Catherine of Siena worked with courage and love to change the political and religious world in which she lived.
Papal counsellor, politician, Doctor of the Church, preacher, spiritual advisor, and theologian: Catherine of Siena wore many hats, and occupied a very visible place in the church of her day.
Catherine believed in God’s love. She believed that our human experience, as beings who eat, drink, give birth, mourn, and love, is important to understanding who God is. She believed that everyone discovers God’s love for themselves in unique and unexpected ways—in experiences of friendship, beauty, awe, and wonder.
Every year, the Catholic Church celebrates Catherine’s feast day on April 29, the day that she died in 1380. The editors at U.S. Catholic sat down with Elizabeth Dreyer, a professor of religious studies at Fairfield University, an expert on medieval women’s voices in the church, and the author of Accidental Theologians: Four Women who Shaped Christianity. (Spoiler alert: One of those women is Catherine.) We spoke with her about Catherine of Siena’s theology and the legacy she left behind.
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With thanks to U.S. Catholic, published by the Claretian Missionaries, a Roman Catholic religious community of priests and brothers dedicated to the mission of living and spreading the gospel of Jesus.