Catherine of Siena is known around the world as a great mystic and saint, reformer and teacher. She lived during the second half of the fourteenth century, when Europe was ravaged by plague, famine, and the Hundred Years War. Enflamed by her convictions and mystical devotion, Catherine--the unschooled daughter of a Sienese dyer--engaged in political, social, and spiritual activism. She contended with popes, monarchs, and ordinary citizens. Don Brophy gives us a compelling and comprehensive portrait of this intense and irreverent young woman and her times, including details from her powerful letters and her spiritual masterwork, The Dialogue. This is the story of a life lived with the greatest passion.
Against the backdrop of 14th-century Europe--a time of social turmoil, outbreaks of the bubonic plague, a catastrophic war that devastated the continent, and an overall transition between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance--this biography offers an entry point into the life of Catherine of Siena, an oftentimes irreverent, intense, and fiery woman. Deeply researched and based on the latest sources, this history recalls Saint Catherine, as she would later be called, as a champion of peace who cajoled and, at times, begged popes, monarchs, and ordinary citizens to do her will. Describing her sheer fortitude and personal magnetism, this absorbing account details the spiritual and political beliefs of Catherine of Siena as she attempted to restore order to a fractured Italian city-state system, campaigned Pope Gregory XI in Avignon to return the papacy to Rome, and tried to resolve the Western Schism of 1378--a challenge that proved to be her ultimate test. Perfect for historians and readers of any faith or none, this compelling exploration paints a human portrait of a great mystic and spiritual teacher, who was canonized in 1461 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970.