Bumped up from last year's feast(4/29/09)
"Then in her sacred saving hands
She took the sorrows of the lands,
With maiden palms she lifted up
The sick time's blood-embittered cup,
And in her virgin garment furled
The faint limbs of a wounded world.
Clothed with calm love and clear desire,
She went forth in her soul's attire, A missive fire."
~ A. C. Swinburne, Songs Before Sunrise
Today is the feast day of Saint Catherine of Siena, one of my favorite 14th century European saints. I really grew to love her after I read Louis De Wohl's book, Lay Siege to Heaven: A Novel of Saint Catherine of Siena. (Customer Reviews)The 14th century was such an interesting time period in Italian history. DeWohl ties in the historical background of Saint Catherine's time making for a very interesting semi-biographical historical fiction. Saint Catherine was very much a part of history in that she positively influenced Italian politics and the Church. Just reading about her strong and stubborn mother was interesting. What she had to endure from her mother in order to follow God during her younger years! Such devotion to God.
From Saint Catherine of Siena by Edmund G. Gardner(free at Google Books):
... a study in Italian history centered in the work and personality of one of the most wonderful women that have ever lived — the successor of Dante in the literature and religious thought of Italy, the connecting link between St. Francis of Assisi and Fra Girolamo Savonarola in the strange pageant of the progress of the mystical chariot of the Spouse, which the divine poet saw in part on the banks of Lethe in the Earthly Paradise. While devoting my attention mainly to Catherine's own work and her influence upon the Italian politics of her age, I have endeavoured at the same time to make my book a picture of certain aspects, religious and political, of the fourteenth century in Italy — the epoch that immediately followed the times of Dante, the stormy period in the history of the Church of which Petrarca and Boccaccio witnessed the beginnings. It may, indeed, be said that so much attention has been paid to Italian history of late years, and so many fresh sources of original information made accessible in every direction, that a new life of the woman who was the truest and most single-hearted patriot of her age seems not only permissible, but even — from the scientific point of view — necessary.
Some free children's readings referencing Saint Catherine from my Google Book library:
History Stories of Other Lands by Arthur Guy Terry
Guide for Catholic Young Women
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints
A Child's Book of Saints
Kindergarten Lessons for Church Sunday Schools: A Manual for the Instruction
Short Catechism of Church History for the Higher Grades of Catholic Schools
A Short History of the Catholic Church By Hermann Wedewer and Joseph McSorley of the Paulists.
Printing instructions: follow the link to the book, right click on the image of the page, print picture. Entire books are also downloadable in PDF, just click on the download button on the sidebar.
(Repost from last year)