Today, April 29, the Church celebrates Catherine of Siena. My high school was named after her. The parish I belong to here in Cincinnati is named after her.
She was a woman of strong will who refused to compromise what she knew God was calling her to do. She refused both marriage and cloister at a time when those were the only two respectable options available to women.
Catherine did many great things in her short life. She nursed the sick, wrote hundreds of letters of spiritual direction, and even advised the pope during the difficult period of the Avignon papacy. She is one of only three women and fewer than forty men who are recognized as doctors of the Church.
My favorite quote from Catherine of Siena is taken from one of her letters: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” When I look at the many things that are important to me and the variety of things that I do, I sometimes think that I will never have the focus and determination of someone like Catherine. But she, too, did a wide variety of things. The single focus in her life was not on one career, but on the love of God.
So, for today, I’m going to pray that God meant me to be a passionate dilettante!