St. Catherine of Siena, Patroness of the School of Church Communications

St. Catherine Benincasa, a third order Dominican, was born in Siena on March 25, 1347, and died in Rome on April 29, 1380, at the young age of 33. She was canonized by Pope Pius II, her fellow countryman, in 1461. Then, in 1970, Pope Paul VI named her Doctor of the Church together with St. Teresa, followed by St. Pope John Paul naming her Co-Patroness of Europe alongside St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and St. Brigid. She is also a patron of Italy, with St. Francis; and patron of Rome with the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and St. Philip Neri.

Besides being known as one of the greatest mystics of the century, St. Catherine is also remembered for her gifts as a preacher and writer, and played a decisive role in the Pope’s return to Rome after the Avignon exile. Further, she was an aid to Pope Urban VI during the Western Schism.

St. Catherine left among her writings the Dialogue of Divine Providence, known today as simply the Dialogue, entrusted by dictation, due to the difficulty to write for want of instruction; 26 Orations; 381 letters to popes, kings, princes, cardinals, and other protagonists of the turbulent public life of her time. All these texts are considered great works of Tuscan literature in the vernacular.

Some poignant features of her charisma were a love of the truth – which, when it had to be communicated to someone, she did so with force and charity – and her love and firm dedication to the Church and the Pope, whom she called “sweet Christ on earth.”

She is the patroness of the School of Church Communications of the University of the Holy Cross for the same reasons that the patron, St. Josemaría - Founder of Opus Dei - who loved her very much, named her intercessor of Opus Dei in 1964: “On May 13, considering how to speak clearly and with holy uprightness - St. Catherine of Siena proving to be a courageous and exceptional leader in ways of truth for all people of her time – I announced that the ministry which Opus Dei members carry out throughout the world, namely, to correctly inform public opinion with truth and charity, should turn to the special intercession of St. Catherine of Siena” [Johannes Grohe. Santa Caterina da Siena, San Josemaría Escrivá e l’”apostolato dell’opinione pubblica”, in “Studia et Documenta”, 8, (2014), p. 136].

The School of Church  Communications develops this ministry in service to the Church and society , and in union with the See of Peter, the visible head of the universal Church.  

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