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Catherine of Siena, St

Catherine of Siena, St (1347–80). Christian saint who saw a vision of Christ when she was 7, after which she took a vow of virginity. She became a member of the Third Order of Dominicans when she was 16 (or perhaps 18), and committed herself to work among the poor and the sick. Her holiness became widely known and she attracted many followers. In 1376 she went to Avignon to persuade Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome, and in the Great Schism which followed his death, she urged support for Urban VI. She looked for a Church renewed in holiness (‘The only desire of God is our sanctification’), united under the pope. Many of her letters survive, as does the Dialogo ( tr. F. Noffke, 1980), a spiritual work in which she relates contemplation and action. She was canonized in 1461 and made a Doctor of the Church in 1970; feast day 29 Apr. (30 Apr. until 1969). Raymond of Capua's Life was translated by C. Kearns, 1980.

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