Caterina di Giacomo di Benincasa was born on March 25, 1347, to Giacomo di Benincasa, a cloth dyer, and his wife, Lapa. She was the 24th of 25 children, and joined the third order of St. Dominic in 1365. Jesus joined himself to her in a “mystical marriage”, and bade her express her love through action. She attended to plague victims, brokered peace between warring factions in Italy, dictated The Dialogue (a conversation between the soul and God) and was instrumental in moving the papacy back to Rome from its post in Avignon, France. She died at the age of 33 after suffering a stroke.
She was canonized by Pope Pius II on June 29, 1461.She was the first member of the laity to be made a Doctor of the Church (given by Pope Paul VI on October 3, 1970). She is one of the co-patronesses of Italy, along with St. Francis of Assisi, co-patroness of Rome, and co-patroness of Europe (along with St. Edith Stein and St. Bridget of Sweden).
One of her best-known quotes is “If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.”
In addition to all this, she is also one of my Dominican patrons.
So, happy St. Catherine’s day!