St. Catherine of Siena: “She knew how to love…serve…speak out.”
“She loved the Church and the Roman Pontiff with true love and with deeds, in the way you and I do.”
ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA
The Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva is among the many popular pilgrimage sites and churches in Rome. The church contains the remains of St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day the Church celebrates on April 29th. During his lifetime, St. Josemaria Escriva visited the church with special devotion inspired by St. Catherine’s holy life, writings, and intercession.
From a young age, St. Josemaria developed a great devotion to St Catherine of Siena. In her honor, he gave the name catalinas or “catherines” to the notebooks in which he wrote personal notes about matters of his soul.
Years later, when the Church was going through difficulties, St Josemaria had deep recourse to St Catherine, since she had been a passionate defender of the truth in somewhat similar circumstances. He wrote, “I’ve stoked up the devotion, which in me goes back a long time, to Saint Catherine of Siena – because she knew how to love the Pope with filial love, because she knew how to serve God’s holy Church sacrificially, and because she knew how to speak out heroically.”
“Ignorance,” St. Josemaria often said, “is the greatest enemy of our faith, and at the same time the greatest obstacle to carrying out the redemption of souls.” He also said, “We must spread the truth, because veritas liberabit vos (Jn 8:32), the truth makes us free, while ignorance enslaves. We have to uphold the right of all men to live, to own what is necessary to lead a dignified existence, to work and to rest, to choose a particular state in life, to form a home, to bring children into the world within marriage and to be allowed to educate them, to pass peacefully through times of sickness and old age, to have access to culture, to join with other citizens to achieve legitimate ends, and, above all, the right to know and love God in perfect liberty, for conscience, true conscience, will discover the imprint of the Creator in all things.”
In loving and convincing ways, all Christians need to be able to speak out and explain the wonders of God, the realities of the Church, and the incomparable beauty of Christian life, which provides the answers to the deepest aspirations of the human heart. In this way, like the early Christians, we can transform the world and help people to embrace the truth and proclaim it in their way by bringing others to share in the freedom of the children of God, which leads to the good of human society and international relations.
During a gathering with some members of Opus Dei, St. Josemaria said: “I want the feast of this Saint to be celebrated in each one’s spiritual life and also in the life of our centers. I have always been devoted to Saint Catherine: because of her love for the Church and the Pope, and the courage she showed in speaking out clearly whenever necessary, moved precisely by the same love.”
On May 13, 1964, St. Josemaria declared St. Catherine of Siena an Intercessor of Opus Dei, and he “decreed that the apostolate that the members of Opus Dei carry out throughout the world with truth and charity in order to inform public opinion correctly, be entrusted to the special intercession of this Saint.”
If you’d like to read more about about this topic, we recommend:
St. Catherine of Siena, Intercessor of Opus Dei.