Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

April 23, 2010

Feast of St. Catherine of Siena Prayers and Activity

April 29th is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church. She is one of the greatest female saints of the Catholic Church. She was born in 1347 in the Italian city of Siena. As a young girl – the youngest of twenty-five children – Catherine was a very joyful person. When she was six, she had vision of God and the saints that inspired her to persist in her vocation to join the Dominican sisters despite her parents’ wishes for her to marry as a young woman.

St. Catherine of Siena is best known for her influence on Gregory XI during a period that is known as the Babylonian Captivity or Avignon Papacy. During this time the Papacy had become highly politicized. Due to external political influence, Pope Clement V and the next seven popes lived in Avignon, France instead of the downtrodden city of Rome. As a result, the papacy lost a lot of respect including the respect of a Dominican sister, Catherine of Siena. Catherine was not afraid to stand up to the Pope or to let the many European leaders of her time know her mind. In 1376 she traveled to Avignon to convince the Pope to return to the Holy See in Rome and reform the curia’s abuse of power.

Primary Source Activity

Distribute excerpts from Catherine’s letter to Pope Gregory XI (see pages 134-135 of This is Our Church by Michael Pennock or the full letter here)

Provide students with the following discussion questions:

1. Who are the wolf, the sheep, the shepherd, and the lamb?


2. How does Catherine describe the Pope? What is his relationship to Peter? To Christ?


3. Why do you think Gregory XI was so convinced by Catherine’s arguments (assuming she was the main reason for returning to Rome)?


4. How does this relate to today’s Church? Do you think there are women or have been women that could hold the ear of the Pope in this way?


5. Have you ever had to call someone out for doing something you knew was wrong? How did you approach the situation? Did you have the same kind of success as Catherine of Sieana?
 
St. Catherine of Siena Prayers

Prayer for the Gifts of Saint Catherine of Siena
God of Wisdom you made our sister Catherine burn with divine love in contemplating the Lord's passion and in serving your Church. With the help of her prayers may your people, united in the mystery of Christ, rejoice forever in the revelation of his glory, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Litany of St. Catherine of Siena

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, our mother, pray for us.
St. Dominic, glorious Patriarch, pray for us.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
St. Catherine benevolent mother of the poor, pray for us.
St. Catherine, kind mother of the suffering, pray for us.
St. Catherine, merciful mother of the sick, pray for us.
St. Catherine, refuge of the sorrowful, pray for us.
St. Catherine, intercessor for sinners, pray for us.
St. Catherine, rose pf patience, pray for us.
St. Catherine, model of humility, pray for us.
St. Catherine, lily of chastity, pray for us.
St. Catherine, vessel of graces, pray for us.
St. Catherine, zealous promoter of the honor of God, pray for us.
St. Catherine, luster of holiness, pray for us.
St. Catherine, example of mildness, pray for us.
St. Catherine, glory of the Order of Preachers, pray for us.
St. Catherine, fruitful mother of spiritual children, pray for us.
St. Catherine, promoter of peace, pray for us.
St. Catherine, terror of the evil spirits, pray for us.
St. Catherine, follower of Jesus, pray for us.
St. Catherine, who didst give the blossoms of thy innocent youth to the service of thy Heavenly Spouse, pray for us.
St. Catherine, who didst lead an angelic life in human flesh, pray for us.
St. Catherine, who didst tear thy virginal flesh with scourges, pray for us.
St. Catherine, whom Jesus, Himself, did feed with His Body and Blood, pray for us.
St. Catherine, who didst exchange thy heart with the Heart of Jesus, pray for us.
St. Catherine, who was blest with His Holy Wounds, pray for us.
St. Catherine, who was taken to Heaven to the celestial nuptials, pray for us
St. Catherine, who didst receive a hundredfold, reward for all thy labors and merits, pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O glorious Virgin, St. Catherine
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray: O God, who didst enable Blessed Catherine, graced with the special privilege of virginity, and patience, to overcome the assault of evil spirits, and to stand unshaken in the love of Thy Name, grant we beseech Thee, that after her example treading under foot the wickedness of the world, and overcoming the wiles of all enemies, we may safely pass onward to Thy glory.Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

For other prayers, visit: 
http://www.st-catherine-medal.com/prayers-to-saint-catherine.htm  

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