St Catherine of Siena

Catherine was born in Siena, Italy in 1347. She is often referred to as co-founder of the Order, and is with Dominic, patroness of our Congregation.


Catherine was a twin and last of 24 children of Giacomo of Benincasa, cloth dyer, and Lapa of Puccio dei Piagneti. As advisor of princes and pontiffs, Catherine helped shape the destiny of the church of her time, when everything in the world around her was in chaos: in the church, in the market place, in government. Her ‘Dialogue’ with Jesus, the 387 letters and eight prayers that she wrote, reveals an awesome woman.

Catherine always stood up for the truth.

She had what Edward Schillebeeckx OP calls ‘Graced Optimism’: the conviction that despite all the evidence to the contrary, God’s spirit of mercy is at work in our world and in our lives, empowering us to be ministers of compassion and healing.

Catherine died when she was only 33. She was canonised in 1461 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970.


We who taste
in prayer and study
the fire of God’s truth
and love for us
are inescapeably called
to rise up impassioned
for the world’s healing.
Catherine of Siena


A selection of images of St Catherine of Siena gathered from our own resources or downloaded from the internet


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