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Saint Catherine of Siena


Born: 25 March 1347
Died: 29 April 1380
Birthplace: Siena, Italy
Best known as: Medieval saint of Italy and Doctor of the Church

Name at birth: Catherine Benincasa

Catherine of Siena had visions from the time she was a child. She joined a Dominican order when she was a teenager, and devoted herself to working with the poor and the sick. She developed a following and dictated her ideas on spirituality and devotion in what became known as her Letters. She became a central figure in church politics, and persuaded Gregory XI to return to Rome from Avignon. This did not halt the Great Western Schism, however, during which she supported Urban VI. She was canonized by Pope Pius II in 1461, and in 1970 became one of two women to be named Doctor of the Church (the other is St. Teresa of Avila).

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