April 29 ----- St. Catherine of Siena
Catherine of Siena was born on March 25 in 1347 in Siena, Italy. Although her parents tried to marry her off, she resisted and became a third order Dominican at age 16. As a layperson, St. Catherine became one of the greatest saints of the 14th century. Her confessor, Blessed Raymond of Capua wrote her biography.
The 14th century was a time of tremendous abuse among the clergy. The degeneration was a result of ecclesiastical adherence to luxury and riches. Unfortunately, this tragic state of affairs extended to Cardinals and even to the Pope. St. Catherine was called by Divine Providence to orientate and to transmit the mystical revelations she had received regarding the future of the Church. Since she worked tirelessly for the cause of the Church, she exerted a considerable influence on Christendom, helping to end the general confusion at the time.
St. Catherine did much to keep the reality of death and of punishment for sin before the public by stressing the importance of attaining indulgences for one's salvation. What is an indulgence? Sin carries with it a moral guilt and a corresponding penalty.
The moral guilt is absolved by the sacraments of Penance or Extreme Unction. But reparation sufficient for the sin is necessary to avoid payment in purgatory. Since the pains of purgatory are the same as those in hell, St. Catherine in her charity, warned the faithful to mitigate those sufferings by means of indulgences.
Therefore, it was a common practice to make pilgrimages in order to obtain indulgences to shorten one's time in purgatory.
Let us pray to St. Catherine as a Patroness of those who work to restore Christian Civilization, to achieve victories over the decadence and abuses of our times.