Saturday, May 2, 2015

St Catherine of Siena (alternately titled, “Well, That Caught Me Off Guard”)

Liturgical Living Lesson #2: There’s always next year… (should our Lord tarry).

After celebrating St George’s day, I figured we were done with feast days til May. It sounded easy enough - just one feast day for what was left of April and then we would start in earnest in the next month.  But as I was researching what feast days happen in May, I saw that right at the end of April there was a day commemorating one of the doctors of the Catholic Church: St Catherine of Siena.

This was noteworthy, as there are only four women who have made the list of Doctors of the Church, and she is one of them. (In case you were wondering, the other three are: St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Teresa of Avila). So while I wasn’t planning on celebrating any more feast days, I just felt like this needed to be marked somehow.

Well, I hope St Catherine will forgive me, because I feel I did a really lame “marking” of her day. First off, I had a hard time coming up with an age appropriate way of introducing her to my toddler. But I think that is because St Catherine has quite the interesting story! The last of 23 children (or 24 or 25 depending on the website you reference!) she started having visions of God and angels when she was a child. That is unique! But how do you explain that to a toddler who is still in the very "concrete" phase of thinking?  Then when Catherine became of marriageable age, she declared her fidelity to God alone, and to prove it to her parents she cut off her beautiful hair.  When I looked up “coloring pages” for St Catherine, it was this scene of her cutting her hair that the pictures depicted.  Which is great! It certainly was an event in her life that really defined her and her purpose  - and yet, this was definitely a point that I wasn’t going to share with my girl, lest she get any ideas of her own! We’ll save this for later, I think...

St Catherine’s later life was marked by her faith in God and allegiance to the Church, as evidenced by her letters and her involvement in bringing the Pope back to Rome (from Avignon). She is also said to have received the Stigmata for her devotion and work (yet another subject that I don’t think would make for a good “coloring page” for the 2 year old).  All of these are good points and worthy of a little discussion, don’t you think?  But what did I go for?  Well…

This is St Catherine of Siena.

Siena is in Italy.

Italy is the home of spaghetti...

So let’s eat spaghetti!

Yup. That was the extent of it. (Oddly enough, I had actually planned on having spaghetti bolognese on the 29th, before I had even learned that it was St Catherine’s day. Coincidence? Maybe...)

So, my apologies St Catherine. With your help, I’ll do better next year.

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