St. the outbreak of the plague in Siena.

St. Catherine of Siena, original name Caterina Benincasa, she was the Dominican tertiary, mystic, and one of the patron saints of Italy.  Catherine herself was born a premature twin with her sister named Giovanna, but her sister did not survive infancy. Her father, Giacomo di Benincasa, was a prosperous wool dyer; her mother name was Lapa. Caterina Benincasa was born on March 25, 1347, during the time of the “Black Death-ravaged of Siena”, this is known to be the outbreak of the plague in Siena. Out of her mother 25 children, she is known to be one the lucky and blessed one to survive the outlast of the plague, because many of her siblings had passed away during this time. Lapa was 40 years of age when Catherina Benincasa was born as the 23rd child, she grew up as an intelligent, cheerful, and intensely religious person, Catherine was so merry that the family gave her the pet name of Euphrosyne.

 

                  From a very young age, Catherine began to see visions and to practice a very strong severity of manner in the belief of Christ. This first happens she was on her way home, when she saw a vision of Jesus with Peter, Paul, and John the evangelist and she stop as she staired for a while and burst in tears after.  This was when she started to show her determination of belief in Christ. After this took place, with help of her father, she had a room of her own for prayer and meditation in order to be at peace.  From there on, her strong spiritual, political and moral effort have been stood out as a part of Christian history.

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                Caterina Benincasa room was known as a Hermitage, where she slept on a wooden pillow and use her spiritual token to meditate. Her spiritual token was a Crucifix. Catherine receives some invisible stigmata which she claimed to felt the wound of Christ. Catherine never had it easy with her parents and her spiritual practices, at one point she was also forced by her parent to get married, but she cut her beautiful long golden hair to prevent their accomplishment of forcing her into marriage and this was at the age of 15, her mother Lapa was displeased with this action According to the full movie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO-N05BQJA0)  she even said “out of all 25 children this is the worst thing ever happen to her”.

           

                  Catherine always wanted to help with the sick and the people that are in need, but she didn’t want to be just a regular Nun. She was influence by a Dominican Priest to join the Dominican Order of Penance. The Dominican Priest was her first confessor and also a family member of hers. This took place in the year of 1363. The Dominican Order of Penance is a group of religious people who wore an unusual dress, live in homes and have their own way of sacrificial service for the sick and people in need.

           

                    Catherine Discover the fathers of the church, as she spends about 3 years away from everyone living privately by herself, reading and praying. At the end of the 3 years’ period being away from everyone in her own private space, she experiences what she claimed to be a spiritual marriage to Christ. She describes the marriage as Jesus put a ring on her finger and her soul receive a mystical bond with god. She called this “the inner cell in her soul”, as she Travels and Ministered this always be a part of her ministries.

               

                        In 1374 when a massive amount of plague struck her hometown of Siena most people fled. With her strong spiritual, moral effort and belief, she stays back and starts an active ministry to the sick, people in need and prisoners of Siena. In her ministry, she tried to persuade the people of Siena to make peace with God. According to EWTN.COM (http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/catsiena.htm) During this time of ministry and healing, she visited a young Perugian knight that was sentenced to death for using seditious language against the government of Siena. His last work was: “Jesus and Catherine!” Catherine as usual and her followers as they stay back they attend to nurse the sick and bury the dead, her sympathy for men on their death bed was not limited to those who were sick. Catherine was also healing the men and women whom the physicians leave for death. Some people called her the “the woman that raised the dead.

 

                      According to NewAdvent.org (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03447a.htm) Catherine Started a letter Writing ministry to confront the corruption of the church, to convert sinners and make changes to improve the church and society. She believes that all these problems are coming from the Babylonian captivity, because the interest of the papacy moving to Avignon, France in the early 14th centuries. This Started a scandalizing of the people for the reasons of the pope become highly captive to the French lifestyle and politics, which was known to be corrupted. In the process of sending out these letters, she strongly encourages the pope to address the problem of the church and demand him to come back to Rome.

            

 

                    This led to a bigger problem when she got the words that the people of Florence and the Perugian had join forces against the holy see and French legates. Guelphs and the Ghibellines want to be free from the control of the Pope, Bologna, Viterbo, and Ancona alongside other powers in the papal domain, so they join forces and start a large army. Catherine effort held back the city of Lucca, Pisa, and Siena from Avignon. As the Unsuccessful appeal to the Florentines and Gregory XI, they sent Cardinal Robert of Geneva with an army to decrease the riot. The ruler sent to ask Catherine to negotiate terms with the pope. She immediately set off to Florence, as she drew near the gates the magistrates meet her and give her the entire negotiation. As a part of the agreement, the ambassadors would follow her to Avignon to confirm what she did there in Avignon. On June 18, 1376, she arrives in Avignon and was great fully welcome by the Pope. “I desire nothing but peace,” he said; “I place the affair entirely in your hands, only I recommend to you the honor of the church.” The Florentines were untrustworthy as they continued with their actions. The Florentines disagree with the agreement of Catherine as they proclaim that they don’t want a reconciliation.

              

                    Catherine had failed in the act of trying to make peace but in some other way, she was successful with her mission. As the battle of the agreement continues between the Pope and the French Cardinals that had deterred him, the Pope finally came through and fulfill his promise, this promise was a vow that he had taken, that had never disclosed to the public. Gregory XI leaves Avignon and set off to Rome on September 13, 1376. Catherine and her followers had left the same day to return to Siena. She was held back in Genoa for a time because two of her secretaries got ill. As she returns to Siena she kept writing the Pope, encouraging him to work hard for peace.

                    ­­ Catherine was begun by the Pope to return to Florence again, which she went and stayed for a while. During this time, she finally became successful with her mission of peace, which the city governors and the papacy have finally come to an agreement of peace. Even thou this happens on the behalf of the Pope hard work Catherine had played a great role of influence.

                 

                      As  the article (http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=9) stated that as Caterina Benincasa lives through her last years, she maintains her strong belief in God and also establishes a women monastery outside of Siena in 1377. Catherine suffered a very bad stroke that killed her on April 29, 1380, before she died she said; “Father, into Your Hands I commend my soul and my spirit.”  Catherine then credited for her hard work and for writing over 400 letters, her dialogue and also for her long journey of prayers. She set out to be very influential and also known to be the most popular saint of the church. She was later declared to be the Doctor of the Church. St Catherine of Siena influence the catholic church: teaching and principles, that is still practice, and still have a strong impact on catholic Christians this current day, she also is known to be a spiritual guidance for many people in life, clerical and civic people, leaders and ordinary people. ­­The greatest Impact St. Catherine of Siena have on Catholic Church and modern Christianity was for writing over 400 letters, her dialogue, urging the pope to relocate to from france back to Italy, which she was successful with, as it become a tradition for the pope. Today Pope Francis and other any other pope in the future will reside in Italy that will keep the tradition, due to the hard work of St. Catherine of Siena.