I woke up this morning and noticed a link to a Novena to St. Catherine of Siena in my Facebook feed. I will admit that I am not one to pray novenas often. Okay, almost never. But this one caught my attention. St. Catherine of Siena has a special place in my heart. I consider her one of my patron saints since my middle name is Kathleen. To top it off, her feast day, April 29, is my wedding anniversary. So there’s that, but there’s oh so much more than the name and date connections.
Catherine was such a strong Catholic woman, one who was not only powerful and fearless in her love of God but powerful and fearless in her love for the Church. A mystic, a counselor to popes, a stigmatic, a Doctor of the Church. What’s not to love? Especially if you are a modern Catholic woman looking for a strong spiritual role model.
I have been to both Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, where here body rests, and Basilica San Domenico in Siena, where her head rests. And when Dennis was in Rome last year on St. Catherine’s feast day, he had the opportunity to put Rosary beads and prayer cards on St. Catherine’s exposed tomb when they opened the gate behind the altar for the feast.
This past October, when the pilgrimage group I was leading went to Siena (You can read a post about that HERE.), we attended Mass in the Basilica San Domenico. (That’s the reliquary holding her head in the photo above left.) Being in that basilica and touching the pillar she once clung to as she prayed and kneeling where she knelt was such an powerful moment for me. Unexpected tears ran down my face as I stood in that basilica in awe.
Here is the street where St. Catherine of Siena grew up. Her house is down there on the right, just past the umbrella you see here. Some day I will go back to Siena for more than a half-day and bask in St. Catherine’s Italy.
Today is the first day of the Novena to St. Catherine, which is running over at Discerning Hearts. Click HERE for the link to the day-by-day prayers, and join me in this beautiful novena taken from St. Catherine’s own writings and spiritual teachings.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.