She was an amazing woman, but I always remember Sr. Johnette (of Blessed Memory) telling us stories about Catherine when she subbed in our 7th grade room and, later, when she was my teacher in high school.
Catherine was middle class, the daughter of a dyer and poet. She had visions early on her life and chose to commit herself to Jesus. My two favorite stories of what an amazing woman she was were as follows:
- When there was a problem with church and the Pope took up residence in Avignon, France, she appeared and put him on a boat back to Rome. Every time the Pope would try to get off the boat, Catherine was there to put him right back and bring him "home" and restored the Papacy to Italy rather than allowing the French monarchy steal the church.
- She was given to visions and once, when cloistered in the Dominican convent where she was a member, she was tortured for 3 days by visions of the Devil. She stood fast and never wavered in her faith and, as a result, was "rewarded" with a vision of the sacred heart of Jesus. Her reaction was to ask him where he was for the three days previous when she needed him.
I figured any woman in the 1300's with a set like that was one of my heroes. She stood up to the Pope (and French authorities I'm sure) and to Jesus... that's one amazing woman. But Catherine's words are ones to live by. As you go forward, keep those words in your heart and set the world ablaze.