Today is the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena (1347-80), a one of only three women who have the title Doctor of the Church. Over the summer, I picked up a biography of this great saint entitled The Road To Siena written by Edmund Gardener. I’ll leave it to you to find out more about Catherine. I just wanted to bring her up because, as I learned through reading this biography, she was one tough person who rose above the difficulties of her time and became a shining example of holiness.
Sometimes, actually, I think most of the time, every generation thinks that they have it worse than another other age. We wonder how we will ever survive, yet alone thrive through whatever comes our way. Reading the story of St. Catherine reminded me that we have been through worse times. Catherine lived in a time of plague, heresies, schisms, object poverty and absolute decadence. Sinful behavior seemed to reign. In the end, though, people like St. Catherine kept it together, calling people to task, challenging those in power at the time to live for holiness. Her forceful voice remains with us today, and her words speak to our time. Maybe Pope Paul VI had this in mind when, in 1970, he declared her the first woman Doctor of the Church. Read up on her. Ask for her intercession, for ourselves, and for our Church.