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Catherine of Siena, Saint

dominican christ mystical letters

The biography of Catherine of Siena (1347–1380) was recorded by her confessor, Raymond of Capua. She was the youngest in a large Sienese merchant family, joined the Dominican order at age sixteen, experienced mystical visions throughout her life, was active in caring for the very sick, subjected herself to extreme austerities, and was involved with contemporary politics (she traveled to Avignon in 1376 to speak on behalf of Florence and persuade Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome and wrote letters to Popes Clement VII and Urban VI). Many of her letters survive as well as a mystical work, the Dialogo . She is depicted in art wearing black and white Dominican robes, often holding a book, rose, rosary, or lily. She may be accompanied by a dove, which her father saw with her while she was praying, and may also bear the marks of the *stigmata, which she is said to have received Page 45  in 1375 but which were not visible until her *death. Additional narrative scenes may include her mystic marriage to *Christ , her accepting the crown of thorns from Christ, and her visit to Avignon.
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