12 fascinating facts about Saint Catherine of Siena

Jasjot Singh

Close to the celebration of the feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church who belonged to the third order of Santo Domingo, we present 12 fascinating facts about this saint.

1.- He had a twin

Although it is not clear if they were identical or not, Saint Catherine had a twin sister named Giovanna.

They were born prematurely when their mother was 40 years old, but unfortunately, her twin passed away as a child. Two years later her mother had another daughter and she also called her Giovanna.

2.- He had 24 siblings

Saint Catherine had 24 siblings; all from the same parents.

Only half of them reached adulthood due to a high infant mortality rate.

3.- His nickname was “Eufrosina”

She was so cheerful that a boy in her family named her “Eufrosina”, which means “joy” in Greek.

4.- He had a mystical vision of the Child Jesus

An old biography written by his confessor states that when he was between 5 and 6 years old, he had a vision of Jesus enthroned in heaven and surrounded by his apostles Peter, Paul and John.

5.- He had a mystical vision of Santo Domingo

The two culturally accepted paths for a woman of her time were to marry or become a cloistered nun. Saint Catherine resisted both options.

Apparently, Santo Domingo de Guzmán himself appeared to her in a vision and convinced her to become a tertiary Dominican, something that until then had normally been reserved for widows.

He also obtained special permission to wear the habit.

6.- He had another vision of Jesus when he was 21 years old

At first, she lived out her vocation as a tertiary Dominican in her home. When she was 21 years old she experienced a vision of Jesus in which He was taking her as her bride, and even giving her a ring.

Christ asked him to leave his loneliness and serve the poor, which he did.

7.- He experienced the pain of the stigmata of Christ

According to the biography written by her confessor, Catherine received in 1375 a version of the stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi that were only visible to herself but caused equal pain.

8.- He contributed directly to the pontificate of his time

When he was nearly 20 years old he sent letters to various rulers and clergymen asking for peace between the states and for the papacy to return to Rome from Avignon, France (1309-1377).

She was so respected that she was also sent on various diplomatic peace missions by various governments.

9.- Survived an assassination attempt

At the beginning of 1378 she was sent by Pope Gregory XI to Florence (Italy) to seek peace between this city and Rome.

However, shortly after, violence broke out, and on June 18, in the midst of the violence, they tried to assassinate her.

10.- She was attacked by demons on her deathbed

This is what an eyewitness reported: “Saint Catherine began to change and make various signs with her head and arms as if to show that she was suffering from severe attacks from demons, and she remained in this dire state for an hour and a half, during which she half of that time was spent in silence…”.

11.- She is co-patron of Rome, Italy and Europe

Pope Pius IX declared her co-patron of Rome in 1866, Pius XII declared her co-patron of Italy in 1939, and in 1999 Saint John Paul II declared her co-patron of Europe.

12.- She is the mother and spiritual teacher of Santa Rosa de Lima

Witnesses in the process of canonization of Saint Rose of Lima, the first Saint of America, affirmed that she had “the glorious virgin Saint Catherine of Siena as mother and teacher, and in everything that was offered, she served her as such, fervently desiring found a convent in this city of Saint Catherine of Siena, his mother, and from her received great favors and mercies”.

Translated by Diego López Marina. Originally Posted on ChurchPOP

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