Feast of St Catherine of Siena

The Easter holidays here at Tynong ended “with a bang”, as they say, with the Feast of St Catherine of Siena, who is the patroness of our Congregation, and also the patron saint of our beloved Mother Prioress and Mistress of Novices, Mother Mary Catherine, O.P.

Mother’s Feastday began with the beautiful sung Ist Vespers of St Catherine, where we begged our holy patroness – should our voices be “insufficient to be well accepted” – to forgive us our great lack of talent and assist us in singing the praises of God in His saints. As the words of her Vespers hymn rang out in our little chapel, we certainly hoped that we would imitate the virtue and wisdom of St Catherine, who was “balanced, courageous, loyal, just and prudent” – a truly valiant woman who gave all for Christ!

Perhaps some of our readers would like to read more about St Catherine. The Breviary lesson of Matins sketches her life out extremely briefly, passing over her early struggles to fulfil the wishes of God and enter the Third Order of St Dominic against the wishes of her family, and highlights rather the austerities of her life and the miraculous imparting of the Wounds of Our Lord upon her body one day after Holy Communion. It speaks also of her learning (which was infused by the Holy Ghost – if only our students had that grace!) and her loyalty to the Church and the Pope.

A great saint, St Catherine’s steadfastness in contemplating the face of God and the wonderful gentleness of Our Lord in treating with her provide much food for thought. “No earthly pleasure, bodily adornment, nor fleshly beauty” satisfied her longing – her life embodied the very confidence of St Paul, who proclaimed so boldly to the Romans: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

May the virginity and patience of the blessed Catherine truly be our light and model in “treading underfoot the wickedness of the world” – and set the world all afire with love for God.

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