Dominican saints & blesseds: November 2010 Archives

Pope Benedict spoke in his General Audience today of the great 14th century Dominican sister, Saint Catherine of Siena, holy woman, ambassador, truth-speaker, Doctor of the Church and spiritual mother. His choice of saint could not have been better since the presence of many of the new cardinals were in attendance. Rome Reports provides a brief video clip on the papal address.

St Catherine of Siena PGiovanni.jpg

Today I would like to speak to you about a woman who has had an eminent role in the history of the Church. She is St. Catherine of Siena. The century in which she lived -- the 14th -- was a troubled time for the life of the Church and for the whole social fabric in Italy and Europe.

However, even in the moments of greatest difficulty, the Lord does not cease to bless his People, raising men and women saints who stir minds and hearts, bringing about conversion and renewal. Catherine is one of these and still today she speaks to us and pushes us to walk courageously toward sanctity to be disciples of the Lord in an ever fuller sense.

Born in Siena in 1347 to a very numerous family, she died in her native city in 1380. At 16, moved by a vision of St. Dominic, she entered the Dominican Third Order, in the feminine branch called the Mantellate. She stayed with her family and confirmed the vow of virginity she made privately when she was still an adolescent; she dedicated herself to prayer, penance, and works of charity, above all for the benefit of the sick.

When her fame for sanctity spread, she became the protagonist in an intense activity of spiritual counsel, dealing with all categories of persons: nobles and politicians, artists and ordinary people, consecrated persons, ecclesiastics, and including Pope Gregory XI, who at that time resided in Avignon and whom Catherine exhorted energetically and effectively to return to Rome. She traveled a lot to solicit the interior reform of the Church and to foster peace between states. For this reason also the Venerable John Paul II declared her co-patroness of Europe: so that the Old World would never forget its Christian roots that are at the base of its journey and continue to draw from the Gospel the fundamental values that ensure justice and concord.

Saint Albert the Great

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Albertus Magnus 1969 Artus Quellinus.jpgThe learned will shine like the brilliance of the firmament, and those who train many in the ways of justice will sparkle like the stars for all eternity. (ent. ant.)

God of truth, You endowed our brother Albert with the gift of combining human wisdom with divine faith. May the pursuit of all human knowledge lead to a greater knowledge and love of You.

History is a Catholic "thing": the Middle Ages weren't so intellectually dark as some people say. Proof of this thesis is the presence of the Dominican priest, bishop, natural scientist and philosopher Albert the Great (1200-80). He was a known authority on the sciences and he posited that the earth was a sphere 200 years before Columbus "discovered" America. He also theorized that weather is determined by a person's latitude. All of this information is taken for granted today but in the 13th century this was truly new information, revolutionary, in fact.

He abandoned his family's station in life, studied at the University of Padua, joined the brand new Order of Friars Preachers, studied at Paris, and was an interested party promoting Aristotle. Albert was the superior of one of the houses of studies where the young Thomas Aquinas lived and is credited for setting Thomas on his way to be an intellectual giant. In 1254, Albert was elected the Prior Provincial of the German Province of Dominicans and in 1260 Pope Alexander IV nominated Albert the Bishop of Regensburg.  He was prodigious author (at least 40 volumes of thought) to the point that Albert's contemporaries called him the universal doctor and the Church bestowed the title of Doctor of the Church.

Albert was canonized in 1931.
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God of holiness, You wonderfully adorned Blessed Lucy with the marks of the passion of Your and with the gifts of virginity and patience. With the help of her prayers may we never be conquered by adversity or the allurements of the world.

The collect for the Mass noted above speaks of volumes of this beautiful woman. Blessed Lucy was born in 1476, died in 1544 and beatified in 1710. She was a stigmatist, that is, she bore the wounds of Christ's in her body. A review of Blessed Lucy's life is noted here and more can be found here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Dominican saints & blesseds category from November 2010.

Dominican saints & blesseds: October 2010 is the previous archive.

Dominican saints & blesseds: January 2011 is the next archive.

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