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St Catharine of Siena
Virgin (entered heaven this day in 1380)
If other people don’t accept your special calling, that’s their fault. It doesn’t change what you know to be true: Jesus is inviting you to a special intimacy with him. Don’t let other people’s doubts become yours! You have long known that God is calling you to serve him and be with him in accordance with a special vocation, a vocation of predilection, one that he had in mind for you even before he created you. He is leading you along, and when he deems the time is right, you will know in your heart where and when to take the step. In the meantime, love him by loving those around you, and fulfilling your ordinary duties with extraordinary purpose – knowing that he is preparing you for your wedding day. I know it’s hard. I think you should take today’s saint as your personal patron; she’ll help you get through the tough times.
She was only six-years-old when our Lord appeared to her in a vision (she was walking down the street with one of her 24 siblings – did you know she was the youngest of 25 kids?), smiled at her, and reached out his hand in a blessing. When her brother interrupted her trance, she burst into tears at having to leave such beauty behind. From then on, her heart was for Christ alone. How she loved him!
Throughout her childhood her family opposed this special vocation by giving her more than her share of chores (and the worst ones) and not allowing her any of the quiet solitude that she deeply longed for, so as to spend time in prayer with her Beloved. But in the midst of this wave of petty persecution, she built a chamber in her soul where she could always speak with Christ, no matter what occupations she had to engage in.
As she grew up, her parents began to try and marry her off, but having experienced the special love of the Lord, she would have none of it. She even chopped off her long, beautiful brown hair (her best feature) to foil the matchmakers. Finally her parents relented, and she was allowed to live an almost monastic life in her own home. For seven years she dedicated herself to prayer and sacrifice, and suffered violent and humiliating temptations. Our Lord comforted her and strengthened her, and at the end of this trial he appeared to her in his heavenly splendor, with the Blessed Virgin Mary at his side. Mary took Catherine’s hand and gave it to our Lord, who placed a wedding ring on her finger, visible to Catherine for the rest of her life…
Christ has an equally beautiful dream for your life, and I know you want to see it come true. Don’t worry. His hands are gentle, but strong. As always, I’ll be keeping you in my prayers.
Your devoted uncle,