The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena

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9781479263516: The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena
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The works of St. Catherine of Siena rank among the classics of the Italian language, written in the beautiful Tuscan vernacular of the fourteenth century. Notwithstanding the existence of many excellent manuscripts, the printed editions present the text in a frequently mutilated and most unsatisfactory condition. Her writings consist of the "Dialogue", or "Treatise on Divine Providence"; a collection of nearly four hundred letters; and a series of "Prayers". The "Dialogue" especially, which treats of the whole spiritual life of man in the form of a series of colloquies between the Eternal Father and the human soul (represented by Catherine herself), is the mystical counterpart in prose of Dante's "Divina Commedia".

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Saint Catherine of Siena's Dialogue describes the entire spiritual life through a series of conversations between God and the soul, represented by Catherine herself. Readers of The Dialogue will find Catherine's revelations from God as informative and formative as those who recognized her sanctity during her life. The universally applicable yet intimately personal messages she received from God are as much for us as they were for Catherine. We can read God's communications to his beloved daughter with detached awe or we can receive His messages to us through her writings.

Do you long for certainty that Divine Providence exists in the midst of our chaotic world? Does your prayer seem too dry, or too routine? Have you sought guidance for the challenges of your life from unhelpful people or things? Or has your pride kept you from humble obedience to the Church? If so, The Dialogue will provide consolation, encouragement, and hope.

About the Author:

Saint Catherine of Siena (March 25, 1347 - April 29, 1380) was a tertiary of the Dominican Order. She worked to bring the Papacy back to Rome from its displacement in France, and to establish peace among the Italian city-states. She was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970 and is one of only three women Doctors of the Church. She is one of the two patron saints of Italy, together with Francis of Assisi. Catherine had her first vision of Christ when she was age five or six saying that Jesus smiled at her, blessed her, and left her in ecstasy. At age seven she vowed chastity. Her parents were not supportive of some of her religious desires. She was advised by her confessor and biographer Raymond of Capua to "Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee." Serving her family humbly became an opportunity for spiritual growth. A vision of St. Dominic strengthened her. Catherine received the habit of a Dominican tertiary. As a third order member she lived at home with her family. In about 1366, Catherine experienced what she described in her letters as a "Mystical Marriage" with Jesus. She was told by Christ to leave her withdrawn life and enter the public life of the world. Catherine dedicated much of her life to helping the ill and the poor. After investigation by the Dominican order, she began traveling with her followers advocating reform of the clergy and advising people that repentance and renewal could be done through "the total love for God." She also began writing letters including to figures in authority as she begged for peace between the republics and principalities of Italy and for the return of the Papacy from Avignon, France to Rome. She corresponded with Pope Gregory XI, also asking him to reform the clergy and the administration of the Papal States. Through her requests and prayers, Pope Gregory XI returned his administration to Rome in January 1377. St Catherine's letters are considered one of the great works of early Tuscan literature. St Catherine died in Rome, the spring of 1380, at the age of thirty-three. Jesus Christ is also thought to have died at the same age. On May 5, 1940 Pope Pius XII named her a joint Patron Saint of Italy along with Saint Francis of Assisi. Pope Paul VI gave her the title of Doctor of the Church in 1970 along with Saint Teresa of Avila making them the first women to receive this honor. In 1999 Pope John Paul II made her one of Europe's patron saints. (This biography is adapted from Wikipedia.)

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