Archives For St. Catherine of Siena

 

St. Catherine and
the Turmoil of the World

A Review of 

Setting the World on Fire:
The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena
Shelley Emling

Hardback: St. Martins, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Christiana N. Peterson

 

A few nights ago, before I turned off my lamp to go to sleep, my iPhone screen lit up to the news of another mass killing. In Nice, France, a man used his truck as a weapon to murder over 80 people who were celebrating Bastille Day. The next morning, there was news of a military coup in Turkey.

My heart dropped, my anxiety rose, the tears flowed. I turned to my husband and asked him, “Is this it? Is this the end?”

Many of us who are Christians, even if we aren’t apocalyptic leaning, find ourselves wondering–in the rising grief of the last few months of mass shootings, unarmed black men killed by police, the killing of policemen, and political strife–if the end is nigh. In our terror, we even seem to long for it, calling, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Lately, when I am torn up with grief, when I wonder when God will make all things new, I have been reaching for the Christian mystics, who have been able to offer me a little humility, solace, and perspective.

Shelley Emling’s book Setting the World on Fire: the Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena, is a highly readable introduction to the life and times of the saint and mystic, Catherine of Siena, whose Medieval world was as turbulent (if not more than) ours. Emling carefully weaves together a narrative of this complex patron saint of Italy along with details about the political and social contexts that shaped and moved her.

Continue Reading…

 

An excerpt from the excellent new book:
 

Setting the World on Fire: The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena
Shelley Emling

Hardback: St. Martins, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle  ]

 
*** Read a brief review
by ERB Editor Chris Smith

 
 

In the fourteenth century, Catherine’s public persona as a strong-willed woman   who never backed down was extraordinary to the point of being   freakish. At the time, women were so subservient to men that they   didn’t speak unless spoken to. And when they were spoken to, they   kept their eyes lowered. Legally, women were not allowed to appear in court. They weren’t allowed to hold any public, political or   professional office or to become a member of any of Italy’s influential guilds, such as the dyers’ guild Catherine’s father belonged to.   And they weren’t allowed to wear anything that was not of their   husband’s choosing. Women without brothers were able to inherit   land from their fathers, but they were forced to surrender it to   their husbands as soon as they married. Always, the law excluded   women as second-class citizens. “The good woman was invisible.   She wasn’t supposed to leave the house. She wasn’t even supposed   to be seen standing at the window of the house,” said Elizabeth   Petroff, a professor of comparative literature at the University of   Massachusetts, Amherst. “Yes, people looked askance [at Catherine], but she won them over, many times. She must have been just   what the times needed.”

Continue Reading…

 

St. Catherine of SienaToday is the Feast of
St. Catherine of Siena…

 
Thrifty Christian Reader
is offering
two bargain ebooks
by St. Catherine

(One FREE, One 99c!)

 

 

Our poem of the day, adapted from Catherine’s Dialogue….
 

Eternal Godhead
St. Catherine of Siena

 

Continue Reading…