For a quick intro to this strong and memorable woman... Catherine was born in 1347 into a super large family, the 23rd child. Growing up she was always a devout child, and at age 16, she entered the Third Order of the Dominicans. Her great wisdom and spiritual leadership gained her a following. She sought for peace between the Pope and Florence and took a strong stance in the crusades against the Turks.
In 1378 the Great Schism happened, and Catherine, taking the side of Pope Urban VI, spent her last years of life pleading for unity within the Church. At the age of 33, Catherine died due to a mysterious illness. She was canonized 81 years later after her body had been found to be incorrupt some years before. Pope Paul VI gave her the title of Doctor of the Church in 1970.
So here you go, 7 fairly easy, pretty cheap, and overall simple ways to celebrate St. Catherine of Siena.
Eat Italian food
This one's pretty easy. Siena, where she was born, and Rome, where she died, are both in Italy. Ribollita, this recipe from the Food Network and Ina Garten, is a soup that is considered a traditional Sienese delicacy. Or just serve up some bruschetta with an Italian wine and call it a wrap.
Print off some quick coloring pages
This coloring page from Dover Publications is my personal favorite, but if that one is overwhelming for young artists, this lovely printable from Charlotte of WaltzingM.
Read a book about St. Catherine
I am just starting Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset, which is a great book on St. Catherine for adults. However, this series of Saints stories from Mary Fabyan Windeatt is great for older kids to read to themselves or for younger kids to listen as it's read aloud. This book in particular is perfect for today: Saint Catherine of Siena: The Story of the Girl Who Saw Saints in the Sky.
Make a heart cake
There are many wonderful quotes from St. Catherine. A few of my favorites include:
"We trust and believe in what we love."
"Love does not stay idle."
"The soul cannot live without love. She always wants to love something because love is the stuff she is made of, and through love I created her."
Catholic Cuisine has an easy heart cake, a French custom, which is perfect for dessert on this feast day.
Treat a nurse or a firefighter
Among many other things, St. Catherine is the patron saint of nurses and firefighters. Know one? Send them a personal thank you for how they serve your community. Don't know one? Send a general card to your local fire station or the nurses at your doctor's office or hospital.
Pray the Collect for the day:
O God, who set Saint Catherine of Siena on fire with divine love in her contemplation of the Lord's Passion and her service or your Church, grant, through her intercession, that your people, participating in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of his glory. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever.
Or Pray the Litany of the Dominicans
Quite a bit longer than the Collect, but I know my kids get a kick out of praying Litanies since there are lots of responses that they can join in on.
Happy Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena!
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