Easter: April 29th
Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor
Old Calendar: St. Peter of Verona, martyr; St. Hugh of Cluny (Hist) ; Other Titles: St. Catharine of Siena
Catherine Benincasa, born in Siena at a date that remains uncertain, was favored with visions from the age of seven. Becoming a tertiary of the Dominican Order, she acquired great influence by her life of prayer and extraordinary mortifications as well as by the spread of her spiritual writings. Her continual appeals for civil peace and reform of the Church make her one of the leading figures of the fourteenth century. Worn out by her mortifications and negotiations she died in Rome on April 29, 1380.Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar St. Catherine's feast was celebrated on April 30 and today was the feast of St. Peter of Verona. He was born about 1205 at Verona. His parents were Manichaeans, but he was converted and entered the Order of Preachers with the ambition not only of preaching the faith but of giving his life for it. He had his wish, for in the course of his apostolic work he was assassinated by the Manichaeans on the road from Como to Milan in 1252.
St. Catherine of Siena
Catherine, the youngest of twenty-five children, was born in Siena on March 25, 1347. During her youth she had to contend with great difficulties on the part of her parents. They were planning marriage for their favorite daughter; but Catherine, who at the age of seven had already taken a vow of virginity, refused. To break her resistance, her beautiful golden brown tresses were shorn to the very skin and she was forced to do the most menial tasks. Undone by her patience, mother and father finally relented and their child entered the Third Order of St. Dominic.
- If you have never done so today would be a good time to read some of St. Catherine's Dialogue.
- Learn more about the Order of Preachers founded by St. Dominic.
St. Peter of Verona
Peter entered the Dominican Order in 1221, the year when St. Dominic died. He was a zealous preacher, and as Inquisitor converted many heretics. While attending school at the age of seventeen, he was asked by his uncle, a heretic, what he was learning. Candidly the boy replied, "The Apostles' Creed." Neither threats nor honeyed words from father and uncle were able to shake the boy's steadfast faith. Years later, when death was near, he once more recited the Apostles' Creed that he prayed so courageously in his youth. The mortal stab soon fell, and he received the martyr's crown.
- As he lay dying, it is said, Peter wrote the word Credo on the ground with his own blood. To us also may the Creed be a source of blessing in life and in death! To that end we might occasionally meditate on one or another of its articles. Devoutly, reverently the words should pass our lips, especially at Mass. Remember that martyrs' blood has flowed for all its phrases.
- Read more about St. Peter of Verona.
St. Hugh of Cluny
St. Hugh was a prince related to the sovereign house of the dukes of Burgundy, and had his education under the tuition of his pious Mother, and under the care of Hugh, Bishop of Auxerre, his great-uncle. From his infancy he was exceedingly given to prayer and meditation, and his life was remarkably innocent and holy.