CATHARINE of SIENA (Saint) Virgin (April 30) (14th century) Born at Siena in Tuscany (A.D. 1347) of a family of good repute, the Benincasa, Catharine was favoured with supernatural graces by Almighty God from her very childhood. At the age of eighteen she received the habit of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, and thenceforth lived a wonderful life of prayer and penance, crowned by God with the gift of the Stigmata, as was that of Saint Francis of Assisi. She was indefatigable in her service of the poor, especially of the plague-stricken, but her zeal was chiefly directed to obtaining the conversion of sinners and to securing the peace of the Church in Italy, her fatherland. By her visit to Avignon, she was instrumental in bringing about the return of the Popes to Rome, and later on, laboured, though in vain, to avert the Great Schism between the Faithful and the adherents of the rival Pope of Avignon. She died in Rome, April 30, A.D. 1380, and was canonised in 1461. Her body rests in the Minerva Church in Rome, of which city she is reckoned one of the Patron Saints. Her “Dialogue” and other writings will always be a treasure-house of mystic lore to the prayerful. Countless miracles have been wrought by her intercession, and personal devotion to her is widespread throughout the Church.