Catherine of Siena, the great 14th Century Dominican woman, was a celebrated Mystic, whose early religious life was devoted to caring for the sick in their homes and hospitals. In this, she gathered a wide group of devoted followers, both women and men, religious and lay. As her calling blossomed, she became famous in her lifetime as a counsellor, spiritual guide and peacemaker. Although untaught in writing until a few years prior to her death, she corresponded with princes, popes and kings. Her lengthy correspondence with Pope Gregory XI, urging him to return from Avignon to Rome and reform the Church, reveals a woman who is confident, direct, energetic and forceful.
Catherine has left us almost 400 letters, a collection of prayers and her most famous work, The
Dialogue. She is one of four women named Doctor of the Church.