself, to think only of the glory of thy 
Name, by saving souls, and finding my delight in the 
nourishment which flows from thy sacred cross ; and I 
have sought my own consolation ! Thou didst con- 
tinually invite me to unite myself to Thee by the ar- 
iour of desires, the humility of tears, and perseverance 
in prayer for the salvation of the world and the reform 
of the Church ; thou didst promise me to accord thy 
mercies to men, and new treasures to thy spouse ; and 
unhappy me, I did not obey thy wishes, I slept in my 
jjegligence. Alas ! thou didst confide souls to me, thou 
didst give me children that I was bound to love in a 
special manner and conduct towards Thee, in the way 
of life. I have been distinguished for my weakness 
towards them, I have failed in solicitude for their in- 
terests, I have not succoured them by addressing Thee 
an humble and continual prayer, I have neglected giv- 
log them good examples and useful advice. Wretched 



LETTER OF BAEDUCCIO. 365 

me ! with how little respect I have received the innu- 
merable graces and treasures of pain and suffering, 
that it has pleased Thee to grant me. I did not gather 
them with that insatiable desire and that burning love 
which thou didst experience when sending them to me, 
Alas ! my love, thy infinite goodness chose me for thy 
spouse, in my tender infancy ; but I have not been 
faithful enough to thee, for my memory has not always 
remained full of thee and of thy immense benefits ; for 
my understanding has not been solely attached to their 
comprehension, and my will has not been devoted to 
loving thee with all my soul and all my strength." 

In this manner that pure dove accused herself of her 
faults; then turning towards the Priest, she said to him, 
" For the love of Jesus Christ crucified, remit me the 
sins of which I have accused my self, of well as all those 
which I cannot recall." She then asked for the pie- 
nary Indulgence which had been granted to her by 
Gregory XII., and Urban VI., and in requesting it, 
she appeared famished for the Blood of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. Her petitions were granted. She began her 
adorations anew, and with such fervour and in uttering 
such sublime things as my sinfulness rendered me 
wholly unfit to comprehend. The grief which inun- 
dated my soul also hindered me from hearing her, for 
her voice was BO feeble, and her sufferings so keen that- 
she pronounced her words with great difficulty. She 
afterwards addressed some of lier spiritual children who 
were not present at the admirable discourse which she 
gave several days previous to her assembled family, 
pointing out the way of perfection and indicating to 
each one what ho shoTilc! do after her death. WUou 



366 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

she had finished, she asked pardon of us all for the 
little care she had taken of our salvation, and also ad- 
dressed a few words to Lucio, to another, and to my- 
self, miserable man, after which she resumed her prayer. 

Oh ! had you but seen with what humility and with 
what respect she asked repeatedly the benediction of 
her aged mother, who was plunged into the deepest 
affliction. How could one restrain her tears when be- 
holding that tender mother who recommended herself 
to the highly privileged, nay, blessed daughter I and 
implored her to obtain grace for her not to offend God 
in her grief I But nothing could distract that holy soul 
from her deeply fervent prayer, and the nearer she ap- 
proached dead i, the more she offered in sacrifice her 
life. She also prayed for Pope Urban VI. whom she 
declared to be the real Sovereign Pontiff, and she ex- 
horted all her children to die, were it necessary, in 
order to acknowledge him. She also offered prayer 
for all those* whom tiio Lord had given her to love in 
l special manner, and she borrowed from our Lord the 
words she adopted when he commended his disciples 
to his Father. She expressed herself with such devout 
tenderness that we thought our hearts would cleave 
asunder. 

Finally, sho made the sign of the cross, blessed us 
aJl. and bailed that supreme moment of life that she so 
much desired, pronouncing these words " Yes, Lord, 
thou callest me and I go to thee ; I go, not on account 
of my merits, but merely on account of thy mercies, 
and that mercy 1 implore in the name of thy precious 
Blood." She cried out several times : " Oh 1 Blood. 
Oh ! precious Blood " And then, in imitation of the 



ETIENNE MACONl'S DEPOSITION. 867 

Saviour she said, " Father, into thy hands I commend 
my spirit. And with a countenance radiant as an 
Angel's she meekly bowed her head and expired. 

Her death occurred at Sext. We kept her body 
until Complin on Tuesday, without the least sign of 
corruption ; it was on the contrary cool, and exhaled 
a pleasant odour. Her arms, neck, and legs were flexi- 
ble during those three days as though she had been 
alive. An immense crowd visited her precious re- 
mains, and those who could succeed in touching them 
considered themselves highly favoured. 

God accomplished many miracles at that time, which 
I pass over in silence. Her tomb is honoured with 
devotion as are the tombs of other saints in Rome, 
and numberless graces have been obtained through the 
name of that faithful spouse of the Saviour. I doubt 
not you have already heard what they were, hence I 
will not inform you more at length. I commend my- 
self to the Prioress and to all the sisters, for truly, I 
never so much needed prayers. May God preserve 
you and give you an increase of his heavenly grace ! 



ETIENNE MACONI. 

Etienne Maconi was one of the most cherished disciples of Catha- 
rine and of the most jealous for her glory. When dying the Saint 
commanded him to enter the order of the Carthusians, which he 
adorned with his lights, and his virtues. (Third Part, first chap- 
ter, p. 248.) lie died in 1424, and was interred at the Chartreuse 
in Pavia. His life was written by a Carthusian, Dom Bartholo- 
mew of Sienna ; it was published in 1626. The title of " Blessed' 
is generally given to Etienne Maooni, but his festival is not cel- 
brated. The Bollandists have extracted some facts from his life 
relative to the history of St. Catharine, we shall recaptulato thenj 
briefly. 

Tns occasion of the conversion of Etienno Maconi 



368 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

was his reonciliation with the enemies of his family, as 
he himself relates in his deposition ; but through deli- 
cacy no doubt, he does not give the following details. 

The enemies of the Maconi were the Tholomei and 
the Rinaldini. The saint had fixed a day in which 
they were to be reconciled in the church of St. Chris- 
topher; but the pride of their nobility and their power 
unsettled their minds anew. They were unfaithful to 
their appointment, and avoided meeting Catharine, 
or any of the Maconi family. Catharine was infoimed 
of it. " They will not listen to me," said she, " but 
willing, or unwilling, they shall be obliged to listen to 
Almighty God." She went immediately to the church 
whither she had convoked Etienue Maconi with his 
father Conrad and his other relatives. She placed 
herself before the principal altar, and offered fre- 
quent prayers to heaven. Whilst she was praying, 
ravished in ecstasy, those who refused to be reconci- 
led came to the church, unknown to one and other. 
God brought them there I As soon as they saw the bles- 
sed in prayer and perceived, as they afterwards ad- 
mittted, the rays of divine light that darted from her 
countenance, they felt themselves vanquished and ready 
to renounce their anger ; they addressed themselves 
to Catharine who returned to her ordinary state ; they 
charged her to regulate the conditions, and all soon 
embraced each other and mutually asked pardon. 

Etienne Maconi formed part of the Confraternity of 
the Blessed Virgin, which assembled in the basement 
of the hospital of Sienna, for various exercises of piety. 
He allowed himself on one occasion to be drawn into 
a conspiracy which was plotting against the goveni- 



ETIENNE MACONI'S DEPOSITION. 369 

ment in that place consecrated to prayer. Catharine 
discovered it supernaturally and said, " O my son Eti- 
enne, what evil do you contrive in your heart ? What 
are you doing ? Is it thus that you change the house 
of God into a workshop for treason !" Her companions 
were astonished at hearing these words, and suspected 
there was a question of some great secret. A few days 
after, Etienne came to visit Catharine as usual ; but be- 
fore he had time to speak to her, Catharine cried out 
to him, " Is it thus, Etienne, that you risk the loss of 
both your soul and body ? What a stupid project 
Keturn, I entreat you, return to yourself, and reject; 
from your heart, the venom of conspiracy. You deceive 
yourself if you imagine that we can with impunity 
turn the house of God into a den of conspirators. To 
wash away the fault you have committed, go, and in , 
that spot witness to it, shed by scourging yourself, as 
many drops of blood as you uttered guilty words;' 
Etienne perceiving himself discovered, withdrew and 
submissively performed what she had commanded him. 
Etienne became one of Catharine's secretaries, ac- 
companied her in her journey to Avignon, was present 
during her agony, and paid the last duties to hor re- 
mains. He carried her corpse on his shoulders to the 
church of the Minerva, guarded it piously, so long as it 
was exposed, and buried it covering it with kisses and 
tears. He was afterwards faithful to the worship of his 
saintly mother, and zealously collected her relics and 
whatever could preserve her memory. He assisted 
Friar Raymond a great deal in the writing of her life. 
At the period of the translation of the head of St. Ca- 
tharine to Siennft, he was miraculQusly warned of the 

2 a 



370 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

feast that would take place on that occasion, and he 
went out to meet those who caine to invite him. 

The ceremony took place in 1385, amid a concourse 
of people and clergy, who carried lighted torches 
and made the air resound with pious canticles. The 
kindred and the disciples of Catharine surrounded the 
precious relic ; but every eye was intent upon the 
aged Lapa, who had seen more than 80 revolving suns, 
and who walked in procession beside the head of her 
daughter. " Oh ! but thou art happy," said they to 
her," to witness the triumph of thy daughter ! Catha* 
rine is in heaven and thou art sure of receiving there 
the recompense of all thy sufferings. How could it 
be otherwise, than that she who has promoted the salva- 
tion of so many souls will procure thy eternal happi- 
ness ?" In effect the good Lapa died at the age of 89, 
with such sentiments of piety, that it is evident she 
went to enjoy in heaven the affectionate embrace of 
ner holy daughter. 

Etienne Maconi was miraculously healed of a disease 
in the eyes by a relic of St. Catharine. He had ob- 
tained the ring finger of the blessed and placed it in a 
beautiful reliquary. When he lost his sight, to such a 
degree as not to be able to write or to fulfil the duties 
of his office, he took the precious relic in his hands, and 
kneeling down, he thus invoked his protectress in hea- 
ven : " O Mother ! who didst bring ine forth to the life 
of grace; behold me almost deprived of sight, and un- 
able to accomplish any longer what I desire to do for 
the glory of thy heavenly Spouse, i do not refuse to 
become blind and I will cheerfully accept all the crosses 
that God may deign to send me ; but prove to me that 



LETTER OF BLESSED ETIENNE MACONL 371 

my attachment is agreeable to thee. I implore with 
confidence an assistance that thou hast so frequently 
granted to me, and with this motive I touch, notwith- 
standing my unworthiness, thy holy relics." So say- 
ing, he applied the finger of the beatified Catharine to 
his diseased eyes. His hope was not deceived; the pain 
instantly disappeared, and he recovered his sight per- 
fectly. To crown his joy, he heard a voice that told 
him not to fear anything, because she who formerly pro- 
tected him on earth, would still protect him in heaven. 
Etienne Maconi used strenuous efforts to hasten Ca- 
tharine's canonization. Gregory XII. sent for him to Si- 
enna to labour for it there, but the troubles of the Church 
suspended the informations. Etienne was one of the 
most active in organizing the anniversary feasts of the 
Blessed at Sienna, at Venice, and in other cities ; he 
composed, in order to spread a knowledge of her life 
and miracles, some dramas that were played on that 
day in great magnificence. Years only increased his 
zeal and his affection to Catharine, and he toiled until 
his last moment to propagate her honour and devotion. 

LETTER OF THE BLESSED ETIENNE 
MACONI, 

Concerning the deeds and virtues of Saint Catharine of Sienna, 

To the pious and good Brother d' Antonio, of tta 
Order of Preaching Friars, residing at the Convent of 
SS. John and Paul in Venice, Friar Etienne of Sienna, 
notwithstanding his unworthiness, Prior of the Char- 
treuse de-Sainte-Maria des Graces, n^ar Pavia, health 
In Him who is the salvation of all. 



872 LIFE OF ST. CAIHAKUSIC OK SIENNA. 

I received joyfully and read attentively the letters 
in which you ask of me a faithful deposition, in authen- 
tic form, concerning the life, virtues and doctrine of 
the virgin, Catharine of Sienna ; you remind me of 
my numerous relations with her during her lifetime, 
and claim my testimony on the occasion of certain 
complaints which have been made to the Bishop of 
Venice, in reference to the feast commemorative of 
that holy woman, many being unwilling to believe in 
the virtues that are attributed to her. 

1 must acknowledge that, although a citizen of 
Sienna, neither I nor mine had any acquaintance 
with Catharine and her relatives previous to the year 
1376. At the time I was drawn away by the vortex 
of the care of the present life, and had no sort of idea 
of forming her acquaintance; but the eternal 
Bounty, who wills the death of none, saved my soul 
from the abyss of perdition by means of that saintly 
virgin, we were then in open contest (without fault 
on our part), with a family more powerful than ours, 
and notwithstanding the negociations and efforts of 
Honourable citizens, it was impossible to obtain from 
our enemies any hope of adjustment. 

Catharine then enjoyed a great reputation in Tus- 
cany, and everybody was celebrating her virtues and 
relating wonderful things concerning her. I was told 
that if I asked her to intercede in this affair she would 
certainly obtain peace as she had already done so many 
times. I took council of a gentleman who having been 
thus reconciled had become Catharine's friend. As soon 
as he heard me, he answered me directly : " Be sure 
that you will find no one in the city more capable of 



LETTER OF JiLESSED ETTENNE MACON1. 378 

effecting peace; do not defer, and I will accompany 
you." We paid her a visit and she received me, not 
with the bashful timidity of a young maiden as I had 
fancied, but with the tenderness of a sister who saw 
once again a brother who had been absent on a long 
journey. I was perfectly astonished and I gathered 
eagerly the pious discourse which she held, engaging 
me to confess and live like a good Christian. I said 
the finger of God is there. Digitus Dei est hie. When 
I explained to her the object of my visit, she answered 
me unhesitatingly: "Go, my son, trust in the Lord; 
I will do all in my power to procure a satisfactory re- 
conciliation ; allow me to take charge of this affair." 
Thanks to her intercession, we obtained the peace in 3 
miraculous manner, notwithstanding my adversaries, 
great influence. 

On account of this reconciliation I visited her often, 
and every day, by the efficacy of her words and thg 
perfection of her examples, I felt within me a blessed 
change. At that period she asked me to write some 
letters under her dictation; I accepted with joy, and 
soon I felt my heart inflamed with a new ardour for 
heavenly things. I despised the world and all that be- 
longed to it, and conceived so much shame for my past 
life that I could not even think upon it. This change 
appeared exteriorly, and nearly all the city was in as- 
tonishment. The more I examined the life, the exam- 
ples, the manners, and the conversation of the privi- 
leged virgin, and the more I felt growing within ine 
the love of God and a contempt for the world. 

A little while after, Catharine said to me in secret, 
"You will see, my dear son, that ero long your high- 



874 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

est wish shall be accomplished." That saying amazed 
me much; I did not know what I could desire in the 
world, I was thinking rather of quitting it entirely. 
I said to her, "My very dear mother, what is that 
greatest desire?" She replied, " Look into your heart. " 
I said, " Beloved mother, I do not find any greater de- 
sire than that of remaining near you." She answered 
instantly, " It shall be satisfied." For myself, I could' 
not understand how that could be done without viola- 
ting the rules of propriety; but He to whom nothing 
is impossible, by a marvellous act of his will, arranged 
that she should be sent to Avignon, to Gregory Xl.t 
and then, notwithstanding my unworthiness, I was 
chosen to travel in her holy company. I quitted with 
joy my father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, 
and all my kindred ; so glad was I to enjoy the inti- 
macy of Catharine and her virginal presence! 

In consequence of this voyage, the Sovereign Pon- 
tiff returned to Rome, encouraged and fortified by 
Catharine who had received that special mission. The 
Holy Father sent her to Florence, on affairs of the 
Church. That city had revolted against his power, 
and God performed many extraordinary things there 
by means of his servant, as may be seen in her me- 
moirs. I had the happiness of accompanying her. In 
fine, I went with her to Rome, where after having ex- 
perienced with joy, unheard of sufferings for the glory 
of God, she happily attained the term of her terres- 
trial pilgrimage. I carried her body with my own 
hands to the church of the Minerva, where it is depo- 
sited in a coffin or chest of cypress- wood, and enclosed 
in a handsome monument 



LETTER OF BLESSED ETIENNE MAOONL 375 

In her last moments she told each one of us what 
we ought to do after her decease; thei* ahe turned to- 
wards me and pointing me out with her linger said, 
"As to you, I command you on the part ol Almighty 
God, and in the name of holy Obedience, to enter the 
Order of the Carthusians, because God wills it, and 
calls you to it." And as she beheld us in tears on all 
sides, "My beloved children," said she, "you should 
not be distressed, but rejoice in the Lord, and regard 
this as a festival day ; for I am about to leave my 
prison, to be united to the Spouse of my soul, and I 
promise you to be more useful to you after my death, 
than I could possibly have been during my life." That 
promise she kept, and never ceases to observe it 
daily. 

As a proof I will declare, to my shame, a circum- 
stance for the honour of God and praise of Catharine. 
When she commanded me to enter the Order of the 
Chartreux, I had never thought of that nor of any 
other Order, but as soon as she ascended to heaven, I 
felt in my heart so strong a desire of obeying her, that 
had the whole world opposed it, I should have paid 
no kind of attention to it, and indeed I have proved it. 
This is not the tune nor place to relate all that Catha- 
rine did and still does for her unworthy son. I merely 
declare, that after God and his holy Mother, I consider 
myself more indebted to her than to all other beings. 

It will be seen that, during several years, I had very 
i itimate relations with Catharine, because I wrote her 
letters she also informed me concerning her most se- 
cret transactions and dictated to me a portion of her 
book. She loved me with the tenderness of a mother; 



876 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

much more indeed than I deserved; consequently se- 
veral of her children conceived a strong sentiment of 
envy. I studied with the greatest attention, her words, 
her conduct, and all her actions, and I say, in my soul 
and on my conscience, before God and the Church mi- 
litant, sinner as I am, that I have frequented more 
than sixty years the company of several great servants 
of God, but never have I seen, never have I heard any 
one who had attained so high a degree of perfection or 
a virtue so exalted. Every one recognised in her the 
image of all the virtues, and the pure mirror of all true 
Christians. / do not remember ever to have heard an 
idle word from her virginal mouth ! She instantly 
turned our most frivolous conversations to our spiri- 
tual good. Her heart could never be satisfied with 
speaking of God and sacred things, and I think she 
would never have slept or ate, had she had some one to 
listen to her. When persons spoke in her presence of 
affairs of the world, or on the subjects having no re- 
ference to the salvation of souls, she took refuge in con- 
templation, and her body became insensible as when 
she was in prayer. Her ecstasies were continual, and 
we have witnessed them a thousand times. Her mem- 
bers then became motionless and stiff and it would 
have been easier to have broken them, than to have 
changed their position. To prove that this state was 
not feigned, I will relate a fact of which I was a per- 
sonal witness. 

When we were at Avignon, the Pope, Gregory XI., 
caused us to have handsome lodgings with a chapel 
richly adorned. The sister of the Pope, who was a 
pious woman, after holding conversations with Catha- 



LETTER OP BLESSED ETIENNE MACONI. 377 

rine, conceived a great affection and deep veneration 
for her. She told Father Raymond, her Confessor, that 
she had a grea\, desire to be present when that devout 
person wouldhave thehappinessof receiving Holy Com- 
munion. Father Raymond promised to notify her- 
The Sunday following, Catharine entered the chapel, 
having only sandals on her feet. She wished to re- 
ceive Communion, and during her preparation, she 
was, as usual, ravished in ecstasy. Father Raymond 
called me and told me to go to the palace and tell the 
Pope's sister that Catharine intended receiving Holy 
Communion this morning. That lady was then hear- 
ing Mass ; when I entered, she perceived me, and as 
she recognised me as belonging to Catharine's suite, 
she came to me and said, " My son, what do you wish?" 
I communicated my message. She quickly repaired 
with a great many individuals of high rank to our re- 
sidence. Among others she brought with her the wife 
of the Pope's nephew, Raymond de Turenne; a young 
person full of vanity and an entire stranger to divine 
things. Whilst the Pope's sister was praying in a 
very recollected manner, this person imagined, I pre- 
sume, that Catharine feigned an ecstasy, and after the 
Mass, she pretended to stoop down, from devotion, to 
the feet of the saint, and pierced them several times 
with a great pin. Catharine remained motionless and 
would not have stirred even had they cut off her feet. 
When all the people had withdrawn, Catharine re- 
sumed the use of her senses and then experienced such 
acute pain in her feet that she could hardly walk. Her 
companions on discovering where and how she suffered 
raitarked the dried blood which oozei fiwm her wounds 



37S LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

and thereby understood the malice of her who suspected 
her!# 

In reference to Catharine's ecstasies, there is one 
thing which must not be passed over in silence. In 
the midst of difficulties, her soul applied with greater 
ardour to mental prayer, and made such reiterated 
efforts to raise itself towards heaven, that her body 
quitted the earth without regard to the laws of gravity. 
Many persons have seen her suspended in air, and I 
have personally witnessed that fact, which filled me 
with the most profound amazement. The explanation 
of that phenomenon is to be found in the book which 
Catharine composed, and which I partially wrote un- 
der her dictation. God had granted his faithful spouse 
so great power and such intimacy, that during her 
prayers, she would say, "I will itl" and when she 
thus spoke she was instantly obeyed. We could give 
many proofs of this. The following happened to my- 
self on my return to Avignon. We remained at 
Genes more than a month, at the house of a respect- 
able lady named Orietta Scotta ; we were nearly all 
sick. Our hostess took great care of us, and employed 
two skilful physicians to come to see us every day. I 
fatigued myself with them, because I was anxious to 
nnrse the sick. They warned me that I would become 
ill myself, and indeed, in two or three days, I took to 
my bed with a violent fever accompanied with a strong 
headache and very painful vomiting. Catharine having 
been informed of it, came to pay me a visit with her 
Confessors and companions, and inquired of me what I 
was suffering. I, quite delighted at her sweet presence, 
* Dom. J/ontene, p. 1327. 



LETTER OF BLESSED ETIENNE MACONI. 379 

answered cheerfully : " They say that I suffer ; I know 
not what." Then with maternal tenderness she placed 
her virginal hand on my forehead and said, shaking 
her head a little ; " Do you hear that child answering 
me? *They tell me that I suffer, and I know not 
what ?' And he has a violent fever ;" and she added ; 
" I do not allow you to follow the example of the other 
patients ; I command you, in virtue of holy obedience, 
no longer to suffer this malady. I will that you be 
completely restored and serve the others as usual." She 
then began talking of God as was her custom, and while 
she conversed I was healed. I interrupted her to de- 
clare it to all the spectators who were in admiration, and 
I have since enjoyed long years of perfect health. Ca- 
tharine spoke in the same tone of authority, when she 
cured the venerable Giovanni, a monk who dwelt in 
the solitude of Vallombrosa, as he affirmed to me when 
he was in his last agony, at the Abbey of Passignano, 
near Sienna. I heard from the very lips of Catharine 
a similar order given in the absence of the same monk, 
to two of his disciples whom he had sent to her. She 
commanded him by their intermediation to be sick no 
Ipnger, and to come to her without delay, which he 
did immediately. The holy Religious wrote an ad- 
mirable letter on this occasion, which I carefully pre- 
serve in our convent. 

Although the whole interior and exterior life of Ca- 
tharine was, so to speak, miraculous, yet, several ser- 
vants of God, of high integrity, have admired in it one 
circumstance, very extraordinary in ie pilgrimage of 
man on earth. Whatever she did, said, or heard, never 
hindered her holy soul from being intimately united 



380 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

to God and plunged, as it were in the Divinity. As 
out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, 
she never conversed except on God and what referred 
to Him. She sought him, found him, possessed him 
in all things by an actual and sensible love. I recol- 
lect that when she saw flowers in a meadow, she said 
to us, " Do you not perceive how everything honours 
God and proclaims his 7*aise to us ? Do not those 
crimson flowers repreself; k> us the bleeding wounds of 
Jesus?" On descrying an ant-hill, she said, " Those 
little creatures emanate from the sacred thought of 
God, and he used as much care in creating the insects 
and the flowers as in forming the holy angels." We 
were so much consoled by her presence on every occa- 
sion, and in all things, that, in order to listen to her, 
we forgot to take our repasts ; we thought no more of 
our pains and trials. Those who were condemned to 
death called for her ; she visited them often, and they 
seemed no longer to reflect on the destiny that awaited 
them. In her presence, the temptation of Satan van- 
ished ; the sun in its highest splendour cannot more 
triumphantly dissipate darkness. I remember often 
going to her with my interior trouble, and afterwards 
acknowledging that I had forgotten it. I would in- 
quire of her what it was, and she would explain it to 
me better than I could have exposed it myself. 

There is in this no reason for astonishment, for it is ge- 
nerally known that that holy virgin saw souls as we saw 
faces ; we could hide nothing from her. And one day I 
said to her, " Indeed mother, it is very dangerous to be 
near you, for you discover all our secrets." " Know, 
my dear son," answered she, *' that in souls especially 



LETTER OF BLESSED ET1ENNE MACONI, 381 

in those confided to me, there does not appear a spot 
or even a shadow of a defect that I do not instantly 
perceive by the intermediation of our Divine Saviour." 

Her holy exhortations brought back to the path of 
rectitude a multitude of persons whom she led to the 
determination of confessing their sins ; it was impos- 
sible to resist her. On account of the admirable re- 
sults which she accomplished in souls, Pope Gregory 
XI. allowed her always to have three Confessors with 
very extended faculties. Sometimes sinners presented 
themselves who were so in bonds of sin that they would 
say to her, "Madame, were you to ask us to go to 
Rome or to St. James, we would do it directly ; but 
to go to confession do not mention, it is impossible.' 1 
When she had exhausted every other method, she 
would say to them, " If I tell you why you refuse to 
go to confession, would you then go ?" The aston- 
ished sinners would accept this condition, and she 
would say to them, " My dear brother, we may some- 
times escape the eyes of men, but never those of God. 
You committed such a sin, in such a place, and at such 
a time, and that is the reason that Satan troubles your 
soul and hinders you from confessing." The sinner 
finding himself discovered would prostrate himself at 
her feet, and avow his fault, and with a profusion of 
tears confess without delay. This I can certify occur- 
red to many. One among others who held a high 
position and enjoyed a great reputation throughout all 
Italy, told me, "God and myself alone know what 
that saint revealed to me, I therefore cannot doubt 
that she is much greater before God than we think." 

Catharine's exterior life also was miraculous. Hcc 



882 UFE OP ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

virginal body sustained itself a long time without 
taking any material nourishment the Holy Eucharist 
sufficed for it. I had it in my power to observe her 
during several years, and the following was her mode 
of life. She held meat, wine, confectionary, and eggs 
in abhorrence ; her companions prepared her a little 
salad, when they had it, and sometimes vegetables 
dressed hi oil. She would only take the head and tail 
of an eel : she never took cheese except it was spoiled ; 
it was the same way with grapes fresh or dry ; she 
.lid not eat these articles, she merely masticated them 
with or without bread, and rejected them as soon as 
she had extracted a portion of their juice. She often 
drank pure water but by little mouthf uls. She waited to 
take this little nourishment until her companions had 
quitted the table, then she would rise, saying, "Let 
us go and do justice to this miserable sinner." She 
was obliged to aid herself in rejecting whatever she 
had taken, and sometimes she had so much difficulty 
that she vomited blood abundantly. 

This circumstance is calculated to confound the in- 
credulous, who calumniated her by saying, she does 
not eat in public, but she deprives herself of nothing 
in secret. As soon as she had any substance in her 
stomach as large as a hazel nut, her whole system was 
in a state of suffering, and if the visit of any person 
prevented her from relieving herself, she would faint 
away, and remain as though dead until she had vo- 
mited. We have been witness of this a thousand tunes. 

I said to her one day in private : " My very dear 
mother, the food that you take is BO very little, &uc! 
you retain such &n insignificant portion even of that 



LETTER OF BLESSED ETIENNE MACONI. 383 

that it is quite useless to you ; and you reject it with 
such extreme difficulty that it appears to mo preferable 
to deprive yourself wholly." She answered me with 
her wonted prudence, "My beloved Son, I have seve- 
ral reasons for taking this food. First, I have asked 
of God that he would punish me in this life, for the 
sin of gluttony, and I therefore gladly accept this pain 
which he sends me. Next, I endeavour to content 
some persons, who appear to be scandalized when I do 
not eat ; they say that the devil deceives me ; then I 
exert myself to eat. There is also one more reason 
by these sufferings, I am brought back to my natural 
faculties ; without that, my body would bo too much 
absorbed, and my mind would perhaps sink." After 
such explanations, I had no reply. 

The blessed Catharine had received the gift of wis- 
dom in so high a degree, that all who heard her were 
filled with admiration . She explained the sacred Scrip- 
tures with such astonishing clearness, that her inter- 
pretations surprised the most able Doctors. Human 
science vanished before her, as snow dissolves before 
the mid-day sun: she delivered several most eloquent 
discourses as well as highly practical ones in presence 
of Gregory XI. and some cardinals, and all declared, 
"Never man spoke like this, it is not this woman that 
speaks but the Holy Spirit himself." Pope Gregory 
XI. often gavu audience to Catharine, aud testified a 
great respect for her. Three Prelates of very high 
rank, came to see him on the subject : Most Holy 
Father," said they to him, "is this Catharine of Si- 
enna as saintly as is pretended V" The Pope replied 
*' I am persuaded that she is a saitit" "We will pay 



884 LIFE OP ST. CA.THAKINE OF SIENNA. 

her a visit with permission from your Holiness." " 1 
think that you will be extremely edified." In effect 
they came to our residence, at the hour of None ; it 
was in summer; they knocked, and I opened the door 
for them. "Give Catharine notice," said they to 
cne, " that we would like to speak with her." Im- 
mediately the blessed went down with her Confessor, 
ind a few other monks. The prelates bade her to be 
seated ; then they commenced speaking to her in a 
haughty tone, endeavouring to irritate her by words 
calculated to wound. Among other things they said 
" We come from the Sovereign Pontiff, and we wish 
to know whether the Florentines did actually send you 
to him, as is pretended. If they sent you, it must be 
that they have no man capable of transacting such 
important business ; but if they did not send you, we 
are greatly surprised that a little insignificant woman 
Like you, should presume to converse with the Holy 
Father on subjects so difficult." Catharine, always 
calm, answered them humbly, but clearly in a manner 
that excited their surprise. When she had satisfied 
them on this subject, they proposed to hersome very dif- 
ficult questions, concerning her ecstasies, her extraor- 
dinary life, on the passages in which the Apostle says 
that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, 
and on the means which she adopted for avoiding the 
deceits of Satan. The conference lasted until night, 
and I was witness to it. Occasionally, Father Jean, 
her Confessor, attempted to reply for Catharine, and 
although he was Professor of Theology, the prelates 
were so skilful they confounded him in a few words ; 
they said to him, "You should blush to advance vich 



LETTER OF BLESSED ETIENNE MACONI, 385 

things in our presence: let her reply, she satisfies us 
far better than you can." There was among thoso 
prelates an Archbishop from the Friars Minor who di<f 
not appear to accept, sometimes, at least, what Catha' 
rine said; then the other two opposed him, saying, 
u Why interrogate her any further, it is evident that 
she has explained these subjects to us with more clear- 
ness and precision than any doctor could have done." 
At length they withdrew edified and comforted, and 
told the Pope that they had never met a soul so hum- 
ble and so enlightened. 

When the Pope was informed what had transpired, 
he was extremely pained, and offered excuses to Catha- 
rine, assuring her that it was against his will that the 
prelates had thus acted and recommending her not to 
receive them, if they presented themselves again. On 
the following day, M. Francois of Sienna, who was 
then physician to his Holiness, said to me, " Are you 
acquainted with the prelates who went to see you?" I 
answered, "No!" "Well," said he, "know that were 
the knowledge and learning of these three men on one 
scale of a balance, and that of the whole Roman Court 
on the other, the acquirements of these three would 
overbalance, and I can tell you that if they had not 
found Catharine so solid, she would have passed a se- 
vere trial." 

Finally, who can worthily recount the interior vir- 
tues of the blessed, and the works which she caused to 
be effected by her profound humility and her unalter- 
able resignation? Never did a shadow of trouble over- 
cast Jb^r face ; never did she utter a single word which 
inig&j indicate anger or impatience, and this last is a 



386 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

mark of high perfection. "Who shall describe the ar- 
dent charity which inspired her to give not merely her 
temporal goods, when she was in the house of her fa- 
ther, but which induced her to sacrifice herself unre- 
lentingly for the honour of God and the relief of her 
neighbour. One day as she was setting out with her 
Confessors and her companions, she met a poor person 
who begged an alms with a certain degree of importun- 
ity. She said to him: " I assure you, my dear brother, 
that 1 have no money." "But," said he, " you could 
give me that mantle :" "That is true," said Catharine, 
giving it to him. Those who accompanied her, had 
much difficulty in redeeming the mantle, because the 
poor man made her pay very dear for it, and when they 
asked her how she could resolve to walk out without 
the cloak of her order, she replied, "7 prefer being des- 
titute of clothing to being destitute of charity" 

My health and pressing occupations oblige me to ter- 
minate these recitals without order. I might have writ- 
ten many books on this rich subject, but those persons 
who desire to become better acquainted with the admi- 
rable virtuesof that blessed woman, her visions and her 
aitimacy with our Lord, may peruse her history writ- 
ten by tiie Most Rev. Father Raymond of Capua, who 
was her Confessor for a long time, and after her death 
became General of the Order of Preaching Friars, in 
which he did very remarkable things. Some difficult 
readers, who easily become weary of pious subjects, pre- 
tend that his book is too long. It should rather be said 
that her life is too much abridged ; but whatever he wrote 
was dictated by the Holy Ghost himself. I was well 
acquainted, with him, and am capable of appreciating 



LETTER OF BLESSED ETIENNE MACONI. 387 

the holiness of his life, the charm attendant on his vir- 
tues, the purity and nobility of his soul, the depth of 
his learning, and other merits with which God had en- 
riched him. His devotion to the Blessed Virgin was 
/ery great, as maybe proved by reading his admirable 
treatise on the Magnificat. He is now, without doubt, 
in heaven, and I am at liberty to disclose a circum- 
stance hitherto secret. Several years previous to hold- 
ing any relation with her whose life he wrote, the 
Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to our saint, and pro- 
mised to give her a confessor who would afford her more 
consolation than the others whom she had formerly 
consulted : which took place. 

Here then is my testimony to the life of St. Catharine 
of Sienna you have earnestly requested it, and I have 
written it withoutreseai ch, and in the simplicity of my 
heart, though oppressed with sufferings and numerous 
occupations. You asked me to be truthful in all that 
I wouldadvance, and I affirm, in the sincerity and peace 
of my conscience, that I have added nothing to th.9 
truth. I know that a lying tongue slays the soul, and 
that God has no need of our falsehoods, and also that 
it is not allowable to do evil that good may come. Be 
persuaded therefore that I have told the truth ; I am 
ready to affirm it by oath, and in the form that you 
wish, for the honour of God, and for the edification and 
consolation of my neighbour. If it be necessary I will 
put my hand into fire ; I attest it in presence of the 
Omniscient; Him to whom be all praise:and glory for 
ever and ever. 

Two Notaries wrote this declaratian on the 26th of 
October, 1477, in the presence of numerous witnesses. 



388 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

We have appended to it the great seal of our convent, 
in order to satisfy your request. 



DOM BARTHOLOMEW OF RAVENNA. 

Dom Bartholomew of Ravenna sent his deposition on the twenty- 
seventh of October, 1411 ; it was presented with the others to the 
Vicar General of the Bishop. Dom Bartholomew was the Prior of 
the Chartreuse that Catharine went to visit in Gorgon Isle, thirty 
miles from the port of Livourne (Part II. , chap. ix. , p. 215. ) His 
testimony has particular reference to that visit. 

AFTER having told the good that the discourse of 
Catharine produced in the souls of his Monks, Dom 
Bartholomew adds : At the moment of leaving, " the 
blessed' 1 said to me in private, "Father Prior, watch 
over your flock, for I announce to you, that the enemy 
is seeking to produce scandal in the monastery. " And 
to calm the trouble that these words excited, she added : 
4 ' But do not fear, the enemy cannot prevail. : ' In effect 
a few days after, the master of a boat from Pisa, which 
brought wood to our island, gave a young monk bad 
news from his mother. The Religious asked permis- 
sion to return to Pisa with the sloop, and as this per- 
mission was refused him, he became sad and the devil 
tempted him violently. One day as I was in the 
cloister with the Religious, he came to me with a coun- 
tenance indicating great interior disorder, and impe- 
riously demanded permission to go to Pisa. I was 
unwilling to yield to a command so unsuitable and sent 
him away, recommending one of the senior Religious 
to follow him. He ran to his cell, took a sword and 
attempted to kill himself: his companion had merely 
thneto arrest his hand and call for assistance. I arrived 



DEPOSITION OF BARTHOLOMEW OF RAVENNA. 389 

with all speed and endeavoured to calm the poor insen- 
sate, by promising him to grant what he had request- 
ed. But he began at once to cry out, " No, I do not 
wish to go : the devil tempts me, and he also wished 
to induce me to throw myself from the top of the con- 
vent." And as all the Religious were agitated and 
terrified, I ordered the cloak that the saint had given 
me as a remembrance on quitting the isle to be brought 
and I placed it in the arms of the Religious who reco 
vered his peace directly. I said, " my son, recommend 
yourself to St. Catharine." He answered, "She is 
truly praying -for me ; I had been lost if she had not 
prayed." 

Being at Pisa after Catharine's departure, Dom Bar- 
tholomew interrogated a person obsessed, " Is that 
saint in Sienna as holy as persons think?" " More 
holy," answered the obsessed. Another Religious asked 
him whether Catharine could deliver him, " She could 
do wkat you could not do because although you are a 
good religious you have not arrived at the same degree 
of perfection. 

When the saint quitted Gorgon Isle, the monks 
accompanied her to Pisa and craved her benediction 
before withdrawing. She said to them, ' ' Should any 
accident occur to you on the route fear not, the Lord 
will be with you." When approaching the island a 
tempest arose, the helm was broken, and the barque 
dragged towards a dangerous spot, touched the ground 
on her side and filled with water. A Religious, who 
was desirous of bringing help, was drawn away by the 
force of the waves, but he was saved as well as the 
others, and the barque was not damaged In tire least. 



890 LIFE OP ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

When the process was terminated, they also received 
the deposition of Brother Angelo Salvatti of Sienna, 
of the Order of Friars Minor, Professor of Sacred 
<Scripture. This deposition, dated the 10th of March, 
1413, confirms the preceding depositions without giv- 
ing any new details. Friar Ange speaks at length of 
the conversion of Friar Lazarini and of the exalted 
sanctity to which he attained under Catharine's direc- 
tion. He describes a visit which he paid Etienne 
Maconi ; and when he was telling him that a Monk 
had seen Catharine elevated from the ground in ec- 
stasy, Etienne smiled, saying that he had seen her not 
only once but many and many a time. 



BULL OF PIUS IL 

For the Canonization of Saint Catharine of Sienna; 

Pius, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God, to all 
the faithful of Christ, Health and Apostolical Bene- 
diction. 

The mercies ef the Lord, which we have so abun- 
dantly experienced in our days, cannot be described 
by mortal lips ; the blessing? of God surpass human 
language, and though man we r e capable of expressing 
himself by all his members, never could he worthily 
celebrate his great Creator. "We were formed from 
nothing ; we sprung from nothingness into existence; 
not only have we being as the stones, plants, and ani- 
mals, but we have been endowed with reason, and 
have become capable of divine tMngs : we have been 
created not merely similar to the Angels, but also in 



BULL OP PIUS IL 891 

the image of the omnipotent and invisible God ; we 
have been crowned with glory and honour, and have 
received power over all his works. And yet, if we set 
aside the pride of Lucifer and his followers, man alone, 
among all creatures, has proved ungrateful and re- 
bellious towards God. All inanimate creation cele- 
brates the divine goodness in its being, and never 
transgresses his commandments ; every thingirrational 
obeys the laws of nature and fulfils tlie end for which 
it was created. The earth opens to the plough, and 
receives the seed which it returns with usury ; faithful 
to the orders of man, either civilized or savage, it al- 
ways renders service to him, the stone that is staken 
from it for building, yields without resistance to the 
iron or the fire that works it ; the trees that protect 
the field with their shady foliage bear fruit, and when 
withered , they afford fuel, or support houses and their 
roofy coverings. How useful are the plants by their 
leaves, roots, flowers, seed, or the juice that is extracted 
from them. How serviceable the rivers, lakes, and seas, 
which are furrowed by the track of myriads of vessels 
uniting by commercial intercourse the very " ends of 
the earth." God is praised by the inhabitants of the 
land, the water, the air, each order glorifying him by 
submissively obeying the instincts of its respective na- 
ture. The elements, the stars and the plants obey hia 
high command ! Mark how the sun performs his an- 
nual circuit without exceeding the boundaries of tho 
zodiac ; the gentle moon, shining with mild reflected 
light, never fails to perform her destined functions ; 
while the orbs that revolve throughout the universal sky 
never wander, but videv&tiugly pursue their estab - 



892 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

lished course. All things material in heaven and on 
earth bless the Lord, and praise him by steadily ful- 
filling the end of their creation. All follow their 
general laws and remain within their prescribed limits 
obedient to the Deity, their great First Cause. 

Man alone, ungrateful, disobedient and rebellious 
man, has imitated the sin of the fallen angel. Lucifer, 
who, proud in the very height of heaven, aimed at 
becoming like his Creator, and was precipitated into the 
infernal abyss, for indulging his guilty thought : man, 
formed from the dust of the earth, on whose surface 
he was placed as lord, forgot his weakness and lowly 
origin, and also aimed at exaltation, by " eating the 
forbidden fruit ;" he determined to become, by know- 
ing good and evil, equal to God, and in consequence 
was driven away from the terrestrial Paradise and 
condemned to countless afflictions. Heaven's gate was 
closed against him ; a subject of the tyrant death, the 
vengeance that ensued proved how deeply he had of- 
fended God, and how remote during the ages previous 
to the deluge, were his sons from the fulfilment of God's 
holy will. All flesh was destroyed by the waters from 
heaven, except the virtuous Noe, and those who like 
him entered the ark. Even children were not exempt 
from malice ; they also became wicked, and fell into 
manifold crimes. The tower of Babel was an impious 
enterprise against the God of punishment, but the divi- 
sion of tongues arrested it, and from that moment 
arose wars, rapine, disorder, confusion, conflagration, 
carnage, adultery, incest, per jury, the worship of idols, 
and all the ills that pride and luxury produce. Until 
the time wf Abraham, the faithful observers of the 



BULL OF PIUS n. 393 

divine law were very rare: but the holy patriarch 
gave singular example of the sincerity of his faith, in 
obeying God, even so far as unhesitatingly to immolate 
his own dear son. All the nations of the earth were 
blessed in his race. Not only were the prophets of the 
divine law to descend from him, but Christ the Saviour 
deigned to be born from him according to the flesh, 
when to redeem mankind, he, the equal of his Father, 
by his divine nature, determined to "annihilate him- 
self," to be clothed with our infirmities, to endure the 
most cruel torments, and accept on the cross a death, 
not ordinary, but violent, ignominious, horrible, and 
above the endurance of mere human strength. By 
dying he destroyed our death and restored us to life; 
he conquered hell ; delivered the just; and, victorious 
over death and the demon, opened triumphantly the 
long closed portals of heaven. When ascending to 
his Father, He showed us the way we are to follow, and 
left us in his Gospel, in Baptism, and the other Sacra- 
ments, the means of rising from our falls, and obtain- 
ing salvation. 

And yet, tso many benefits have not captivated our 
hearts ! Our malice and our evil inclinations have not 
been destroyed; the heart of man, while destitute of 
gratitude has not yet deserted vice. The more we have 
been favoured with graces, the more we have shown 
ourselves ungrateful and inclined to evil. For how do 
we love and honour the great God? How observe MS 
laws? Who obeys the Gospel? Where is there any 
dread of the decisions of the Church, submission to- 
wards superiors, charity in regard to inferiors? Where 
is equity, where are piety, justice, reverence, and mo- 



394 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

rality among men? How many say in their hearts, 
there is no God? Some draw up formulas of impious 
dogmas, and forge blasphemies; others, slaves of volup- 
tuousness, think merely on the means of gratifying 
their passions ; others ambition the riches which they 
do not possess ; others again thirst for the blood of 
their fellows. Innocence is rare and almost always in 
danger. What avail the bonds of family, what laws 
human, or divine ? force and fraud govern on all oc- 
casions, and it is with good reason that the devil is 
called the prince of the world, for he actually governs 
the greater portion of the earth. Does not the false 
religion of Mahomet govern the East, with the great 
states of Africa? His followers blaspheme Christ in 
the kingdom of Granada, in Spain, and in many of 
the provinces of Greece. The Jewish nation scattered 
throughout the wide world, is the enemy of the Gospei 
and of the laws of Christianity. Idolaters abound in 
the East as in the North ; Christendom is reduced to 
a corner of Europe ; for although we are assured that 
there are many Christians spread throughout Asia and 
Lybia, yet their faith is not sincere ; they live remote 
from the Holy See and in the midst of infidels and he- 
retics ; they commit evil deeds, and are infected with 
errors. And are not European Christians merely nomi- 
nal? The religion of a vast number is uncertain and 
false ; their conduct is the proof. How many of them 
perform works worthy of the Christian? "By their 
fruits ye shall know them" said the Saviour. (St. Matt, 
vii. 16.) If we live as Christ ordains, we are genuine 
Christians. (St. John iii. 10.) The Apostle Saint 
John says, '''Men are the children of him whose works 



BULL OF PIUS n. 395 

they perform. 11 (St. John viiL 44.) If we keep the 
commandments of God, we are the sons of God; if we 
perform the works of the devil, we belong to him, for 
the Lord has said of such, " You have the devil for your 
father" terrible, but just saying. Every one is the 
son and subject of him whose commandments he keeps. 
How many are there among Christians that do not 
swerve, from the divine law, and how numerous arc. 
they who follow the suggestions of Satan? Let each 
one interrogate his conscience and repass his life in spirit, 
and he will discern how remote he is from accomplish- 
ing the obligations of a real Christian. Ah ! how great 
and incomparable are the bounty and mercy of God 
which bears with us, and does not cut us off from life, 
because he expects our conversion and return to him, 
that he may pardon our heavy guilt. 

But in every age, there have been men agreeable to 
God by their sanctity. Though clothed with our com- 
mon mortality, they have overcome the flesh and have 
led a heavenly life on earth. By their merits and in- 
tercession the world is preserved, the destroying fire 
which menaces it is arrested, God's anger and ven- 
geance kindled against it are suspended. We doubt 
not that at this very hour, there are some souls who 
appease God, and render the King of heaven propi- 
tious and favourable. Among those who have calmed 
Almighty God and merited his clemency, the city of 
Sienna, one of the glories of Tuscp-ny, reckoned Ber- 
nardin. D escended from a noble family, he reno unced 
the world in his youth and entered the Order of St. 
Francis. He found there Religious ^ho lived veiy far 
from h* rule and the examples of thoir holy Father, 



896 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

he rebuked them with energy, and as he was unable to 
bring them all back into the right path, he separated 
those who desired to practise the rule in its primitive 
fervour, and with them, he visited the existing monas- 
teries, constructed new ones and introduced into them 
the most sage reformation. He ran over Italy, de- 
stroying vice and inciting to virtue. He was admired 
for his abstinence, his angelical purity, his winning gra- 
vity, the charms of his discourse, and the depth of his 
teachings ; and being a sincere lover of poverty, and 
an enemy of riches and pleasures, the liveliest joy ever 
shone on his countenance, and the most profound peace 
reigned within his soul. Innocence rendered him 
happy, and no stain sullied or troubled his conscience. 
He abolished a great many scandals in Italy, and per- 
formed many miracles, so that during his lifetime he 
was regarded as a saint, was venerated everywhere 
and the people collected in crowds to pay him honour. 
He terminated his career at Aquilea, and in the very 
year of the jubilee in which the whole Christian world 
visits Rome to be purified from defects, Nicholas V. our 
predecessor, placed him in the number of the Holy Con- 
fessors of Christ. 

Before Bernardin, our fathers had seen in the same 
city of Sienna, the virgin Catharine, not less exalted 
in merit and not less agreeable to God. Her prayers 
offered to the divine Majesty have been, are still, and 
always will be useful to mankind ; for if the crimes of 
the wicked and their blasphemies draw down upon us 
the -wrath of God, the works and supplications of the 
saints preserve us from them. Catharine led an ange- 
Ho life on earth ; she has been in heaven twenty-four 



BULL OP PIUS n. 397 

years; unnumbered miracles have manifested her glory 
and nevertheless the Church militant has not yet in- 
scribed her among the faithful Virgins of Christ. The 
Roman Pontiffs, our predecessors, have not decreed it. 
Urban VI., and after him Innocent VII. and Gregory 
XII., who had a particular knowledge of her deserts* 
designed rendering her this honour, but they were 
prevented by schism, troubles, and the wars which 
agitated their pontificates. God without doubt per- 
mitted it, because in the midst of those tempests, what 
was proclaimed in one obedience would have been de- 
spised in the other. This affair was consequently de- 
ferred until our time, and the canonization of that 
virgin, our countrywoman, has been reserved to us. 
The sanctity of the virgin of Sienna shall be pro- 
claimed by a native of Sienna, occupying the throne 
of Peter ; and we admit that in this we experience a 
sensible consolation. Who does not like, when he may 
do so with justice, to celebrate his own country, his 
own city, or his own family ? We take pleasure in 
lauding the illustrious of all nations, but with how 
much greater eagerness do we sound the trumpet of 
fame when there is a question of our fellow -citizens! 
We should have contemplated with joy the sublime 
virtues, the genius, the greatness of soul, the all-power- 
ful strength and fortitude of the blessed Catharine : 
but we admire them more because she, like ourselves, 
first saw the light in the city of Sienna. We antici- 
pate more favours through her intercession and in her 
merits than if ehe had been born in Africa, or in the 
Indies. Why should not the bonds that link us to 
the sainte procure us some advantage ? 



S98 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

However, this consideration shall never prompt us 
to deviate from truth. The love of family or of country 
does not dispense with the proofs, informations, and 
formalities customary on such occasions, and notwith- 
standing our pleasure at the circumstance that Catha- 
rine is a native of Sienna, we have neglected nothing. 
Petitions have been addressed to us not only from Si- 
enna, but from many other lands. Our dear Son in 
the Lord, Frederick, Emperor of the Romans, and our 
own beloved Son, Paschal, Doge of Venice, have en- 
treated us to permit the homage of this Virgin in their 
respective states, because the people entertain a great 
devotion to her, a ad relate numerous wonders con- 
cerning her. When we ourselves were repairing to 
Mantua, we sojourned a long time at Sienna, and therfc 
in public consistory her virtues and her miracles were 
laid before us, and we were supplicated to decree to 
her the honours of the Saints of Jesus Christ. We did 
not grant it immediately, but in conformity with 
ancient usage, we designated three of our brethren, 
Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, a Bishop, a 
Priest, and a Deacon, to examine regularly the life, and 
actions of Catharine, with the miracles that she per- 
formed during her life and after her death, and to 
pursue the whole process necessary to her canonization, 
and then lay before us a faithful narration in secret 
consistory. More than a year after, when we came 
back from Mantua to Rome, the commissaries whom 
we had designated after having discussed the business, 
studied the ancient proceedures made at Venice and 
elsewhere, examined the witnesses anew, and noting 
every particular with great care, presented an authen- 



BULL OF PIUS II. 899 

tic relation of them to the Cardinals and to us alone. 
They were afterwards repeated by an advocate in 
public consistory. Finally, in the presence of all the 
Bishops whom we had convoked at the Court of Rome, 
and the Cardinals who assist us, the appointed com- 
missaries, by the organ of our venerable Brother, Wil- 
liam, Bishop of Porto, (a Frenchman by birth), who 
presided over them, exposed anew all that they had 
learned and all that appeared to them to be authen- 
tic. We have summed up, from their very extensive 
and well-made depositions the following facts, all per- 
fectly valid, clearly proved and certified. 

Catharine was born in Sienna of persons in a mid- 
dling condition. She consecrated herself to God at an 
age when she could scarcely have had any knowledge 
of him. At six years of age, so as to serve him better, 
she sought solitude, and went with the intention of 
concealing herself in a wild cavern, but she did not 
remain there, for the Holy Spirit brought her home 
to her parents. At seven years of age she consecrated 
her Virginity to our Lord who appeared to her on his 
throne of Majesty, and she saw the secrets of the 
heavenly court, which human tongue ean never utter. 
She renounced from that moment all worldly pleasures, 
gave herself entirely to meditation, and afflicted her 
delicate frame with vigils, fasts, and disciplines. Her 
companions, attracted by her discourse and example, 
imitated her conduct. When she was of suitable age 
to select a state of life, she refused to marry, though 
urged by her parents, but cut off her hair, and de- 
spised the consequent in juries and persecutions. Many 
petitkasaad endeavours were requisite before she could 



400 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE 01' 

obtain the habit of St Dominick worn by the Sisters 
of Penance. She fulfilled the office of servant in the 
house of her parents, and desired nothing so much as 
to appear little and contemptible in the eyes of alll 
With her father's permission she gave abundant alms: 
she carefully nursed the sick, and surmounted the 
temptations of Satan and the continual combats of 
hell with the buckler of patience and the arms of faith , 
?>!ie comforted, by all possible methods, prisoners and 
me oppressed. She was never heard to utter a word 
that was not pious and holy , all her conversations had 
for their objects morality, religion, piety, contempt of 
the world, love of God and of her neighbour, with the 
desire of the better country. No one approached her, 
without leaving her with their minds and hearts more 
informed and better. Her knowledge came down to 
her from heaven ; hence she could teach without 
having had masters. When Professors of the Sacred 
Writings, and illustrious Bishops, proposed to her the 
most difficult questions in Theology, she answered 
them with so much wisdom, and satisfied them so fully 
that they became gentle as lambs, after having shown 
themselves to her at first as menacing wolves and lions. 
Some of them, captivated by the all divine wisdom of 
that youthful maiden, distributed their possessions to 
the poor of Jesus Christ, and embraced the Cross by 
leading a perfect life. 

Catharine's abstinence was surprising, and her aus- 
terity prodigious. She rejected the use of wine, of meat, 
and every kind of seasoning. She finished by depriv- 
ing herself of vegetables, and took no other bread than 
that heavenly Bread with which the true Christian is 



BULL OF PIUS IL 401 

nourished at the Sacrament of the Altar. It some- 
times happened that she fasted from Ash- Wednesday 
till the Ascension, having taken no other food than the 
Blessed Eucharist. During eight years, she sustained 
life with a little juice of herbs which she could not 
even retain on her stomach ; she went to her repasts as 
to a punishment, but she flew on the wings of love to 
the Holy Communion, receiving it almost daily, as a 
celestial banquet. 

She wore a hair-cloth under her garments, and used 
neither mattrass nor pillow. Her bed was composed 
of boards, and on them she took but a few momenta 
of repose. She rarely slept more than two hours dur- 
ing the day or night ; the remainder of the time was 
consecrated to pious vigils, prayer, and to works of 
mercy She tore her body with rude disciplines ; she 
suffered a violent and constant head-ache, and was 
tried by fever and by various other maladies. She 
was often obliged to contend against the demons, who 
persecuted her in every way ; she said with the Apos- 
tle : cum infirmor, tune potens sum. (2 Cor. xii. 10.) 
In all her trials she never became dejected and never 
neglected her ordinary works of charity. She assisted 
the unfortunate and oppressed, converted sinners, and 
attracted them to penance by the mildness of her 
discourse : she gave counsel with joy, and indicated 
to each one what he should do and what he should 
avoid ; she calmed disputants, appeased a great num- 
ber of violent hatreds, and terminated many bloody 
enmities. To reconcile the Florentines and the Church, 
she did not hesitate to pass the Appenines and the Alps, 
to be near to Gregory XI., our predecessor, at Avig- 



402 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

non, and she told him of the vow that he had taken of 
returning to Rome that vow having been taken se- 
cretly, God alone could have made her acquainted 
with it. 

She was also endowed with the spirit of prophecy, 
announcing future events, and revealing the most hid- 
den things : she was ravished in ecstasy, and remained 
suspended in air. When she enjoyed these heavenly 
contemplations, she became so absorbed that she was 
insensible to blows and wounds ; and she fell into this 
state almost always after receiving holy Communion. 

Catharine's name was held in great veneration 
among the people ; from every side they bronght the 
sick and those possessed by the devil, and many were 
healed. She commanded sickness and fever in the name 
of Jesus Christ, and drove Satan from the obsessed. 
Inconsequence, two Roman Pontiffs, Gregory XI. and 
Urban VI., esteemed her so highly that they charged 
her with several negociations, and granted her a great 
number of spiritual favours. She terminated her 
career at the age of thirty-three, and slept at Rome, 
in the peace of God. Her happiness and her triumph 
in Heaven were revealed by marvellous visions to per- 
sons who had been particularly attached to her, espe- 
cially her Confessor, Raymond of Capua, Doctor in 
Theology, and General of the Order of Preaching 
Friars. He was at Genes, the night in which Catha- 
line died, and whilst at the Matin hour, he was pray- 
ing before an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she 
appeared to him all resplendent with light, and ad- 
dressed him with consoling words. Her body, exposed 
a ceitain time, was buried at Rome, iu ike Church of 



BULL OF PIUS H. 408 

the Minerve, ainid the testimonies of respect and de- 
votion of an enthusiastic multitude. Many sick persons, 
by touching her, obtain ed their cure from God ; others 
recovered their health by means of the objects which 
had been in contact with her precious remains. When 
Catharine had ascended to heaven, she listened graci- 
ously to the prayers that were addressed to her, and 
she caused them to be heard by her Spouse and Saviour 
Jesus Christ. Many, on hearing of her powerful influ- 
ence in heaven, had recourse to her intercession, and 
experienced its salutary effects. Therefore at Venice 
where St. Catharine had never been, and in other 
places, great honours were tendered to her, 

When our venerable brother, the Bishop of Porto, 
had exposed those things and many others, in the as- 
sembly of Cardinals and Prelates, and we had affirmed 
that they were certain and evident, the Cardinals and 
Prelates present were invited to give their decision . All 
unanimously declared the holy virgin worthy of heaven, 
and of the honours of earth, and there was not a person 
present who did not give his opinion that the canoni- 
zation should be proceeded with directly. 

Having attentively listened to all these things, we com- 
manded that in the Basilica of the Prince of the Apos- 
tles, a lofty and decorated tribune should be erected, 
from which, to-day, in presence of the people and the 
clergy, after having pronounced a discourse on the life 
and miraclesof Catharine, after having celebrated Masa 
and fulfilled all the accustomed ceremonies, we would 
proceed in these terms to the canonization of the "bles- 
sed" Catharine : " To the honour of the Omnipotent and 
Eternal God, Father, Sou and Holy Ghost, for ike ex- 



404 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OP SIENNA. 

altation of the Catholic Faith, and the extension of the 
Christian religion, and in virtue of the authority of 
Jesus Christ, of the blessed Apostles St. Peter and St. 
Paul, and of that which has been conferred on us, we 
declare, on the opinion of our Brethren, that Catha- 
rine of Sienna, virgin of illustrious and ineffaceable 
memory, whose body reposes at Rome in the Church of 
the Preaching Friars, called la Minerve, has been 
already received and crowned with glory in the hea- 
venly Jerusalem, amid the choirs of Virgins, in the rank 
which her virtue merited, aided by divine grace. We 
determine and decree that she be honoured as a saint, 
in public and private, and we ordain that her name be 
inscribed in the catalogue of the virgins who are vene- 
rated by the Roman Church ; we wish that her festi- 
val be celebrated annually by the whole Church on the 
first Sunday of May, and that the honours be paid to 
Her which it is customary to render to other virgins. 
To all such as may visit her tomb, on the day of her 
feast, we grant in perpetuity, an Indulgence of seven 
years and seven times forty days, on conforming to the 
obligations and usages of the Church. 

" Let no one allow himself to change anything in 
this declaration, nor in whatever it contains, relates, 
ordains, and settles; let no one attack it with temerity, 
should any one thus render himself .guilty, let him know 
that he exposes himself to the indignation of Almighty 
God, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. 

" Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year of the 
Incarnation, 1641. the 19th of June, and the third year 
of our Pontificate." 

A Brief of Urban VIII., dated the 16th of February 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALY. 405 

1630, changed the day of St. Catharine's reast , it is 
now fixed on the 30th April ; it was not put on the 
29th, which is the anniversary of her death because the 
Ceurch celebrates the Feast of St. Peter, Martyr, on 
that day. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF 
ST. CATHARINE IN ITALY 

IN one of the most painful moments of my life, I 
implored the intercession of St. Catharine, and pro- 
mised to endeavour to spread her fame in France, if 
God would deliver me from the malady which affected 
me mentally ani corporeally. I was heard immediately 
and this book is the ex-voto of my gratitude. Before 
giving it to the public, I desired to present it person- 
ally at the tomb of our dear saint ; the reader will 
kindly accompany me in this pious pilgrimage, and visit 
with me the localities consecrated by her memory. 

In was in Rome that St. Catharine terminated hel 
life, offering herself a victim for the Church. When the 
Sovereign Pontiff, Urban VI., implored her counsels 
amid the tempest of the rising Schism, she resided (as it 
is said in this Biography Part III. chap. 2.) between 
the Minerva and the Campo di Fiore. The house which 
she occupied with her disciples is now found Via Santa 
Chsra No. 14 opposite the little church which has given 
a name to the street. Her companions continued living 
there after her death, under the direction of Alessia, 
whom she had given them for their Superior, and that 
little community was long perpetuated. The blessei 



406 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Lucia de Narni, sojourned in that convent, when she 
was summoned to Rome, in 1502, under Alexander VI. 
to certify to the reality of her stigmata. The room in 
which St. Catharine died is on the ground floor ; it has 
been converted into a chapel, but the ceiling alone is of 
her time: the walls have been transported to the Mi- 
nerva and constructed behind the altar of the sacristy. 
Such changes are to be regretted as it is especially to 
form that recollections are attached. 

The obsequies of St. Catharine were celebrated in 
the church of the Minerve, in St. Dominick's chapel 
and her monument is at the right of the grand altar, in 
;he chapel of the Rosary. The Blessed Virgin deigned 
to shelter her beneath the shadow of her sanctuary, that 
her relics might be gladdened by that angelical saluta- 
tion she so loved to repeat. 

Etienne Maconi, at the moment of quitting Rome, 
to go and assume the habit of the Carthusians, in obe- 
dience to her command, desired to possess a relic of his 
venerated Mother; he obtained from the other disciples 
of St. Catharine leave to open her coffin, and he took 
one of her teeth, which he carried away with him as a 
precious treasure. The pious mutilation of her body 
took place at the time of its translation by blessed Ray- 
mond of Capua. The head was borne to Sienna, and 
considerable portions of her members went to enrich 
the convents and churches in which her memory is 
honoured, as we perceive in the process of Venice. In 
1486, St. Antonius made a new opening in the tomb 
and it is from this period without doubt that dates the 
monument which we discover beneath the altar of the 
chapel of the Rosary. St. Catharine is there repre- 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALY. 407 

sented with her religious drapery, reposing in the sweet 
slumber which precedes the glorious resurrection. 

In Rome two Convents of Dominican Nuns honour 
the memory of St. Catharine. The Religious that St. 
Dominick established at St. Sixtus, were forced, on ac- 
count of the fever which ravaged that portion of the 
city, to abandon the place consecrated by such impor- 
tant recollections, they therefore settled on the Quirinal 
The handsome Convent of St. Dominick and of St. 
Sixtus, is in possession of St. Catharine's left hand, 
and that precious relic is extremely well preserved. 
The dried up flesh is of a brown hue, its fingers very 
small and slightly bent. In its centre the cicatrice of 
the stigmata with which our Lord honoured his Spouse, 
are distinctly perceptable. The right hand is divided ; 
the Chartreuse of Pontiniano, near Florence, have the 
finger which received the ring denoting her heavenly 
espousals, and that also restored sight to blessed Etienne 
Maconi miraculously. The left foot is at Venice, the 
traces of the stigmata are visible in it ; Gregory Lom- 
bardelli affirms that it was authentically recognised in 
1597. 

Beside the Convent of St. Dominick rises that of St. 
Catharine, with its devotional church and old tower of 
the middle ages. They who dwell in it claim for ances- 
tors the companions that our Saint brought from Si- 
enna to Eome, and who continued living in community 
until her death. Hence they have a tender and invin- 
cible confidence in their patroness. During the ter- 
rors of the siege of Rome, they secured themselves 
against danger by additional ornaments placed on her 
altar, and decorating her statue. A quite particTzks 



408 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

circumstance obtained for me leave of entrance into 
this "enclosed garden" of the Church, where so many 
virtues bloom for heaven. Iknelt in an interior chapel, 
where the nuns showed me a crucifix said to have be- 
longed to St. Catharine, and yet having traces of her 
devout embraces. The convent possesses an entire 
shoulder-blade of the saint, one of her sandals, and a 
few bricks of the apartment in which she departed this 
life. 

During my sojourn in Rome, the thought of Catha- 
rine incessantly accompanied me, and when visiting 
those sanctuaries in which ages have accumulated so 
many mementos, I implored her to warm my heart 
with a spark of that fire which consumed hers, when 
she made those pious pilgrimages with her disciples. 
I delighted in tracing out the paths she took, and fol- 
lowing above all the way which leads from her humble 
abode, to the tomb of the Apostles ; it was through 
those streets which in Kome never change, that she 
went to pray for the Church and consolidate on the im- 
moveable Eock, the Sovereign Pontiff, Urban VI. In 
the last days of her martyrdom, she daily traversed this 
way, as did our Lord the road to Calvary ; but the hour 
of sacrifice eluded her desires, and it was necessary to 
carry her back to her house in a dying condition. 

How many times did she climb the silent declivity 
of the Aventine, and kneel in the Basilica of St. Sa- 
binus, so dear to the Order of Preaching Friare. Her 
virginal lips have pressed that stone on which Saint 
Dominick extended himself during the solitude of 
night, to pour forth in God's presence his tears and 
supplications. She saluted with pious affection, thosa 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALY. 409 

recollected halls in which the holy founder assembled 
his pacific conquests : she contemplated in the vigour 
of its prime, the blessed tree that his hands planted, 
and her prophetic eye undoubtedly perceived in the 
future, the new generations which were to renovate 
his work, like vigorous shoots emerging from an aged 
trunk, with the very year that was to witness the re- 
establishment of the Dominicans in France. May Hea- 
ven continue to multiply its branches and its fruit! 

St. Catharine also visited frequently the Convent 
of St. Sixtus on the Appian Way. It was there that 
St. Dominick established his Order in Rome ; there 
he assembled his nuns whom he refreshed with his dis- 
course and with a miraculous wine; there too was di- 
vine power manifested in him, and vanquished death 
thrice restored to him its victims. At the period in 
which Catharine lived, the family of St. Sixtus was 
nourishing, and a proof that our saint had gladdened 
it with her presence and illuminated it by her virtues, 
is that, a short time after her death, and considerably 
before her canonization, the Nuns caused her portrait 
to be painted in the choir of their church, and it may 
yet be seen behind more recent constructions. The 
Convent of St. Sixtus has long been a solitude, seldom 
visited by the piety of the faithful ; let us hope that 
this sanctuary so rich in mementos, will share in the 
blessings which God pours with new effusion on the 
Order of St. Dominick, and that the religious life may 
ere long flourish ic its now deserted cloisters. 

When going from Rome to Sienna, as one descends 
the rough upturned declivities of the Radicofani, the 
lines gradually soften on the horizon ; plantations of 



410 LSFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

Olive-trees in graceful rows adorn the hill-sides, the 
valleys present a high state of cultivation, and broad 
streamlets murmur beneath delicious shadowy foliage. 
Chateaux of the middle ages, with farm houses of ele- 
gant architecture animate the landscape, and as one 
advances on this road festooned by its luxuriant vines, 
nature appears milder and more gay : one would fancy 
he heard the distant hum of a concert, whose dulcet 
accords approached near and more near. 

Sienna is a poetic city in which everything harmon- 
izes with the remembrance of St. Catharine ; its ram- 
parts and its monuments are contemporaries which 
speak of her, and the imagination easily retraces in 
them all the scenes of her blessed life. Its enclosure, 
devastated by the Pest, of which she was the consol- 
ing angel, presents not the agitation of our modern 
cities. Instead of that febrile movement of luxury 
and of commerce, we meet therein a living reigning 
peace, that one would never, never quit. The Italian 
language is more melodious there than elsewhere, and 
the population, quite distinct from that of Genes and 
of Florence, offers types of virginal beauty. One 
easily comprehends that here human genius must ex- 
pand its blossoms beneath a beautiful and cheerful 
ky, and that human art must produce its almost 
breathing wonders. But I hastily traversed its undu- 
iating streets, its public squares, its churches, and its 
palaces of rich and chivalrous architecture ; my heart 
craved other delights ; could the magnificent features 
of a city arrest the attention of a son, who seeks the 
house of his Mother? 

On descending from the cathedral, at the turn of a 



HECOLLEOTIONS OF HALT. 411 

little street, I suddenly found myself in presence of 
the localities consecrated by the life of St. Catharine. 
An inscription and a painting nearly effaced informed 
me that I was on the very spot in which she beheld her 
first vision. Opposite to me on the other side of the 
valley, where Jacomo's workmen washed their various 
coloured wool, was delineated that beautiful church of 
St. Dominick which served as a pedestal to the throne 
of our Lord, when he appeared to her assisted by SS. 
Peter and Paul and St. John the Evangelist. I pur- 
sued the same road that Catharine and her little bro- 
ther Etienne (Stephen) followed on that day, and ar- 
rived at length at the much desired residence. 

The abode of the blessed Catharine is situated at the 
entrance of the valley, on the left hand, ascending 
1' Oca street. The piety of her fellow-citizens has filled 
it with chapels. On the ground floor, was the work- 
shop of Jacomo, the shop and the back shop in which 
is found the cellar wh ere God rendered to her family a 
hundred fold of good wine that she distributed to the 
poor. By the stair way which the holy child mounted, 
reciting the angelical salutation at every step, we ar- 
rive at an apartment, where, during her lifetime 
Mass was celebrated; this was a privilege that she had 
obtained from the Sovereign Pontiff,' at the period of 
her journey to Avignon. The back of the altar is 
against the wall towards the street ; fkere^ are to be 
seen, enclosed in reliquaries, the extremity of the cane 
that supported her, when notwithstanding her suffer- 
ings, sne went whither the love of God and of her 
neighbour called her; the little lantern which enlight- 
ened her in her charitable vigils ; a small flagon of 



412 LIFE OF srr. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

scent that friendship perchance would fain oblige her 
to wear during the plague, but of which, withoutdoubt^ 
she used very little, she who had so courageously over- 
come nature in the service of the sick. Among the 
garments that had belonged to her, we remarked a rich 
silk stuff which served a long time to envelope her head, 
brought from Rome to Sienna by the blessed Raymond. 

Opposite the altar, at the right hand of the entrance, 
is found the spot richest in her memory ; it is in that 
little cell that God was pleased to adorn Catharine with 
so many virtues ; those walls have witnessed her prayers, 
her penances, and her ecstasies ; there our Lord, the 
Blessed Virgin, and the Saints, came and conversed 
with her; in that place were celebrated her glorious 
nuptials, and she enjoyed the familiar embraces of 
her Spouse; there her heartbroken with love, and her 
soul inebriated with celestial delights, was again united 
to her body in order to commence the great miracle of 
her public life. O ! sanctuary, in which the presence 
of Catharine is sensible, how shall I describe thy mys- 
terious peace and thy delicious inspiration? 

The cell of Catharine, which is only five metres long 
by three in width, was enlightened by a little window, 
at the bottom of which there still exists some remnant 
of mason work.* There, it is said, her head rested dur- 
ing sleep ; but her bed which was of planks, must have 
been placed in the bottom against the wall, and the 

* Morantem in quadam cellula parva, infra domum pa- 
ternam, engus ostium et fernestra semper clausa erant, 
sed coram imagines Christi, beatse Marise et aliorum 
Sanctorum qure ibi depict erant, in cessanter, die noc. 
tuque lampas ardebat. (Dom Martene, p. 1312.) 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALY. -i!3 

blessed Raymond says positively, that she had a piece 
of wood for a pillow. (1 p. chap. 9.) Those bricks are 
without doubt, the ruins of the steps which served her 
to go up to the window. In the corner is the door of 
a small closet which opened into her room. Happily 
marble has not covered anew the walls of this sanctu- 
ary ; the same soil is there which was pressed by her feet, 
and the lips of the pilgrim may venerate its dust. 

In the upper part of the house were the rooms occu- 
pied by her family, among others that of her brother 
Etienne, in which her father saw a white dove reposing 
on her head. Behind the altar of a chapel is shown the 
chimney in which the blessed prepared the repasts of 
her parents, at the time she suffered their persecutions. 
Opposite the house, on the other side of the narrow 
street on which St. Catharine's window opened, was a 
garden where a church is built, which serves for the 
meetings of the confraternity of Fontebrands. Above 
the altar, the crucifix is preserved before which St. Ca- 
tharine received the stigmata, in the church of St. 
Christina at Pisa. On the walla of these sanctuaries 
are painted and sculptured different circumstances of 
the life of St. Catharine, but the eye hardly rests upon 
them the heart has apparitions which are more real 



Catharine could descry, from the top of her father's 
house, the Palace of her Spouse, the church of St. J)o- 
minick, and tradition asserts that she passed hours 
there in holy contemplation. That monument which 
bespeaks majestic simplicity, stands near the fortified 
enclosure on one of the most elevated points of the vil- 
lage. At the entrance of its vast en closure is the chapel 



414 UFB OP ST. CATHARINS OP SIENNA. 

where the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Dominick 
assembled. The pavement is ornamented with inscrip- 
tions commemorative of the miraculous facts which 
transpired in that sanctuary. Here, Christ changed 
the heart of Catharine there, he recited the Psalms 
with her in that spot Catharine gave her silver cross 
to the Saviour farther on, she disrobed herself to be- 
stow on him a garment.* On the Altar is placed the 
portrait of the blessed, drawn during her lifetime by 
Iier disciple, Andrew Vanni. Catharine is represented 
standing, holding a lily in her left hand, and touching 
a young maiden who is kneeling before her with her 
right. 

In the Church on the right side, is the Chapel of 
St. Catharine ; it is adorned with pictures, represent- 
ing some circumstances in her life: there are also the 
portraits of Father Thomas De Ponte, and of Blessed 
Raymond of Capua, who were her Confessors and bio- 
graphers. On the altar, in the wall that divides the 
church from the sacristy, is placed the relic that Si- 
enna rightly considers her most precious treasure ; the 
head of St. Catharine is enclosed in a reliquary, the 
keys of which are in the hands of the Gonfalonier of 
the city, and of the Prior of the Convent. It is ex- 
posed only twice annually, on St. Catharine's festival, 
and on the Wednesday of Septuagesima, in remem- 
brance of her mystical marriage with our Lord. 

The religious costume with which the bust of the 
Saint is clothed, merely permits a view of her coun- 



* CAT. tfOR MUTAT XPVS OATA. CRVOKM KROGAT XPO OATA. VE8TB 
INDVIT XPVB EX LATK1UBV8 QVO HIC PATENTI CV11 CHfilSTO. DlVLNA AL 
CK&NATU1 PBBSOLVEHDO VMA OEEBKIU1IMF 8PATIABANTTE. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALY. 415 

tenance, which beams with a mysterious majesty. It 
is impossible to depict the emotions one experiences in 
presence of that august relic; the obscurities of death 
vanish, and the heart contemplates with love, that 
brow ever ealin and joyous ; those eyes that ecstasy 
enlightened ; those features that charity animated ; 
those lips whence escaped, as from an inexhaustible 
fountain, words endued with power for converting 
souls. O sacred remains which Earth preserves for 
Eternity; consecrated head, which the Divinity deigned 
to use as a sanctuary ; brow, that heavenly glory shall 
wreathe on the day of the Resurrection; lovely, benig- 
nant countenance, which shall gladden the heavenly 
Jerusalem ; O Catharine, the Saviour shall take com- 
placency in his spouse, and will crown you with that 
precious diadem he promised, when you chose his crown 
of thorns on Earth. Now you conceal from us your 
splendour, you only exhibit yourself to our view, in 
the infirmity of our nature, so that the traces of your 
sufferings and your death may teach us the true path 
tx> happiness and glory. 

The Church of St. Dominick is in possession of ano- 
ther relic of St. Catharine: at the base of the silver 
bust that is borne through the city OP lier festival, is, 
I believe, the thumb of the right hand. Another reli- 
quary contains two disciplines which belonged to her 
one of iron, the other of cords. The Dominican Con- 
vent, San Spirito, has a considerable portion of a hair- 
Jbirt that was worn by Catharine. 

One of the finest establishments of Sienna, the hos- 
pital of til a Scala, also preserves the recollection of St. 
Catharine ; it vas there she exo^used eiuiriiy towards 



416 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

the sick ; there she combated against nature, by em- 
bracinginfected wounds and drinking the water which 
had been employed in washing an ulcer ; there she sup- 
ported the calumnies of Andrea, and also appeared to 
that patient enveloped in resplendent light. In the 
interior part of the hospital is shown an obscure shed, 
whither she retired to take a few brief moments of re- 
pose. Above the stone on which she extended herself, 
may be read the following inscription : Here reposed 
the spouse of Jesus Christ, tJie seraphic mother, St. 
Catharine of Sienna. Praise be to God* This place 
is entrusted to the guard of the Confraternity Bro- 
thers for the night, who assemble in pious vigils at the 
season of her festival. 

Pisa had not forgotten the sojourn of Catharine. On 
the right shore of the Arno, is the little Church of 
St. Catharine, in which she received the stigmata. 
Near a side altar a little column indicates the place 
where she sunk down insensible under the divine im- 
pression ; on it is seen this inscription : The Lord here 
marked His servant Catharine, with the signs of our 
Redemption.^ 

On the two side altars, these two inscriptions are 
found. 

Catharine, who pierced your hands, who marked 
your feet, with the bloody impress of the cross ? 

Christ, my beloved, shared with me his honours, and 
deigned to adorn me with his wounds. 

* Ovi Giaceva la Sposa di Giesu-Christo, la Serafica 
^jiadre Santa Caterina da Siena. LAVS DEO. 

f Signavit Dominns servain suam Catuarinam hie rig- 
aifl redeuiptioiiis nostrae. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALY. 417 

The wounds of Christ are bloody; why, Catharine, 
are yours radiant? 

The wounds of Christ are red, they were made by 
the enemy in expiation of our faults ; mine are shining, 
because they were the gift of love.* 

On the altar is the copy of the crucifix before which 
St. Catharine received the stigmata ; the original was 
a pledge of peace between the Republics of Pisa and 
Sienna. Near St. Christina, at No. 8 of the street 
that passes near the church is found the house of 
Buonconti in which St. Catharine received hospitality, 
Therejte also shown the room that she occupied and 
the Madonna before which it is said that she prayed 
but the basso relievo is less ancient. 

Hearts have preserved as faithfully as monuments, 
the souvenir of St. Catharine. Her devotion is widely 
spread throughout Italy. A great number of convents 
and churches are erected under her invocation, and the 
festivals that are mentioned in the Process of Venice 
are perpetuated to our own day ; the people always 
have for her prayers, canticles and choicest flowers. 

At Sienna hers is a national festival ; it is celebrated 
on the 29th of April, but the public ceremony does not 
take place uatil the following Sunday. Then the 
house on Oca street is adorned with all its riches, the 

* Hsec Catharina tuis manibus quis Stigmata fisit? 

Quis pedibus durae signa cruenta Crusis ? 
Me meus hie Christus proprio signavit honors 

Ornavitque suis quarn bene vulneribus. 
Vulnera cum rubcant Christ! foedata cruoi e. 

Vulnera sic rutilant qui, Catharina tua ? 
Ilia rubeut merito cedens inflixerat hostis 

Istaque pellucent, aurea pinxit amor. 

Sacra accepit Stigmata hoc in sacello A.D. 1375, iTor- 
tern obitt A.D. 1375. 



418 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

altars are decorated with their gayest ornaments ; Ca- 
tharine's little cell is glittering with garlands and lights; 
emblems and verses that recall her life, speak from the 
walls, as, " Because she preferred the crown of thorns 
to those of kings, had she merited a heavenly diadem." 
" God filled with precious jewels the garment which sh c 
gave to the poor ." " Her thoughts were pure as lilies. ' ' 
*' Eternal Wiydom was her book." "She attained 
peace by suffering." " On the cross she found the ob- 
ject of her desires, and her heart was transformed into 
God's." 

The Confraternity of Fonte- Branda do the honours 
of the devout sanctuary ; it offers to the poor and to 
the rich, little loaves of blessed bread in remembrance 
of those that Catharine formerly multiplied and dis- 
tributed. The neighbouring streets are strewn with 
foliage, and dressed with flags and pendants ; all the 
windows are adorned with rich suits of hangings. At 
nine o'clock, the procession mores from the Church of 
St. Dominick. The clergy and the two Confraternities 
of Fonte-Branda, and the Friars of the Night, accom- 
pany the silver statue of St. Catharine, it passes in 
triumph through the city, and the bells of every parish 
hail its passage. On the public square, the authorities, 
the Gonfalonier and the magistracy, come forth from 
the palace and join the cortege. They visit the house 
of the blessed ; then ascend to the church of St. Do- 
mi nick, where a young nobleman of the college of Tho- 
lomei pronounces the eulogium of the illustrious coun~ 
trywoman. That discourse is sometimes the debut of 
great talent ; it is always a useful and beautiful reniem- 
brence for the remainder of life. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALY. 419 

The head of St. Catharine is exposed from morning 
until evening, and the multitude never discontinue 
pouring out before her, tender and fervent prayers. 
When night comes on, the entire hill of Fonte-Branda 
is illuminated, the Rosary is recited at the feet of the 
Madonna, and hymns are sung in honour of the saint ; 
the crowd walk amid a blaze of light, and in fine, taste 
all the happiness of the Christian festivals, which alone 
have evenings without weariness, and morrows with- 
out sadness. 

This feast will be one of my most delicious recollec- 
tions. Sienna received me as one of her own children ; 
the Religious of St. Pominick offered me the hospitaliy 
of other days, and all welcomed me like a brother come 
from a distant land. I had the place of choice in the 
house of St. Catharine, and in the ranks of those who 
accompanied her image ; I received the hallow edbread 
of her charity, and could contemplate her holy relics 
and even approach them with my lips. O Catharine, 
the prayer I then made you, I repeat anew, be my 
mother and my patroness ! watch over all that my heart 
loves. Protect France, tried by so many misfortunes, 
and let her henceforth consecrate to the cause of truth 
all the energy and activity of her devotedness. Defend 
Italy from the dangers that menace her faith ; bless the 
city of Sienna the sweet land of thy nativity ; butabovr 
all pray for the Church by which all nations we to be 
saved. When still on earth, you predicted tiiat after 
many calamities she would enjoy sunny days of pros- 
perity. Since you were in heaven, has the Church ex- 
perienced one day without trials and tempests? Schism 
has rent it, scandals have outraged it, heresy has ra- 



420 UFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF 

vishedher children ; theblood of martyrshas inundated 
Europe ; the policy of Princes has given her chains, 
knowledge, and denial; genius has insulted her, the 
French Revolution levelled her crosses, destroyed her 
altars, and th& Papacy has been captive and exiled: 
the Church would have perished but for the eternal 
promise of her invisible head. But after the miracles 
of her combats, shall be seen the spectacle of her tri- 
umphs and of her glory ! 

O Catharine ! thy soul bounded with a holy joy, when 
perceiving in the future, prodigies of divine mercy and 
the renovation of the Church by novel means. Thou 
didst lovingly salute those times in which the Church 
of Jesus Christ will appear in the world, in all the bril- 
liancy of its virtues and its beauty. The nations shall 
rejoice at the sanctity of their pastors, and strayed 
sheep return in crowds to the sheep-fold. O Catha- 
rine 1 hasten by your prayers those better days and 
render us worthy by our faith, in the trials which 
we have yet to suffer. 



ICONOGRAPHY OF ST. CATHARINE. 

ON reading the lives of the Saints, the heart demands 
their portraits, and the most beautiful mission of Art is 
to satisfy this desire. The picture of a saint is the repre- 
sentation of his soul : the artist should therefore seek 
his inspirations in the meditation of their virtues, but 
he should also consult tradition, to discover, whether 
time has not respected the features which he intends 
fco render, and whether there does not already exist 
some typo consecrated by the piety of the faithful. 



OF ST. CATHARINE. 42] 

Truth can never be opposed to beauty; sanctity trans- 
figures the body, and the triumph of Christian art is to 
do what God himself will do on the day of the Resur- 
rection : the bodies of the just shall be glorified, defor- 
mities will disappear without annihilatingresemblance, 
even faults will be resplendent with the tears of repent- 
ance, and with the tender mercies of the Saviour. 

It is generally believed that the beauty of St. Catha- 
rine was wholly interior, and this opinion is based upon 
the account given of her admission into the Third 
Order of St. Dominick. The Sisters of Penance only 
received aged persons, and they said they would by a 
sort of dispensation admit Catharine if she were not 
too beautiful. But the blessed Raymond also observes 
that they could not form a correct judgment concern- 
ing her, because sickness had rendered her not easily 
recognised ; he says also that her beauty had nought 
that was excessive. All her other disciples mention 
the radiance of her soul beaming on her countenance, 
the most cruel sufferings could never disturb its joy and 
serenity. Every one was captivated with the winning 
sweetness of her smile. Friar Bartholomew in his de- 
position, observes that the graces of her youth gave 
no trouble to her visitors, because they perceived in 
her the purity of the Angels. When describing her 
last illness, the same witness says, that Catharine's 
body seemed to have been sun-dried, whilst it had 
always hitherto been really handsome. Cum consue- 
visset esse competenter formosum. 

The head of St. Catharine preserved at Sienna, fur- 
nishes but little indication ; it is of middling size, and 
of an oval form ; the eyes are closed, the mouth par- 



422 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

tially open; the shrinking of the lips, discover teeth of 
pearly whiteness; the general expression is full of calm 
and resigned majesty, and on it may be read the marks 
of the cruel sufferings which terminated her life. The 
almost natural colour of her countenance accorded ill 
with the testimony of the Dominicans who wrote to the 
Bollandists, in 1673, that the head of St. Catharine was 
withered and dried, and of a colour obscure and almost 
black. I had it in my power to examine this very pre- 
cious relic, and I remarked that the whole face was 
plastered over with a sort of pale rose colour. This 
observation was confirmed by the testimony of the 
Chevalier Grotanelli, a distinguished physician of Si- 
enna. He was one of a scientific committee appointed 
a few years ago, to certify to the state of the relic, and 
he thinks that this species of paste was put on to repair 
the damages caused by the conflagration that ravaged 
the Church of St. Dominick, in 1531, and reduced to 
ashes the body of the blessed Ambrose Sansedoni, pro- 
tector of the city. 

The most valuable monument of the inconography of 
St. Catharine, is the portrait said to have been drawn 
during her lifetime by Andrew Vanni, her disciple. 
It is placed over the Chapel of the Third Order, in the 
Church of St. Dominick. The saint in that picture ia 
represented standing, holding a lily in her left hand, 
and touching with her right hand the lips of a young 
person kneelirg before her. The face is tnm and long 
its expression sweet and virginal. I am not informed 
of the proofs of the authenticity of this portrait ; the 
bunch of lilies that is seen in it, would seem to indi- 
cate a work accomplished after her death, it is evident 



ICONOGRAPHY OF ST. CATHARINE. 123 

at least, that this picture has been denaturalized by 
successive restorations, some of which are very modern. 
The tradition of St. Catharine's, features ought to 
have been easily preserved in Italy, on account of the 
public reverence of which she was the subject imme- 
diately after her death ; they painted her picture and 
her history in a great number of churches, under the 
eyes of her relatives and of her own mother; they 
could not, by departing from the resemblance contra- 
dict those numerous and faithful recollections. Friar 
Thomas, who had known Catharine from her infancy, 
had her frequently painted with such luminous rays as 
usually surround the heads of the beatified but not 
canonized, although he had seen several represented 
with the aureola of the saints. Friar Thomas says that 
her image was spread throughout the whole Christian 
world, that it was painted in every variety of style, in 
Poland, Hungary, Dalmatia, in Tuscany, Lombardy, 
Venice, and especially at Rome; whilst he was writing 
his deposition, they were forwarding pictures of the 
venerable Catharine even to Alexandria. * * When they 
commenced," says he, "to honour Catharine's memory 
in Venice, a person who entertained a particular devo- 
tion towards her, had her likeness represented on cards, 
so as to spread it abroad with greater facility on the day 
of lier feast. Many of the pictures were placed in 
churches and surrounded with flowers. Thus all could 
enjoy and pay homage to the saint, not only in public, 
but in their own houses. I am certain that since these 
portraits of the Blessed have been drawn, thousands 
have been made and are daily making; there are vast 
numbers of them at Venice, and in every portion of the 



424 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

(known) world. These pictures of Catharine suggested 
the idea of making on similar cards, images of other 
saints for the churches of Venice, the faithful could 
thereby procure them on their festivals and augment 
their piety by honouring them . " * This text is a preci- 
ous historical document ; it connects we may say, with 
the worship of Catharine, the origin of engraving on 
wood, and consequently that of printing. This method 
of multiplying the images or pictures spoken of by the 
witness, is evidently a novel invention; there is not 
question of painting them by hand on the paper, but 
of reproducing them ad infinitum. Playing cards pre- 
ceded engraving on wood ; Venice fabricated many of 
them and carried on a considerable trade in them. 
The process that was employed for making those cards 
served to stamp the pictures of St. Catharine. The 
most ancient wool engraving, bearing a certain date, 
is the St. Christopher of the Library of Prints of Paris, 
it is dated 1423. f The deposition of Friar Thomas 13 
of 1411, and in it is said that the pictures of Catha- 
rine were made at Venice, directly they began to cele- 
brate her feast, that is to say in 1394 or 1395, since 
we read a few lines below, that it had been made 
during sixteen years in the Convent of St. John and 
St. Paul. These pictures would therefore be the first 
engravings on wood. Perchance, some of them have 
been spared by time, and are preserved in some collec- 

* Notabile circa raateriam istam, etc. [Bom Martene, 
Proc. V. p. 1292.] 

f Leber: Essai sur les cartes a jouer. Emeric David: 
Histoire de la gravure. Heinecken: Indee generalo 
d'une oollectione d'estarapes. Duchftsue aine. Notice 
sur les setswapes de la Bibliothoque. 



OF ST. CATHARINE. 425 

tions of engravings or in some ancient manuscripts of 
the life or of the deeds of St. Catharine. 

A contemporaneous painting of these prints exists at 
Rome. In the month of July, 1 852, the Rev. P. Assaut, 
Prior of the Convent of the Dominicans at Paris, when 
visiting the ruins of the Church of St. Sixtus, discov- 
ered, behind the walls of the actual choir, the rem- 
nants of the Pictures which decorated the ancient vault. 
These paintings, unhappily injured by the scaffolding 
of more recent constructions, certainly belonged to the 
14th century. Different scenes from the^Gospel and 
from the lives of the saints are there represented. On 
the right are extremely well preserved pictures of St. 
Paul, St. John the Baptist, of St. Dominick, and of St, 
Peter, martyr. On the left, is seen our Blessed Lord, 
drawing from the wound in his side, a garment which 
he presents to St. Catharine who is in adoration before 
him. At her feet is painted, in smaller proportions, 
according to the custom of that date, the nun who 
caused the picture to be executed, without doubt the 
Prioress ef St. Sixtus. The head of the Saviour is very 
fine, that of St. Catharine breathes ecstatic sweetness, 
its features are delicate, the eyes small, the nose slender, 
and the mouth exquisitely traced. Her veil is white, 
and her mantle black. She has not the aureola of the 
saints, but simply the rays of the beatified, as remark 
the witnesses of the Process at Venice. This painting 
was evidently taken a short time after her death : there 
must be pictures of Catharine similar to it in Rome. 
The blessed Etienne Maconi informs us that the same 
vision was represented near her tomb. 
The artist most worthy and most capable of painting 

2o 



426 LIFE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

St. Catharine of Sienna, was assuredly Fra Angelico de 
Fiesole. Born seven years after her death, he found her 
memory living in Tuscany. The blessed John de Dom - 
inici, his Prior, and the blessed Lorenzo de Ripa Fratta, 
his master of Novices, were cotemporariesof Catharine, 
and must have seen her at Pisa and at Florence. Fra 
Angelico lived with many Religious who had been her 
disciples, and he assisted at the annual festival in her 
honour. 

In the coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the 
only painting of Fra Angelico, possessed by the museum 
of the Louvre, I had remarked amid the group of saints, 
at the base of the throne, a countenance indicative of 
charming beauty; it is in profile, the hands spread in 
the attitude of ecstasy, I could not refrain from attach- 
ing to it the name of St. Catharine. 

In the public gallery of the Offices of Florence (Tus- 
can School, Hall No. 1), there is another master-piece 
of Fra Angelico. The composition has considerable 
reference to the one in the Louvre, only the scene 
breathes more of heaven ; all the personages are placed 
in clouds and amid waves of light. Our Lord, instead 
of crowning his Mother, simply adds a magnificent dia- 
mond to her radiant diadem. These two pictures must 
have been made at the same time, for the same saints 
are found in them, with the same types and attributes. 
The face which appeared to me to denote St. Catha- 
rine ia found exactly re-produced in the picture at 
Florence. 

The figure most in relation with those paintings, ia 
the statue of St. Catharine, which was found before 
the revolution, in the Dominican Convent of Poissy, 



ICONOGRAPHY OF ST. CATHARINE. 427 

and which is now in the Church of the Dominicans of 
Chalais. This statue is very ancient, and if it were 
not made before the canonization of the saint, it must 
have directly succeeded it; for it is anterior to the de- 
fence made by Sixtus IV., for representing St. Catha- 
rine, with the stigmata ; the stigmata are marked on 
her feet and on her hands : her head is crowned with 
thorns, and her arms opened like those of the orantes in 
the catacombs. The head is very handsome, and re- 
sembles those of Era Angelico and that of St. Sixtus. 

The attributes or characteristic signs of St. Catha- 
rine are the stigmata, the crown of thorns, the heart, 
a book, and a branch of lilies. 

The crown of thorns that is placed on the head of the 
beatified Catharine recalb the vision, in which our Lord 
offers her two crowns, one of gold, enriched with preci- 
ous gems, the other of woven thorns. St. Catharine 
chose the one that would render her most like to our 
Saviour on earth. In the celebrated picture of Sasso- 
ferado which decorated the Chapel of the Rosary at St. 
Sabines, the infant Jesus is placing the crown of thorns 
on the head of St. Catharine. 

The heart which St. Catharine holds, not only recalls 
her burning charity, but also the vision in which oui 
Lord granted her prayer, by renewing her heart. The 
lily is her sceptre of virginity. As to the book, it may 
signify, as in the case of other saints, her fidelity in ac- 
complishing, and her zeal in teaching the divine law 
It also reminds us of the miraculous manner in which 
St. Catharine learned to read. 

I might terminate these inconographical researches, 
Sy indicating the paintings and sculptures of St. Catha- 





428 LITE OF ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA. 

line, which I have remarked in the churches, and in 
the museums of France and of Italy, but this nomencla- 
ture would be of no utility. From the sixteenth cen- 
tury, tradition is interrupted, and the artist is but an 
individual destitute of high pursuits in religious art, 
and seeking without the bounds of pious inspiration 
the mere glorification of his talent. 

Facility in the use of the pencil, breadth of model 
and richness of colouring can never suffice to express 
purity of soul, and the ardours, of heavenly ecstasy ; 
when an artist desires to depict the beauty of the sainto 
he must first of all have recourse to meditation and 
devout prayer. 



ZEE END. 



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Martyr, and Abbess. 

24. The Soul United to Jesus in the Adorable Sacrament. 

25. The Office for the Dead in English and Latin, used in 

Confraternities. 

26. The Stations of the Cross ; or, the Holy Way of the 

Cross. 

27. Practical Meditations and Reflections for every Day 

in the Month. 

28. On the Nature and Obligation of Fasting. 

29. Life of St. Antony of Padua. By E. M. D. 



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Mary, the Cause of our Joy. By St. Alphonsus Liguori. 
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On the Passion. ,, 

,, Valley of Lilies. ,, 

Golden Book of the Three Tabernacles. ,, 
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Angelical Virtue ; a Treatise on Holy Purity. 32mo, cl. 

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Christian Politeness. By Ven. de La Salle. 32mo, cloth. 

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Method of saying the Rosary. By Pope Pius V. New ed. 

Peace of the Soul. By a Redemptorist Father. 32mo, cl. 

Pinamonti's Cross in its True Light. ,, 

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True Wisdom. 

St. Liguori on the Commandments. 48mo, sewed. 

Treatise on Prayer. ,, 

The Spiritual Combat. ,, 

Twenty-one Days' Residence in a Gentleman's Family. 
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the). 32mo, sewed. 
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Life of St. Antony of Padua. Cap. 8vo, cloth. 
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Way of Salvation. ,, 

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Visits to the Blessed Sacrament. ,, 

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Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 18mo, fancy cloth. 
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Glories of Mary. By St. Liguori. 2 vols., 18mo, cloth. 
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Life of the Venerable Mother Mary of the Incarnation. 

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Life of the Most Rev. Dr. Plunkett. By Cardinal Moran. 
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Hay's (Right Rev. Dr.) Devout Christian. Cr. 8vo, cloth. 
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Life of Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque of the Sacred 
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Manual of B. Sacrament. Rev. Fr. Sebastian. 18mo, cl. 
,, a Happy Eternity (St. Joseph's). ,, 

the Seven Dolours, B.V.M. 

,, the Infant Jesus. ,, 

,, the Confraternity of Cross and Passion. ,, 
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Mission, Novena, and Retreat Companion. By Rev. 
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Reeve's History of the Bible. 12mo, 230 engravings, cl. 

Sufferings of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By 
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De Sales (St. Francis) Treatise on the Love of God. New- 
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Lessons from the Passion. By the Rev. B. Feeney. Cr. 
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Pictorial History of the Bible. By Abbe" Royamont. 
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Path of Perfection in Religious Life. By M. L'Abbe 
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Roman Ritual. Compiled by Rev. Henry M'Neece, C.C., 
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Wiseman's Lectures on the Principal Doctrines and Prac- 
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O'Brien An Eight Day Retreat. New Ed. Cr. 8vo, el. 
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Douay Bible. Crown 8vo, embossed, gilt edges. 

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Life of St. Teresa. Edited by Cardinal Manning. 2nd 
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