In Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), he enjoins us to embark on our Christian journey of holiness by embracing the ordinariness of everyday. Throughout his exhortation, Pope Francis calls out more than 40 saints who can assist us on our mission of Christian faith, and to teach us how to rejoice and be glad in all of life’s challenges, mysteries, and joys.

During the 34 weeks of Ordinary Time, we will introduce you to some of the saints mentioned in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation. #OrdinarySaints for #OrdinaryTime #HolyOrdinary

St. Catherine of Siena

#12 – Within these various forms, I would stress too that the “genius of woman” is seen in feminine styles of holiness, which are essential means of reflecting God’s holiness in this world. Indeed, in times when women tended to be most ignored or overlooked, the Holy Spirit raised up saints whose attractiveness produced new spiritual vigour and important reforms in the Church.

St. Catherine of Siena was another mystic who dedicated her life to serving others. She was born during an outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. At the age of 16 she refused to marry, despite pleas from her family. Instead she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic.

She lived a quiet, secluded life with her family and continually gave away her family’s possessions to those in need.

Life took a drastic turn for Catherine at the age of 21 when she experienced a “mystical marriage to Christ.” During this vision she was instructed to re-enter the public life to help the poor and sick. Catherine often visited hospitals and her actions quickly attracted followers who helped in her mission.

Catherine lived during the Western Schism, when there were two rival popes – one in Avignon and one in Rome. Catherine’s mission took her into the world of politics. She is credited with helping start a Crusade to the Holy Land, and was instrumental in restoring the Papacy to Rome.

She established a monastery for women in 1377 outside of Siena. Catherine is credited with writing more than 400 letters – her Dialogue and prayers – which are so influential that Catherine was named a Doctor of the Church.

St. Catherine died at the age of 33. Her feast day is April 29.

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